Melissa will take you to paradise

 

 

Remember our staycation last weekend at Discovery Primea? You, too, can get a chance to win a staycation at Discovery Primea or Club Paradise courtesy of this promotion from my sponsor, Melissa.

 

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Melissa recently launched a collection called Take Me To Rio for spring summer 2015. It features both pastel and eye-catching colors in avant-garde styles – from sexy and comfortable heels to fabulous flats – perfect for the upcoming summer season. I wore my Melissa shoes during our staycation.

 

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My poolside essentials include the Melissa Bronzer.

 

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When I arrived at our hotel room in Discovery Primea, I was surprised to find these in the closet.

 

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My girls and I all wear the same types of Melissa shoes now. From left to right: Sophia’s, Lily’s, Stella’s, and mine.

 

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Soph got the Melissa Flox III from the Take Me to Rio line, upper left. Stella’s is a black Mini Flox (I’m so happy they have sizes for tweens now.) Lily’s is the classic Zigzag by the Campana Brothers. And mine is the Aranha 1979.

 

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I really love the Aranha 1979. This is the first style of Melissa “jelly shoes” from 35 years ago. Melissa has been releasing versions of the Aranha. But this season they came out with the exact same replica, using newer technology and material. This pair is bringing back so many great memories of my teen life in Canada. I am contemplating on getting another colour.

 

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Step into summer with Melissa.

 

For summer 2016, Melissa Philippines wants every beach babe and chic gal to have the chance to win the best summer trip yet with Take Me To Paradise raffle promo. For every P2,000 purchase of Melissa shoes from February 15 to March 31, 2016, a customer is entitled to get one (1) raffle coupon. Loyalty cardholders are also entitled to get one (1) raffle coupon for every P2,000 purchase (net of the loyalty card discount).

There shall be a total of six winners consisting of: three (3) winners of P8,000 worth of Melissa Gift Certificates, two (2) winners of an Overnight Staycation for Two at Discovery Primea with P4,000 worth of Melissa Gift Certificates, and for the grand prize, one (1) winner of a 3 days/2 nights trip for two at Club Paradise Palawan with P5,000 pocket money.

Deadline for dropping of entries is on March 31, 2016 8:30pm. Raffle draw is on April 15, 2016 4:30pm at Melissa Shangri-la, Level 4, Shangri-la Plaza Mall East Wing, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City. This promo is valid in Melissa stores in TriNoma, SM Mall of Asia, Alabang Town Center, Robinsons Magnolia, SM Megamall, Shangri-la Plaza, SM Aura, Greenbelt 5, Glorietta 3, UP Town Center, Marquee Mall, Centrio Mall.

For more information about Take Me To Paradise raffle promo, visit www.melissaphilippines.com/Take-Me-to-Paradise.html

 

#MelissaTakeMeToParadise

 

Secours Populaire Francais Thanksgiving Dinner

 

 

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Last December 13th, I hosted a dinner for the dignitaries of Secours Populaire Français. I didn’t host like an emcee, I played “hostess” — like I organised the dinner party. Danny Rayos del Sol (the real host), president of  Mirasol Outreach Foundation Inc. (Mofi) had asked me to put together a thanksgiving dinner celebration fit for a First Lady and a top figure in the French political scene. It was the Holiday season. I was doing the APEC Chair auction. Traffic was insane. Most restaurants were already booked. And then I remembered the most perfect place to have this special dinner would be at the Maria Luisa’s Garden Room at the Makati Garden Club. I called the restaurant’s Ms Susan Fernandez and right away she prepared a wonderful plan for this very special dinner.

You’ve seen in my 2015 retrospective, that Sophia’s trip to France was rather unforgettable. She participated in Secours Populaire Français’ summer camp for French and foreign children in Gerardmer, France. Sophia and three other children were chosen by Mirasol Outreach Foundation to represent the Philippines. You may read about it here.

In December, the leaders of Secours Populaire Français came to the the Philippines to inaugurate the newly rebuilt school they had generously funded in Busuanga, Palawan after Typhoon Haiyan damaged it. Sophia and I could not attend the Palawan events due to her school midterms and my UNICEF obligations. So I focused on putting this fabulous dinner together for our French guests and local foundation partners.

Here’s the story, in pictures.

 

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From Busuanga, the team flew back to Manila. We met at the Peninsula Manila. From L-R, Mofi’s Danny Rayos del Sol and Amy Loste, SPF president Julien Laupretre, DepEd secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, Valerie Trierweiler, Riza Muyot, SPF national secretary Ismail Hassouneh, me, and Chari Trinidad.

 

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I had invited Inquirer Lifestyle to meet and have an interview with France’s former First Lady Valerie Trierweiler.

