Why gut health is important



lifescience tileLifeScience Center for Health and Wellness. They’re no stranger to me. I’ve done the Food Intolerance Test years ago. And I’ve hosted a segment for them during ICanServe Foundation’s annual breast cancer awareness events.

Because we were (and still are more or less) on lockdown, we did everything digitally. I was so pleased with the entire process of testing and online consultations especially since I am still not comfortable going out to public places. Each consultation was a learning experience. Because of what I learned about nutrition and gut health, I have read more about the subject. My supplements are specifically targeted to my needs — no more guessing about what vitamin or mineral I need. And to top it all off I was able to get an Immunity Booster supplement… something I know we all need now.

Here’s my diary of my wellness and nutrition journey with LifeScience.


It started with a phone call and online consultation with a medical doctor and nutritionist with LifeScience.


My Doctor, Denise Herrera-Lavilles, MD, FPCP walked me through the process. Told me what to expect – blood tests, analysis of reports, a 3-week elimination diet, a food and nutrition plan after the Elimination Diet, culminating with her prescription for my supplements specifically targeted to meet my needs. Dr Denise is a medical doctor specializing in Internal Medicine, focusing on health promotion and disease prevention for adults. I loved talking with her.


After my online consultations with Dr Denise, LifeScience scheduled my blood extraction. We were still in ECQ then, so we had to wait for the next phase of quarantine when people were allowed to move around. This was when I had my blood extraction in my garage at home. LifeScience came to take a few blood samples for my Food Intolerance Test, FABER Food Allergy Test, and Vitamin D test.


The medical attendants were geared with masks and safety measures. They were the first people I’ve seen outside my bubble. This was in June 2020.


Why I did the LifeScience programs

I have always been conscious about our nutrition, level of exercise, and overall well-being especially during quarantine time. I’m pretty religious with our annual medical exams. But this was the first time I’m consulted a nutritionist and functional medicine doctor.

I was pleased that I seemed to already be on the right track with my nutrition, pilates, spirituality, and over all optimistic mindset. I am even conscious about my sleep quality. But of course there were some tweaks to be made with my diet. They set me up with an Elimination Diet based on the Food Intolerance Test. It’s basically a tool to see how your body reacts or improves with the elimination of certain foods. In my case, I had specific issues and symptoms I wanted to understand. Others have hormonal imbalance, skin reactions, weight, bloatedness, migraines, low energy etc., which can be addressed through a dietary approach.

We all have different goals. Mine wasn’t particularly weight loss but I wanted to know what caused some inflammation, bloating, and other allergies I thought I had (but had not yet confirmed). These tests will further assist my doctor and nutritionist to see if I am eating the right kinds of food to optimize my nutrition.


The result of my Food Intolerance Test came out as couple of weeks after blood extraction. The FABER Food Allergy test took longer. This was just the first page of my food intolerance test just to give you an idea. Please note that this does not mean I am allergic to the food identified as red. The red flags were the items I had to eliminate from my diet for three weeks. Forever, if you want. But I just committed to three weeks.


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After I got the results of my Food Intolerance Test, I spent some time online with the nutritionist from LifeScience who analyzed my results. It makes a huge difference getting this kind of support from a licensed nutritionist. This way, I didn’t just focus on what I should eliminate from my diet, but I was also able to take advantage of the food items that are good for me. I loved the personalized nutritional plans she made for me, especially the recipes!


The Food Intolerance Test is different from a food allergy test. Food intolerance doesn’t always manifest in immediate symptoms and it may not be life threatening. But knowing your food intolerance can help you avoid potential health issues in the future.


Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 11.12.36 AMWe all know about our “gut feeling”, “gut instinct”, or “gut reaction”. 70-80% of our immune system is located in our gut. So what we put in our gut matters.


The Elimination Diet

The biggest challenge for me during the three week period was eliminating gluten, rice, and dairy. I was already eating brown rice and adlai for years. I am naturally not attracted to sugar. I love vegetables, to the point that I have been growing veggies at home for years. And my body doesn’t react well to dairy milk, so I drink almond milk. But I love cheese too much. So after the 3 week period, cheese is back in my life. Oops.

July was actually the best time to do the Elimination Diet. I welcomed it because honestly, after 100 days of being home and eating all that bread and sugar, I knew I had to get healthy again.

I did well and felt the positive effect halfway through. I didn’t feel bloated. I felt lighter. I slept better.

Still I wondered about my food allergies. I come from a family with severe food allergies. So much so, that my sister Pauline has become one of Canada’s biggest proponent of food allergy safety. She has an allergy-safe restaurant in Toronto. More on that in another post.

Since I had been reacting violently to certain food (namely shellfish and farmed fish), I swore I knew I was allergic to them. They have not been in my diet since 2013. Then the result of my FABER Food Allergy Test came in…


FABER Food Allergy Test

The results of my food allergy test came in. And it totally surprised me.


