March 30, 2010

Taking care of our skin this summer

I asked my dermatologist, Dr. Reena C. Corona, FPDS, of La Nouvelle Image for some tips on how to take care of our skin during summer.

“Cleansing the skin daily is important all-year-round. Twice a day is ideal—upon waking up in the morning and before going to bed at night. I always remind my patients to use the correct skin product for their skin type: normal, dry, oily or combination. There are times when our skin appears normal but in the summer seems to be oilier, or in cold weather appears to be drier. Our aim in cleaning the face is to remove contaminants from the environment, sweat, excess oil and bacteria to avoid infection. Overcleansing, such as by washing excessively, or overstripping even normal oil from our face would do more harm than good.” (Click Something Like Life for the rest. Photo from

March 25, 2010

How to choose the right PR firm

THE recall of Toyota cars in the US is probably one of the best case studies in PR crisis management today. When a crisis in confidence develops in a company’s product, officials cannot just keep quiet and hope that the problem goes away.

Companies, especially if they produce well-known brands, always need to be on their toes when it comes to public relations (PR). With the onset of new media such as blogging and social networking, the need for effective PR and communication is even more imperative as even one negative review on a product by just one blogger, when passed on from one web site to another, can break a company’s back if customers start believing the review and passing up on the product.

Having the right PR counselor and a correct publicity plan in place can often help a company deal with a crisis or even before trouble occurs, and help a company portray its products and services in a favorable light. (Click Something Like Life for the rest.)

(For my earlier column on the PR-Media relationship, click How to be an annoying publicist, Jan. 25, 2008.)

March 19, 2010

Finally, a real vacation for a Boracay veteran

My friends and I stayed in a wonderfully quaint new establishment called Hotel Soffia, owned by former Asian Spirit majority owner and professional pilot Archie Po. Nestled on a hill in sitio Hagdan, barangay Yapak, past the chi-chi splendor of some of the most expensive resorts on Station 1, the boutique hotel with its whitewashed walls stands out against the cobalt blue sky. (Click BusinessMirror for the rest.)

March 17, 2010

An assault on editorial independence

CyberPress Official Statement concerning HP Phils. and Stratworks

The IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress) denounces in the strongest terms, what the group sees as an unfair and arbitrary treatment of CyberPress members Melvin Calimag and Red Samar* who were penalized for doing their work -- reporting IT industry news.

Calimag was a long-time IT correspondent of the InfoTech section of the Manila Bulletin and was told to stop writing for the paper. Samar, on the other hand, was the editor of the same section and was stripped of his editorial responsibilities.

On March 1, 2010, Calimag reported the resignation of a country manager of HP Philippines – a development actually confirmed by the company. The report also stated that the executive, Bernadette Nacario, had thrice been bypassed for promotion to the top post, an issue denied by the company.

HP Philippines vehemently branded the report as “wrong,” though it announced Nacario’s resignation later on. We believe, however, that the report, in its totality, is true and correct.

We believe that the proper course of action that HP and/or its PR agency, Stratworks, could have taken was to raise the concern/issue directly with the publication’s section editor responsible for the page and/or the reporter who wrote the story.

Instead, HP Philippines, allegedly upon the persistent counsel of StratWorks, HP’s PR agency, ignored this course of action and chose to address the issue in a dubious manner. In other words, there was a breakdown in basic business ethics and public relations practice.

In the eyes of the CyberPress, the manner of how this “issue” was handled is categorically unacceptable. The IT journalists involved have always kept an open line of communication to both IT company and PR agency but were never approached.

We believe that our members, if they did violate any protocol in the pursuit of their story, due process should have been followed. They deserve to be treated like any professional with respect and fairness.

Information Technology Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress) March 12, 2010

*Samar, co-founder of CyberPress, retired from the organization on March 15, 2010.

March 13, 2010

Manny and the madness

THIS is one of the best profiles on our Pambansang Kamao, Manny Pacquiao yet.

(Photo by Mark Seliger/GQ)

The thing is, a number of people have stolen from Manny, been caught by Manny, then been forgiven by Manny: Never has a fighter been possessed of so pacifistic a nature. What's more, there seems to be a consensus that these redeemed-Judas tableaux were… pre-scripted.

