Saturday, December 31, 2016

Brands That Give Back and Recycle

Happy New Year everyone! We're down to the last few hours of 2016. It hasn't been such a good year, to be honest, but I do look forward that the next year may bring other good vibes. Ushering the new year also has a lot of traditions from the feast during New Year's eve, to putting round fruits on the table, coins on the corners of the house, wearing red, etc. Thankfully, after so many years, the practice of firecrackers is no longer popular for safety purposes. Also, it's quite stressful for pets. I remember back when my dog used to get stressed every New Year's Eve she would always be hiding in the bathroom or under the couch.

Another tradition of the whole out with the old and in with the new is a super general spring cleaning. We literally take everything out of our closet and evaluate things which we don't need anymore, which we either sell or give away. I did my own emptying, being a pack-cat myself and I found myself emptying get this - four bags of clothes which I do not wear anymore and would not be wearing being the main reason is that - they no longer fit me, most especially in the shoulders and lats area.

There are stuff that we can give away because there are people who can still wear them, but there are items hiding at the back of our closets where no one can wear as well, clothes that have seen better days, stiffened-up towels, etc.  I found out that there are some brands who do recycling programs, which can help the environment by reducing carbon footprint as we give ourselves (and our storage space) more space to breathe.

MAC Cosmetics

MAC is more than just a makeup brand. It gives back to the community in various ways. The Back-To-MAC program is MAC's recycling program. Instead of throwing out empty MAC containers in the trash, return 6 of them to the MAC counter and get a free lipstick. This service though is no longer available in the Philippines since the recycling facility isn't available here but other countries still practice it.


The black pots that hold your Lush cosmetic products actually go a long way. They are made of sturdy polypropylene plastic so that they can be cleansed, processed, and recycled for future use once again. Return  5 empty black pots and get a free face mask as your contribution to save the environment in reducing plastic landfill waste

Globe Telecom

Do you have these old phones lying around your house? That old phone from college or your first job or phones that no longer work along with conked out chargers? Drop off your old gadgets to any Globe store (there are boxes in the store). Our old phones can have a new life in helping build schools in Aklan.


If you have old clothes and linens which have literally seen better days, like faded shirts, stiffened-up towels, blankets with holes, etc. place them in bags and donate them to any H&M store and receive a 15% discount coupon for every bag donated. Unwanted garments of any condition or brand can have a new life by being recycled into something else.

The Body Shop

The Body Shop prides itself in being a cruelty-free cosmetics brand inspired by nature. You can return your empty The Body Shop plastic containers in the store. They also have promos for their recycling programs on certain seasons.

Your spring cleaning can not only help people in need, but it can also help the environment by reducing landfill waste and letting those old items which can no longer be used or wearable have new lives. Enjoy the New Year with a new start and more space knowing you have done your part to Mother Earth!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Healthy Holiday Eats

If you find yourself accumulating some Holiday fluff from eating too much ham and sweets or sweet ham, enjoy the feast by eating clean with these  alternatives that are healthy as well as tasty.

Lessen the bilbil tendencies by cleaner food choices that do not taste like chalk this Holiday season

Hummus and Veggie Sticks

Hummus is a dip made of chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, and garlic. It's great with toasted pita bread and veggie sticks. Use it as an option to chips and dip for starters. Hummus is also a vegetarian protein source that's great post-workout. Is that probably why Zohan is so strong?

Fresh Juices and Smoothies 

Have a smoothie instead of beer. You got good sugars and good energy
I developed alcohol intolerance so I don't drink alcohol. So what to drink in these Holiday festivities? The alternative may be fresh juices which are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Cocktails also actually contain a lot of sugars which can be bad for you. Try this juice recipe, which I got from Solenn Heussaff's fitness book Hot Sos - slice 1/4 pineapple, 1/2 beetroot, 2 oranges, 1 big carrot, and a half-thumb size of ginger and place it in a juicer. Place in a wine glass and add chia seeds. The drink looks like red wine but it contains a load of nutrients your body would love. You can drink this any time of the day too! Try also a red margarita by combining beet juice, lemon juice, coconut sugar or honey, and water. moisten the rim of a margarita glass and dip in Himalayan pink salt. Pour in your concoction and drink up!