 

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My girl at 12, talking about her experience as a delegate to Copain du Monde. She wore a Just G lace top, Uniqlo skirt and she borrowed my Joyce Oreña necklace. She also added a tiny bejewelled headband. (She styled herself.)

 

In Busuanga, Palawan, the SPF dignitaries and Mofi representatives witnessed the inauguration of two newly constructed buildings for the Concepcion National High School (CNHS) and a 200-sqm Busuanga Multi Purpose Hall. Because of the new facilities — eight classrooms, a 120-square-meter fully equipped library, and fully functioning toilets and water supply – enrolment has tripled in the last year.

 

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In Palawan, SPF president Julien Laupretre, SPF Moselle president Marie Francoise Thull, SPF national secretary Ismail Hassouneh, Valerie Trierweiler, and SPF Fed du Lyon president Sebastian Thollot.

 

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Julien Laupretre and Mofi’s Danny Rayos del Sol with former Senator Ping Lacson, who was heading the government’s efforts for rehabilitation of Haiyan/Yolanda affected areas.

 

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Julien Laupretre handing out goods to the members of the Busuanga Weavers Cooperative Association.

 

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Students of Conception National High School.

 

So, you see, we really had a lot to be thankful for. SPF is a French non-profit organization set up in 1945. Its aim is to fight against poverty and exclusion in France and throughout the world. It brings together people of all views, circumstances and origins who wish to live in solidarity. SPF has been responding to emergencies around the world. When Sophia was at Copain du Monde in Gerardmer, she was in camp with children from Nepal, Haiti, Japan, Israel and France. SPF’s contribution to the Philippines came immediately after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged much of our country.

And it was appropriate to end 2015 with this beautiful celebration at Makati Garden Club to honour our French donors and partners.

 

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The garden was beautiful that evening.

 

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When I entered Maria Luisa’s Garden Room, my heart skipped a beat.

 

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The set up was just so lovely.

 

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Three out of the four moms of Mofi — Mafe Jayme, Amy Loste and me. Who knew arranging the seating arrangements would be so complicated.

 

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Our sommelier for the evening, Edouard Vauthier provided the perfect pairing of wines from AWC.

 

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Patrick with SPF’s Julien, Ismail, Marie Françoise and Sebastien.

 

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And in our table, with Valerie Trierweiler

 

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I did the rounds…

 

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And checked on the kids’ table.

 

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Danny with Copain du Monde kids. There were speeches, songs, and presentation of gifts.

 

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Our girls sang a few pop songs, a cappella.

 

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Our dear Marie Francoise. She’s the president of SPF Moselle, the region where our kids went to camp. We spent a day with her in Paris.

 

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Our boys from the Copain du Monde Philippine delegation Nico Yambao and Joaquin Jayme.

 

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Valerie is so sweet to Sophia.

 

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Flashback to August of 2015, Valerie randomly picked Sophia and danced with her to the tune of Rihanna’s Diamonds but in French. After the dance, she took off her necklace and placed it around Sophia’s neck.

 

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Our heartfelt gratitude to Maria Luisa’s Sandra Fernandez and sommelier Edouard. And to SPF, we are very grateful for the immediate assistance and generous contribution given to the communities in Busuanga. Maraming salamat.

 

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With the real hostess-with-the-mostess Sandra Fernandez.

 

 

 

 

The Terazi Spa at Discovery Primea

 

 

TERAZI SPA

 

Our long weekend staycation at Discovery Primea was even made more special because of our couples massage experience at Terazi Spa. We hardly ever have a couples massage because frankly, who has the time? And when we are staying in hotels, it’s usually logistically impossible because who will watch the kids? This time was different because my mom and dad also had their own Business Flat room just beside our Primea Suite. So they babysat the three girls for a couple of hours.

I have never been to Turkey so I don’t know what an authentic Turkish bath is like. But I’ve been to a 5-star, 5-diamond waters spa in the US. And I can imagine that in Istanbul, Turkish baths are more exotic. Patrick and I were in for a surprise when we stepped into the Terazi Spa on the 3rd floor of Discovery Primea. The decor was warm and modern. Lots of wood panels and indirect lighting. There was nothing ethnic or exotic, just a quiet elegance. Here’s a rundown of what we experienced.

 

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The lobby foyer of Terazi Spa.

 

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I filled out a few forms.

 

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They asked about our health situation. There are some medical conditions that contradict the treatments. So if you have some health concerns, please check with your physicians first as the Hammam involves steam and heat.

 

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After filling out the forms, we sat in a little lounge where we were given a really refreshing cold tamarind drink.

