I had the pleasure of being invited to the recently-concluded Madrid Fusion Manila courtesy of La Espanola Olive Oil.
Considered to be the oldest olive oil company in Spain, La Espanola prides itself for having the widest collection of olive oils in the market.
As a health nut (or trying to be a health nut), I have always looked for ways to make the food that I eat tastier and healthier. One of these hacks is to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for frying and as the perfect dressing for salads. I find that La Espanola has the bitter-sweet distinct taste that is not so common in other brands.
What makes La Espanola Olive Oil healthy is the presence of polyphenols which contributes to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress; and oleic acids which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.
For Madrid Fusion Manila, La Espanola brought in Chef Xavier Btesh, the genius behind the kitchen of some of Manila’s hottest hotels and restaurants. A health aficionado, Chef Btesh showed clever ways to prepare a Medittarenean dish Tabouleh using San Remo Couscous, La Espanola Olive Oil and the choicest tomatoes, raisins and cucumber. As a fan of couscous, this was an immediate favorite.
While the tried and tested way of preparing couscous is to soak it in hot water, Chef Btesh showed an alternative way using only olive oil and lemon juice.
Next in line is Chef Btesh’ homemade Mayo using only mustard and olive oil while the finale was the Olive Oil infused vanilla ice cream which was a hit among the media and guests present during the demo.
Using La Espanola olive oil made a lot of difference. For one, the flavors are more refreshing, heightening the freshness and taste of the individual ingredients.
La Espanola shares the following tips on choosing your olive oil:
Always go Extra – extra virgin olive oils retain more polyphenol because they are mechanically extracted.
Olive oil bottles should be dark to shield the oil away from light and protect the special nutrients present in the olive oil
The best way to check the olive oil is to smell and taste it.
La Espanola Etra Virgin Olive Oil comes in three flavors, basil, garlic and lemon. Available in all supermarkets and groceries nationwide.
There is a reason why the word, “toxic” exists and why it’s use to connote a punishing schedule, non-existent work life balance, less-than-ideal relationships and even a general outlook in life.
For some demented reason, my generation has made the word toxic like a badge of honor; to connote that you have so many things happening in your life and you can’t help but to be in the middle of it.
But what will you do when you are given the option to disconnect from it all. Will you take it?
This is the premise I had to face when I received the invitation to spend the weekend at Mt. Purro Nature Reserve, a promising new vacation resort hidden in the foothills of Mt. Purro in Antipolo, Rizal.
The 36-hectare family-owned forest resort boasts of well-maintained cabins, it’s very own swimming pool, forest trails where guests are encouraged to commune with nature, home-cooked meals lovingly prepared by the family matriarch , a mini zip line and other nature-based activities including an experiential encounter with the Dumagat community which calls Mt. Purro and the surrounding mountains home.
I will not lie. I was stuck with a very bad case of cabin fever when I first arrived. To put it bluntly, my too wired body was looking for something to do – there was no TV, or radio or even data connection so I can’t really tinker with my phone. With no other thing to do, I slept. And slept. And slept, giving me the best sleep that I had in a while. Maybe it’s the fact that nothing was screeching, ringing or even beeping to interrupt sleep; surrounded by the cool breeze, I was like a baby being lulled to sleep by the chirping of the birds and the soft swaying of the trees. When I woke up, it’s like six years of my punishing schedule was erased by a single nap.
While today’s wired world pushes vacation houses and resorts to have that wifi connection and have all the trappings of technology; Mt. Purro Nature Reserve prides itself of being off the grid. Disconnect to Connect, the resort’s founder and the family patriarch Toti Malvar proudly shared and espoused with glee. Vacations were supposed to be about moments and memories shared with friends and family: catch up with friends, talk to your loved ones, commune with Nature, and more importantly renew your relationship with God.
Mt. Purro Nature Reserve maintains an array of beautifully maintained cottages sprinkled along the vast property, which can accommodate from 6 to groups of 12 or more.
The cottages all have the comfort of spending your time in peace: soft mattresses, with pillows and sheets; two bathrooms, with one located inside one of the bedrooms and another on the living room area; the rooms have electric fans and doesn’t need air conditioning due to the open layout of the cottages with their large windows protected by netting to let the air in and keep the insects at bay.
Each cottage is large, with enough space to sprawl on the floor (if you want to), it also has a dedicated space for reading as the window doubles as a love seat-slash-sleeping area.
