Penhaligon’s at Adora



The Penhaligon’s Artemisia my husband gave me.


Last 2012 Christmas, we took our family out of Manila and stayed in a private home in Batangas. There were no resorts in the area. It was very quiet. No Christmas decorations and commercial activities. The only Christmas music we heard was from residents who would drop by and sing carols for us. We celebrated Holy Mass with the seaside community.  We got the pure non-commercial Christmas we’d planned for. We only brought one present each other. The rest of the gifts were left in our house.

The one gift I received was a bottle of Penhaligon’s perfume. My husband chose it for me. It is, to this day, my favourite scent. One word to describe it – powdery. In detail, the top notes are nectarine and green notes; middle notes are green apple, lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, tea, violet and vanilla; base notes are oakmoss, sandalwood, musk and amber. It is so good I sometimes sleep with a spray of Artemisia.


A couple of weeks ago, Lily and I went to the Penhaligon’s boutique inside Adora in Greenbelt 5. I wanted to try out the different scents to see if I was ready for a second bottle.


Penhaligon’s holds two Royal Warrants, a mark of recognition to individuals or companies who have supplied goods or services for at least five years to HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales. Going back to the early years of the company towards the end of Queen Victoria’s reign, William Penhaligon had been appointed Barber and Perfumer to the Royal Court. In 1903 the business was granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Alexandra. Penhaligon’s has two long-standing Royal Warrants from HRH The Prince of Wales (granted in 1988) and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh (granted in 1956.)


The two Royal Warrants are displayed prominently by the company’s logo.


Lily took my picture while I was doing my fragrance profiling with the help of the brand manager.


The two most popular scents in Penhaligon’s at Adora. Endymion for men and Artemisia for women.


penhaligons stuff2
My favourites. All in my wish list – 1. Tea on the Terrace scented candle  2. The miniature fragrance collection from last season contains five  bottles of best-selling fragrances in 5ml. Set includes Gardenia, Ellenisia, Lily of the Valley, Artemisia, and Malabah  3. Tralala is Penhaligon’s newest fragrance inspired by the fantastical universe of designers Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff  4. Lily of the Valley  5. Artemisia  6. Malabah.


This is how small the miniature fragrance is. I love this!


And what the set looks like.


One of the newest scents, Tralala is a beautiful complicated fragrance. I sprayed it on my wrist and I couldn’t stop smelling my wrist all day. Head notes start with Aldehydes, Saffron, Whiskey, Ambrette Seed Butter, Galbanum, Violet Leaf Absolute. Heart notes include Carnation, Leather, Tuberose, Ylang Ylang, Orris, Incense. And base notes are Myrrh Resinoid, Opoponax Absolute, Patchouli, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Heliotrope, Musk Vanilla.


Juniper Sling, Quercus and Endymion are the popular scents for men. But they were created to be enjoyed by both men and women. Of the three I choose Quercus for my husband. And I’d wear Juniper Sling myself.


Some of the many products of Quercus. 1. Hand Wash and Hand and Nail Lotion  2. Deodorant  3. Cologne  4. Fine English Soap. As I mentioned earlier, Quercus is a popular scent for men, but it is also very much enjoyed by women. A very interesting scent, Quercus starts off with “a light burst of citrus and basil, supported by a heart accord of jasmine, cardamom and muguet that is sweet, spiced and supremely delicate. The greenness of basil persists into the surprisingly resilient musk and sandalwood base notes. These are warmed through with moss and patchouli to create elegant, strong and uplifting cologne.”


During my visit, Iris Prima was prominently displayed with a pair of pointe shoes. This new scent is inspired by the world of ballet. And you know me and ballet… love everything about it (shoes, skirts, hair).


I would describe Iris Prima as powdery and floral, hence the name “iris”, with a base of musky leather, vanilla and vetiver. Very sophisticated but not overpowering.


Like Iris Prima, Vaara is also in the family of woody scents. This appeals to both men and women. Vaara starts with a “blend of coriander and carrot seeds, creamy saffron and juicy quince. The heart of Vaara is inspired by the gardens of Balsamand, the Maharaja’s summer palace, with two glorious roses blended with a white note of Indian magnolia, a touch of freesia and a whisper of iris. Vaara’s base notes are a combination of honey, white musks and resins dripping over an aromatic base of tonka, cedarwood and sandalwood.”


Peoneve, a very feminine and floral fragrance.


Blenheim Bouquet is one of Penhaligon’s original scents made by William Penhaligons himself. It is a wonderful mix of citrus oils, spices and woods. It’s hard to believe this was created over a hundred years ago. Blenheim Bouquet is listed under Gentlemen’s department. But as any of Penhaligon’s scents go, this appeals to both men and women.


It goes without saying that one day I’m going to have to buy this for Lily who patiently sat through my afternoon at Adora. It wasn’t a big chore for her though. She loves this kind of world where everything is pretty and floral. She got to sample Lily of the Valley and she was so careful when washing her hands because she wanted to prolong the scent on her wrist. She’s only eight. Oh Lily.


Gardenia. About that grosgrain ribbon… so lovely.