"He has made numerous people in his camp believe in God with what he's done," Ramos says. "Do you understand?"

Abac Cordero puts it more directly: "I think he was put here to make us better men. There is a feeling that those who betrayed him had to, so that Manny could teach them."

"Sometimes, the way things happen with Manny, it's like, parables," Ramos says. "Here's one: At the last training camp there were about thirty of us there. Now, one of my jobs is to lower the overall costs of living. So we go to this Thai restaurant next to [Roach's gym]. Our bill there was between $500 and $700 every day. So I said, 'Manny, why don't we buy some food from the local Philippine restaurant and have it delivered to your apartment? It'll only cost about $150.' Manny took me by the shoulders and in front of everybody said, 'Don't ever mess with another man's livelihood. Now let us enjoy their food.' " (Click Manny Pacquiao in GQ.)

March 12, 2010

Leading the change

(Rina, in pink, with students in Languyan, Tawi-Tawi. Photo courtesy KCFI.)

MANY of Rina Lopez-Bautista’s classmates in high school (Assumption College) and college (De La Salle University) will probably remember how good she was as a guard forward playing in their varsity basketball team. “I was just playing basketball,” she giggles, “and just having fun with my friends.”

She then turns serious: “But I’ve always wanted to do something to help the less fortunate.” So in 1999, while working at the Lopez Group’s SkyCable, Rina, along with Carlo Katigbak, spearheaded the creation of Knowledge Channel (Channel 49), the country’s first and only curriculum-based TV channel, on SkyCable. (Click Something Like Life.)

March 11, 2010

Be careful what you eat

(Photo from Flickr.)

I JUST read this piece from a web site called The Daily Green, and it reports on the possible food recall of processed food products containing HVP (hydrolized vegetable protein) due to salmonella contamination.

HVP is used as a "flavor enhancer" in just about every processed food on the market: soups, sauces, chilis, stews, hot dogs, gravies, seasoned snack foods, dips and dressings.

According to Wikipedia, HVP is:

produced by boiling cereals or legumes, such as soy, corn, or wheat, in hydrochloric acid and then neutralizing the solution with sodium hydroxide. The acid hydrolyzes, or breaks down, the protein in vegetables into their component amino acids. The resulting dark coloured liquid contains, among other amino acids, glutamic acid, which consumers are more familiar with in the form of its sodium salt, monosodium glutamate, or MSG. It is used as a flavor enhancer in many processed foods.

Included in the recall are two variants of Pringle's potato chips, the Restaurant Cravers Cheeseburger potato crisps and Pringles Family Faves Taco Night potato crisps. For more info on the latest food recalls, check out the US Food and Drug Administration web site.

March 06, 2010

According to PAG-ASA...

...summer's officially here! Yay!

This is my most favorite time of the year, because I just love going to the beach or swimming in pools. It's also my favorite season bec. we get to eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies like mangoes, undoubtedly still the sweetest in the world, strawberries, cantaloupes, watermelons, while my veggie fix comes from the salads (lettuce in all shapes and sizes, and arugula).

(My Schu!)

Summer also brings lots of end-of-season sales and one of the best ones I've been to so far is that of SCHU's BOGO (buy-one-get-one) SALE! I was at the TrinNoMa yest. and picked out two pairs of sandals, w/c will have their showing, of course, in the next beach I go to.

Sizes were a bit buggy though. Like for the second pair I chose, a silver slipper w/ plastic gel-like thongs, I had to keep fitting the style from size 8 to 10, and in different colors, bec. the entrada was inconsistent esp. for the left foot. Surprisingly, while my right foot has always been the larger of my two feet, the left shoe of the style in question was always tighter at the entrada than the right. And while my feet are size 7.5-8, I ended up w/ a size 10 pair for this particular style, weirdly enough. For the orange pair of sandals above, fitting was not a problem at all.

Fortunately both pairs were the same prices, at P1600, w/c meant I got two pairs for the price of only P800! If you choose two-differently priced pairs, you will just have to pay for the higher-priced one. It's all good. Promo is until April 4.

* * * *

Also, on the topic of shopping, maybe you want to have a guilt-free spree this time around? Well, PNoy Pinay is holding a YELLOW BAZAAR to raise funds for the Sen. Noynoy Aquino and Sen. MAR Roxas, presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively of the Liberal Party in the May 2010 elections.

