6 Hacks for a Chic Life

 

 

When I wrote my book CHIC: Tips on Life, Style, and Work, I shared stories about my life and my home. I gave tips on travel, food, fashion. I had no idea my publishers would give the book its title. To be chic is something I never attempted to attain. I always felt very under-chic myself. It’s a big word. All my life, I’ve always worked with what I have. But I did learn a few tricks along the way – from my mother, my friends, and the world that I move around in. And at my age, I know that being “chic” doesn’t just mean fashion or style. It’s how you live.

Last Christmas, I had an unplanned little get-together in my home. I was not prepared at all – no catered dishes, no fresh flowers, no nothing. So I rushed to S&R and tried to find things that would help “chicify” my tablescape. We somehow achieved it.

But living a CHIC life isn’t all about appearances. It is also about the invisible and smart choices you make – the ones that give you and your family a lot of comfort, good health, and an ease that seems so natural. It takes effort though.

Here is my attempt to share with you some tricks for an apparent chic home. Most of the tips I share contain products that will be on sale at the  S&R Members’ Treat on September 27, 2017 until October 01, 2017 in all S&R warehouse clubs nationwide!

 

1. Use pedestal trays, glass domes, and wooden blocks for instant chic on your table.

 

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Store-bought baked goods and cold-cuts look instantly chic when placed on glass pedestal trays. Glass domes make cupcakes look instantly chic. Holiday cookies double up as colorful decor to spruce up your table.

 

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Holiday cookies from S&R

 

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These cookie tins are always good to have in your pantry. They’re good for “just in case” and unplanned entertaining at home. They also make pretty gifts. I love cookie tins — I use them as storage containers. These are on sale at the S&R Members Treat.

 

 

2. Aim for a healthy breakfast. Ok, so we love our bacon and corned beef. But we consciously limit them to a few times a month. We make an effort to start the day right with fruit or green juice, plus our cereals and grains. Here’s an example of a recipe I shared in my book.

 

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Chia seed pudding. You can use yoghurt, milk, or coconut or almond milk. Store it in the fridge over night. They’re nice and chewy the next morning.

 

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Overnight oats make for great breakfast or healthy snacks. Just layer oats, yoghurt, flaxseed, chia seed, and top off with fruit or maple syrup.

 

Chia seeds, flaxseed meal, oats, yogurt, and maple syrup. Its so good. I made it for my snack tomorrow but it tasted so good, Soph and I ate it tonight as dessert. #daphneskitchen
We’re Canadian and we love our maple syrup. The kids love overnight oats.

 

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Watch out for Dad D Pak Quick Oats at the S&R Members Treat sale. Oh look, they’re from the Canadian Prairies. Yay.

 

 

3. Use non-toxic laundry detergent. Since I am making a huge effort to detoxify our home – for my kids who have asthma, and for myself with possible hormone issues – I carefully choose our laundry products. This means less bubbles and no artificial scents. It takes a while to convert the whole household to believe in such products. We’ve been programmed to believe that bubbles equals cleansing. But really, bubbles just mean there’s a lot of detergent in the product. Luckily we have these in Manila now, via S&R.

 

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Here’s what I use at home. It isn’t cheap. So I stock up on them when they are on sale.

 

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Speaking of sale… Yay! These are included at the S&R Members Treat.

 

 

4. Always have spreads and good quality syrups at home.

 

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You can use them as snack toppings, or if you’re like me, I actually try to make homemade ice cream. Spreads and syrups do well as flavouring on dairy ice cream. Or you can simply use them as bread or biscuit spreads, or coffee flavouring.

 

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Heads up! Fundelina and Bickford’s are on sale at the S&R Members Treat event.

 

 

5. Fancy, not so fancy chips. I honestly am not a big junkfood snacker. I can do without potato chips with its salt and artificial flavouring. But if it has sea salt, herbs, natural flavour, and definitely no MSG, then I’ll take them.

 

Love these root chips. Purple & orange sweet potatoes, taro & cassava with sea salt. Sooo good! #glutenfree #notransfat
I discovered these fancy chips in S&R, I got hooked. These root chips seem to be the healthier choice – sweet potato, cassava, purple potato. Yum.

