Tag Archives: Manila

711 Run for 2017 All Set



As someone who is constantly stressed and famished due to work and my other side hustles, 711 has always been my happy place. Every day, after work, my hubs and I will hie to the nearest 711 and get our comfort food. Mine usually involves green tea and their famous hotdog-in-a-bun while my husband takes comfort in his favorite snack. While our nightly runs to 711 might need evolve into choosing the healthier options they offer (like the salad, boiled egg and yogurt prominently displayed on the fridge), I am happy to note that come February 05, 2017  (Sunday), my “run with 711” will be more than the usual.

That’s because the highly-successful and highly-anticipated 711 Run will happen on that day, with runners joining the 10KM, 16KM, 21KM, 42KM categories and 10KM Buddy Run will enjoy the course and the scenic view along along the Skyway. For those joining the 500M, 3KM and 5KM categories (like I do!), the race course is along Filinvest City.

The race is open for individuals aged 18 and above, while the Kids Run will accept runners as young as 3 years old, provided they are accompanied by a guardian on the day of the race. (For more information, go to the 711 Race Guidelines here)

Top 3 winners per category will receive cash prizes and medals, while the top 3 Filipino males and females in the 21KM and 42KM categories will be given a chance to represent the Philippines to join an international marathon in Asia, through a  sponsorship by 711.

Through 711’s unique system of SELF-SELECTED WAVE STARTS, participants can choose their wave start and run with people with the same skill or speed, or with their friends!


To join, register online at http://www.run711.com/ and pay the fees at any 7-Eleven store within 48 hours. Race Kits can be claimed on the date indicated on the receipt, and from the same store where payment has been made.

711 has prepared a really cool finisher shirt and medal to those who will be able to complete the race:


Online registration for 711 Run 2017 is until January 18, so hurry!

Hope to see you on race day!



JR. NBA/WNBA Presented By Alaska picks best of the best among Manila young cagers 

A thirteen year old 6″9 future basketball sensation, strong power forwards and a solid core of women cagers: these, among others were the top picks to this year’s Manila leg of the Jr.NBA and Jr.WNBA Presented by Alaska held last April 9 and 10 in Don Bosco, Makati. 

the green team with their coaches

Close to 2,000 participants, both boys and girls, descended the Don Bosco campus in Makati last April 9, out of which the roster of coaches selected more than  quarter for the final clinic and scrimmage happening the day after. From the 60 plus players, the final scrimmage resulted in the selection of 16 boys and 8 girls who will represent the Manila leg to the national training camp to be held end of April. 


More than 40 boys were asked to come back for the scrimmage (Photo by Lani Banzon)
More than 20 girls were also invited to the scrimmage (Photo by Lani Banzon)
From the National Training Camp will emerge this year’s All-Star Team who will travel overseas for their NBA experience trip together with fellow Jr. NBA All-Stars from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. 

The 2015 Jr. NBA All-Stars traveled to China to watch the NBA Global Games in Shenzhen featuring the Charlotte Hornets and the L.A. Clippers.

The Manila boasted a fine selection of future basketball superstars who showed prowess and skills to both coaches and the media alike.

Clear stand out due to his height is Kai Zachary Sotto, who at thirteen already stands 6″9. 


Two stand-outs: Red’s Kai Zachary Sotto and Yellow team’s Miguel Rey Luis Tan see action during tip off (photo from the Jr NBA facebook page)
The Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA Presented by Alaska is one of Alaska Milk’s programs that shape, train, challenge and inspire children to achieve their dreams and aspirations in life.


The boys and girls who will represent Manila during the National Training Camp

“These holistic programs train children to be confident, disciplined and hardworking because Alaska Milk Corporation aims to prepare them to be winners in life in the future. This year’s program includes new locations such as Batangas, Catanduanes and Cavite to reach more children and coaches and discover the best basketball players across the country,”
said Blen Fernando, Marketing Director.  

The 2011 National Nutrition Survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) revealed that three out of ten children aged 5-10 years were underweight while eight out of one hundred children of the same age were overweight, making malnutrition and obesity two of the most pressing nutritional problems in the Philippines today.  