Healthy Cookies

I myself love homemade, fresh chocolate chip cookies. Too much of it though leaves me with a muffin top. These healthy cookies from Honest Junk do not scrimp on flavor as well as the pretty factor. These are gluten free, dairy free, low sugar, low sodium, vegan, and contain superfoods like malunggay (moringa) and chia that up the health factor. Try their healthy gummies too, which taste like citrusy orange gummy chews.


Juju Eats Big Boy Salad is my go-to post-workout light meal. 
Salads are refreshing as they are pretty! Have a DIY salad bar or make a family favorite. It's one excuse to literally eat a rainbow of awesome raw vegetables! Up the nutri factor by choosing light, oil-based sauces instead of heavy, creamy ones. It also gives you more space in your tummy to enjoy the main course

Grilled Food Versus Fried 

DIY Grilled lunch: Grilled zucchini and grilled salmon with chimichurri
Grill your meats instead of frying them, and choose meats that are lean like lean beef, top round chunks for stews, chicken breast, and seafood. A few weeks ago, I bought this book of healthy Mediterranean recipes with super-easy food that's fast and simple without the added baddies. I was surprised to find a healthy stew recipe that's flavorful but hardly contained salt! Yes, we can have our hearty, savory dishes  and eat healthy and low-cal! Just don't overindulge or burn the food!

I remember totally going YOLO one Christmas season and letting go and ended up having my pants a bit too snug and so much sluggishness shedding off the Holiday weight gain via training was more difficult. I mean it's okay to do a bit of indulgence. With a bit of research and switching things around, you can make healthy choices that are yummy, pretty, and you don't feel you are depriving yourself. Since these food choices contain a lot of good nutrients, it powers you through properly through the hectic Holiday schedule and can help you avoid getting sick during this time.

To introduce others to healthy food,  we can bring a healthy dish we prepared for others to try, most especially if it's something new. Choose one that's easy to prepare. It also helps to present it in a nice, Instagram-worthy way, so people can be attracted to it. For example if it's a dip, arrange the dip with veggies and pita in a nice plate. Choose a salad that's got lots of flavor and color. Present a smoothie in a pretty cocktail glass. This is one encouraging way of sharing healthy meals.

Do you have a healthy Holiday food choice this year?  Let's share this gift of health with family and friends. I'd love to see what you've got tomorrow on Christmas Eve!

Image Directory:

Cover Photo by Fritz Tentativa;

Hummus Photo:

Store Directory:

Honest Junk;; email at

Hot Sos
available at all leading bookstores nationwide

Real Girl Toy Kitchen;;

Juju Eats
click here for store locations;;

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Things to Quick Change Your Day Look to Party Glam

If lugging around a big bag of makeup kit is impractical if you have a get-together or party to go to after work or a daytime affair, here are a few items you can keep in a pouch that you can place in your bag, car, or desk to transform a daytime look to a stunning, glamorous evening look.

Change your look from day to night with these essentials. No need for a gigantic makeup kit!

Hair Donut

Hair donuts from PinkBox Php119,75/small, Php 129,75/medium, and Php 149.75 large
Keep sticky, sweaty hair away from your face and neck with a fuss-free hair donut which sculpts and styles your hair in an elegant bun that looks like you slaved over it. Whether it's an elegant low ballerina bun or a high bun at the top of your head (bonus: it makes you look taller!), you have a fuss-free, sophisticated updo in minutes.


The Manizer Sisters AKA "The Luminizers" Highlighter Palette, Php 1,395
My pole teacher Amaya loves makeup highlighters and I know why: it adds instant glow to the skin and adds texture to a matte-out look. The Manizer Sisters AKA The "Luminizers" , a highlighting palette from The Balm which combines all three highlighter shades (Mary-Lou Manizer, Cindy-Lou Manizer, and Betty-Lou Manizer) into one palette. Use this to add some glow to your cheekbones, collarbones, shoulders, shins, or wherever you want some shimmy to capture light.

Metallic Lip Color

Carmen Claire Cosmetics Matte Lip Frosting  Heavy Metals Collection
Penny Late and Rock 'n' Ruby
Php 395 each
Long-lasting metallic lip colors are making waves lately. They have both shine and pigmentation. Choose a lip color with a pretty, long lasting finish.  Try CarmenClaire Matte Lip Frosting in Penny Lane, an elegant, copper bronzey color. It's long lasting enough to last coffee, snacks, food tasting, and a plate of raclette.