 

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These are good. Original Taro Chips. Look for them at the S&R Members Treat. (packaging may be different).

 

 

6. Chic people ride bikes. Or maybe not. Sometimes. Well, in a perfect world, we would all be wearing minimalist-style clothing and biking to and from work — like in Japan or the Netherlands. My husband is quite the bike guy. He is well-respected by his bike peers, (quite the connoisseur, I hear). So naturally our girls are growing up as bikers too.

 

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Sophia and Lily love their bikes. Stella is still transitioning to a big bike.

 

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I’ve always been riding a bike. I even had a horrible accident when I was 8 years old which left me with 16 stitches across my forehead. That’s in my book, by the way. I never stopped loving biking, but now I just do it for leisure because I’m terrified of too much sun exposure (my skin). Here’s a photo of me biking in the Google campus in California a few years ago. My husband thinks I liked biking there just because it felt like the entire outdoors had an air conditioner on — around 19 degrees. I think so.

 

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Patrick’s bicycle-themed cake.

 

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At the S&R Members Treat, this Schwinn Volare 1300 road bike is on sale.

 

Well, that’s all for now. I hope you liked my little list that I made. Let me know if you have suggestions for other lists I can compile for you.

The most eagerly anticipated S&R Members’ Treat is happening this September 27, 2017 until October 01, 2017 in all S&R warehouse clubs nationwide!

S&R Members will get five whole days of big value and even bigger savings, with Buy 1 Take 1 deals, Buy 2 Take 2 deals and price reductions of up to 50% off on lots and lots of S&R items – from grocery staples like breakfast essentials, baon goodies, yummy baked goodies, imported treats, to various gift items, housewares, towels and linens, and even select appliances – exclusive to all S&R members.

S&R currently has 13 warehouse clubs nationwide:

BGC (Taguig City)Aseana (Pasay City), Congressional (Quezon City), Alabang (Muntinlupa City), Shaw (Mandaluyong City), Cebu, Pampanga, Imus (Cavite), Nuvali (Laguna), Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and the recently opened; S&R Commonwealth (Quezon City)

Doors will open as early as 08:00AM until 09:00PM!

For more information S&R Membership Shopping on Facebook, S&R Official on Instagram, and S&R on Twitter

 

 

 

For Patrick

 

 

This letter was published in Manila Bulletin on June 17, 2017. It was a surprise for Patrick. And he was surprised. He says he didn’t do much to deserve such praises. He says his greatest contribution was to not get in the way of my mothering, because I wanted to do so much for them and it brought me joy. Well, okay. But dads, especially mine and Patrick, play a big role in child rearing. Their physical presence and interaction during the early years of life do so much in enriching the development of a child. And the relationship between father and daughter is so special. I really believe that awesome dads who are doting and always present make a secure and confident daughter. That’s just my opinion. I wrote this to support UNICEF’s #earlymomentsmatter campaign.

 

Dear Patrick,

Being parents to our three girls is one of the biggest blessings in our life together. Seeing them thrive in every stage of their young lives is an amazing achievement for both of us; and I am so grateful to be in this journey with you by my side. We know there will be challenges that each child will face, but having you as their loving and doting Super-Dad gives them extra strength to face the world.

I look back fondly at the time when we were new parents—those long, sleepless nights with each baby’s crying fits and diaper changes; and even when one of the girls’ poop leaked and dropped on my toes while we were out for a walk. We can now laugh at those moments, even though back then I’d sometimes ask if I was failing as a mother. You joyfully took on half of the many responsibilities—like lovingly burping the babies after each time I fed them.

 

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My favorite photo. Patrick and Lily.

 

From the first signs of life in my womb, you made sure I was healthy and that I got regular medical guidance. You attended all Lamaze classes and gyrated your hips during the exercises. When we didn’t get to do the last Lamaze class because Sophia was born early, you brought the manual and had to DIY the swaddling. You never missed any of my monthly doctor’s visits. You made sure I ate well and indulged me in my cravings. I was easy, though, I just liked broccoli, beans, and plums.

