Sunday, September 9, 2012

Old yet New

When I was growing up, I searched my parents’ closets and bauls for the perfect wardrobe. I am charmed by what people wore in the ’60s and ‘70s. These decades brought flared pants, pointed and big collar blouses, flowing bohemian garments, shiny and skin-tight disco outfits, maxi dresses and skirts, and psychedelic prints which are all very stylish up to now. 

I know I can’t resist a vintage dress—especially if it belongs to my mom. If I can’t find a way to wear it, I’ll probably use the fabric for my home decor, or simply keep it close by. I’m sure I will make use of it one day, some way.
Photo shot in UP Los Banos.
This skirt is one of the nicest pieces in my closet. I love it because it has an ethnic Philippine flavor.
Lydia Jaranilla-Querubin
That’s my mom back in 1974. And my skirt used to be part of the dress she is wearing. It won’t fit me as is because I am three inches shorter than her. I almost cried when my trusted modista wasn’t able to alter it properly.
Good thing we were able to salvage it as a skirt. I am a big fan of maxi skirts. They look dramatic yet are versatile enough for use in almost any occasion. I wore this ensemble at a wedding.
Photo by Icee Palomo
Throw on the proper top and mix the right accessories, and you can strut anywhere.  

Affordable black beaded necklace from bazaar

Gold bangles and watch

comfy nude mary jane shoes from

Reviving your mom’s old clothes is practical. A brand-new maxi skirt can cost up to Php3,000 (USD71) nowadays, more or less. It depends on the brand. 

By the way, this outfit cost me Php2,849 (USD67).
(Dollar conversions based on US Dollar = Ph Peso Exchange Rate of USD1=Php42.54 dated Feb 8, 2012.)

Breakdown of costs: 
  • Headband - belt from another top
  • Bead Necklace - bought from a bazaar, Php250
  • Bangles - two sets; one bought from USA, Php350; another one from a bazaar, Php100
  • Watch - a gift (Seiko 5)
  • Chiffon Blouse - bought from The Ramp, Php799
  • Maxi Skirt - used to be mom's dress, alteration cost Php150
  • Mary Jane Shoes - bought online from, Php1,200   

Find out if your mom and dad still have their old clothes. If they do, then rummage through their stash. You might find something pretty and for keeps.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Just Soap and Water for Face

When I was about nine and my face would show one or two signs of acne growth, my 11-years older brother would continuously prod me to wash my face with just soap and water. I am glad I followed his advice and have been since then. For one thing, I think it really made sense; the lesser chemicals (compared to the facial creams the dermatologists usually gives) that I put on my face, the purer and then the better.  

I am not saying that I haven't visited the derma ever. I do get my quarterly facial cleaning, but that is just about it. I have been sales-talked to try the diamond peel once or twice, though I just end up looking like a sun-dried tomato the day after. This was done in a popular and posh clinic so I don't think the quality of products was the culprit.

I use Dove, Oil of Olay or Pond's. All those always make me feel great after washing my face. That moment after I wash the soap away, then look at the mirror; and feel and look so clean, so fresh and sometimes so pretty is just priceless.

Taking care of your face need not be expensive. For the longest time, I have been using just soap and water and it has proven to be the most effective. And the cheapest, for that matter. And not to forget, very hassle-free.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Outfit: in Black and White

Last Thursday marked a new milestone in my career--I signed an employment contract with a digital advertising agency. As always, I was very thankful that I was given another chance to improve myself--that is to grow and learn more about myself, my craft, the corporate world and a new industry. Those are more than enough to make me very excited with this new challenge. 

For the contract signing, I chose an outfit that is professional-looking yet stylish enough to pass for my creative and eclectic side.

I guess in the corporate world, choosing the proper attire and grooming yourself ready are as important as choosing the right words to say during an interview or meeting. It is actually one of the reasons why Steve Jobs ended up wearing his signature black long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans and rubber shoes; as opposed to his flowing orange robe and shoe-less ensemble. 

I love tights. 
The good thing about wearing tights is that I am able to move freely and feel secure even though I am in an above-the-knee dress or skirt and high heels combo. Aside to the fact that tights can easily make an outfit look more "professional". 

Total outfit cost without the bag is P2,640 (USD58.67). 

