Island Girl

Recently I’ve been really busy juggling my time among work, school, and blogger duties, I barely have any time for myself. Other than food, my usual destressors are sleep, quality time with loved ones, and traveling. Would you believe that I actually have to schedule all of them just to get that much-needed break? Yes, even sleep. This trip to La Union with my housemates and friends was scheduled a month prior to our actual trip. You can imagine my excitement when the day finally came.

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When asked about my favorite travel destination, the beach always tops the list. The idea of a man-made resort (aka swimming pool) has never really appealed to me since childhood. When my relatives would decide upon spending our family reunions in pools, I would daydream about spending my days in the beach instead. I just don’t get it. Who doesn’t like seeing the sea and the great blue sky? I think they’re the most wonderful things on earth, I will never trade the beach for any other travel destination.

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Oh to travel and see the rest of the world! It has always been my dream but it was only in 2011 that I got around to doing it. That year was when Chad and I became a couple. After being friends for more than a decade, fate finally nodded in our direction and permitted us to be together. (Wow, that sounded so cheesy but I can’t help but be all mushy when I think about our history together haha!) I didn’t expect that this guy who I loved since I was 13 is the same person who would eventually help me begin fulfilling some of my dreams. I learned to be more spontaneous because of him. During our first two weeks as a couple we embarked on our first trip to Zambales without much planning. It was scary for me because before, I avoid uncertain situations. I always had to know what’s coming so I can prepare. That attitude of mine often snuffed the fun out of things, it became a bit tiresome. Things changed when Chad came into my life. After Zambales, we visited a number of surfing spots in Luzon such as Daet, La Union, Baler, and Ilocos.

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He taught me how to ride a surf board and skim board. I got some bruises in return, but the pain was no match for all the amazing stuff I experienced. And then I realized, we cannot learn if we don’t unlearn a few things. My fear of the unknown, that sense of wanting to be in control all the time has always prevented me from experiencing wonderful things. So I’m extremely grateful for the people who’ve encouraged me to just relax and go with the flow. It’s kinda surprising how I, Chad, and my friends have developed similar temperaments, especially when it comes to traveling. I am still fighting the urge to plan everything, but I think I’m getting there.

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Terranova swimsuit | Sunnies by Charlie sunglasses
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Sometimes I wonder why we castigate people so much for changing. For me, change is fine as long as it makes you a better person. I would rather be different, in a positive way, than get stuck to the same immature, self-destructive person that I was. Coming to Manila in 2010 made me discover things about myself, career, and life in general. Since I’m far away from my family, I needed to develop a thick skin but at the same time be more open to my loved ones. I used to keep all my problems to myself when I was still in Naga, which only worsened every situation.

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Decided to ditch makeup, so here’s my bare face. :)

And then one day four years ago, after a horrible breakup, I decided I will be better. Change takes a lot of courage and determination. We sometimes get too comfortable with the person that we are now, but I’ve learned that if I want to make my life worthwhile I have to improve myself. That attitude has helped me and my loved ones in so many ways, and that’s enough reason for me to keep on developing as person. What other people say about me is irrelevant.

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So go live your life to what you think is best. If you’re not stepping on anyone while on your journey to a better you, then by all means continue. :)

#IXUSStyleSelfie with Canon

The earliest known photograph was captured in early 1800s. Us millennials think we owned the ‘selfie’ trend, but our forefathers actually beat us to it. It was them who demanded for portraiture in the 1830s, which lead to mass production of the daguerreotype—paving the way for further development of photography. Cameras back then were huge, and we’re quite lucky that we are living in an era where everything is just the size of our palms.

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And I’m quite thankful to companies like Canon for producing cameras that are not only high quality but also ergonomic. I have really small hands and it’s very difficult for me to use DSLRs that are twice the size of my hands. However with the Canon IXUS 265 HS, capturing moments and portraits has become so much easier. This camera has an Image Stabilizer and Intelligent IS preventing photos from looking blurry. It’s also light on the hands (a major plus for me) enabling my fingers to easily position it and click the capture button. If you like taking ‘selfies’, I’m certain you would appreciate IXUS 265.