The Jr.NBA and Jr.WNBA presented by Alaska is under Alaska Milk’s Nutrition.Action. Champion program. It helps address the issue of overweight and undernourished Filipino children with the promotion of proper nutrition and active lifestyle through sports and outdoor play.

This year’s program started with the tip-off at in the same venue last Jan. 23. School clinics, that teach the fundamentals of basketball, will run in April with stops in Bukidnon, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Dagupan, Davao, Iloilo, Metro Manila and Puerto Princesa. New locations include Batangas, Catanduanes and Cavite.  
Other than Manila, the Regional Selection Camps were also held at Davao City, Cebu City and Baguio City. 

 The top 50 boys and 24 girls from the Regional Selection Camps will advance to the final selection stage in the National Training Camp in Manila on April 22-24.

NBA and WNBA players or legends will attend the National Training Camp to help train and inspire the finalists. The program will culminate with the selection of ten Jr. NBA and five Jr. WNBA All-Stars.

More than 36,000 players and 2,700 coaches have participated in the program since it started in the Philippines in 2007. During the 2015-16 season, the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA program will reach more than 6.5 million youth in 32 countries.

The Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA is the league’s global youth basketball participation program for boys and girls which teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents.  

For general information about Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA Philippines presented by Alaska please visit http://www.jrnba.asia/philippines, http://www.alaskamilk.com, and http://www.alaskapowercamp.com/basketball. For live updates log on to http://www.alaskaplayph.com follow us on FB, IG and Twitter @playph #jrnba #jrwnba.

Finding Reprieve Right in the Middle of Summer

If you are from the Philippines, chances are you are one of the many individuals who are bemoaning everyday the intense heat of the Summer afternoon sun.

Recent reports from local TV channels and as vetted by the local weather bureau, the heat index is expected to reach to as high as 40 degrees on Friday, May 22. For many sun-worshipers and beach goers, the warm weather provides the perfect opportunity to get their much-desired tan while lounging in many of the country’s beautiful beaches. In my younger years, I would fall asleep on shore right in the middle of the afternoon. I would usually emerge, burned to a crisp, (literally) smoking hot but happy to add depth from my usual pale skin tone.

But growing old usually comes with tons of neuroses. One of my usual paranoia is suddenly dropping dead due to heat stroke. The worsening heat this summer of 2015 is not doing my paranoid mind any good.

The weather until this weekend. Screenshot from Panahon TV
The weather until this weekend. Screenshot from Panahon TV

Temperature is expected to soar to 36 degrees Celsius, with the heat index reaching to as high as 40 (SOURCE: here and here).

Aside from the discomfort that the hot weather brings, the number of illnesses related to the heat is a threat to everyone, especially to the elderly who is more susceptible to it. I am lucky that my work starts at 9AM which means that by the time the sun reaches its hottest in the afternoon, I am safely ensconced inside one of Makati’s many offices, basking in free air-conditioning.

Stay healthy even when it's summer!
Stay healthy even when it’s summer!

During weekdays where I have to bear the summer heat at home where I have no free AC, I swear by these things to keep me sane and alive:

1. Drink lots of water – I always try to drink as much as eight to nine glasses of water a day. Usually, from the moment I wake up, I automatically drink up to three glasses already. Basically, this is my way to wake up my internal organs, not to mention that I tend to wake up really parched from sleeping. Through out the day, I keep a tall water bottle which I usually refill up to 3 times. It keeps me hydrated even during the middle of the day. Invest in a good water bottle. There are a lot of local brands in the supermarket for as low as PHP200 for a sturdy one. As much as possible, limit drinking coffee, sodas and alcohol.

2. If you can help it, stay indoors. If you need to go out, bring an umbrella, cap to protect your head from the sun, and yes — also your water bottle. During weekends, I tend to hibernate like a bear inside the room. To lessen the heat, I usually open the windows to let the summer breeze come in, I switch off the lights (saves energy too!) and chill with the fan on full blast.

While on the cab yesterday, the radio reporters announced that the stiffling heat is expected to last until the end of this month. God knows if Manila will be finally blessed with a cooler weather.