Here’s what’s not available: there’s no TV, much less cable access. If you want to spend the week bingeing on your favorite shows, you have to download ahead and bring your laptop with you. Of course, there’s no WIFI and there’s no phone signal. If you are a SMART/TNT subscriber then you have a sliver of hope of even reaching the outside world; if you are on GLOBE, like I am, congratulations – you may now consider your phone as a very expensive paperweight or at most, a portable camera.
But let me tell you something – having no access to the wired world made me more appreciative of the peace and quiet that MPNR has to offer. I recommend you bring a good book to read, or start on that journal you were hoping to work on. Bottom line – there’s a lot to do even without technology.
We can’t deny it. While food at large hotels and resorts can be always sumptuous, however nothing beats a home cooked meal.
MNPR offers home cooked meals lovingly prepared by the matriarch of the family, Ms. Baby Malvar lovingly referred to as “Loli” by her family and us too.
The mess hall, often referred to LOLI’s KITCHEN, serves meals for all those who stay at MPNR. Since cooking is not recommended during overnight stays, meals can be arranged at the mess hall where healthy and sumptuous meals are served. Loli sources her ingredients in the resort’s surrounding areas like the greens and fruits served in the buffet; otherwise, Loli plans her meal offerings from what’s available at Farmer’s Market in Cubao where she sources ingredients that are not available in the self sufficient community.
Both healthy and delicious – we indulged on the sumptuous spread prepared by Loli. As a testament on how fresh and how yummy the food were: I was tempted and finally tried eating variations of dishes that I always steered away from, like Pakó Salad, a mix of fresh pakó which a fern-like vegetable variety with onions and plump tomatoes; as well as Indonesian Talong Salad, which was a dish Loli learned from one of her travels.
And oh, always try their coffee. It’s to die for. I was told that the beans were harvested from the surrounding mountains.
The meals, whether plated or from the buffet, can be arranged at the reception area when you arrive. Because the management is making sure that the cottages will continue to be clean and insect free, cooking is discouraged. You are allowed though to bring chips and snacks but full meals has to be ordered in-house.
Other fun activities that you can do while at MPNR include:
Have a full body massage scheduled, you have the option of having your massage at their massage hut (P350) or at the comfort of your own room (P500).
Like all the grounds and kitchen staff, MPNR employs certified and trained therapists from the surrounding Dumagat community so by staying at the resort, you are not only enjoying yourself but also helping the Dumagats have a sustainable livelihood.
Take a trek at Kabunsuran Falls – a highlight of the trip for me. Though, be forewarned – the water pressure from the falls during summer is just so-so, and hardly impressive. You also need to prepare yourself for a very arduous trek going down (and then up) to see the falls. Note that Kabunsuran Falls is outside MPNR, however they always assign a guide when you do want to explore. Instead of opting to go there via a 30-minute walk from the resort, ride the trike (P40) the rest of the way and save the trekking for the dirt road leading to the falls – trust me, you will thank me for it.
While hiking at Kabunsuran Falls, I was reminded of the cheap iced buco of my childhood and was bemoaning of the fact that I can no longer buy it in Makati. Guess who we encountered on the trek back from the Falls: an iced buco vendor:
Take a trek around MPNR – now is your chance to recall high school biography and see if you can identify the many tree and plant species surrounding the resort as part of the nature reserve. You can opt for the services of an experienced guide when you book through the resort’s reception area.
Meet and Dine with the Dumagats – another trip highlight and cannot be missed. The Dumagats are the indigenous community that call Mt. Purro and the surrounding mountains home. For years, they have also helped Tito Toti and Loli as the couple worked tirelessly for nature conservation.
To help the Dumagats earn extra livelihood, they were invited by the Malvars to be part of the “back to basics” advocacy of MPNR by doing cooking demos with the guests. The Dumagats use bamboo as their means to cook rice and viands, and even demonstrates starting fire without using matches or lighters. They also make a mean version of sinigang na baboy, which was a sure hit to us the guests.
Aside from these, there is also a game room where guests can opt for a game of billiards, fooseball or table tennis. Please note that hourly charges apply.
For those who want to cool off, MPNR also maintains a swimming pool with a great view of the surrounding mountains and forests. Beside the pool is camp site for guests who opt to sleep on tents.
MPNR is a testament that like the Malvars, it is possible to have time to recharge and have fun while appreciating love nature. Honestly, after about 30 minutes of moping because i don’t have Internet or data connection, I decided to turn off my phone and in the process, forgot about it. I had so much fun just enjoying the surroundings and the company I keep.
That type of connection is something no wifi signal can give.