Breakdown of costs:
  • Dress- Space, P350
  • White sleeveless top- Plains and Prints, P750
  • Tights- Gap USA, P450
  • Shoes- SM Department Store, P990 
  • Silver necklace- bazaar, P100 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chorizo and Shrimp Pasta

Tired of serving the usual pastadishes: tuna in olive oil, creamy carbonara or meaty tomato sauce? Thenwhy not try the Chorizo and Shrimp Pasta. Easy, yummy, and affordable, it won'tbe long until this dish will be part of your list of what to prepareduring get-togethers. 

The thing I like most about thisdish is its lightness despite the distinct flavors of the chorizo andshrimp. The two main ingredients mix so well, making every mouthful taste and feel so heavenly. 

I am also a big fan of cilantro. For me, most dishes with cilantro easily becomes a refreshing viand. 

This dish will cost less than P500, take 30 minutes to an hour to prepare andfeed a group of 10-12 adults.

- 1/2 cup olive oil 
- 1 head large garlic, slicedbased on preference 
- 2 pieces medium-sized onion,sliced based on preference
- 4 pieces medium-sized tomato,cut into half-inch cubes
- 2 cans Purefoods ChorizoBilbao-style, sliced diagonally at about 1/4 inch thick 
- Chili powder or flakes, quantitydepends on preference
- 1 bundle of cilantro or wansoy,minced
- 1/4 kilo shrimps 
- 1 cup shrimp stock
- 500 grams pasta (spaghettini,angel hair, twists)


Shrimp and shrimp stock:
1. Add shrimps to 1 cup of boilingwater. Add a pinch of salt if desired.

2. Remove shrimps once it turn redand peal. Set aside the shrimps' meat and heads.

3. Pound the heads using a mortar.
4. Put pounded shrimp heads in astrainer and pour the created stock. Repeat this step for two to three times.Set aside stock once done.

Pasta mix:
1. Sauté garlic and onion in 1/2cup olive oil.
2. Add the sliced chorizo and stiruntil its own oil renders.
3. Add the tomato cubes, immediatelyfollowed by the shrimp meat. Stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
4. Add the shrimp stock and leaveuntil it reduces. Add salt if needed and chili if desired.
5. Mix the pasta. Sprinkle minced cilantro before serving.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bridesmaids Dresses: BYOD (Buy Your Own Dress)

So all my best friends will end up wearing an outfit they truly love on my wedding day, I gave them the liberty of choosing their preferred styles by buying their own dresses. I call this BYOD--Buy Your Own Dress. I am currently meeting with each of my friends to hand out their dress money. I, together with my fiance, want to make the wedding as hassle-free as possible for all the guests, and so I don't want my bridesmaids to spend for their dresses. Their company--which are priceless--during the wedding are all I ask from them.

I only have two requests for the dress: length is above the knee and color is any shade of cream--off-white, ecru, flesh, dirty white--but not white. Of course, I will be the only one in white. On the fabric, anything goes. I just reminded them that it will be a garden wedding; therefore, no air-conditioning. Any footwear will do, too. 

Making your bridesmaids buy their own dresses is practical and a good alternative to the can-be-too-tacky matching attires that we are used to. It also serves as a souvenir that will probably end up being kept and used again. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sneakers, and Delivering Happiness

This post is about my love for sneakers; my experience; and Tony Hsieh''s CEO and owner--book, Delivering Happiness. 

sneakers-converse-adidas-unitsuka tigers
My love for wearing sneakers started when I was six years old. As early as that age, I already dressed up on my own and I would most of the time put on my used-up crimson red Mighty Kid sneakers with two adjustable Velcro straps each shoe. Thinking about that pair of sneakers immediately activates my sentimental side--love that comfy, funky and cute pair.

Wearing sneakers is not a phase that I overcame when I got older, got more mature or left college. Instead, my inventory of sneakers even improved now that I have my own money to buy nicer pairs. That doesn't mean that I shall easily burn P6,000 for a pair--that is still a lot; I am still always in the look out for good deals and that was how I came across offers a pair of Onitsuka Tiger sneakers for as low as P2,000--50% to 60% lower than most of the Onitsuka Tiger models being sold at Philippine malls. 
Green and gray Unitsuka Tiger sneakers from

My pine and lime green and gray Onitsuka Tigers is so far my best pair of sneakers. This specific color combination is a exclusive--that made me want to own this pair more.