Always Stellar: Incubus in Manila (2015)

Easily one of the highlights of my year is the recent concert of Incubus, whom I have been an avid fan of since 1999. The release of their critically-acclaimed third album in 1999 “Make Yourself” was also a turning point for me. It was also the moment when I first saw the video for “Drive” and was immediately sucked into the world of Brandon Boyd, Mike Eizenger, Jose Pasillas, Ben Kenney (who replaced Dirk Lance) and DJ Chris Kilmore (who replaced DJ Lyfe).

Make Yourself Incubus

The guys were so young back then. Plus, it was still Dirk who was playing the bass.

But arguably, my favorite out of the whole album (which is saying a lot, considering most of the songs are good) are “Stellar” and “I Miss You” — first, because I am such a sappy, weird romantic and second, because the lyrics were just insanely good. These are the kind of love songs that tugs deep into your heart but are never melodramatic or sappy.

Oh yes–like a lot of girls who first met Incubus with “Drive”, I was also badly smitten with Brandon Boyd, but as I grew older I have started to go beyond the “cute vocalist” to truly loving the band and its unique brand of music as a whole. But it was 1999, as a girl formerly and hopelessly stuck in her sea of boybands, Incubus served as a much-needed beacon of light, its music–angry, profound, emo, sarcastic and everything in between–served as the automatic sound track as I get to experience this crazy thing called life.

Fifteen years later, upon hearing my favorite band is going back to Manila, I had to immediately cover my bases. The band was scheduled to play in March but I filed for leave in January. Yes, I always take a leave from work when Incubus in playing in Manila. This has been a very consistent practice since the first time I saw them in Manila back in March 2004. No matter what the task I may have, I will be away from work whenever they have a concert scheduled.

But this time, life threw me a curved ball. After filing for leave three months before the concert, I procrastinated till the last minute before I bought my tickets. F, a very good friend and a fellow Incubus fan saved me from misery when her company gave her two Suite tickets for the MOA concert and she kindly and generously offered them to me.

So, with the excited husband in tow and with my 2 good friends (F and A), we met at the SMX MOA at 5PM for early dinner and to catch up a bit before we fan girl to Incubus. At 5PM, it was obvious that their Manila fans were all excited for the visit. The restaurant where we had our dinner held groups of fans, wearing concert shirts of varying Incubus albums and art rendering. It was pretty obvious that what was about to happen is a gathering of my generation to sing and to celebrate with probably the band that defined their youth.

We came inside the concert hall and immediately found the nifty premiere suite reserved for corporate sponsors. Our view was perfect, a perfect angle to see all the action on-stage. As the guests started trickling in and the opening act, Lindsey Stirling started making magic with her violin, you can feel the excitement building up. I scanned the venue, MOA Arena was about 80% full — not bad for a band who took a hiatus to work on their personal projects and yet remained relevant as soon as they returned to the spotlight.

Incubus in Manila - picture property of Ovation Productions
Incubus in Manila – picture property of Ovation Productions
Incubus in Manila - photo property of Ovation Productions/Magic Liwanag Photography
Incubus in Manila – photo property of Ovation Productions/Magic Liwanag Photography

The concert was a good mix of old and new songs, with the Manila crowd showing its appreciation by singing to every song they knew by heart. These are the songs of our youth. When the band introduced new songs like “Absolution Calling” and “Trust Fall” — response was a bit muted but the crowd continued to sway in the mosh pit.

Stage set-up was simple and no frills: three carpet, indicating places for Ben, Brandon and Mike plus a raised drum and turn table set at the back for Jose and DJ Kilmore. Brandon Boyd did not speak as much, except for a melodious repeat of “Manila” (rhymes with Vanilla). Obviously, the band has been very familiar and warm with the audience who always welcomed them as if its the first time they are in Manila (for the record, it’s their fourth time).

Here's my view from the Balcony. It was more than enough for me.
Here’s my view from the Balcony. It was more than enough for me.
Brandon Boyd in Manila - picture property of Ovation Productions
Brandon Boyd in Manila – picture property of Ovation Productions

Like any Incubus concert, the shrieks (from the ladies) started to grow as Brandon started losing his clothes — first, it was the button-down shirt, then after a while, off comes the loose undershirt and yes, it was unanimously and unabashedly met with shrieking from the ladies. Myself included, while the hubby tried to cover his ears to salvage whatever was left of his eardrums.