Interested to stay at MPNR? Contact them via their Facebook page: Mt. Purro Nature Reserve. The resort is still fixing it’s website so inquiries can be directed at the FB page. They strongly encourage visitors to reserve before going to the resort.
My stay at MPNR is upon invitation of the resort. The views and opinions indicated on this piece is mine alone.
Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center (GAOC), the leading dental clinic in the Philippines, and one of the best in South East Asia, is expanding its world-class dental services to the Queen City of the South with the opening of its 6th branch at the SM Seaside City Cebu.
With prime location, Cebuano can now have access to the highest standards in dental care with GAOC’s state-of-the-art equipment and highly skilled and experienced dental practitioners who have completed their training in top-notch hospitals, universities, and global institutions in the US, Europe, and Asia. The clinic’s signature elegant and inviting ambiance also makes any patient feel welcomed and relaxed.
Founded by Dr. Steve Mark Gan, GAOC takes pride in its unparalleled excellence in oral care including oral diagnostics, surgical procedures, dental implantology, and jaw reconstruction. His acumen for world-class dental treatments and top-notch customer service has led him to become the choice of celebrities, politicians, diplomats, and socialites.
We are all guilty of abusing our eyes. In fact, I am one of the guilty ones. From the stressful work activities that led me to be always in front of the computer screen to the constant addition to gadgets, it is safe to say that my eyes has been through much already.
It doesn’t help that Summer is just around the corner: Best known as the season of glare-related eyestrain where you experience stinging of the eyes because of too much concentrated sunlight.
While light is an essential part of daily life – helping you see, regulating your body clock, and even providing you with much-needed Vitamin D – too much of it can cause painful eye conditions, including eyelid twitches, eye pain and extreme sensitivity to bright light. In severe cases, overexposure can permanently damage your central vision. Harmful blue light from artificial sources such as electronic devices causes retinal cell degeneration, while ultra-violet radiation from the sun contributes to the development of cataracts.
“Everyone, no matter the age or gender, should protect their eyes daily from bad effects of excessive exposure to light,” shares Dr. Emelita Roleda, Essilor Philippines general manager. “The effects of overexposure to UV rays and harmful blue-violet light may only be visible during adulthood, when vision problems like Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) set in, so we highly advice the Filipino public to take preventive measures against them.”
Essilor, the world’s leading ophthalmic optics company, has come up with a solution that protects vision: Crizal® Prevencia multi-coated lenses, which selectively filters bad blue light and lets in essential good light needed for well-being.
“Essilor has undergone a rigid and thorough process in the creation of Crizal® Prevencia,” explains Dr. Roleda. “Its advanced light scan technology enables us to protect our eyes from irreversible eye conditions which threaten healthy vision.”
In addition to using Crizal® Prevencia lenses, she highly advices proper eye care. “Start by getting a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year,” she says. “Your eye doctor can determine the present condition of your eyes and help you take preventive or protective measures regarding possible vision problems.”
Another way to reduce the risk of eyestrain is taking frequent breaks from reading or monitor use, shares Dr. Roleda.
Lastly, she gives some sound sartorial advice when outdoors: “This summer, load your eyeglasses with Crizal® Prevencia lenses containing E-SPF 25. Then, pair your glasses with a nice hat or a sturdy umbrella.”
Indeed, eyesight is among the most important senses, but it receives less care than it deserves. By reducing strain, limiting exposure to harmful light, and making use of eyewear like Crizal® Prevencia lenses, you can protect your eyes all day long and ensure many more years of healthy vision.
Learn more about Crizal® Prevencia by visiting your eye doctor or leading optical shop nationwide, or by logging on to http://www.essilor.com.ph.
I don’t have kids yet but we have one precious princess at home, my niece PennyLane who pretty much holds all of us like putty into her little hands.
Like all little girls, PennyLane loves her shoes and probably inherited her crazy auntie’s (ehem) love of boots and candy colored flip flops.
What this little munchkin couldn’t probably resist is Banana Peel’s latest Hopscotch Collection for kids. The Hopscotch collection is all about fun as kids get to choose from a variety of bright colors (Knucklebones/Mustard Yellow, Spud/Black, Simon Says/Bezique Green and Cariboo/Pink) to match their personalities and energy. Kids are always up for excitement and adventure and Hopscotch flip flops are designed to go along with them, wherever they go.
And colors are not just for fun, they also play a big role in a child’s development. Specific colors can affect a child’s mood, behavior, body movement and speech. The development of character and intelligence of children can be attributed partly to how colors are used in their environment while they are growing up.