My experience was absolutely pleasant. They immediately--at real-time--replied and offered a solution to my Facebook-posted concern. Aside from the fact that the website was so easy to use and complete. Having all the must-haves of a winning website, easily became one of my favorite shopping sites.

Delivering Happiness

Months after buying my first pair from and recommending it to my friends--talk about the power of word-of-mouth--I came across "Delivering Happiness" as it is one of the required reading materials in the company I recently joined.

Delivering Happiness is a book on how Tony Hsieh was able to build as one of the best companies to work for in the United States. His story is proof that perseverance,  hard work and--of course--passion are key in making it big in everything a person does. The book also zeroed in on how a strong company culture is linked with its success.

The book was heartwarming and inspirational. It makes me want to be part of the family. And if in case I find my way to Las Vegas again, I shall make sure to take the head quarters tour. Can't wait!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Not so Aztec

Two weekends ago, my niece asked for my help in coming up with an Aztec inspired outfit since she had to attend a similarly themed debut party. 

Google defines Aztec as a member of the American Indian people dominant in Mexico before the Spanish conquest of the 16th century. Aztec prints then are patterns of distinct and bold colors; assorted shapes, including diamonds and triangles; and different ranges of thick and thin lines. 
I don't have an Aztec-ish apparel, so the outfit I came up with doesn't have the colors, shapes and lines I mentioned above. Instead, I threw in lots of statement-making accessories to make the outfit pass for the Aztec-themed party. 

In coming up with a theme-inspired outfit, there is a way around it and it doesn't have to always follow the theme from A to Z. Researching and knowing the basics about the prescribed motif shall be a very big help. In this case, since the Aztecs are American Indians and their photos online clearly show big and bulky accessories, I decided to stick to that. The paisley prints too that I chose are as busy as that with the Aztec prints. So you see, I was able to eliminate buying a new dress or top! 

Total outfit cost is Php1,260 (USD30)

Breakdown of costs:
  • Top - bought from a garage sale, Mango, Php220
  • Skirt - Bunny, Php350
  • Necklace - bought from bazaar, Php250
  • Big gold bangles - Robinsons Dept. Store, Php240 (Php80 each)
  • Bracelets on right upper arm - bought from bazaars, total of Php200
  • Bangle on left arm - gift from friend

Sunday, June 17, 2012

White Beach Puerto Galera 2012

white beach puerto galera sand at day
I used to go to Puerto Galera a lot. I was thereon averageonce a month when its beauty was still a secret to most of the Filipino population. During those days, I can easily satisfy my beach fix by spendingmore or lessP2,000. Though I have a friend to split the rent, food and booze expenses with and that was five to six years ago, that was still very affordable. 
white beach puerto galera sunset
White Beach, Puerto Galera sunset
white beach puerto galera night life

I was just back at Puerto Galera—after so many yearswith my boyfriend Paulo because of the same reasons I used to have whenever I went there: to relaxwhat else. The trip was also our last hurrah to enjoy the beach and the sun, before I start my new job and before the rainy season kicks in. 

We both had new shades! 
puerto galera-esay querubin
I always found it fascinating that beach-goers could wear skin-baring outfits or swimwearlike being in undergarmentsand it's all good. 
white beach puerto galera
White Beach, Puerto Galera at day
Coco Aroma was a good choice of place to hang outday or night. 
coco aroma hangout-white beach puerto galera-esay querubin
Paulo even performed onstage while the house band was in between sets.
coco aroma hangout-white beach puerto galera
But Coco Aroma's roomsunfortunatelyare old and badly need renovation. We had to transfer to the next door resort called Bienvenida Beachfront even though we already wired and paid our two day booking fee worth P4,000. The P2,000 per night rate at Coco Aroma was expensive given the current state of the place and room. 
coco aroma rooms-puerto galera
The 9-square meters room was like that of a forgotten house that you see on horror films--you wouldn't want to spend a night in it and you'd try to escape the soonest possible. It has a creaky floor; an unusually low ceiling--like on attics--that has patches of unpainted wood that may have been there because the original planks were destroyed already; and a Tetanus-infested electric fan.

coco aroma rooms cottage-puerto galera
Same with the surroundings--it was depressing. Clearly, it needed maintenance. What bothered me the most was the stagnant collection of water that had collected a  frustrating amount of trash at the back of the cottage. 

Like what I said, we ended up in a cheaper resort--P1,500-per-night-- called Bienvenida Beachfront. The cottage was new, big and fronting the beach. We were really happy we found it.