You became the expert baby whisperer, successfully plopping Lily’s full cheeks on your shoulder after each feed and rocking her to sleep in seconds. To this day, she has very good sleeping habits.

You were very supportive of my wish to exclusively breastfeed each baby by making sure I was always comfortable. You gave me back and neck rubs whenever I needed them, joined in the whole ritual of propping me up with pillows, and made sure I had a glass of water nearby. You knew breastfeeding was not only good for the babies, but also easier for us once we got our rhythm going. You helped me prepare pureed carrots, beans, and potatoes when it was time for them to have solids on their sixth month; and you encouraged me to continue breastfeeding even then, which I really appreciate.

 

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Patrick and Stella.

 

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Patrick with Sophia and Lily in Singapore

 

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Patrick and Lily in Singapore

 

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Patrick and Sophia at the dentist.

 

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Photo by Real Kids’ Doods and Issay Tanabe.

 

When I faced challenges and felt guilt when I returned to work, you supported me through it all by reminding me that I was not only a good mom but that I’m also a strong and beautiful woman. Mothers need to hear these from their partners, even if they’re sometimes an exaggeration of the truth. Do you remember the time you almost forced me out of the house to have a foot spa and hair treatment a week after I gave birth? You knew little things like this would make me feel like my old self again. You jokingly said, “happy wife, happy life.” To that I add, “happy mom, happier babies.”

Now that they are in school, our girls are going through their lessons knowing that Dad is there to help them in Filipino and Social Studies, even if it means having to hand-draw Stella’s Tagalog vocabulary worksheets. I treasure these sketches like precious art work.
You built worktables for each of them so they could tinker, build miniature doll houses, and sculpt in clay; and we savor the joy of their drawings, sculptures, paintings, and writing.
They are also very active and well-rounded girls who love biking and the outdoors just like you do. Thank you for taking care of that department.

You always listen to them, even if at times it is challenging to hear in a house full of little women. You joined me in reading to them even when they were just babies drooling on the pages of each picture book. You watch their poetry, art shows, and plays at school with the same enthusiasm as when they perform their made-up “Broadway productions” at home. I love how you take time to make their favorite hot chocolate drinks in the mornings.

You may think I’m not looking, but I see you. I see you do these wonderful things for them, Patrick.

It is the lessons outside the classrooms that they need most help navigating life, things for which there are no blueprints or manuals. But you are always by my side, helping raise our girls to be “Wonder Women” in their own right. While young girls need good female role models, and this is why I try to be present in all their activities, nothing replaces the security and comfort a father can give his daughters. It was your role during the earliest moments in their lives that have made such difference in how they are now.

 

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Art Fair Manila 2017

 

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At our favorite bistro, UNO.

 

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Carrying Stella in Japan. She just turned 7 then.

 

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Game of the Generals with Stella.

 

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Chess with Stella.

 

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Cooking with Lily.

 

And look at them now: bright, creative, and energetic girls who bring so much joy and love in our lives and those of others. I’m amazed by their talents and their boundless creativity that started from when they were young because you helped me nurture them. Those precious times you played with them stimulated their brains.

Only time will tell if we’ve done a good job raising our girls. It’s never an easy task, especially in the digital age. Children get sad, frustrated, or angry at times. It’s natural and healthy for them to be able to express their emotions. But I’m proud and thankful you handle situations like this with so much love, patience, and understanding.

 

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Our girls in their Gingersnaps frocks.

 

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Museum visit.

 

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In Liliw, Laguna.

 

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Thanks for being the calming force in a house full of emotional women. Most of all, thank you for taking care of me.

 

Just a few days ago, I remembered it has been 21 years since we’ve known each other. It was the anniversary of our first lunch as friends after which you never left my side. Since then, you have been my partner in every important decision in my life—work, health, home décor, travel plans, and when UNICEF came knocking at my door. It was a huge responsibility and one that I was honored to accept. You helped me make that life-changing decision and you continue to do so with each new challenge that my work with UNICEF brings into my life.