You guys know that I’m not currently allowed to bring heavy backpacks. This camera is so small, it doesn’t take much space in my already tiny shoulder bag. I brought it in a restaurant a couple of days ago; also took a photo in the office yesterday:

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One of the problems I often encounter when using cameras is how to set them up. Talk to me about exposure and aperture and I would immediately explode. I have difficulty absorbing technical information, I just rely on instinct (and luck) when taking pictures. And most of the time, most of my photos especially the indoor ones would end up either blurred or so gloomy that even Photoshop cannot repair them. So while I was checking out the features of the camera yesterday at my favorite steakhouse I took a few shots to test its indoor, lowlight capabilities and these are the results:

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Apparently, the Canon IXUS 265 HS has a Smart Auto feature that allows amateurs (like me) to just point and shoot and not worry about the settings. My pictures turned out to be really clear and un-pixelated even though the place was not well lit.

Having a camera that captures moments clearly is important for me as a blogger. When people visit blogs, they expect that posts contain well-taken photos. I’m not the best blogger out there but here are a few things I do in capturing the best portraits:

1. When I take selfies, I make sure I look good but not too made up. I just want to look fresh and clean, like I just woke up. I put on some translucent powder and my baby pink blush and lipstick and I’m good to go.

2. Next, I check which side of my face is my best angle. I like showing my full smile so most of my photos are taken from the front.
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3. And lastly, I find a well-lit place. In this case, it’s my kitchen and I snap away with my camera! Make sure you use a quality camera like Canon IXUS 265 — it comes with a selfiepod too!
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Don’t forget to have fun with your camera!

Thank you Canon for giving me the perfect selfie companion, Canon IXUS 265!

Dreaming of Pinkberry

I love to eat. If you browse through my Instagram, you’d find more food posts than pictures of my face. Eating is one of my keenest pleasures in life. It can take away all my stresses and worries, especially when my plate is full of different colors. So yesterday, after a good dinner I began to crave for dessert. Luckily a friend of mine encouraged me to try this new yogurt place at SM Megamall.

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I was told Pinkberry was launched in January 2005 and opened their flagship store in the Philippines just three years ago. When I entered the store, my eyes instantly went to the toppings section. They have all my favorite fruit toppings! YAY!

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They got candies and chocolate toppings as well! Recently, Pinkberry partnered with Sugarpova–Maria Sharapova’s candy line. The gummy candies have three flavors–Flirty Mini, Smitten Sour Mini, and Flirty Sour Mini–which all go well with Pinkberry’s iconic, light and refreshing frozen yogurt.
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In the beginning, Pinkberry only had two flavors: original and green tea. Since then they’ve added more flavors, which include strawberry, cherry, and salted caramel. However, nothing beats the original so I tried it first. I was so happy to find out that when you buy a medium-sized yogurt, you get to choose five different toppings for free. So I piled my fave fruits kiwi, strawberry, grapes, and mango, and added some mochi. Yum! The medium-sized yogurt cost me Php 220 :)

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Yogurt is a healthy alternative to ice cream. Each serving of Pinkberry uses only real non-fat yogurt and real non-fat milk. It has no high-fructose corn syrup added to it too, so you only get a perfect balance of tart and sweet. The strawberries were a little bit sour but that’s okay since the taste complements the yogurt really well.

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What I really love about this store is they’ve labeled each topping with their corresponding calories. This enables calorie-conscious people to add some sweet flavors to their yogurt without going overboard, I wanted to try these toppings as well so I got a small-sized cup, priced at Php 155 inclusive of three toppings of my choice. I chose brownies, lemon cookie crunch, and nutella.

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I actually wanted to try their green tea yogurt, so the staff gave me a teeny weeny paper cup. It doesn’t taste like the original yogurt but I discovered the lemon cookie crunch actually blends well with the green tea flavor of the yogurt.

In addition to frozen yogurt, Pinkberry also offers fruit parfaits, fruit bowls, smoothies and waffle cookie sandwiches, pictured above. The sandwiches taste a lot like ice cream, which I love.
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Currently, Pinkberry has four branches nationwide: Greenbelt 5, Alabang Town Center, SM Aura, Power Plant Mall, and SM Megamall Fashion Hall (5th floor).

