Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Need to Disconnect: Pundaquit, Zambales Getaway

Disconnect. Everybody needs to do this sometime. Some need it more often. Ideally, if schedule and budget permits, I want to getaway at least four times a year, and this should not include company outings, offsite planning sessions or junket of any sort. Traditionally, one travels far places, go abroad or stay in the province to fully disconnect from the routines. Others may opt to do "staycations" in nearby places or just stay home. To each his own actually, what's important is to get the chance to detoxify our bodies, our minds, and give ourselves a break from the many chaos that we encounter everyday. Turn off your phones, don't fire up your PCs, be SNS-snob for a few days. It will do you a lot of good than you ever imagined. Just make sure to tell your family or close friends that you'll be gone for some time and where you plan to go. Just a precaution in case you're a daredevil like Aron Ralston. And if you're stuck in your ergo chair, still undecided if you should take a break, here's a few benefits that I hope will get you started.

1. Freeing up your mind is the simplest way to invite fresh ideas. You're collecting, digesting and producing ideas 24/7 from the day you were born. While it's impossible to shut down your brain activity unless you're dead, slowing down and not forcing yourself to consume and produce large amounts of data for a few days will be beneficial. You're the meanest machine created, but even God rested on the 7th day, and He wants us to do the same. When your mind is relaxed and calm, you create a space for creative juices to flow freely agin.

2. You will look and feel younger. Stress is one of the top causes of aging and a handful of illnesses. Good for you if you can keep stress at healthy levels everyday (Yoga can do wonders!) but disconnecting from the world once in a while to do pleasurable nothings will lower your stress levels and keep wrinkles and age spots at bay.

3. You will make lasting memories. Whether you decide to disconnect on your own, bring along a friend or your significant other, what I'm sure of is that rare times like such will create memories that will uplift you long after the vacation is over. I have a friend who takes Scuba lessons on weekends, and it's impossible not to see the glow in her face weeks after. Trust me, the feeling is stronger if you keep some bits to yourself and not parade everything online as it happens. Facebook can wait.

4. It will keep you grounded. Work and urban life can easily distort your perception of the world (yourself, your family, your job, money, you name it) and how you want to pilot your life. Seeing new places and being in new surroundings (and company) will help you see life in different angles and understand things better. I bought some souvenirs once from a very old man whom I ended up sharing merienda with while listening to stories about his life in Zamboanga. I felt ashamed being too materialistic many times before and reassessed my priorities afterwards.

Anyways, since I've been blabbing about disconnecting and taking a break, allow me to share with you some snaps from my recent getaway that left me refreshed, energized and more grounded. I stayed in Canoe Beach Resort in Pundaquit, Zambales with my cousin/friend and significant other. Nothing new or drastic (I'm saving surf school for La Union), and I indulged in the simple pleasures of poolside yoga, stargazing while sipping Kurant, home-cooked meals and lots and lots of genuine, belly-aching laughter. It's remarkable. 

Trying hard to keep it under a hundred at SCTEX

I love how rustic Canoe resort is! No Wifi, No TV! :)

Feels like home!

 Oh and just some tips when you do your getaway:
  • Live 100% offline. Plan your work well and front load any urgent deliverables so you don't have to check emails and bring your BlackBerry to the beach. "IPad party" isn't always fun. Enjoy the company of your friends and loved ones, and say adios to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for a few days.
  • Eat to your heart's content. This is not the time to follow a rigorous diet. I'm not suggesting gluttony, but don't deprive yourself from enjoying steamy rice and, prawns and adobo while sitting on a nipa hut.
  • Take time to pray. Look up, look far, and speak to God. Talk to Him without hesitation. Talk to Him like a child. See his greatness in the marvel of nature. Most importantly, ask and be ready to receive.
  • Breathe. Meditate. If praying is talking to God, meditating is more of listening to Him. Concentrate on your breathing, be comfortable with silence. Your heart will hear what your ears can't.

LOKAH SAMASTA SUKHINO BHAVANTU or I wish you happiness, peace and liberty! :)

From the Nook,

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

OOTD and Ode to Work Girlfriends

It's the time of the year to do corporate photoshoot so we'll look decent in pitch decks and the company website. Too bad I had series of meetings that day hence, my super tired eyes, and was also wrong to think that my sad jeans won't  be shown but I'm okay overall. I also skipped the makeup artist and did my own FOTD using my trusted photo ready products. 

Top is from Maldita, jeans is from Forever 21 and the gorgeous bib necklace is from Freedom Manila.

Femme Fatale

I once posted about my girlfriends from High School, and I think it's also nice to intro my work girlfriends, too. They are equally amazing, and powerhouse in their own, quirky rights. Naissa is the glam lady of the group, always dressed to the nines, and handles lifestyle accounts like it's an everyday affair. Pia is the life of the party and you won't miss her manic laughter across the office. But beware because this lady is so smart and assertive, you might want to check your notes before arguing. You can call Nina weird, but that's what makes her so beautiful! We suspect that her personality and sense of humor all come from her amazing locks. And don't get her started on videoke. Me thinks she's the next The Voice winner.  Mica is the bunso of the group. The real Super AE (account executive). It may take some time and alcohol to unlock her inner kulit, but it's worth waiting for Mica to loosen up. Jelly is our you-have-no-idea-how-sexy-she-is mother hen. If she can handle five bull-headed girls everyday, then I don't know what else she can't do. (Hello, team TMI!)

