Friday, July 27, 2007

Not Plastic Project - Bags To Save The Planet

Authenticity is my favorite word. Especially now that I am right smack in midlife.

Thus, this new "adventure" I have entered into, comes at a perfect time in my life. Special thanks to my good friend Mitzi who was instrumental in getting me together with my very pretty, young, stylish and creative partners. Isn't that what the midlife journey is about? The ability to go with God's flow, to re-invent the wheel and pursue new advocacies at 42! SO, joining hands with my very creative, and young partners, Jessica Duque Cabuay and Carisse Escueta, we put up Edgy Ecology, Inc. Our business philosophy is to succeed in persuading the Filipino, and eventually, international, consumer to make a shift in their practices, by slowly replacing all the potentially damaging elements in their daily lives with more earth-friendly ones, beginning with the NotPlastic bags.

The Not Plastic Project resusable bags, is our maiden venture. The bags as you can see from the photo is a 12" x 16" x 5" cotton muslin carryall with an inside pocket and the catchy statement, "I Am Not Plastic" printed on one side, and Not Plastic logo on the other. Our initial step is to get Filipino shoppers into the habit of refusing plastic bags when they shop. Our next step is to create even more bags which will have more of a statement and function beyond what can be seen. The bags are carefully crafted by women from marginalized communities. Thus, by purchasing the bag, you do your part in helping save the planet and at the same time, help empower women from urban poor communities.

The bags are practical and sylish especially if you count caring for mother earth part of your personal style. Remember that plastic is not biodegradable. They break down into smaller pieces that are eaten by animals, and fish and eventually, us. Globally, about a million plastic bags are used each day. Now, that's a LOT of plastic.

Last night, we had a launch at the Archaeology wing of the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell. It is a venue where creativity and individualism are highlighted, for both designers, store owners and the people who love to shop there. It was interesting for me to be in the midst of all these bright, young and creative people. It is also
heartwarming to see all our endorsers give so unselfishly of themselves. The likes of Angel Aquino, Angel Jacob, Agot Isidro, Amina Aranaz, Rivermaya, Rafael Rosell, Anthony Pangilinan, Juddah Paolo, Raymund Isaac and Tin Bersola, to mention a few, willingly gave their precious time to attend our shoot. Food catered by Jill Ignacio Busuego's "Delicioso" and pastries from Mary Grace kept our tummies filled as we listened to the intense Brazilian sounds of Brigada.

The Not Plastic reusable carryalls are available at the Archaeology wing of the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell - Irene's Closet, Luca, Aranaz, Ruth and Esther, Ilaya and Marnie's Room are some of the select stores that carry our bags. The bags may also be personalized with a specialized logo integrated into the bag design that reads, for example, " Pinoy Bloggers (or whatever the name of your company of organization may be) are not plastic" for schools, groups or organizations for bulk orders of at least 100 bags. For inquiries and orders, you may email me at

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Strunk Commits Suicide

I've just gotten off the phone with my mother, one of Nida Blanca's oldest and dearest friends. who asked me if I had heard the news. "Uy alam na ng buong Pilipinas, di mo pa alam...patay na daw si Rod Strunk." Alcuin Papa of the Philippine Daily Inquirer had several missed calls on her phone until he finally got a hold of her just before we spoke. It was from him that she had first heard the news.

Finally, the wheels of justice have turned. Or has it?

I immediately surfed the net to check if the news was true and this is what I found...

Rod Strunk was found dead in the parking lot of the Tracy Inn in Tracy, California. He had been living at the inn for the past week. A resident of Tracy, last Wednesday, Strunk decided to end his life by jumping from the balcomy of his room on the second floor of the inn. The 63-year old American actor, who had been accused of murdering his wife, actress Nida Blanca on November 7, 2001 in the parking lot of a condominium on Annapolist street in Greenhills was himself found by an unidentified woman, bleeding from the head and nose in the parking lot of the Tracy Inn. Initial reports from the coroner's office indicate that it is a suicide.

Nida Blanca and Rod Strunk's life both ended in a parking lot. One by murder and one by suicide. In life there are no coincidences. What could be the message here?

I do not like to pass judgment. Nida Blanca was my mother's dearest and closest friend and I had known her for most of my life until the time she passed away. I was the one who had to break the news to my mother that November 7, 2001 morning, today the reverse happened. I had written a front-page story for the Inquirer a few days after, outlining the events that transpired. We were at the morgue that morning together with the rest of Tita Nida's family. It was a very sad and confusing morning. Less than six years later, has justice been served?

Whatever drove Strunk to suicide is anyone's guess. He was living alone with no family and had immersed himself in volunteer work with a local television station. His death is just about as tragic as that of his wife's, and like her's there will remain many unanswered questions that will go with them to the grave unless they find a suicide note. What I cannot shake off though is the fact that he died in the parking lot by his own hand. That circumstance itself is very telling.

Find out more about Rod Strunk's death in this report from Tracy News

May his soul rest in peace.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Shooting Piolo for Star Studio August 2007

Okay. So I didn't have to lose ten pounds first to get a newer photo taken with him :) Early this week, a dream assignment came my way -- interview Piolo Pascual and Kristine Hermosa for Star Studio Magazine. I normally don't take on showbiz assignments anymore even if I come from showbiz lineage. But hey... sino ba naman ang hihindi kay Piolo Pascual?! Besides, P would kill me if I passed up the chance.