Festive Polish

Morgan Taylor Nail Polish in Ruby Two-Shoes and Tinsel My Fancy
Php  350
Your tips also make an impact. Frost finishes usually dry faster so keep one if you're pressed for time. Red also is a classic that looks great on anyone. Keep a fast-drying topcoat as well with you so save lots of time

False Eyelashes 

Ingredients for sexy, fluttery eyes: sturdy lash glue (I use DUO), Red Cherry Lashes, Php 160 over at Digital Traincase  
Even with just simple neutral browns, false eyelashes and eyeliner already make a big difference. For newbies with falsies, I recommend Red Cherry lashes since they are light enough to be worn for extended periods of time (I use this on my brides). For your eyeliner, choose a pen-type eyeliner for easy maneuvering. No need for a separate brush as well!


Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Scent Spray 
Boost the plus points for beso with a signature scent. Choose a scent that you love. To liven up your senses in a party after a tiring day at work or sitting through traffic, citrusy scents or green tea inspired scents lift your mood. Just a few spritzes on your pulse points and you're good to go.

Image Directory

Headshot by Alfred Mendoza

Carmen Claire Lip Frosting

Hair Donut

Store Directory

Carmen Claire Cosmetics;;

Digital Traincase
Unit G118 Corinthian Executive Regency, Ortigas Ave, San Antonio, Pasig City;  +639173116912;;

Elizabeth Arden
available at Rustan's

Morgan Taylor
available at Nailaholics, Beauty and Butter, Sundrops, Nailandia, and other leading nail salons nationwide

PinkBox Accessories;;

Red Cherry Lashes
available at Digital Traincase, Suesh, and BeautyMNL

The Balm
Available at Beauty Bar

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Bambikitty Moving Makeover: Raissa

What I love about these fit girls is that they have such wonderful stories to share with how they went in their fitness journey. Aside from hearing them, I love witnessing their fitness journey unfold before my own eyes.

I met Raissa at the yoga studio. She was still a Vinyasa yoga teacher in training and I was in my pre-teacher training yogi self. We usually attend the same classes and get to hang out after class.

Once, my friend (and fitness blogger) Nikki had a  training program and she did that program with a couple of other friends. I've witnessed her do her HIIT and circuit training after yoga (joined one session as well and didn't die!). Coupled with a few lifestyle changes and diet (which includes one cheat meal a week), I've seen Raissa trim down, tone up, and strengthen. She lost weight the old fashioned way, making it a lifestyle change rather than just vanity, which is the key to a very successful fitness journey. She has maintained the figure and upped her fitness game as well as living a well-balanced life. As of the moment, Raissa teaches Vinyasa classes, Hot Yoga, and Power Yoga. I attend her classes which have both restorative and relaxation as well as challenge to help you go deeper in your yoga practice. It was through her that I discovered and embraced yoga being everyday a leg day (also helped with my transitions and practices where I tend to arm out everything and sometimes solely rely and blame things on flexi). I recommend them at any time of the day, whether it's the morning when you want to wake up, or when you're just tired from work. The energy is steady enough while feeling the challenge and it winds down slowly towards then end, and you get and feel the relaxing benefits of yoga, like you came from a spa.

A photo posted by Rai Gatus (@raissagatus) on

With regards to her exercise regimen, Raissa does yoga, rowing, and cycling. She loves taking walks as well (walking is also a sneaky way of getting some movement to your system).

Two things we also have in common aside from fitness are beauty and food! We love food with flavor and character, in short, happy, good food. We have our veggies as well as our cheese and ice cream. She also introduced me to stay-put makeup products made by her good friend and we talk about our love for brow makeup. We have the same mantra about brows - never leave the house without awesome, gorgeous brows. See how I love these girls?

I did Raissa's look after she taught a Power Yoga class. She would still have one class at night so I made sure the makeup stays put (I used primer, long-lasting foundation, waterproof mascara, and makeup setting spray) as she would be going out after.

Since she was game for makeup, I did warm smokey eyes on her using coppers, browns, and a tad of red or chestnut, a look I fell in love with. I did a nude lip on her (Revlon Ultra HD Matte lip color in Seduction), which are very Kylie inspired. Cheeks were warm and peachy and I added highlight using my Lou-minizer palettes. I skipped the falsies, though as she would be teaching one more yoga class.

