Sleep, Indulge and Discover: A weekend at Mt. Purro Nature Resort 

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. 


Sleep

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. 

Relationship goals: Toti and Baby Malvar




 

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. 

Indulge 

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. 

Disclaimer: 

My stay at MPNR is upon invitation of the resort. The views and opinions indicated on this piece is mine alone. 

Pricelist: 


GAOC expands to Cebu City

 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.

For more details, go to http://www.gaocdental.com or follow GOAC on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gaocdental, Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/gaocdental, and Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/gaocdental. Or personally visit GAOC at the 3/F of SM Seaside Cebu or book an appointment at 0917-825-4262.

Give your eyes a break! 

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.

 
 

Banana Peel launches candy-colored flip flops for the little tots at home 

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.

To know more about Banana Peel, go to http://www.facebook.com/bananapeelflipflops.

Pinoys get SPAMmed! 

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? 

Photo from SPAM PH Facebook page


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. 

ALL4SPAM With Ms. Jaynee Sherman


“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. 

Box of Joy Marks Lazada’s 5th Birthday

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.

Colgate and Palmolive, the beloved Filipino institution in consumer goods,  have been supporting the Box of Joy since the beginning and this year is no exception. This year’s ColPal haul includes Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection Great Regular Flavor Anti-Cavity Family Toothpaste, Plax Ice InfinityPalmolive Aloe Vera Shampoo & ConditionerPalmolive Naturals Body Wash,Palmolive Naturals WHITE + MILK soap, Gard Charcoal Shampoo, and Tender Care Talk Pink Soft. Colgate is also launching a scholarship promo starting April 3 for its Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection Great Regular Flavor Anti-Cavity Family Toothpaste and there will be 2,500 winners of scholarships, and other prizes once the promo ends.

From Unilever, Dove’s Deeply Nourishing Body Wash and Hair Therapy – Hair Fall Rescue as well as Tresemme Platinum Strength Conditioner are included in the box. Tresemme Platinum Strength Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair Spray Gift Set will go on sale from March 21 to 23 for only P249, a 42% discount from it’s price SRP of P429. As for Procter & Gamble, Pantene Hair Fall Control Intensive Conditioner have been shared to affiliate bloggers. P&G will be having a promo price on its bestselling Olay Night Ritual which will go on sale for only P999.

If you ask me, Lazada’s Fifth Birthday Sale is always a good idea to stock up on home essentials, considering premium brands can be had at big discounts. If you are on the look out for budget-friendly gadget accessories, it’s always a good idea to drop by Lazada . Merchant Sunsonic Electronic Plaza has given away an Awei Micro USB Cable for Smartphones and merchant Anything Under the  Sun gave away classic and trendyTempus watches. Hopefully with Lazada’s ever-growing partners base, more and more brands and merchants will support the Box of Joy project in the future.

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.

 

Tried and tested: MyKronoz ZeFit 2 Pulse proves to be the perfect fitness companion when traveling 

Lately I’ve been obsessed with walking. I tried walking everywhere – I try to cover as much as 3 kilometers as much as I can when I walk early in the morning; when malling and even when I run errands. 

So when I finally managed to finalize my plans on the recently-concluded trip to Japan, I resolved to walk as much as I can going to places. One, it will save me my much valued yen, plus I get to see a lot of attractions that are often times not visible when you are always on the bus or the subway. 

That’s why it was a very nice surprise when Mark Embino, the affable and friendly marketing head of X-Mini and MyKronoz under Bridgecom Distribution offered me the MyKronoz ZeFit 2 Pulse to try out while in Japan. 

My perfect travel companions: journal, travel guide and my ZeFit Pulse 2

Of course, I was beyond excited. Recently fitness watches has become my thing – maybe it’s because of my constant walking that I needed to know continuously how much I’ve walked, my heart rate and the calories I managed to burn. Somehow, my only kick in life is to know that walking ALL THAT MUCH actually accounted for something. 

 Sleek yet packs a punch 


The ZeFit 2 Pulse came in a very compact packaging containing the smart watch in cobalt blue, instruction booklet and the charger which is composed of the charging cable and a magnetized head that easily latches on the back of the fitness watch. 


This is a great feature since the smart watch charges immediately as soon as a connected charger is latched on its back. A word of caution though for those, the magnetized charging head is small so make sure not to lose it or you risk spending a lot of time looking for a minuscule charger head (cos I did!) 