So, especially today on Father’s Day, I’m proud to call you the Super-Dad to our three girls. I am confident they will find their place in a crowded world, speak their voices in a space full of noise, and share their talents despite the intimidation of judgment in a complicated maze of female adolescence. I don’t often get the chance to tell you what an amazing husband, father, and partner you are, but let this be my way to honor you as the greatest father to Sophia, Lily, and Stella.

Thank you for all that you do.

xoxo

 

 

ASEAN 2017

 

 

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I has been almost half a year since this happened. I have been that absent from my blog. Oops. Blame Instagram.

Back in January, I got a call from an agency handling the launch of ASEAN in Malacanang Palace. They asked me if I could host the event. It would be attended by the President, his cabinet, the diplomatic corps, and the business community. 2017 is a big year for ASEAN, being its 50th anniversary, and it is hosted by the Philippines. Needless to say, I was honoured and thrilled to have been invited as the emcee.

Here are photos and screenshots from the event. And because a lot of people asked in Facebook and Instagram, I will highlight my fashion choices. I do not work with stylists for the simple reason that I enjoy dressing myself and making these creative decisions myself.

 

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Me in my long white dress and golden south sea pearls, at the launch of ASEAN 2017 in Malacanang Palace.

 

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Fitting my dress in Religioso.

I was asked to wear a long white dress but not a gown. They wanted sleeves that went down to my elbows. It was a challenge because I only had a week to plan my outfit and have it approved by the client (i.e. Malacanang). I scoured the malls to see if there is anything off the rack that I could wear. There was nothing. I remembered loving the black knee length dress that was worn by Valerie Trierweiler when she was the First Lady of former president of France, Francois Hollande. (Valerie was our guest a year before that. She was a patron of the organization my daughter Sophia was a part of. We met each other in France, then in Manila.)

Religioso came to my rescue by offering to make a version of Valerie’s dress for me. We used white silk crepe. I had to make sure the skirt fell like a column and that it barely skimmed the carpet when I’d wear my black pumps.

I wanted to stick to the classics, so I was sure I’d wear a strand of my own Jewelmer south sea pearls — either in white or gold. I actually brought both with me. But when I put on the golden strand, the decision had been instantly made. Aside from my stud earrings and single strand of pearls, I kept everything else bare.

 

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Screen shot from the Presidential Communications page in Facebook.

 

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My script was simple and straightforward. But I find that the simpler things are, the more nervous I get of mucking things up. You never ever, under any circumstance, want to mess up the president’s name. Ever. So I practiced that in my mind over and over. (Side story, the initial script said “His Excellency…” as heads of states should be announced, but the presidential staff edited it and kept it simple this way. Apparently President Duterte prefers it this way. In fact, the Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea introduced him as “the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte.” Interesting.

 

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The Rizal Ceremonial Hall, Malacanang.

 

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In my script, I had to announce that taking selfies with the President was strongly discouraged.

 

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Loved the wooden quatrefoil panels by the window facing the Pasig River. Incidentally, the President arrived at Malacanang by boat from across the river. He doesn’t actually stay in the Palace building.

 

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President Duterte and cabinet secretaries Medialdea and Lopez, listening to my cue.

 

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I announced the ceremonial launch of ASEAN while the President’s hand was on the sphere.

 

 

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Ceremonial launch of ASEAN via this “hand scanning” sphere.

 

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So because I follow protocol, I didn’t dare ask the President for a selfie. The guests though… made a beeline to him after the formalities.

 

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At Heroes’ Hall

 

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Back to my styling, I asked for big hair and a chignon. Big, worthy of Malacañang. So hairstylist Ronel Ros gave me this pouffy top and worked with my hair extensions, braided and bunched up like a chignon. My hair was just chin length then. I remembered I had a fake ponytail from my TV days. I actually had never used extensions on TV, but I owned it. It has finally come in handy. My makeup was by Ria Aquino.

 

 


Posted by Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines) on Monday, January 23, 2017.