I styled her hair in soft curls, the type that when it loosens up, it will look like the donya blow-dry, with the curls loose and volumized just at the ends.

You can catch Raissa's classes at Beyond Yoga branches. Log on to Beyond Yoga's Instagram account for their schedules. Follow Raissa as well on Instagram at @raissagatus to get updates on her fitness journey as well as her adventures off and on the mat. Thank you Raissa for being my December girl!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Quickest Makeup Tutorial Ever

Peak season for makeup artists means we have earlier call times on certain days. An earlier start at the office means I have to shave off a lot on morning rituals, than say an afternoon or mid-morning call time. I do quick morning workouts to jump-start my system and pre-prepare my breakfast (because you know me, I should never miss a good breakfast) of overnight oats, giving myself more time to spare. Since I have to go to work, I should make the effort of looking a bit more presentable, whether I'm teaching a morning yoga class or working on a wedding or a shoot. Since there's no time to do like the usual shebang of a 2-hour hair and makeup routine, I worked on a quick routine which makes me look made up while faking a good night's sleep. This routine also gives me more time for a better breakfast or time traffic allowance.

This look is easy, clean and versatile and achievable by anyone. It also uses less tools so it's super efficient. To make things more efficient, I placed everything I'm going to need in one makeup bag. 

Shortcut your prep time by placing all the makeup you need in one kit.
Better if the cat is asleep too.
Placing everything in one bag just zeroes in on what we would be using. It also keeps me focused on the routine so there's no more temptation to experiment on eyeshadow combos. Save that for a later call time. 

Create a perfect base

Products used:
Pond's Age Miracle BB Cream in Beige
Revlon Colorstay Concealer in Medium
After skin care and primer, I applied concealer on redness and dark circles and blended this evenly. If you want more coverage, use a BB cream before concealer. BB creams are like one of the best inventions of modern-day makeup because it creates a super smooth, flawless base while caring for your skin. 

Set your base

Product Used:
Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation
We can get away with powder in colder climates but since we live in a humid country, powder has been the best friend of every Pinay I know. To know if I set my base right, I give my skin a tap. If it feels powdery and velvety with no "stick", it's good. 

Define your brows

Product Used:
 K-Palette Lasting 2-Way Eyebrow Pencil
Use a brow pen or a brow pencil to define the brows and avoid looking funny. A long-lasting formula is awesome especially for long work days, so I don't end up with a half-brow come midday.

Apply some blush

Product used:
Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in Gorgeous Berries
Blush makes you look not dead. If you have  a super early call time, this also fakes the sallowness from lack of sleep. 

Define eyes.

Product Used:
L'Oreal Paris Super Liner Superstar in Black
We love our eyes and eyeliner is our best friend. I'm thinking aside from lipsticks and powders, eyeliner is one of the most favorite makeup products. I know a friend who doesn't wear makeup anymore except eyeliner in a graphic cat eye. So yes, eyeliner is important in creating wide-awake eyes. What I did here is just to line super close to the lash roots, creating the illusion of thicker lashes and wider eyes. With this technique, I won't have to worry about winged eyeliner being even or super straight lines. I used black in this look but you can go crazy and use colored or metallic eyeliner.

Thicken those lashes

Product used:
Fairydrops Volume Burst Waterproof Mascara
In an effort to bring more attention to eyes sans eyeshadow, curl your eyelashes and be generous with mascara. Hello, eyes! 

Apply lipstick

Product Used:
Happy Skin x Disney Princess Moisturizing Matte Lippie in Aurora

Choose any lipstick you like that matches your blush. You can go with a neutral shade or a pop of color as shown below:
Product Used:
Sephora Collection Color Lip Last Lipstick in Royal Raspberry

Highlight For A Final Touch

Product Used:
MAC Iridescent Powder in Coupe D'Chic
(MAC Cinderella Collection)
We like things all pretty and healthy-shiny, instead of shiny-oily or dull matte. Highlight creates dimension and gorgeous glow. Apply highlight on the tops of the cheeks, browbone, and maybe the bridge of the nose and the chin.