Let’s talk about the look and feel of the watch first. It’s very sleek and thin design doesn’t look too intrusive or too techie. The easily-adjustable snap-type band closes and open easily. The watch face has enoug space to display the time and heartbeats, while swiping left or right will display the number of steps, calories burned and hours of sleep. 

6:40PM – Manila Time | Needed to adjust it an hour ahead upon reaching Japan


ZeFit 2 Pulse pairs easily to my iPhone simply by downloading the ZeFit app and syncing it to the device. A word of caution tho, you need to update continuously whenever you fail to wear it. The app is available on iOS and on Google Play.

Oasis 21, Sakae, Nagoya


I love how the design fits the clothes I packed for the trip. Since it’s just a simple watch band, it doesn’t look too obtrusive but can easily catch the eye with its bright blue color. 

Works like magic 

In the seven days that I’ve been on vacation (3 days in Nagoya, 4 in Osaka) – the ZeFit 2 Pulse became a trusted travel companion. As predicted, the hubby and I ended up walking A LOT especially in Nagoya where the side streets are not filled with people. In the course of the day, I managed to discover two shrines and even cool hole-in-the-walls just by walking. I also managed to reach more than 18,000 steps or almost twice the average recommended daily steps. Somehow, I managed to burn all the indulging I did with all that sumptuous food! 

Another cool thing with the ZeFit 2 Pulse is that it has staying power. I managed to charge it at least only twice on the course of the trip. Unlike my phone who acts up when it gets too cold, the freezing temperature did not do anything with the watch. Even when the weather reached up to 3 degrees, the ZeFit still managed to blaze through the cold. 

So if you’re on the look out for a great Starter smart watch, you might wanna consider this beauty. It’s has all the basics you need in one cool package.

Travel hack: How to go from Nagoya to Osaka by Bus for less than 1,400 pesos 

I am writing this post here at the departure gates of Kansai Airport. I am waiting for my flight back to Manila and decided to share this post while passing time. 

Here’s the basics first. Nagoya is lovely – in a chill and laid back way. My hubby was smitten and vowed to move to Nagoya if they the hobby and gaming community in check. We spent three amazing days in Nagoya in the Aichi region before moving to Osaka in the Kansai region. (Will post a detailed itinerary separately). 

Oasis 21 area, Sakai, Nagoya


While there are many ways to go from one prefecture to another – you can take the plane, train or bus – it differs significantly between Osaka and Nagoya. Because the two areas are too close, there are only two options when you want to go from one to the other. One is the train and another one is the bus. This post will be about the JR Bus Service

Dotonbori, Namba, Osaka


What you need to do first is to go to the Nagoya Station in downtown Nagoya in order to buy tickets to the JR Bus. 


After alighting from the subway, proceed to the Taiko-Dori side (West exit) of the Nagoya Station. The Taiko-Dori side also holds the Shinkansen area plus ticketing booth for JR Rails along with JR Bus. 

Once you see the landmark, which is the large clock where people often meet up (pictured above),  you are already in the area. Proceed to the doors to your left leading outside. 


Upon exit, you should see a stairs leading down and to it’s immediate left is the JR Bus Ticketing Office. 

Go inside and approach the officer on duty. Ask for the bus schedules for Osaka-bound highway buses. You are free to choose the time which you want to arrive. Though do note that a trip from Nagoya to Osaka usually takes three and half hours. 

Once you’ve chosen your departure time, you will be asked to pay for your ticket. A one-way bus ticket usually costs Y3,000 (PHP 1313). You can buy your tickets ahead of time – so you the option of buying your ticket a day or two before your trip. 


Since highway and limousine buses have reserved seating, buying your tickets early assures you of good seats. 

On the day of your departure, proceed to the ticketing station which also doubles as the waiting area for upcoming trips. The ticketing station has vendo machines for drinks or snacks so you will be assured that you won’t get hungry waiting for your bus. 

There are display screens showing bus schedules and destinations, while the loading area is numbered – the screen will show which loading area is assigned to your bus. 

Once the bus arrives, show your ticket to the driver, load your luggage on the storage area and find your seats based on the number indicated on the bus. 

The buses are usually equipped with a charging dock for your devices, its own toilet and if you’re lucky, its own wifi service. 