I recommend you go in for a fragrance profiling so you can see the range of scents of Penhaligon’s and find what suits you. It’s a also a good time to go now, to avoid the Christmas rush.


If you can’t commit to a big bottle yet, you can opt for this “Scent Library”. It contains 10 samples of the most popular scents. I think this is great for traveling, actually.


All gift purchases from Penhaligon’s are packaged with a traditional coach man’s knot.


The husband already knows that I am hinting on another bottle. I haven’t made up my mind if I want Iris Prima, Vaara, Tralala or Malabah. Decisions, decisions.



Penhaligon’s is exclusively available in the Philippines at Adora in Greenbelt 5, Makati. For more information



Pilates and me



Pilates square


Those of you who’ve been following and reading me for a while know that I’m not the most athletic person in the world. I often get letters asking what I do to stay fit. The truth was, I’ve been ignoring any form of exercise since Stella was born. So, that’s almost like five years of inactivity! I’ve gotten through life looking thin just by looking thin. I have small bones. By nature, I do not eat desserts. I’ve never been overweight. But lately I’ve been noticing a slump in my posture and a perpetual mound in my belly, not to mention the increase in body fat ratio. Since I do not do sports – I’ve retired from scuba diving, which wasn’t really a sport but a form of recreation – I thought, why not go back to Pilates.

I first started doing Pilates right after Stella was born. My main motivation then was to get back in shape as quickly as possible because I’d be filming a TV commercial five weeks after I gave birth. I’ve tried other gym routines and classes. Pilates was the only form of fitness that worked for me. After I shot the commercial and appeared on the runway for that beauty product, I bought pilates DVDs thinking I’d work out at home. I never did.

Early this year I had a major wake up call. All signs led to my health. Everything else had to take a back seat. Hence, the daily green juicing, more sleep, less meetings, more time to marvel at life, and getting in control of my kitchen and what we eat. I knew I had to have some sort of exercise. So I went back to the pilates studio.

I have found a new home in Options Studio. I’m back with my old pilates instructor, Jerald Jocson. Since April, I’ve committed to twice a week one-hour private sessions. Already though, my body is asking for more. So I may up the sessions to 3x a week.

The universe must have been convinced that I was serious about committing to pilates that the owners of Options Studio asked me to be their ambassador! I’m far from being an expert in pilates but I am so convinced that this is my form of exercise for life. Since I restarted I have found my inner balance again. I am centred not just physically but even emotionally. My posture has improved. I am conscious of my muscles, and my body is retraining them to contract in the right places. I feel taller and longer. I sleep better. And that crazy condition on my neck (myofascial pain syndrome) is starting to feel better.



I love being at Options Studio early in the morning. It helps kick start my day.


Every day is a learning experience. My pilates journey is a constant learning process.


I know what it’s like to be “busy.” I had to deal with erratic work schedules, commitments at my kids’ schools, and mommy pick-up duties at dismissal. I never had time for pilates. But now I found a way – and my schedule just opened up. If I can commit to my daily devotionals and meditation, my regular dermatologist visits, our doctor visits, I can commit to regular exercise. I also got rid of mommy guilt – that awful feeling when all you want to do is rush home and be with the kids because being away from them is not something good mothers do. That is just a useless thought. So I got rid of that. It is very important for mothers to take care of ourselves first before we can take care of our families.

Here’s why I love pilates –

Modern Pilates is designed to strengthen postural and core muscles and to create proper patterns of movement. This gives your body the correct alignment which in turn enables better function during any other activities you perform whether it’s sporting pursuits or just day-to-day things like sitting at a computer.

Having a strong core and postural muscles means that you don’t get tired as much during everyday activities and your back is less likely to get injured.

While practicing modern Pilates as taught at Options Studio your breathing is used in a natural way to encourage proper activation of the deep core muscles in the way that medical science tells us they are meant to be used.

The movements in Pilates are done in a controlled and stable manner and stretches are maintained with muscles still active to protect all the body’s joints. These exercises can be done on a thick mat which protects the spine or on specialised equipment. Small props are used for modifying the exercises to make them easier or harder depending on individual ability.



Photo by Lilen Uy


Photo by Lilen Uy


Options Studio’s Ole Eugenio, Trina Cancio and Lyd de Roca.


With Ole and Lyd at Options Studio Fort.


Here are some photos of the Options Studio team. I hope the next photos I do will have poses as complicated as these. One day I will get there… slowly but surely.










Click here for the different Pilates classes offered at all four Options Studio branches in Manila. I’d love to see you, my readers at one of the Options Studio branches. Say hi if you see me.

Salcedo village: 553-3314 / 585-1404 / 0917-874-6888
The Fort: 403-7154 / 0917-542-0460
Greenhills: 623-8449 / 0917-890-3229
Podium: 695-3263 / 0917-529-3307

I’m thinking about…



july anthro collage


01 I’m loving pleated dresses this moment. And this one with its gorgeous floral print is just perfect. Meadowlight Dress from Anthropologie.