 

 

Amanpulo with Kerastase

 

 

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Not too long ago, I was rolling around the pure white sand beaches of Amanpulo for three days. I had just signed on as one of the new brand ambassadors of Kérastase. To relaunch the brand and new lines, Kérastase flew me, Amina Aranaz-Alunan, and Amanda Griffin-Jacob to Palawan together with our special guests and members of lifestyle press. Amina and Amanda brought their husbands. I brought my mom. My parents were visiting us at the time, and Patrick and I had just had our JUNK trip (Just Us, No Kids) so I felt that my mom would really love the tropical island treat and the whole luxurious experience. And she did.

A week before our trip, I had the most amazing salon experience at the Kérastase Institute in 6750 Makati. I used to just use shampoo and conditioner for semi-oily hair. I had no idea that hair has individual issues and needs that can be specifically addressed via a scientific hair diagnosis. At the Kérastase Institute they had all the instruments to determine your hair’s needs. It truly is very personal care, which coincidentally is the campaign’s message. They had 10 color-coded hair-care ranges, and mine was the Discipline line. More on that in a future post. Check out the video of my Kérastase Institute experience.

The salon experience was an indication that we were in for some very personal care in the island paradise of Amanpulo. There were some very special, personalized touches from the moment we boarded the chartered plane to the island, to the lovely gifts in our rooms, to the engraved crystal glasses at our last dinner.

The experience was unforgettable, and I am so grateful I got to share these gifts with my mom. Let me tell this story via photos…

 

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I won’t dwell on how small planes scare me. But we flew to Amanpulo and back in great comfort (and safety, thank God).

 

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Pamalican Island, Palawan better known as Amanpulo.

 

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Me and my mom.

 

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Loved the personal pillow.

 

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We were all picked up in golf carts. And driven to our own casitas.

 

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After which the golf cart was turned over to me and mom. I was to be her designated driver for the whole stay.

 

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Bedroom

 

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Someone was very happy.

 

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There was a wrap around porch.

 

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The bathroom. Spot the Kérastase surprises.

 

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Kérastase Discipline for me. This line is for unruly curly hair. But because my hair isn’t technically curly, it just gets frizzy whenever it feels like it, I just needed smoothness. For that my routine calls for Bain Fluidéaliste sans Sulfate (sulfate-free shampoo to smoothen and rid hair of frizz), Maskératine (a mask to leave hair soft, smooth, and with weightless fluidity), and Keratine Thermique (a pre-styling cream to protect hair before blow-drying and use of heat styling tools, leaving hair smooth and shiny).

 

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My mom had to answer a series of questions, and based on those she was given the Spécifique line which focuses on scalp-related issues like itchiness, dandruff, hair loss and oily roots. Her shampoo is the Spécifique Bain Vital Dermo-Calm to moisturize and purify her scalp to calm irritation and inflammation. She also has the Cure Apaisante, a concentrated 4-week treatment to sooth her scalp.

 

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Right after we settled in, we hit the beach. The casitas are all behind the bushes, so they are not visible from the beach.

 

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I parked myself in one of the lounge chairs.

 

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Drove to the clubhouse to check it out.

 

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Dress code for dinner was Moroccan.

 

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But first, the sunset.

 

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The evening was Moroccan-themed for the launch of Kérastase Aura Botanica.

 

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Kérastase Aura Botanica is made of 96% natural origin ingredients with handpicked and responsibly-sourced Samoan coconut & Moroccan Argan oils. It contains no silicones, no sulfates, and no parabens.

 

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The AURA BOTANICA Concentre Essentiel Aromatic Nourishing Oil Blend. It is a multipurpose oil, comprised of 99% natural origin ingredients. Renewable avocado oil, rich in Omegas 6 and 9, and jojoba oil add softness and shine to hair, while the rosemary extract helps preserve the oils. It is highlighted by an aromated fragrance of sweet orange essential oil.

 

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Despite the Moroccan theme, we had Filipino food.

 

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Loved everything!

 

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Ferdie Salvador, Javi Martinez, Rafa Alunan, Amina Aranaz-Alunan, Tim Yap, Amanda Griffin, me and my mom.

 

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With Amina and Amanda, video by Pam Quinones, editor in chief of L’Oficiel Philippines

 

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The next morning we hit the beach and went snorkeling.