At the stop over leading to Kyoto


Other bus services to Nagoya include Willer (much cheaper but needs online purchase for tickets), Meitetsu and Kintetsu service. 

Shopee aims to reach more Pinoy online shoppers; now the second leading online shop for App Store and Google Play 

The advent of the internet has given rise to a lot of shopping sites. While each one has their own merits, we can’t deny that the idea behind each one is the same: to make online buying and selling a lot easier, convenient and safer to Filipinos. 

One of the emerging online marketplace is Shopee, which connects buyers and sellers and features a unique in-app facility allowing buyer and seller to communicate even before the purchase of a product commences. By doing this, any type of misunderstanding or miscommunication is lessened or even eliminated all together. 

The shopping site recently celebrated a milestone after it has reached the number 2 spot in the Shopping category for both the App Store and Google Play in the Philippines only one year after launch. Shopee’s ratings have also been consistently high, reaching 5 stars in the App Store and 4.3 stars in Google Play, which shows that Filipino users have been continuously satisfied with the services and features offered by Shopee. Since its launch last December 2015, Shopee has shown significant business growth. In the Philippines, Shopee now has over 1 million products listed and over 3 million downloads.

Shopee marked the milestone with a get-together with bloggers and partner sellers where the site promised to be more bullish in reaching more customers. 

“We experienced overwhelming growth in the past year and we are constantly improving all aspect of our business to cater to the increasing demands of our users. Our main commitment has always been to provide the best experience to our buyers and sellers,” shared Macy Castillo, Shopee’s Head of Commercial Business.

Another helpful feature is Shopee Guarantee, where payments are held in escrow until buyers receive their products. This makes buying online safer, gaining highly positive reviews from loyal and satisfied Filipino customers.

Recently Shopee announced that it will be the first mobile shopping platform in the Philippines to offer both buyers and sellers Free Shipping and Cash on Delivery (COD) nationwide.

“Because of the program’s success with selected sellers last year, we decided to expand our Free Shipping and COD service, enabling a larger number of our sellers to attract even more customers from over 900 cities and municipalities in the country, especially outside Metro Manila,” adds Castillo.

CDC Citadines Millenium Ortigas: When finding a Condo unit is both for home and investment 


When I was younger, I thought finding a home would be as easy as 1-2-3: you look at the ads, you do ocular and if you have the money, you go right in and discuss payment terms. 

It’s not when I started to seriously consider investing on a place of my own that I have come to realize that home ownership is not as easy it it sounds. More than getting the money and the finances to sustain your investment, what’s important is for the future home owner to have a clear view on what you want it for? Is it a starter home? An investment piece intended to augment the cash flow? Will it be a family home, where you will be staying for a long time? 

Once you have that out of the way, you need to think about the amenities that the condo offers and how it complements your lifestyle. If you’re the type who loves physical activities like sweating at the gym or swimming – you wouldn’t want to live in a place with no swimming pool or a basic gym right? 


The latest project for of CDC Holdings Inc, together with The Ascott Limited, aims to provide an intelligent and practical choice for future homeowners and business minded individuals intending to expand their real estate portfolio. This latest property rising in the heart of Ortigas offers two varying aspects of city living: as a world-class serviced residence called Citadines Millennium Ortigas Manila under Ascott’s Citadines’ portfolio and as the latest addition to CDC’s affordable but classy condos under the CDC Millennium Ortigas name. 

The secret is by delegating floors 4-24 as serviced residence floors while levels 25 to 30 are for private residence units. Both functions will have a separate entrance and amenities ensuring privacy and security for residences and guests alike. 

As Citadines Millennium Ortigas Manila, the property hopes to attract long-term guests and tenants working for the expatriate community as well as families who love staycations. 


Another thing that sets this property apart is it’s environment friendly design and aesthetics. We had a front row seat as CDC and Ascott unveiled this latest property during the formal turn over of the Citadines Millennium Ortigas Manila. Comfy, chic chairs and lounge sets decorated the lobby which carried the green and gray interiors as manifested by the carpet which extended up to the hallways. 





I, for one, loved the brilliant mix of minimalism and chic styles plus the touch of Filipino influences scattered all throughout the property. 

If you are thinking of extending your real estate portfolio, the Citadines is definitely a good choice.