 

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Our shoes were taken away and we were given white rubber flip-flops.

 

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Upon entering our therapy room, I see my new Melissa slides in this basket. I love these slides they are perfect for the summer and for pedicure days. This is from the newest Take Me To Rio collection.

 

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And this is the Hammam. This traditional, marble-lined Turkish bath is the only one of its kind in Metro Manila.

 

The room was heated with steam. At one point I couldn’t see past my arms. Patrick and I were in opposite sides of the room. We were given cold citrus water and an ice pack in case we felt faint and dehydrated. We sat for 10 minutes soaking in all the steam. Then we were occasionally doused with water.

Then we were made to lie face down on the heated marble bed. Terazi’s therapist started us with a deep body exfoliation using a traditional ‘chess’ mitt and castile soap. This is where it gets TMI. But you have to just surrender. The therapist will scrub every nook and cranny of your body. (We kept our undies on, haha). And here is the most incredible part, when the therapist covers your body in a cloud of soap suds or bubbles to wash away dead skin cells. Imagine how that feels. The bubbles pop and slide down your skin. It’s a very gentle sensation. It was the most relaxed I’ve ever felt. I didn’t want it to end.

After the hammam we were escorted back to our massage room. They led us to the shower. And gave us another glass of cold drink.

 

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The shower area.

 

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And here is where we had our massages. There were three choices of oils. I chose the one with eucalyptus.

 

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It was an amazing massage. I sort of fell asleep but not deeply. I don’t want to actually sleep for fear of missing the massage sensation. Patrick on the other hand totally conked out. Again, the service and ability of the the therapists were excellent.

 

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After all the treatments, we sat at the little lounge up in front again. We were given another drink, warm ginger tea this time.

 

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It was just so, so, lovely. I miss it already. That hammam experience was incredible. It’s definitely something to try. I’m already thinking of when I can go again next. It was that good!

 

Our couples massage was sponsored by Discovery Primea in partnership with Melissa Philippines. Watch this space for a chance to win a weekend staycation at Discovery Primea.

For inquiries about the Hammam Treatment and other spa treatments at Terazi Spa, call Discovery Primea at +632 955-8888 local 7310, or email dp.rsvn@discovery.com.ph for reservations.

 

 

Staycation at Discovery Primea

 

 

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One of the activities we love to do as a family is go on a staycation. Often when we travel, we do not get enough time to enjoy the hotel rooms. It’s usually just a place to crash in after a day of walking. But staycations let us enjoy the amenities and luxurious details. And it really becomes a relaxing vacation.

This weekend we were at Discovery Primea in Makati. This is a special staycation not only because it is the Chinese new year long weekend but also because it’s Sophia’s birthday. Plus, we have with us my parents who are visiting from Toronto.

 

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I received a warm welcome from Discovery Primea’s Director of Marketing Communications, Mildred Amon.

 

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Our suite was perfect for a family. I love that kitchen. It’s complete.

 

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Sophia’s birthday surprise — chocolate cake and balloons. And yay, we finally gave her an iPhone. It’s an iPhone 6s, but she actually would prefer the smaller iPhone 4s. (The same one she lost in France last August.) Oh well. She is happy.

 

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More surprises from Discovery Primea — our names in chocolate scrabble.

 

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My closet was filled with the new collection of Melissa shoes, my site partners.

 

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Sophia also got a present from Melissa.

 

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I was tempted to just have fun. But the truth is I have so much writing to catch up on. This was where I hung out most of the time.

 

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We loved the two-bedroom Primea Suite. (Lily had issues with her mouth so she couldn’t smile. She’s totally ok though.)

 

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Stella would have stayed in the bathtub watching TV all day. But I had to be the party pooper.

 

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My parents had a Business Suite just next door to ours.

 

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On our first night, we had a special dinner at Restaurant Tapenade.

 

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The celebration for Sophia’s birthday continued.

 

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Our special menu.

 

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The Salad Room at Tapenade is amazing. I had to pace myself because we had a lot of food coming…

 

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That’s Sophia, Patrick, and my dad. They enjoyed the oysters.

 

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Details matter.

 

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Stone-baked feta cheese.

 

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This ribeye was perfect!

 

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Salumi pizza

 

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I blinked, and she grew up. My Stelly-belly looks so grown up here.

 

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Wearing K&Company and Melissa shoes at Gilarmi Lounge.

 

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When we got back to our room, we found movies, popcorn, french fries and other snacks. The kids were thrilled at the idea of movie night.

 

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Our movie choices. Guess what we watched?

 

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More memories were made with Lolo and Lola.

 

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The pool was gorgeous at night.

 

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And so is my mother.

 

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Lily loved the details from turndown service.