BTW, I just came back from an awesome 4-day beach trip in Pundaquit, Zambales. It's so hard to go back to the reality of work, smog and city life, but I guess vacations won't be as special if not for normal days. So sige na nga, let's move on and nail this work week. :) Have a great one, loves!

From the Nook,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: BLISS Hand Body & Nail Spa in BF Resort Las Pinas

As a true blue Southern girl, I make it a point to visit new establishments that catch my attention and pocket (don't you love opening promos?). One relatively new spa in BF Resort is the Bliss Hand and Nail Spa along Gloria Diaz. The facade doesn't look much, but at the end of the day, it's the quality of service and massage that matter more to me. I first tried Bliss last year when they were only a few months old, and sad to say I was a bit disappointed. The therapist was okay, but I really felt I'm in a "newbie" establishment. I had to ask for some music to be played after feeling awkward with too much silence. Alas, they played music using the therapist's cellphone and CDR King portable speakers. They should have been more ready for business. Little things matter especially when you're in the business of pampering and relaxation. But I believe in second chances, and since I've had a business of my own, I knew how hard it is to get a grip in the first few months. As in tears and blood! So, I went back to Bliss after a few months and I proved myself right. They improved a lot and definitely know better how to satisfy their stressed clients.  


Reception area
Comfy couches to make waiting more bearable

A decent and clean bathroom

Various local and imported nail polishes to choose from

I availed the 60-minute Swedish massage, and here are my takes:

  • Neat, clean, relaxing interiors 
  • Polite staff 
  • Well-trained therapists. My therapist Jane, was barely 5' tall, but she beat me like a boxer! I always go for hard pressure massages, and she delivered. :)
  •  Reasonable prices. Their 60-minute Swedish massage is only Php 300.00, and they even have a promo rate, Php 250.00 only from Mon-Thurs,1-4pm.
  • They have solo rooms which is a lot better than a huge hall separated by curtains - or no curtains at all!
  • They offer lots of pampering services like mani and pedi, hand, foot and hair spa, ventosa, waxing and even facial so you can have a total "me" time in one stop.

It's unfortunate that Bliss doesn't have any official website, nor FB page. Would have been easier to promote their shop. Sayang. But if you want to inquire more or book a schedule, just dial 478-9168 or 0917-4786285.

BLISS Hand Body and Nail Spa
#143 Gloria Diaz St., BF Resort Village, Las PiƱas City

Have fun! :)

From the Nook,

This is not a sponsored post. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Review: The Wine Museum Hotel and Resto

Late last year, my good friend Sophie (thank you, Sophie dear!:)) gave me some MetroDeal vouchers to The Wine Museum in Pasay. Shady as the location may seem, I can't help but notice this establishment on my way home from work, and so I gratefully accepted her offer. The building is quite new and neat and it literally stands out among the row of older buildings, bus terminals and dark alleys. I've been curious but never had the chance to try it out until Sophie's offer. The Wine Museum is a boutique hotel with several rooms, function area and Spanish/Colonial resto aimed to house travelers due to its proximity to the airport.

Their food is good and offered at very reasonable prices. We had three kinds of pasta (serving is really big, an order is good for two!), a really yummy Ceasar salad, fish fillet with almonds and of course, sweetie's staple: good old (Bobby's) fried chicken - a best seller. The place is very quiet and cozy, and the staff are beyond courteous. On my third visit, they literally know me by name! :) 

So aside from a glorious dinner, we also had the chance to go around and see their wine museum. The place is owned by the family behind Ralph's and Ram's wine shops. So, what did I, a wine novice, learn about this legendary drink? Let us review. 

Wine is usually made from one or more varieties of the European  grapes such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay and Merlot. Dark skinned grapes usually produce red wines while green skinned ones are used to produce white. Each variety of grapes produce wines of unique characteristics and flavor. 

Wine barrels, especially those made of oak, is an important tool in winemaking. Aging in oak typically imparts desirable vanilla, butter and spice flavors to wine. The size of the barrel also plays a large role in determining the effects of oak on the wine by dictating the ratio of surface area to volume of wine with smaller containers having a larger impact. 

There are three major types of wine: Sparkling, Table and Fortified. Fortified wine has the highest content of alcohol, 22% at the most. No wonder I feel sleepy after my second glass! :)

A few minutes of browsing through a Wine 101 book I borrowed from their shelf and I already felt my head exploding with so much interesting information. Didn't realize how meticulous winemaking is until now; it's really a work of passion and art! The soil, the wind and temperature, age, its origin; all of these affect the taste, flavor, body and aroma of wines. I was also surprised to know that the "majority" sense used to enjoy wine is - yup not your sense of taste - but the sense of smell!

Anyways, a lot more things to learn about wines, and I barely scratched the surface! I think I should study how to differentiate one after the other, how to properly enjoy wine, which food goes perfect with certain kinds etc. In that case, it's good to know that The Wine Museum also offers wine appreciation night as well as wine seminars. How cool is that? 

For more info, you may visit their website: The Wine Museum.

Fish Fillet with Almond. Php 275.00. Photo courtesy of The Wine Museum website.

The Wine Museum Hotel & Resto 
2253 Aurora Boulevard (formerly Tramo Road) Pasay City, Manila
+63 2 239 42 78

PS: This is not a sponsored post

From the Nook,