I finally figured out what I am allergic and not allergic to. All along I thought I had food allergies because of some severe reactions. But based on my FABER Allergy Test, my allergies are all environmental and not dietary. And to top it all off, I have very minimal reaction to the items I am officially allergic to. Wow!

The FABER allergy test measures specific antibodies against bacteria, viruses, and allergens. It uses molecular allergens and allergen extracts using only minimal blood samples from the patient.

Because I also took the Food Intolerance Test and had undergone an Elimination Diet as well, we were able to zero in on inflammatory food that affects me specifically. Now I can really address my digestive issues. And my favourite part of all this, my supplements were specifically targeted to my needs.


After consultations and analysis of my tests, I got my supplements delivered to me by LifeScience. Dietary Enzymes are specifically for my digestive system based on antibodies and deficiencies measured by blood tests at LifeScience. Immuni-3 is a combination of Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and Zinc to boost my immunity especially during this time.


Supplements from LifeScience.


For more information on LifeScience Center, check out their website www.lifescience.ph, follow them on Instagram @lifesciencephil, and on Facebook LifeScience Center for Health and Wellness. You may inquire about the same tests I’ve done. You may also book your home-service blood extraction.

LifeScience Center for Health and Wellness: 8th Floor, ACCRALAW Tower, 30th Street corner 2nd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, 1634, Metro Manila.



Inspired gifts from UNICEF





During my travels with UNICEF I have personally seen how therapeutic food helped malnourished children get back to health, and how hygiene supplies made a difference for those displaced during typhoons, so your gift can truly touch a child in need especially this holiday season.


This is a Tippy-Tap, a makeshift hand-washing station. We encourage and remind children to wash their hands using soap and water before meals and every time they use the toilets. This is one of the easiest ways to control the spread of infections (and germs). This was taken in Tacloban, months after Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan hit.


It is important for children to play and be in child-friendly spaces after a traumatic emergency situation. This was taken in a make-shift daycare centre in Barangay Boston, Davao Oriental, three months after Typhoon Pablo struck. I remember being so touched by these two brothers. Older brother held and protected his little brother even as they walked home.


School children in a crowded classroom in Davao Oriental after Typhoon Pablo struck in 2012. Most of the schools were destroyed. Through the government and partner organizations, UNICEF helps set up the kids to resume their education as soon as it is safe.


Unicef in Sarangani - Aug 2010<
One of my most memorable visits, I believe in 2010. We went to Sarangani province and visited areas affected by armed conflict. I spoke to mothers in many communities, and encouraged them to continue exclusively breastfeeding their infants until 6 months, and complementary feeding until 2 years and beyond.


Not all my travels took me to far away places, some were right here in Metro Manila At one of the biggest public schools in the country, in Quezon City.


Every time I post stories about my volunteer work with UNICEF around the Philippines, I often get messages asking how they, too, can help. I am so happy to share that this Christmas you can help and be involved with UNICEF directly.

I know how it is to stress out over finding the right gifts. Every year I always promise to be more organized, but it never happens. I often find myself cramming in the malls or in online shops days before the big day. This time, I have found the best, easiest, most impactful gift you can give.

Here is a way for people to donate and dedicate an Inspired Gift for children in need. While you give your donation, you will be able to send a virtual Christmas gifts to your  to your colleagues, friends, or family. The gifts range from Php300 to Php 2,500 which include school and hygiene supplies, medicines and treatments for children who suffer from malnutrition, as well as seminars and training materials to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation. Upon making their donation, the recipient of the Inspired Gift receives a personalized e-card from the sender.


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Make this the most meaningful Christmas yet! On behalf of your family and friends, give a UNICEF Inspired Gift to a Filipino child in need.

Shop for gifts that give back at https://inspiredgifts.unicef.ph

It will be the best Christmas gift they never got!


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



100 Years of American Express in the Philippines



Concert program 1


Last October 8, I had the honour of attending a special gathering in celebration of the 100th year of American Express in the Philippines, at the Forbes Ballroom of Conrad Manila. It was a very elegant dinner that culminated with a musical concert treat complete with the country’s top performers and a stunning big band. The event was attended by a select group of American Express Cardmembers.


Bathroom selfie at the Conrad Hotel before getting to the American Express 100 Years celebration, with BDO. Dress from @k_and_company, hair and makeup by me, complete with lashes again.
I flew solo and I felt silly posing in public by myself. So what’s a girl to do? A selfie in the Conrad’s grand bathroom, with game face on.


Table setting 2
I loved the understated elegance of the table setting.