Complete Looks:

with natural-colored lipstick

with  a bright berry hue
This is something really quick you can do when you're going to work or going somewhere early and you don't have that much time or if you would want to spend more time with say, getting 10 minutes extra home workout or maybe a nicer breakfast. The quick look also doesn't compromise a lot. It would probably take around 10 minutes to do, and when you've memorized the moves, maybe 5 minutes? Let me know how it goes and what products you used.

Store Directory:

Fairy Drops;

Happy Skin
Glorietta 3, Ayala Grand Mall; Greenbelt 5, 2/F; Powerplant Mall 2/F; Robinson's Magnolia 2/F; SM Megamall, 2/F Mega Fashion Hall; Eastwood Mall, 1/F; UP Town Center, 1/F; available at Rustan's Beauty Source, Beauty Bar, and Plains and Prints;;;

Available at Beauty Bar;;

L'Oreal Paris
Available at all leading groceries, beauty hubs, and department stores nationwide;;;

Click here for a complete list of stores;;;; 

Make Up For Ever
2/F Mega Fashion Hall Building D, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, (02) 631-5681; G/F Greenbelt 3, Makati City, (02) 621-5248; 1/F TriNoMa Mall, Quezon City, (0915) 990-9571; 2/F Main Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City (0919) 273-4805;;

Max Factor
available in all leading department stores and beauty hubs nationwide;;;

available at all leading department stores, drugstores, and supermarkets

available at all leading department stores nationwide;;; 


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Space To Love: Footworks Dance Studio and shoot BTS

Last Friday, I had a shoot with the pole and aerial teachers from Footworks Dance Studio. Footworks Dance Studio is located in Katipunan Avenue. It's located on the Southbound lane of Katipunan, right before Tokyo Bubble Tea. If you're coming from Capitol Hills or Balara, just go down the road of Katipunan, take the flyover, and start keeping right. It's located after the small restos and the Quirino Memorial Center. The building is sort of yellow, and the same building as Elorde. If you're coming from Eastwood/Taguig, just take C5 and go to Katipunan, make a U-turn under the flyover and you will see the building on the right.

From Footworks Facebook page

Footworks Dance Studio holds aerial silk, aerial hoop, pole dance, TRX, and aerial yoga classes taught by Polecats Manila teachers. This is for people who live in the QC/Libis/Marikina area who find the Ortigas studio too far.

From Footworks Facebook page

The studio currently has 5 X-Pole chrome poles, 4 aerial hoops, and 4 aerial silks to get your aerial fix.

Check out the super cute graffiti as well that spell "Footworks"

A photo posted by Bambi De la Cruz 🐱🐯 (@bambikitty) on

I have to give myself a pat on the back for my set-up and pack-up skills. That light source there comes from my light table, which is a smaller one that I use if I need to save space on my workstation. I use a mix of yellow and white lights for my station. When people ask me why, I say if it were an all-white station they would hate me for it because it would be too bright for their eyes. I also personally like a mix of yellow and white so I get the right daylight mix and warmth for photo purposes.

Aside from pole, hoop, and silk, Footworks also has other classes which can compliment your choice of aerial workout. There's aerial yoga, which helps you stretch tight muscles, destress, and create balance.

From Footworks Facebook page
Flexibility increases your range of motion safer as you work towards your backbends, splits, and all those flexi tricks.  It also helps with active flexibility and balances your strength with bendiness. Because pole dancing is still a dance, there's also pole dance classes to improve on floorwork. There would be a new class added, called Pole Flow, which helps with floorwork, transitions, and of course feelings (yes! feelings are important), for pretty, poetic pole dance numbers and concepts.

Our shoot had a total of six teachers. Let me show you the makeup I did on the 4 teachers.

Amaya teaches Flexibility and Aerial Hoop. She loves her trademark winged eyeliner so I gave her winged eyeliner (If you look closely, I did some sort of graphic ombre cat eyeliner) with long lashes. The rest was kept neutral, although a bit on the warm side. The eyes I have to sort of smoke things up, just for pictorial purposes, for definition,

Bianca teaches pole dance. She's a ballerina too! The look here is quite rosy, but even though I did use pinks and roses in this color, I didn't make it super pastel-y, girly pink, which is also not my style. It's an in-between of clean and glam but not all sweet.

Kit teaches Aerial Yoga. For male grooming, I always apply my male signature the "naturally flawless and defined" look, and updated the technique I have from my "Queen of Male Grooming" days circa 2008-2009 to the "Khaleesi of Male Grooming". Males do not really wear makeup on a regular basis so I should make the makeup look like flawless skin. I also defined brows and added a natural flush and contours for warmth, not for taga-level shaping.