Buenvenida Beachfront-puerto galera

How to go to Puerto Galera, from Manila—the easiest way:

1. Get on a Batangas Pier bound bus. There are bus stations in Alabang, Cubao and Pasay. Bus fare is about P250-P300. 

2. Upon reaching Batangas Pier, choose your destination. You may opt to visit White Beach—where I went. White Beach is known to be the poor-man's Boracay with its more affordable bars and cottages; and nice white, but bigger grain sand than Bora's. Or visit Sabang, La Laguna or Muelle—these places are more for divers. No nice beach fronts to hangout on these three.

3. Choose your bangka (boat). As a common practice, you will choose the bangka that will leave the soonest. But beware, these bangka operators—in the hope of getting more passengershave a tactic of putting and promising the earliest time of departure, but will adjust that if the bangka is not yet full. This happened to me far too many times already. Different bangkas—Minolo and Father and Sonssame style. The next thing I knew, the promised waiting time of 10 minutes had already been an hour. One-way bangka ride is P150. 

Budget for a Puerto Galera get away:
  • Transportation- one-way including the bus and bangka ride, P450
  • Meals- per meal, P70-150 
  • Souvenir- for a shirt or sarong, P100- 200; accessories, P20-300 
The prices indicated may depend on your spending habits. If you are used to order more than one viand; then consequently, your bill will be higher. The transportation and souvenir costs were based on the prices when I was there.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Facial Skin Care for 30 Something Women

Oh, yes, I am 30. And 30s is the new 20s!

Being 30 may mean that you are years ahead in terms of wisdom compared to other people; but unfortunately one downside of "aging" is that your skin follows, too. Larger pores, more visible lines, brown spots and the now-showing-signs-of-sagging cheeks.

Taking care of our skin is a responsibility--it requires discipline, investment and time. 

Facial care tips for us--30 something--women:

healthy breakfast-fruit-apple-outmeal-juice-water1. Eat healthy. Specially foods with high level of antioxidants. Always keep in mind that you are what you eat. I am still a far cry from perfecting my diet but I am getting there. I already minimized my sodium intake, eat more fruits and vegetables, eat a bowl of oatmeal every morning, and drink a cup of green tea daily.

2. Water up. I drink four liters of water daily. That may mean that I take more bathroom breaks than most of my friends.  But I love being able to flush out toxins from your body. 

3. Vitamin C. I learned in grade school that Vitamin C is needed for tissue growth and repair, elevates the immune system, and is an antioxidant. So, I pop a tab of Vitamin C every morning.  

4. Sunblock. Even if you are just in front of your PC the whole day, application of facial sunscreen--at least 15% SPF--is advised before stepping out of the house. 

5. Soap and water. I now wash my face three times a day--upon waking up, mid-day and before going to bed. I use Oil of Olay and it is worth P220.00.

6. Toner and moisturizer. I just changed my moisturizer to Oil of Olay's Night Firming cream. It is P988.00--10 times the price of my old moisturizer--and so far it is fulfilling its promise of a more radiant and firmer facial skin.

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White: Grammar Basics

Up until now, I still find myself challenged with the English language--either by speaking or writing. Although I passed my Communication classes during college, I failed to fully absorb the intricate rules of the English grammar that I supposedly had learned. 

I am now in the process of revisiting and re-learning the English grammar. Strunk and White's Elements of Style has been very helpful. It is not as fun as how shares grammar rules but Strunk and White's handbook is easy to understand and follow. If you are having trouble in figuring out when to cut sentences, what preposition to use, when to use a comma, colon or semi colon, then this is the book for you.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Spamu: Spam Sushi

Spamu is spam and sushi in one

Spamu is the money-makers' gift for foodies who dig both Spam and Japanese food. I am one those people and I loved Spamu--the taste and experience, but not the price. At P45 each, I think Spamu is expensive. Although it satisfied my sushi craving and the Japanese rice used was at top quality, the slice of Spam was too thin! I ended up opening my own can of Spam to add more.

I'd rather buy a can of Spam at P99 than buy a piece of Spamu--which has an itsy bitsy slice of Spam and costs almost half the price of Spam. The Spamu I tasted, someone bought it for me at a designated kiosk along Eastwood’s old movie house section.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I Survived EDSA: Alone, at Night, and on Foot

Friday, pay-day and rain—the perfect combination to make going home at night a living hell. It took me almost two hourswhat usually takes me 15-20 minutes—to reach home.