It was a straight-forward yet really good set, including favorites like the opener “Wish You Were Here”, “Anna Molly”, “Vitamin”, “Dig”, “Made for TV Movie” which included snippets from Lionel Richie’s “Hello”, “Nice to Know You”, “Pardon Me”, “Megalomaniac”, among others. For the encore, they gifted the Manila crowd with three songs, “The Warmth”, “I Miss You” which made all the ladies sigh and “A Crow Left of the Murder.”

After the concert, my generation — a good mix of GenXers, GenYers and a few Millennials — staggered out of MOA a bit dazed while others, obviously satiated. Some reached to their pockets for a quick smoke, others started rambling off observations while others was smiling, milling around with friends. It was like a big communion of people who all grew with listening to the band.

Again, it was already Incubus’ fourth time in Manila. But man, it always felt like the first time–and it couldn’t be more Stellar than that.

All photos are property of Ovation Productions and Magic Liwanag photography, unless otherwise stated

Pope Francis-mania in Manila

Tomorrow, around this time, His Holiness Pope Francis I will already be in Manila in time for his Mercy and Compassion country visit. The Philippines, considered the largest Catholic nation in Asia, has been preparing for this visit since 4th quarter of 2014 — with parish churches often announcing the expected activities during mass and tarpaulins already sprouting from major thoroughfares. With one day to go, you can probably imagine how excited Filipinos are. Early this week, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has already released major details of the trip, ranging from the Holy Father’s itinerary, the security measures in place, the roads closed and to be affected, alternate routes, admonishments to shameless politicians and businesses cashing in the Pope’s arrival plus a list of Do’s and Don’ts for the millions and millions of Filipinos who will be attending the Holy Mass at the Luneta Church on January 18.

I was in sophomore year in high school when St. John Paul II went to the Philippines to celebrate the 10th World Youth Day, also month of January in 1995. I remembered badgering my mom non-stop so that she’ll pay for my joining fee as one of the chosen delegates of the school.

pope john paul II

That was probably one of the best days of my high school life: we had delegates come over from other provinces in the Philippines and classes in our school was suspended to accommodate their stay in our school. I studied in an exclusive, all-girls Catholic high school and the fact that there were high school boys (from another Catholic school from other provinces) sent the cloistered girls of St. Anne’s into a flurry of excitement and anticipation. We met with other youth delegates, performed traditional dances, went on a gimmick with the out-of-towners in nearby malls and for a time, even maintained our friendship with some of them. For a time, I was able to be pen pals with about three delegates before we finally lost touch just right at the time I was about to start University.

One of my fondest moments was spending the night, camping at the sprawling grounds of the Luneta Park waiting for the morning mass of the Holy Father, who is now one of the saints of the Catholic Church.

One of these scrawny kids is me, I will not tell which one (hahaha!):

high school classmates world youth day

world youth day sleepover

So, you can probably imagine my excitement now that another pope is visiting the Philippines. While I am not an active member of the Church and I eschew anything that involves too much pomp and pageantry, I am a dedicated and devoted Catholic. In my darkest and lowest moment, it is my faith that pulled me out of my misery. I was a big fan of Saint (Pope) John Paul II and was the type of person who remembered where I was (and what I was doing) when he passed away. I feel the same excitement, respect and awe with Pope Francis I. I have read so much about the Pope and found him to be a refreshing change compared to the stuffy, traditional men of cloth usually present in my country.

Anyway, for those who would like to know where to find Pope Francis I, here’s an infographic of his stay in Manila:


As for me, I am representing my company as one of the health volunteers during his Papal Mass at the Manila Cathedral on January 16. With God’s blessings, it will be the second time that I will get to the Head of the Catholic Church in person.

Concert Review: BLUE MOON (CNBlue in Manila 2013)

I was one of the few noonass trapped in a sea of shrieking, screaming, near-epileptic girls during the one-night concert of Korean band, CNBlue last Saturday, June 15 at the Araneta Coliseum.