Tippi teaches pole dance and beginner's pole. She's one lucky girl who looks great in pinks and purples for eye makeup. This look reminded me of Emily Blunt in Devil Wears Prada. I used this for her second look, when she was doing her photos with pole (her headshot just had her in subtle brown smokey eyes). The lipstick coincidentally is her favorite lipstick shade, Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry.

Top Row: Amaya and Kiara
Bottom Row: Bianca, Kayleen, Kit, and Tippi
Photo from the Footworks Facebook page

Kiara also did makeup on Kayleen as well as herself (she's also a Footworks teacher, teaching pole and TRX). I haven't seen Kiara in ages and this was also a wonderful time to catch up with her and all.

It was a rainy day but inside the studio was almost like a sunshine-y summer with these group of people. I'll share the photos when they come out! Thank you to Team Footworks for a fantastic Friday.

Image Directory:

Graffiti photo and makeup documentation from the author

Photos of the studio, Flexibility photo, and group photo from Footworks Facebook Page


Footworks Dance Studio 
4th Floor 213 Katipunan Avenue Extension, Blue Ridge, Quezon City

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Night Of Magic With Cinderella

There's something about fairytales that still enchants us, no matter what age we may be. Despite many re-tellings and adaptations of various fairytales, we view each version with fresh eyes, as if it would be the first time to watch, no matter how much the story was read  to us as children. I've both read and watched several versions of the story Cinderella. When I was a child, there was a constant debate with an old playmate on who was the better princess - Snow White or Cinderella, which went on for months it needed grownup intervention. I liked Cinderella more because of the story and the songs. Maybe it's her affinity towards animals (errr, maybe except the part that she's friends with mice) or she had super cute shoes and she had a calming voice as she sang "Sing Sweet Nightingale" while doing her house chores.

Just last night, I watched yet another version of Cinderella, this time a full-length ballet production brought by Ballet Manila. This show is choreographed by none other than Ballet Manila's artistic director herself, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde (who also portrays Cinderella's Fairy Godmother).

Lisa Macuja Elizalde portrays Cinderella's Fairy Godmother.
Photo by Ocs Alvarez 
As a ballet dancer,  Lisa herself has never had the chance to portray Cinderella (describing this role as "the one that got away") .  Now, she interprets not just the role of this princess but also the other characters that make up this story as she, along with Osias Barroso choreograph this full-length ballet show.

Cinderella with her evil stepsisters. 
The fairy tale Cinderella teaches us to continue dreaming and believing as well as to have courage and be kind. As Danielle de Barbarac (in Ever After, a movie also based on Cinderella), she takes matters as well in her own hands and takes charge of her life. Being a very popular fairy tale and whatever version you might remember, Cinderella has a way of reaching out to us. What makes this ballet version of Cinderella special is that this has a universal appeal to both adults and children alike. The musical score includes familiar music from two very popular versions of the fairy tale - the Disney version (A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, Bibbid-Bobbid-Boo, Work Song, So This is Love, etc)  and the Rodgers and Hammerstein version (Ten Minutes Ago, Stepsister's Lament). I remember during the press preview, the little girl beside me was so excited when "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" played and was humming to it. Using music from the popular versions makes it easily appreciated even by those who do not watch ballet on a regular basis. It sort of ties everything together making it relatable from parents to children and even to someone who would be watching a full-length ballet for the first time.

A bit of magic, hope, and love. The Fairy Godmother arrives and gives Cinderella comfort.

colorful costumes as Cinderella meets her prince at the ball
The costumes and sets were full of color and all things gorgeous and sparkly. Cinderella's blue ball gown costume kind of reminds me as well of the gown the princess wore in the movie version, the one with Lily Cole (at one point, I looked if there would be a glass slipper version of pointe shoes). I must also commend the costume change from Cinderella's rags to her ball gown that happened in the finale of Act 1 because that was literally almost like magic happening onstage.  The costume of the Evil Stepmother (played by Jonathan Janolo in drag who gave the role a very lighthearted comedic flavor) reminded me as well of Lady Tremaine in the cartoon version, from the hair with the white streak down to the maroon dress. The atmosphere was very happy and light and with all the colors and sparkles, it kind of reminded me of happy childhood, reliving an old classic fairy tale we grew to love.