 

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Editors in kaftans and big hats. Inquirer’s Cheche Moral, Town & Country’s Yvette Fernandez, and Philippine Star’s Therese Garceau.

 

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Took a break from snorkeling and soaked up some sun.

 

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Happiness by the sea. Always. I wanted to remember this moment because I used to go scuba diving every weekend. It was one of the reasons I stayed in the Philippines for an extended period. Had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I always feel God’s presence when I am underwater, even if I’m just snorkeling.

 

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We had a nice light lunch back at the beach.

 

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Salad and antipasti

 

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Those artichokes.

 

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After lunch, back to the beach.

 

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The rest of the group went out on the boat again while I stayed behind and went paddle boarding by myself.

 

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Then the boat came to my direction and suddenly I had everyone taking photos of me. Yay. Photo by Pam Quinones.

 

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The reason the boat came my way, it turned out that a resident pawikan (sea turtle) was a spotted near me. So some of the people in our group jumped into the water to look for the turtle. Photo by Pierra Calasanz Labrador

 

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And there he was, the lovely giant sea turtle (pawikan) as captured on video by ABS-CBN’s Marie Lozano. And how’s that for a money shot? That’s me!

 

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Amanpulo is completely surrounded by fine white sand. You can walk around the island!

 

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Even birds leave their footsteps on the sand.

 

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On the night of the relaunch of Kérastase, we were all asked to wear white. The set up was so lovely.

 

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Mom loved all the pretty details…

 

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…beautiful orchids…

 

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And this lovely souvenir. We all got engraved crystal wine glasses.

 

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It was  magical.

 

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Kaila Nicdao of Kérastase

 

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My video campaign was first shown.

 

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It was so lovely being with Amina and my fellow F girl, Amanda.

 

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All of us.

 

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The Kérastase team.

 

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With Nik Pedro and Janlee Dungca

 

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More handwritten notes and special gifts from Kaila Nicdao of Kérastase.

 

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We wrote postcards to home.

 

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It was hard to say goodbye.

 

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On our last morning before we flew back home, my mom woke me up while it was still dark. She said, “Do you want to see the sunrise?” I dragged myself out of bed and went walking with her in the dark. I have photos and videos, and they were pitch black. There was nobody in the beach except us. We didn’t really talk. It was too early. Neither of us had coffee yet. But we just walked side by side until the sun went up. By this time we saw an Amanpulo staff working on a docked boat. And I asked him to take our picture. This has got to be one of my most memorable moments with my mom.

 

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I’m so glad I had spent this time with my mom. In all the years I’ve been living and working in the Philippines, my family rarely gets to see my work. This time, not only did my mom get to come with me to Amanpulo, she saw the relaunch of Kérastase with my video, and experience Kérastase Very Personal Care with me. Photo by Cholo de la Vega

 

 

Dear Traveler

 

 

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It has been a while since I blogged. Instagram has kept us all trapped. So much has happened and it’s already June.

By now you know I hosted a travel series for AirAsia. The videos were shown in the Air Asia Facebook Page. We have recently released our first season’s finale. But I think each destination warrants a separate entry, so I will keep this short.

This one’s a bit more personal — my thoughts on traveling and motherhood. The poem in the end is by AirAsia’s Len Caccam. I think it captured what traveling means to most of us. I hope you like it. I’ve embedded the video in the bottom of this post, but if you can’t see it, just click here.

 

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Red Talks Episode 6 – Destination: FREEDOMShot around the beautiful skyscrapers of Shanghai, the season finale of AirAsia Red Talks with Daphne is an ode to travelers all from all walks of life . This episode has a special message dedicated to travelers that will hopefully inspire them to continue sharing their wonderful journeys. Being a traveler herself, Daphne shares her insights on how traveling has influenced her role as a mother and a travelogue host; and why she believes discovering new places is something a person should strive for. Join us as we cap off this season of AirAsia Red Talks with Daphne.

Dear Traveler, What’s your next destination?

Posted by AirAsia on Saturday, June 3, 2017