So there we were one afternoon at my friend Raymund Isaac's studio, rubbing shoulders with the best looking people in showbusiness. I did an interesting interview with the P and he talked a lot about his inner life. I won;t share what was said because then you won't buy the August issue of Star Studio Magazine. Suffice it to say na lalo lang siyang gumuapo sa paningin ko. P was in awe the whole time as she was taking pictures at the shoot and almost fell off her seat when he sat down beside her and made small talk.

Piolo is such an unassuming man with no star complex whatsoever. A few days later I bumped into him at the gym and he stopped to chat. Napabilis tuloy and takbo ko sa glidex machine! LOL. In fact, when he saw me at the shoot he called out right away "Gym mate!" Oh my.

Kristine Hermosa on the other hand is even more beautiful in person than she is in photos. This girl, now 23, has become more fun and laid-back (could it be the Diether-factor?) and loves to have music playing all the time. Gym mates din kami. I guess you can tell by now that there is so much inspiration that abounds in my gym.

The shoot was a coup of sorts - imagine Juan Sarte, Chechel Joson and Raymund Isaac to style you and shoot you. Casting coup talaga! Congratulations to Star Studio for pulling it off! And thanks to my good friend Gay Domingo for giving me this assignment. Sa susunod Juday-Ryan naman. Gosh, my showbiz genes are showing. I love this job :) and my daughter does too.

Do you wonder why?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street, Book Lovers Mecca in Manila

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting
It's like I died and went to book heaven...

Fully Booked opened at Bonifacio High Street a few weeks back and I have been there thrice. Currently, in my book, this is the BEST bookstore in town. A Mecca for booklovers if you could call it that. What shoes, bags and make-up are to other women - books does it for me ALL THE TIME.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

The first time my husband and I were at FB, we almost didn't make it to a friend's birthday dinner. Poor H had to literally haul me out of the store! A few days later I was back for more and got permission to take photos for this blog and for my column in the Inquirer. Ahhhh. I could actually live in Fully Booked.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

The interiors here are much better than the mammoth Fully Booked branch at the Powerplant which, if rumors are to be believed, will be closing shop soon and everyone else will be moving to the High Street branch. This new book mecca is five stories high (including basement and roofdeck) and has a Starbucks inside. You can actually spend an entire afternoon here just browsing through the array of books neatly displayed on dark colored shelving.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

There are seats here and there where you can sit and lose yourself in your favorite book. On the fourth floor there are rows and rows of CD's which you can pick from and try out at the several listening stations that line one wall. Books, coffee, music...

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

Being a mom, I was bowled over by the large, colorful and airy children's section that has the widest selection of children's books I have ever seen this side of Manila. When H took L there a few days ago, he again, had to haul L out of the store! Like motherm,like son. P hasn't been to this branch yet but I am sure she will easily lose herself in the rows and rows of young adult books available here.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

And, if you are a paper person like me, you will go ga-ga with the journals available on the first floor! Ay, I wanted to buy the entire selection :) Journal joys to die for! I plan to stock up on some on my next trip there but have gotten myself a Moleskine to help keep this midlifing brain a wee bit more organized.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

True to it's promise - Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street is a "recreational playground for the mind." Go over there and indulge your creative inner child by soaking yourself in the widest array of books you will ever find in this city.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Kartini Spa South of Manila

DSCF2998I knew it was time to getaway again after an episode last Friday had my heart palpitating (and no, it wasn't the sight of the very buff Piolo Pascual running on a treadmill across me) ever so often. At the end it wasn't my heart, but rather, my hormones playing tricks on me again.

Today, I hied off to my good friend's sanctuary for the senses, south of Metro Manila. A former certified member of the corporate rat race, my friend Nina re-invented herself at mid-life after spending many years as a top-notch executive at P&G, and ending a highly-successful career as CFO of Kraft. Upon her retirement, five years ago, Nina studied landscape design in Bali, no less, and the product of that is a highly successful company called Kartini Landscape Design. As if that weren't enough, early last year, Nina opened Kartini Spa south of the Metro and it has been a haven of tranquility for battle-weary souls. A new branch is slated to open at the Alabang Town Center later this year.

Even if you are not stressed, a visit to Kartini is always a feast for the senses. As soon as you enter, your heartbeat settles as you feel the wind gently brush across your cheeks and listen to the soothing strains of Javanese music that fill the air. Surrounded by lush greenery all over, there are many spots for quiet meditation - in one corner, water cascades from a beautiful stone fountain as therapists, well-trained in the art of pampering and kneading one's blues away quietly whisk you to your own private cabana.

Nina knows all about the rat race, having once been a part of the corporate jungle, thus she has gone through great lengths to make a haven out of Kartini. One feels so far from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis as this mini-haven that Nina has created is reminiscent of the famed spas in Bali or Phuket.

There are several body and facial treatments one can chose from at Kartini depending on the amount of time (and money) that you have to spare. The therapists here are all very pleasant and highly-skilled. The oils used for massage treatments are of an excellent quality as are the scrubs that come from Thailand. For facials, Kartini clients can pick from a wide array of Decleor or Judith Jackson products. And don't be daunted, unlike spas at the hotels or malls, Kartini's prices are very reasonable. Okay, admittedly you have to travel quite a bit, but that in itself is part of the adventure. It's best to go in the late mornings or after lunch because you can sometimes have the place all to yourself. The place though can get very busy from mid-afternoon until closing time at 10PM.

Realizing that I had not had quality "Me" time in a while, I relished every minute spent at Kartini - a little Bali, south of the city. Can't wait to go back there soon.

To further appreciate Kartini, visit their
beautiful website here.