The Dance Tutor, Cinderella, and her Evil Stepmother
Photo by Ocs Alvarez
They also added several elements and characteristics  that give nod to modern times, such as the Dance Tutor who taught the Stepsisters how to dance for the ball. That probably had to be one of my most favorite scenes I was amused at the characterization of the dance instructor which actually reminds me of super stereotype  "fasyon" type of artist during modern times.

I was really enjoying the whole play I didn't realize the show would almost be over. The show was an entertainment to everyone.  The children in the audience were very happy and identifying characters and getting excited. This is so perfect in welcoming December and the Holidays are coming and amidst the Christmas rush and the stress and the horrible traffic that gets worse every single day of our lives, we just need something that make us feel good and just feel happy. With what's happening, we certainly need good vibes and optmism and just relive the magic we enjoyed as kids.

Cinderella by Ballet Manila would have another show today at 3 pm as well as two other shows next weekend: Dec 3 at 8 pm and another one on December 4 at 3 pm (perfect for a whole family affair as the children won't stay up past bedtime). I promise a wonderful family affair for everyone.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Summer in November

Hello all! I just had an amazing vacation at the beach last week and with all the crazy things have been happening and with things just getting crazier with the traffic as Christmas draws in closer, I thought, that even an overnight stay of sun, salty air, sea, would be good, right? I took photos, swam, tanned, and even tried a 15-minute snorkeling experience and saw huge fishies! You know what? I didn't even need to use a boat because their were fishies even just a few meters from the sand!

This was a hotel staycation-accidentally turned beach road trip since the hotel wasn't available but no worries, since I never say no to a good dose of saltwater. Besides, my last beach trip was what? 2014? The resort of choice is probably familiar already to some, but it nevertheless still is gorgeous - La Luz Beach Resort in San Juan, Batangas. It's just 2 to 2-1/2 hours away from Manila.

Back in Paradise.
Swimwear by I Love Koi
This beach is great for families, friends, couples, or even a solo YOLO trip. Rates are affordable and during the summer, I see quite a lot of student get-togethers. We chose a perfect time to go here on a non-peak season on a weekday. Weekdays mean less traffic going out-of-town, less crowded beaches, and this month was just perfect because it's still tan-friendly sunny. The water is super clear (no seaweeds!) and with less people, it's almost like having the beach to yourself and no need to be super conscious about the perfect beach selfie.

The sand is just a bit on the coarse side, but it's still okay. There are cabanas if you want to enjoy the beach under the shade (while getting a massage) or if you're like me, a sun worshipper, go ahead and bask yourself under the sun in the gorgeous, cushy white lounge chairs.

A junior premier room is around Php3,600 a night plus 1,485 charge for meals per person. They have other rooms to fit larger groups and families. Don't worry because there are airconditioned rooms and WiFi is available so you can upload your photos in Facebook and Instagram and get updates in Viber and Twitter. You would need however to bring your personal toiletries and maybe a microfiber towel for the beach. There are also other activities to do to enjoy the beach like sports and board games. I did try a bit of snorkelling but I only stayed for 15 minutes since I get really claustrophobic with the mask. It was a pretty sight under water though.

Food was okay and buffet style. They actually have a newly-renovated dining area and from the looks of it, it looks great for a wedding reception. La luz has been known to be a nice prenup shoot location and of course, I think it's perfect for a wedding as well.

I was also able to do a bit of early morning 6 am yoga by the beach. Bring your own mat or use a beach blanket.  The sound of the waves was enough calming to do during meditation and savasanna.

More tanning in the morning!

For some reason, I always meet animal friends wherever I go. I met two baby kitty friends in the dining area - a white and orange and a calico one.

The white one accompanied me at the beach

The resort also had a resident dog. She's very sweet.

She was just by my side while I was at the beach. She's very gentle.

I've been here thrice - twice for work and once in 2014 for a yolo beach trip. I guess this was the best trip I had so far since the weather was perfect and the beach was super quiet with clear waters.  I would definitely come back here and maybe stay a bit longer than overnight. I super love beach trips and I wouldn't mind a few days away from Manila for this and I wish for more beach trips in the future for work or for chillax (hint hint!)