They always give treats to customers, too. If you post your order of Pinkberry yogurt (any product) topped with at least one Sugarpova topping on Instagram and tag @pinkberryph #sharapinkberry, you can get a chance to win P500 worth of Pinkberry gift certificates. One winner will be chosen each week and will be announced every Friday, until October 24.

Get a taste of Swirly Goodness by logging on to www.pinkberry.com.ph or their Facebook page www.facebook.com/PinkberryPhilippines

Feminine Hygiene 101

Perhaps one of the most avoided topics women are so ‘careful’ of talking about is feminine hygiene. No wonder a lot of people are misinformed. It is only through dialogues and right research we get to learn things, so why be ashamed?

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That’s why I’m usually thankful when I’m invited to events that raise awareness about body care. A few days ago, I was invited by ADP Pharma Corporation to the naFlora Feminine Wash event. An Ob-Gyne was invited to talk to us regarding some myths and questions about feminine care that we dare not ask our friends. Through her, I learned that the secretions females experience–when clear–are perfectly normal and that it’s actually the body’s way of maintaining the V’s normal pH. However, as we grow older the pH level changes and using just a single kind of feminine wash for all stages of womanhood can actually do more harm than good. Irritation can occur, especially if you’re fond of wearing tight-fitting clothes.

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To cater to these changes, ADP Pharma Corporation has formulated 3 variants of naFlora feminine wash specifically for everyday use, postpartum care, and menopausal women. These variants are named the following:
1. naFlora protect – This variant has a pH level of 3.5 to 4.5 that is perfect for everyday use and those having their period. naFlora protect contains lactic acid and tea tree extract that prevent vaginal irritations. Girls in their puberty stage/teens do not produce much lactic acid so this is perfect.
2. naFlora restore – Women who have delivered their little bundle of joys would often experience pain and swelling in the area down there, which could lead to infection. naFlora restore prevents this by bringing back the natural acidic environment and help relieve irritation usually experienced during vaginal infections.
3. naFlora moisture – Last but not the least, ADP is the only company that offers a wash for menopause. It contains lactic acid, chamomile extract and additional moisturizers that help soothe and protect the feminine area against dryness and irritation. It has a pH level of 6.o to 7.5. This particular product is endorsed by Ms. Boots Anson-Roa.

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During the event, the Ob-Gyne debunked an old myth that menstrual blood is dirty. I was quite surprised with this revelation as I grew up believing that myth. However, according to her, our period can cause the natural flora to be less acidic, making it prone to bad bacteria and infection. I decided to use naFlora protect during my period to see how my body would react to it. True to its promise, the product is very mild and I never felt uneasy after use, which is my body’s usual reaction whenever I use products it doesn’t like.

Tip: Sanitary napkins should be changed every 2 hours; pantyliners every 4 hours.

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After the informative talk, I and the rest of the bloggers were treated to snacks and a mani-pedi. While having ourselves pampered, we had a game and I won a gift certificate! Yipee! I’m not the luckiest person when it comes to contests so I was really surprised when they called my name. Such a happy day! Thank you, naFlora and ADP!  :)

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You can find naFlora feminine wash and its variants in all Mercury Drugstores nationwide. If you have inquiries regarding the product/s, do not hesitate to contact them by email: naflorafemwash(at)gmail(dot)com or naflorafemwash(at)yahoo(dot)com :)

The Island Cove Experience Part 1

It was a busy week for me last week. After getting off work I joined a few friends to Kawit, Cavite for some Saturday fun. It’s been a while since I last went out of town to relax so I decided to skip sleep and go on with the trip. Just 15 to 30 minutes away from Manila is a beautiful resort called Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park. It used to be just a small island that the Remullas developed into a resort in the 1970s. Due to economic reasons it had to close but reopened in 1997 and remains so to travelers and families until today.

Island Cove Logo Island Cove Entrance

When we arrived, we were welcomed by the resort’s Managing Director, Gilbert Remulla. If you are a 90s kid, you’ll remember him as a news reporter for ABS-CBN. When I shook hands with him I was quite surprised because he hasn’t changed one bit. Lol!