I couldn’t blame them — I almost passed out due to the sheer talent of this band — well, make that good looks, charisma and talent. Like I told my good friend F, these guys–especially Jung Yong-hwa (lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist) must have been in the front when God decided to shower his people with talent. Hearing them shred their instruments to pieces, you wouldn’t think you are actually listening to guys with ages ranging from 21 to 25. They are that good.

I arrived at the venue a quarter before 7PM and a full hour before the concert began. At first, I was worried seeing there were only a few people in front of the Araneta Coliseum grounds. I was expecting the same level of chaos I experienced during the concert of another well-known Korean boy group, but it was a lot different last Saturday: there was no long lines of people inching to go inside the venue, no mass of people milling around or harried-looking people who seemed to be in line in the last three hours. Apparently, the organizers allowed people to go inside earlier, hence there was no choke point in any of the entrances. Apparently, the lack of chaos should be credited to the organizers who seemed to have avoided a lot of the aggravation usually associated with concerts concerning gorgeous Korean boys mixed with the pheromones of their fandom.

here's what I can afford :)
here’s what I can afford 🙂

I got the second to the cheapest tickets, the most which my measly budget can afford. While I would have loved to be front row and center and bask on the charms of Yong-hwa, however, as a married noona — bills and the responsibilities of married life usually come ahead of fandom. Nonetheless, I am elated to have the chance to hear the boys live, especially Yong-hwa whom I have been fan after his turn as Kang Shin Woo in “He’s Beautiful.” Even if I was so high up, it was clear from the beginning that the concert would be one hell of a good time.

The boys opened the concert greeting the enthusiastic Filipino audience in Tagalog. In fact, the boys went beyond the tried-and-tested “Mabuhay”, “Mahal ko Kayo” and “Salamat Po.” They were speaking in the sentences, winning the hearts of the audience in the process. Aside from Yong-hwa, Lee Jong-hyun, Kang Min-hyuk and Lee Jung-shin peppered their set with tagalog words and expressions which the audience really appreciated. (The 17-ish girl beside me wheezed, “He’s sooooooo kyoooooot! Haylaaaaaaaaab you Yong-hwa!!!)

Araneta Coliseum was only 80% full but you wouldn’t notice that it’s not a sold-out concert on the way the guys played and their fans responded. Every song was met with varying levels and octaves of shrieks and undying declaration of love and fandom. The boys, meanwhile, played as if it was the Grammy’s and they were up for Band of the Year. Believe me, they were that great. Jong-hyun, the vocalist and lead guitarist exuded a mysterious charisma that only intensified when he is doing wonders with the guitar. Him and Yong-hwa played flawlessly, you wouldn’t think they were a band that debuted only four short years ago. Ming-hyuk, the drummer, displayed promise and an endearing personality that was made obvious on how the girls cheered for him. Honestly, he seemed to have the most number of fans (or maybe it’s a toss up with Yong-hwa) due to the deafening shrieks that filled the stadium each time he was shown on the screen. Jung-shin, meanwhile, was the cool one who seemed to be wrapped in his own world as he played the bass. And finally, Yong-hwa…I may be biased but how can I describe this guy without sounding like a noona with a favorite brother? He dances, sings really well, plays the rhythm really good, provides fan service like no other…what else? He was just that good. In fact, his sheer talent managed to sway a lot of my beloved “K-Popper girls” who used to ship other members.

NOTE: Band member photos are not my property. Sources include Yahoo OMG PH, Oh-KPop and CNBlue Manila.

from ph_omg_yahoo

from web

CN Blue_ph omg


What further enhanced the experience was the good lighting effects and lasers which filled Araneta as the boys played. The introduction video as well as the supplementing video presentations was also nicely-done and added to the experience.

In summary, it was truly a magnificent concert experience. It was so worth it–braving Manila’s weird weather and a bout with slight fever just to hear these guys play. In fact, I told F that CNBlue will definitely go places, with the talent and dedication that they have in their craft. These guys are more than a pre-packaged, bubblegum pop sensation with good looks, with sheer determination, these guys has the makings of a long-term pop rock group that can rule the airwaves for years to come.