The colors blue, pink, yellow and green especially affect a child’s cognitive skills and inspire happiness in them because the colors align with their energy and desire for a playful interaction. Each color have different reactions to children: Blue, the color of the sky, stimulates a cool and relaxing environment. Yellow reminds them of sunshine—the color of happiness. Green is for summer and nature— a color that invigorates and recharges them. Lastly, pink is said to attribute calmness and kindness, to ease agitated kids. Knowing how colors affect them can go a long way in raising positive, loving children, especially when shown alongside love and kindness from the people around them.
I don’t know about the other mommies out there, but our PennyLane has become very independent at the age of two. Lately she has been taken into choosing her own footwear of her own. She will surely love the candy-colored hues of the new Hopscotch collection.
Banana Peel’s flip flops are not only colorful, but they are also lightweight and safe for people of all ages. These flip flops are perfect to wear indoors and outdoors — be it for a day at the beach, or just out on the sidewalk for an everyday stroll.
What do you remember when you hear the word, SPAM (R)?
More often than not, you’d remember chunky, juicy meats cut into thick slabs and fried into crispy perfection. It will be either sandwiched between a piping hot pan de sal or monay; or served with sunny side-up eggs and garlicky siningag. For Pinoys, SPAM (R), in its fancy packaging, evokes memories of balikabayan boxes, fancy supermarkets and PX goodies in Subic where people hoard SPAM (R) in boxes. Truly, it has become a staple in every kitchen and every pantry of Pinoy families.
Suffice to say, it is safer to assume that everyone loves SPAM. But did you know that you can prepare your favorite SPAM anyway you like it – chop it, slice it, fry it, or bake it. Or if you’re feeling extra adventurous why not make SPAM sisig?
Personally, I love my SPAM (Classic!) as SPAM (R) MUSUBI, lying on a bed of hot vinegared rice and wrapped in nori strip. Yum.
To further introduce this yummy wonder to the public, SPAM recently embarked on a massive campaign, starting with a grand launch held at Glorietta Activity Center in Makati, which highlights helping its loyal Pinoy following find ways to enjoy their SPAM (R) through a cooking demo by Chef Sherwin Tee. Showcased during the event are some easy Filipino recipes like SPAM (R) Tokwa’t Baboy and Sisig, and even international fares like SPAM (R) Fried Rice and SPAM (R) Tacos.
A touching part of the program is when SPAM (R) presented Children’s Hour with a check worth PHP100,000, which came from the proceeds of sales of the Make a Hero SPAMWICH.
But the highlight, undoubtedly, is the launch of SPAM’s very own boy band, ALL4SPAM (TM). The four member group sung and danced their way to the heart of the many event attendees for their playful personalities.
Members are SUPREEZY, the bad boy who loves his SPAM (R) Hot & Spicy; MAD MIC, the good ball who can’t get enough of SPAM (R) Bacon; PEPPER, the pretty boy with a taste for SPAM (R) Classic and lastly, ACE, the cheesy romantic in love with SPAM (R) Cheese.
“The SPAM (R) team highly recognizes the love that the Philippines has for SPAM (R) products, and we are truly thankful for the support that we’ve received over the years. We have specifically chosen to launch the SPAM (R) Can! Campaign in Manila because we see the potential to grow the market of SPAM lovers by showing consumers how versatile SPAM (R) products are. And because Filipinos are known to be some of the most talented singers in the world, launching a boyband, ALL4SPAM (TM) made complete sense to reinforce what the brand can really do,” says Jaynee Sherman who is the Seniot Brand Manager of the SPAM (R) Brand, Hormel Foods International Division of the Hormel Foods Corporation.
I love it when Lazada celebrates a milestone. It’s because — more often than not — their well-loved Box of Joy will be on hand as a staple treat to its affiliate bloggers. It initially started back in 2016 for the yearly Online Revolution and this year’sBirthday Sale saw the comeback of the Box of Joy. Previously, the contents of the box are primarily goods from the FMCG sector. While this year’s Box of Joy is still dominated by FMCG, we’re already seeing new additions from categories such as watches, and electronics accessories.
The Lazada Birthday Sale runs from March 21 to 23 with products on flash sale available all throughout the day. Make sure that you visit Lazada.com.ph during the campaign and enjoy these amazing discounts from Lazada and its partners. Remember that Lazada offers CASH ON DELIVERY and FREE DELIVERY to ensure the customers’ effortless shopping experience.