US beef tenderloin with roasted carrots and mizuna mash


The AMP Band by Mel Villena


Toast with Executives
(L-R) Sharon P Chew, Vice President of Regional Product, Marketing & Business Development, Asia, American Express; Sanjiv Malhotra, Vice President and General Manager, Partner Card Services, Asia, American Express; Y C Koh, President, Asia, American Express International, Inc., Teresita Sy-Coson, Chairperson of BDO Unibank, Inc., Rolando C. Tanchanco, Executive Vice President of BDO Unibank, Inc. and Consumer Lending Group Head, Ma. Nannette R. Regala, Senior Vice President of BDO Unibank, Inc. and Consumer Lending Group Marketing Head


Y C Koh, President, Asia, American Express International, Inc., in his address said, “I’m proud to join our long-term partner BDO and our Cardmembers to celebrate American Express’ 100th year in the Philippines tonight. I want to give special thanks to our partners and our customers for their trust and support over the past century. American Express’ aim is to be the world’s most respected service brand, and we look forward to working with BDO to deliver a world-class experience to our customers as we enter our second century.”


RCT & Y C Koh
Y C Koh with Rolando C. Tanchanco


100 Years of American Express Heritage Panels
The centennial celebration gave us a chance to look back at milestones from the opening of the first American Express Asia office in 1916, to the strategic partnership forged with BDO in 2007.


AMEX-Platinum-Card (IDC)


American Express was the first in the world to introduce a Platinum Card. It made its debut in 1984 as an elite product. The Platinum Card® was offered to existing high spending customers by invitation only. It was labeled the “ultimate plastic” by one newspaper because of its exclusive and valuable benefits. In 1999, the Platinum Card was introduced in the Philippines. Today it continues to evolve with the changing premium marketplace, making it one of the most desired Cards in the market.

And during the 100 Years of American Express Gala, another highlight was the unveiling of the revitalized Platinum Card.

Designed for the affluent, seasoned travelers and their families, the iconic Platinum Card offers better travel experiences and a world of rewards and benefits for its Cardmembers. Platinum Cardmembers can now enjoy enhanced benefits such as:

  • Complimentary business class companion tickets when they fly with Philippine Airlines.
  • Privileged access to more than 900 lounges across more than 120 countries at Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club and American Express Lounges.
  • Automatic enrollment into elite membership status of prestigious hotel loyalty programs such as Shangri-La Golden Circle, Hilton HHonors and Club Carlson. Exclusive hotel privileges with the uniquely created Fine Hotels & Resorts program. Cardmembers will also enjoy exclusive complimentary benefits such as room upgrade upon arrival, daily breakfast for two, in-room Wi-Fi, early check-in, late check-out and a special amenity at each property.
  • A US$200 travel voucher welcome gift for use on your next getaway to purchase air ticket, book a stay, or upgrade your tour package.
  • Complimentary Meet and Assist Services for departure and arrival at NAIA Terminals 1 & 3 and at Davao and Clark International Airports.

BDO, the exclusive card-issuing and merchant-acquiring bank partner of American Express in the country, will continue to launch special promotional offers for Cardmembers throughout the celebration of American Express’ centennial year.


My personal highlight was my encounter with the Chairperson of BDO Unibank, Inc. Teresita Sy-Coson



After the formalities and dinner, we were entertained by an impressive musical concert by Cris Villonco, Bituin Escalante, Charito, Mon David, the AMP band by Mel Villena, Yuki Arimasa, Kengo Nakamura and Juasa Kanoh with a medley of musical performances spanning different decades.

The theme was “Pop Meets Big Band Jazz”, the performers went through musical periods like the 1920’s to 1930’s where music expressed a new freedom and a very sexy rebellion by the likes of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. In the 1940’s to 1950’s big band jazz became the pulsing sound of the mainstream with the talents becoming superstars of the era like Cole Porter, Glenn Miller, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis. The 1960’s to 1970’s was all about the youth quake and freedom in fashion and lifestyles. Jazz may have taken a back seat but still shone through Motown, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Sarah Vaughan. The 1980s to 1990s pop songs reflected cool, calm, collected jazz songs from Lou Rawls, Wynton Marsalis and Michael Jackson. The special show ended with the present era of songs by Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson, and Pharell Williams.


Concert Artists 2
Charito, Mon David, Cris Villonco, and Bituin Escalante.


Mon David
Mon David


Cris Villonco
Cris Villonco


Yuki Arimasa
Yuki Arimasa






Melissa shoes



My girls and I, wearing Melissa shoes. And like always, they are wearing Gingersnaps clothes.


I was organizing our closets and found some shoes that my kids have outgrown. I always get sad when I realize how fast they are growing. Luckily, we love hand-me-downs, so it just goes down the line. A staple in our shoe closet is the brand Melissa. They’re so much fun – with their cute styles and interesting colours. But they are also very comfortable, and perfect for our tropical lifestyle.


This is Stella’s favourite character – Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland. Unfortunately she has outgrown the baby set and none of these fit her.


I love this Alice in Wonderland style.


01 Mini Aranha VIII Popsicle, 02 Mini Furadinha VII Pineapple, 03 Mini Ballet, 04 Mini Campana


05 Mini Ultragirl Sweet, 06 Darth Vader


My choice this season, Melissa Lady Love Ad.


New High is a comfy, padded, elevated flipflop.


Huarache, a modern take on a classic, is a nice gently platformed sandal.


Check out Melissa Philippines on Facebook for more styles. You can also buy Melissa online here.