 

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Good night.

 

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The next morning — somewhere in there was Stella who snuck into our bed in the middle of the night. I love when my babies do that.

 

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We had room service for breakfast.

 

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Good morning, Stella.

 

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Brioche French toast with fresh strawberries and chantilly cream is so delicious.

 

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I was so delighted to see this beautiful chapel. When commercial establishments make room for spirituality, it’s a good sign. They had Sunday Mass with a lovely male chorale group.

 

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There’s so much beauty in simplicity.

 

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I can’t emphasise enough how wonderful their pool is. First of all it has that fantastic view of the city skyline. And secondly, it’s heated. .

 

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Lolo and Stella.

 

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Wearing my Melissa slides.

 

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Spot the Lily.

 

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Here she is. Coincidentally the name of the shop in Discovery Primea is Lily.

 

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My parents were reminiscing about Makati and how this used to be the Gilarmi Apartments, the first serviced apartment in Asia. It was originally owned by Virgilio Hilario in 1962 who named the hotel after son, Gil and his wife, Armi Kuusela, the first Miss Universe. This is now owned and operated by  The Discovery Leisure Company.

 

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Incredible view. Heated pool. I love it.

 

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The family who wears Melissa together …

 

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Another surprise on our second night. Happy Year of the Monkey!

 

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For all the beautiful personal touches, thank you Discovery Primea for sponsoring our long weekend staycation.

 

For more information, visit www.discoveryprimea.com or Discovery Primea on Facebook. Check out their current Valentine weekend package here. Read about our couples massage and Turkish bath at Terazi Spa here.

Also, you my readers are first to know that you may also get a chance to win a staycation at Discovery Primea through a special promo at Melissa shoe stores. Details will be up in my blog next weekend.

 

Food intolerance test

 

 

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A few months ago, I took the Food Intolerance Test at Hi-Precision Diagnostics. I was curious to find out where I stood in the food scale not because I was feeling sick or I had symptoms, but because I wanted to have the information so that I could make informed choices.

Food intolerance is your body’s abnormal reaction to certain foods which can manifest itself in a number of ways. Some people will have one symptom such as severe headache whilst others will be unfortunate to experience irritable bowel syndrome, migraine and skin or respiratory conditions. Unlike the immediate reactive sysmptoms of food allergy, food intolerance symptoms often appear hours or even days later.

Repeated and continuous digestion of these foods may cause inflammatory reactions in the intestines causing incomplete absorption of nutrients your body needs.

 

My kind of afternoon. Drawing temporary tattoos and tasting new menu of @pinorestobar #pinojupiter. That quinoa salad with berries is a winner!
I don’t have a problem eating “healthy food.” I always try to have a balanced meal. But after I turned 40 I realized that my body reacts a certain way to certain food. There are things that I totally had to stop eating, like shell fish and farmed fish, because my body just outright rejects them. I wanted to know what are the other food items I should be staying away from.

 

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The test was simple. I had my blood extraction done at home. This is an optional service that Hi-Precision Diagnostics provides at an additional cost. I didn’t need to fast.

 

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I had the chance to visit Hi-Precision Diagnostics main laboratory in Quezon City. There were three floors of diagnostic labs. This is where the blood gets studied.

 

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The Food Intolerance Test measures immunoglobulin antibody count for specific foods; the numbers are actual antibody counts with 30 or more labelled in red as highly reactive and between 23 and 29 inclusive as milady reactive marked in yellow. Based on my results, I should avoid cow’s milk, cola nut, egg white, pea, wheat, casein, brewer’s yeast…. I can’t go on. It’s still making me sad.

 

After a few weeks, I got my results. Then I met with the nutritionist of Hi-Precision. She explained what exactly happened. And what those numbers meant. She also provided me with a complete report with suggested options for my new gluten-free life.

I’m telling you now that I most probably won’t be able to completely eliminate all these red and yellow warning items — especially all the wheat, potatoes, oats, barley. I feel like there is nothing left except quinoa. Oh my. So it’s going to be a struggle. I don’t want to be a sad, deprived person. I love bread too much. I may not be able to go totally gluten-free. But I will definitely be more mindful of these types of food. I will be taking baby steps. And hopefully one day, I can quit cold turkey.

I will try, though, to go dairy-free (except for the occasional good cheese). I’m saying goodbye to lattes and cappuccinos. I’ve started to use non-dairy creamer again (aghast!).

And like with anything in life… it’s all okay in moderation.

 

The Food Intolerance Test at Hi-Precision Diagnostics is on a special discounted price starting today, February 1 to March 31, 2016.

For more information, visit www.hi-precision.com.ph or call 741-7777 or 0922-8906664