The Gruffalo in Manila



One of the favourite books of Sophia, Lily and Stella is the Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.


I can’t tell you enough how many times I’ve read this story about the adventure of a little mouse “who took a stroll through the deep dark wood.” And each time I read it, I do it with feelings, voice, and actions. I make a mean Gruffalo.


We love it so much that even the animated movie has become a favourite. And now the stage production is coming to Manila on February 15 and 17. You bet my little girls are very excited.


Gruffalo 1
They are currently on an Asian tour and I’m actually seeing this in Hong Kong next week. Then after that, we’ll catch them in Manila with the kids.


Here’s a preview of The Gruffalo by Tall Stories Production (a UK group).


Tickets are now on sale at


The Gruffalo. Live in Manila. Must see!
National Book Store  is also supporting the event. They have a few of the books and off-shoot products on sale. Lily and Stella are singing along.


For more information check out The Gruffalo Manila on Facebook.



Anne Curtis for Belo Medical Group



Over the holidays one of my closest friends told me that her new year’s resolution was to have skin like mine. I laughed. I thought she was joking. But she was serious. She asked me what it was that I really do. It’s never been a secret. I go to Belo Medical Group every two or three weeks to get a simple facial and Power Peel. With that I address all my concerns – oiliness, potential breakouts, fine lines, pores. So the effect is that I appear poreless. Well, that’s what I’ve heard. I’ve been doing this for over four years. Belo has been taking good care of me.


Anne Curtis with Vicki Belo
This season, Belo Medical Group gets one of the biggest and brightest stars in show business — Anne Curtis. Her campaign focuses on the face, body and body hair. Don’t we all want to look like Anne, the Goddess?


“With her daily TV appearances, Anne doesn’t have the luxury of time to always put make-up on. She even admits that there were times when she goes on cam without make-up, just her signature stunning red lips. But that never seemed a problem with her. Anne regularly goes to Belo Medical Group for her facial cleaning and Powerpeel. Powerpeel by Belo uses corundum crystals to exfoliate dull and dead skin. This stimulates the production of new skin cells and collagen. The treatment improves age spots and fine lines. It also reduces the appearance of unwanted facial scars and gives one a stunning glow.” – Belo Medical Group.


“Anne’s perfectly-sculpted abs and curves were created with the help of Sculptor Plus by Belo. It is a non-invasive technology that improves cellulite and tightens skin by heating fat cells in both deep and superficial layers of the skin. It melts and burns fat, tones muscles and tightens skin.”


“Anne Curtis is known for consistently takings risks in surprising people with what she’s going to wear — just like her series of stunning peek-a-boo gowns. Anne always confidently parades these outfits because she has nothing to hide. She is well aware that plucking, shaving or waxing can lead to darkening of the armpits, chicken skin and folliculitis, and is only temporary. The best way to effectively remove hair is using lasers. Belo Medical Group has four different types of lasers for every skin type. The most popular is the Harmony laser, which is painless.”


You can find out more of Belo Medical Groups’s services by calling 819-BELO (2356) or visit



Study in Canada



Graduation, University of Toronto
Most of you know that I grew up in Canada. I studied high school and university there. Yadda, yadda, yadda. This is a photo of my graduation from the University of Toronto.


Canadian Alumni event at the Ambassador's house
In 2006, I was asked by the Canadian Embassy to be one of the spokespersons/ambassadors to promote education in Canada. There was a reception of Canadian alumni at the Canadian ambassador’s house . I represented UofT.


Study in Canada Fair 2013
The Canadian Embassy is doing it again this year. The Study in Canada Fair 2013 is on this Friday, January 25 at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati and on Saturday, January 26 in Cebu Marriott. Admission is free but you’ll need to pre-register here. Everything you need to know about how to study in Canada will be there. Representatives from various schools in Canada will be at the Fair.


Hart House, University of Toronto
Just to give you an idea, this is one of the buildings in my old campus. This is Hart House in the downtown campus of UofT. It’s sort of like a multi-purpose hall for undergrads, grads and alums. I make sure to drop by here every time we’re back.


Hart House, University of Toronto
I took the kids and Patrick to see my campus.


Hart House, University of Toronto
The Great Hall at Hart House where we used to eat lunch during freshman year. My second year and onwards I lived in my sorority house, so I barely ate at Hart House. Just took the whole scene for granted.


UC, University of Toronto
Miss Lily on the steps of University College. I have a similar photo in this same spot the summer before university started.


Med Sci building
Not all buildings on my campus looked like a set from Harry Potter. We have awesome mid-century and post-modern structures as well. This wall is outside the Medical Sciences Building. I’m sure I didn’t even look at this when I was a student. Haha.


Then there’s student life on campus — the parties, the study groups, the socials with other fraternities and just the whole downtown Toronto scene. It was the most amazing time of my life. And the friends I made at UofT remain to be some of my closest friends up to now.

I’m not too familiar with the international students’ scene. But the reps of various universities and colleges will be at the Fair to answer your concerns from academic requirements to student life to immigration issues.

If you think you or your child would like to study abroad, consider Canada. Check out the schools and programs at the Study in Canada Fair this Friday and Saturday. For more info, check their Facebook page.



Shopbop closet



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School mom



I had a big week at my daughters’ school last week. While trying to get my long term project started, I was balancing the finishing touches of my kitchen, entertaining some visiting American friends, and committed to some mommy duties in school. It was such a treat to see my daughter in her school environment.


I was invited to be one of the parent chaperones in Lily’s class. We went to Museo Pambata.


I’ve been here several times. It’s one of my favourite spaces in Manila. This is the former Elks Club built in 1911.


I am reminded of the beautiful Army & Navy Club where I spent most my weekends swimming and watching movies as a child. Unlike the Army & Navy Club which is being left to rot (right next door), the old Elks Club got restored because of Museo Pambata.


This is a good example of a successful “adaptive reuse” project. Many of our heritage buildings in old Manila can be saved if government, the private sector, investors and concerned citizens worked together to come up with interesting uses.


The children’s museum is well-planned, divided into seven rooms with its own theme like Global Village, Kalikasan/Environment, Body Works, Public Market etc. This was a very cute display of crocheted vegetables from the song “Bahay Kubo”.


The entrance to Body Works. Always a big hit for kids.


This mini village is also quite popular. There’s a little barber shop – a very significant place where a lot of political and social small talk starts.


One room was about future careers. And good for Lily, there was a whole section on illustrators. She wants to be an illustrator when she grows up.


Fascinating displays from personal portfolios of Philippine authors and illustrators.


They also had sketchbooks and art supplies.


Here is Robert Alejandro’s very detailed sketch.


As mommy chaperone, I had to make sure the kids under my care got the right pair of shoes back. Haha. It was tiring but really nice to see my daughter and her classmates – how they interact with each other, how many gazillion questions a 6 year old can really ask during a bus ride, and how both wonderful and difficult it is to be a school teacher. Lovely experience for us.


P1195247 - Version 2
The next day was even more major. I hosted the school’s Family Day program with co-parents Rafa Dinglasan and RJ Ledesma. I never thought I’d be this involved in my kids’ school. But through the years I’ve met some really amazing parents who share the same values and views about our kids’ education. It’s been an enriching experience. I love that there’s an environment of support among parents.


Stella did her usual. She stuck to me while I was on stage. This isn’t her school… yet.


Grateful that I have a bit of breathing space right now that I can participate in these activities. I remember how proud and secure I felt every time my mom or dad came to my school. Hopefully I get some bonus mommy points from my girls for this one.