02 Another flash sale. This time from One King’s Lane. Whenever you see a sterling silver anything at a yard sale, don’t think. Just buy it. As long as it’s sterling silver and not just plated. This is extra lovely as it stands on 4 legs. Vintage Sterling Silver Mini Pot Used to be $225 now $79.00 for a couple of day only.

03 Riding on the trend started by Dior, Bauble Bar has its own line of 360 stud earrings. This has the arrow point design. Check out their site to see the spherical versions as well. Pave Stud 360 Studs.

04 Adorable umbrellas with pet silhouettes. I particularly love this one from San Francisco Umbrella Company – “Dog Park” Welsh Corgi Umbrella $25.90 (regularly $40.00) Link closing in 1 day.

05 A perfect combination – carved wood and delicate glass. Wood & Glass Pedestal Plate w/ Dome from One Kings Lane $59.00 (originally $140.00). Hurry because OKL doesn’t keep their items posted for long.

06  India, particularly the Rajasthan area, is one place I vow I should return to. I loved everything – the architecture, history, culture, textiles, jewellery. I’m glad I splurged a little while I was there and bought me some fine jewellery. This particular piece is a beautiful take on Indian jewellery by Amrita Singh. Maharaja “Nadra” 18K 22.00 ct. tw. Turquoise Enhancer It is currently 65% off in Rue La La. For two days only.

07 We are redecorating our home office to make room for the kids’ study area. I’m thinking, something like this would do the job. I like that it folds up. Retractable Writing Desk from Anthropologie.

08 I’ve always been a fan of chunky rings and gem stones. Here’s a good deal from Rue La La. Ippolita “Modern Rock Candy” 18K 14.00 cttw. Gemstone Ring on flash sale at Rue La La for $1,199.90 (original price $3,000.00). Link valid til July 3, 2014.

Palmolive Naturals Body Wash



Palmolive Naturals Body Wash Product Shot 1
Palmolive Naturals now comes in a body wash with long-lasting fragrances. Its formula, infused with 100% natural ingredients, helps moisturize and care for skin to make it feel softer and smoother. And get this, it is 100% soap free, pH balanced and dermatologically-tested.


A couple of weeks ago, I was invited by Palmolive to meet their celebrity-endorser at the launch of their new product, Palmolive Body Wash. The event was a lovely, intimate gathering with some media guests and bloggers. The celeb endorser just happens to be one of the biggest stars today – Angel Locsin.


We’ve all heard how lovely and nice Angel is. And she truly is. We had a brief chat about The Legal Wife. The night before the Palmolive event, ABS-CBN aired the nasty confrontation scene between Monica and Nicole (Yes, I watch sometimes. Haha.) Angel told me that it was hard to shoot that scene because it was actually her birthday and she was not allowed to be happy. That scene was cray.


In real life Angel is not a woman scorned. She is not angry nor sad. She is just happy and nice. To everyone. And she bathes in Palmolive Naturals Body Wash. Check out her new TV commercial below.


Do you recognize the “I can feel it” line? Angel certainly gives it her own imprint.


We got to sample all three scents/variants at the event and at home.


Ultra Moisture is infused with 100% natural milk proteins and olive extracts to condition and moisturize skin. Soft Moisture is infused with 100% natural milk proteins and honey extracts. Honey is known to deeply cleanse and moisturize your skin while it wraps you in a soft milk and honey fragrance. Calming Moisture is infused with 100% natural milk proteins and cherry blossom extracts.


Patty Laurel, Kelly Misa and I and our brief meet and greet with Angel. Shortly after this we were all treated to a wonderful spa treatment.


Then it made sense why the Palmolive Naturals Body Wash launch was held at The Spa at Shangrila Plaza.


I was given a dry massage at The Spa.


But before that I had a quick shower and tried Soft Moisture, which is the milk & honey scent. Then the attendant gave me a hot foot soak using more of the same product. Then I don’t remember what happened. I fell asleep because I was so relaxed.


Palmolive Naturals Body Wash with Angel 1


For more information on Palmolive Naturals, check out their Facebook Page.



Agatha Ruiz de la Prada





And just like that, Philippine summer is almost over. And soon, it’s “back to school.” I had a head start with my kids’ school bags and pencil cases. Last year, they had the Romero Britto Collection from National Book Store. Now we’re all about the Agatha Ruiz de la Prada Collection.

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada is a Spanish fashion designer which became known through her unmistakable hearts, clouds and flowers designs. She has brought a breath of fresh air making bold use of colors in her designs and projects.

Under the premiere stationery brand Miquelrius from Spain, the Agatha Ruiz de la Prada Collection includes two vibrant themes—orange flower and pink heart designs. Each set displays bold colors and patterns. The collection is comprised of stationery items such as spiral notebooks in A4, A5, A6 and A7 sizes, mini notebooks, notepads, ring binders with “O” and “D”-shaped rings, and folder with flaps, and travel accessories such as backpack, messenger bag, shoulder bag, pouches and mini cylindrical pouches.

The Agatha Ruiz de la Prada Collection is exclusively available in selected National Book Store branches. Shop online at Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for updates on the latest events, promos and contests.