Today was my first Friday at my new job—as digital marketing manager—for a company located in Emerald Ave, Ortigas. When I got out at 10:15PM, the street was already full of BPO company employees—including myself—trying to beat each other for the much-awaited taxi ride. It was hopeless—I am fair enough not to steal cabs from those who were there before me; and cab drivers chose this night to be snobs—four rudely turned me down giving me their "Ma'am pa-grahe na ako, eh." alibi. I decided to go to Robinsons Galleria in the hope of finding a systematic queue, but was also defeated. More than 30 people were lined up ahead of me and cabs arrived every 5-10 minutes. I just knew then that I had to walk if I wanted to reach home soon. And thankfully, I and my favourite Onitsuka Tiger sneakers were able to survive EDSA at night—11PM—and on foot.

Surviving EDSA on foot
It is hard enough to be in EDSA when you are inside a car; harder if you are on a bus; and hardest if you are plainly walking. What made it worst for meI was just by myself. 
So if ever you'll ever find your way in the same predicament, here are my tips:
  1. Be alert
  2. Walk fast
  3. Look fierce- try not to look scared even if you are. I was really scared but in my years of commuting, I learned that I had to turn on my fierce don't-mess-with-me face every time I am out in public. Before, I was the usual prey of the pick-pockets and lost five cellphones 
  4. Be vigilant- watch out of for shady people—there are a lot; be sure to keep away from them; and choose to be grouped with the nice-looking ones—although in EDSA you can never be sure
  5. Keep your belongings safe- put your bag in front of you and close to your body 
  6. Be ready for unpleasant sites and smells- I saw a malnourished family of four with a mother, infant and two toddlers begging for whatever you can give—definitely not an easy site for me; and the smell—smelled like sewer water mixed with piss and feces 

Thursday, May 17, 2012 Improved my Life

Yesterday was my last day at—my employer for five years—and when I woke up this morning, memories of my fun-filled sometimes toxic JobStreet days came rushing back to me. I felt sad and happy at the same time—sad because I left my friends; happy because I learned and improved a lot about myself. I learned that emails need to be answered or acknowledged within a few hours or if I don't have immediate access to internet due to a meeting or event, within a one-day lead time; I learned to juggle—in the corporate world this is popularly known as multitask—more than three major projects at a given time; I learned to coordinate and deal with government employees and different types of people no matter what their rank or status; and I learned that work is not work at all if you love what you are doing—this may sound like a hallmark card one-liner, but it is true. :)

I am very thankful and feel blessed for being part of the family—a family composed of professional, smart, fair, and friendly individuals. And as I face a new challenge in my life,—the number one job site in the Philippines—shall always have a special spot in my heart. 

JobStreet is known for its massively attended job fairs.
Every time I went to the events, my heart ached  for all the jobseekers eagerly wanting to get their dream job
The relaxing view from JobStreet's office
I always participated during team buildings- I was very competitive
In, I found out that I can be larger than life
In, I found a very good friend- Nica Danganan
I explored Bacolod with my JobStreet buddies

Thursday, April 26, 2012

M Cafe: Chill Place in Makati


M Cafe at night
M Cafe at night
I met up with two of my best friends at M Cafe in Greenbelt 4, Makati a while ago. Inasmuch as I wanted to spend more time with them, I had to call it a night at 11PM since I have a nine o’clock meeting tomorrow. It is hard to meet up with my friends now—we have our own to-dos that we can't drop the way we do five years ago. During those days, we easily painted the town red even on a Monday.  

Doing things we love to do:
 Joel- drinking booze; Iza- lighting a cigarette; and I- posing for the camera
M Cafe was chill and I liked its steady vibe. Alcoholic drinks—cocktails—were expensive for me because I am usually at and prefer places with less than P100 a bottle of beer. I still got a cocktail drink—the retrospective shooter. I paid P350 and it was served in doubles. Each glass had bourbon whiskey, lychee juice, and piece of lychee. For as long as you are not there to get drunk—which I absolutely don’t recommend—one order is enough to last you two to three hours of steady chatting and sipping. 

Iza's Cosmopolitan
On way to M Cafe

A restaurant near M Cafe
Art Instillation at M Cafe
A street in Makati

Photos by Paulo Subido