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With Mr. Gilbert Remulla, Island Cove Managing Director

When we got there, we were immediately treated to a hearty breakfast. We were so excited to explore the place so they toured us around. The first stop was the Wildlife Sanctuary where we were greeted by lush green foliage and man-made ponds and rivers for the fish, ducks, and reptiles. Island Cove is a partner of DENR, ISO 9001:2000 certified, and accredited by the Department of Tourism as a triple “A” resort. Many of the sanctuary’s inhabitants are actually rescued species.

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Found two cute duckies swimming with koi fishes

This turtle looks like he needs a hug. Too bad he’s too far away from me! I would have taken him home in a heartbeat! Too cute <3
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The sanctuary has several ostriches, but these two were the most eager to see us (or be fed). I love how their eyes are so big and expressive and how gorgeous their lashes are. No need for mascara! :P Because they can run up to 70 mph, Island Cove made a special runway for them to have space to run around.

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And then we got to meet two baby Bengal tigers, Jasmine and Gerald. I love cats so imagine my delight when I saw these wonderful creatures. When we got there they were being fed so I got the chance to feed them as well.
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I was able to hold this huge snake. I am honestly afraid of snakes but the men holding it said this guy is so used to people.

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The experience was so crazy and scary at the same time. It kept hissing and moving towards my arm while I was holding its neck. Suddenly my whole life flashed before eyes. Haha! It’s very heavy, mind you.

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Outside we found more reptiles like iguanas, crocodiles, etc.

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This Burmese python needs 10 people to carry it out of the cage. It was previously owned by a private individual. But his neighbors became so afraid of it, he had to take this poor fella out of his residence. And so Island Cove was entrusted by DENR to care for the snake. The caretakers said he’s actually a nice creature; he never bit any of them. Good to know. Haha!

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After touring the animal sanctuary, we went to see the other places Island Cove is famous for. They have this giant chessboard which kids and families can use. When I saw it, I immediately thought of Wizard’s Chess from Harry Potter. :)

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Of course, a resort is incomplete without its water facilities. Recently, Island Cove added a 350-square meter kid-friendly splash park, the biggest in Mega Manila, to the Oceania Water Park (which is now aptly renamed as the Oceania Swim and Splash Park). The splashers and sprayers were imported from Australia. It is guaranteed safe, due to the colorful, water safe rubber flooring (EPDM) installations which minimize the possibility of accidents.
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The main pools of the Oceania Swim and Splash Park have 4 giant slides and enormous inflatables. The whole water complex spans over 3,000 square meters. Wowza! They also placed lifeguards certified by the Philippine National Red Cross and can offer basic life support and first aid when needed.

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I do not want to bombard you with too may photos so I’m cutting the first part here. In a few days I will be showing you more about Island Cove. Will there be food in that post? Definitely! Meanwhile, here are maps that you can use as guide if you decide to go to Island Cove:

Island Cove Map

Here’s a map showing you how to get there.

how to get_REVISION2

RATES

Oceania Swim and Splash Park

Operating Hours

Weekday ( Monday to Thursday)                   – 08:00 to 18:00

Weekend ( Friday to Sunday, Holiday)          – 08:00 to 20:00

 

RATE 1

(OSSP, Wildlife Sanctuary, Php. 50 Meal Voucher, MAZE)

Adult                                       Php. 400.00

Child                                       Php. 350.00

 

RATE 2

(OSSP, Wildlife Sanctuary, MAZE)

Adult                                       Php 370.00

Child                                       Php 300.00

 

RATE 3

(OSSP Only)

Adult                                       Php. 340.00

Child                                       Php. 280.00

 

Night Rate ( 17:00 onwards)

Adult & Child                         Php. 250.00

 

ANIMAL ISLAND RATES:

Entrance Fee: Php150.00 per head for both adult & kids

Tilbury Ride: 1 hour – Php320.00/ 30 mins. – Php200.00

Horsedrawn Carriage: 1 hour – P620.00/ 30 mins. – Php380.00

Operating Hours: 8:00am to 6:00pm

 

CONTACT DETAILS

Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park

Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite

T (046) 434 0210

www.islandcovephil.com

e-mail: inquiry(at)islandcovephil(dotcom

 

Makati Sales Office:

Suite 1416 Cityland 10 Tower 1, De La Costa St., Makati City

T (02) 8107878

 

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More information to be posted soon so please come back! Let me know how your vacation to Island Cove went! :)