The event will be on Saturday, March 13, from 10 am to 4 pm on the 3F/ Matrinco Bldg., 2178 Pasong Tamo, Makati. "Funds will go to help defray costs for our poll watchers on election day, and the days after, to guard our ballots," according to the SMS I received yest.

Hope to see you there! Stand and be counted.

* * * *

And speaking of good eats, TACO BELL has just come out with a smashing quesadilla, the cheesiest and beefiest ever! I attended the restaurant's recent press briefing (although I was very late, meaning the press had all left haha!), and got to try Extreme Cheese and Beef Quesadilla!

For P109 you get this amazing meld of cheddar, mozzarella, and Monterey Jack cheeses squishing so sinfully with the bed of beefy goodness. You know I'm not a fan of fast-food dining, but in this case, this quesadilla was a winner for me! You can have some nachos and a 12 oz. softdrink or iced tea to go w/ your quesadilla for P189. It's value for money as well as the quesadilla is served in a 10.5-in. diameter flour tortilla, so it's good for sharing. But in my case, of course, I devoured the entire thing all by myself. Wotta pig! Oink!

Another new Taco Bell offering is the Crispy Potato soft taco, w/c costs about P39. As the name implies, it has chopped potatoes, fried to a crisp w/ some light flour coating, some lettuce and cheddar cheese, gently sitting in a soft taco shell. While it was an interesting play of textures, I thought it just had way too much carbohydrates wrapped in that thing.

I asked the manager why they used potatoes and not experimented w/ let's say tofu instead, she said that they had to follow the U.S. menu. Sayang. That would probably have been a hit w/ the health conscious among us. Taco Bell, call me. Anyhoo, this taco variant is the resto's offering for the Lenten season, so those who are religious, will hopefully feel closer to God after eating this. Or your gym trainer. Ach. Mind the waistline girls!

March 03, 2010

LTB Phils. team at Bocuse d'Or Asia finals in Shanghai

On March 17, 2010 in Shanghai China, Filipino Chef Ariel Manuel will compete against the best Asian Chefs from Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, India and Cambodia at the Bocuse d’Or Asia Finals. Only the top four of the Bocuse d’Or Asia Finals will have a right to compete against the top 24 teams of the world at the Bocuse d’Or World Finals in Lyon, France on January 2011.

(21-year-old-apprentice TJ Abello assists Chef Ariel in preparations)

Lolo Dad's Chef Patron Ariel Manuel and Apprentice TJ Abello have 3 hours to prepare 14 portions of their selected menu: Norwegian Halibut with King Crab, accompanied by Foie Gras en Croute and Asparagus and Caviar Custard. This dish will be presented on a specially designed platter made by metal artist Mike Aguas. Head Coach for this team is French Chef Cyrille Soenen of Restaurant Cicou, joined by Chefs Othmar Frei of Santis/Werdenberg, Fernando Aracama of Encore/Canteen/MyThai and J. Gamboa of Cirkulo and Milkyway Restaurants.

The Bocuse d’Or is one of the world’s most prestigious culinary competitions, founded in 1987 by renowned French Chef Paul Bocuse brings together the best chefs from all over the world to Lyon France to celebrate French Cuisine.

(Chef Ariel slices his fish dish for presentation.)

Since 2007, the LTB (Les Toques Blanches) Philippines Culinary Team has had great success at culinary competitions in Hong Kong and Singapore wining top prizes and numerous medals and trophies for the Philippines. LTB is committed to the training and development of the Filipino Professional Chef.

The LTB Philippines Culinary Team is supported by Werdenberg International Corp., ESV/PTC, Alternatives Food Corp., Tefal, Unilever Food Solutions, Fonterra, Mida Foods, Meat and Livestock Australia, Philippine Airlines, Gourdos, RainPhil-Julabo Water Circulators, Official Knives by Wusthof, and Official Chef Jackets by Chef Revival. For more information, please visit (PR)

(Prototype plate of Norwegian Halibut w/ King crab foie gras en croute w/ mushroom duxelle and keta caviar asparagus custards)

CHEF Ariel Manuel is one of the most creative and cutting edge chefs in the country today. Let's wish him and his apprentice TJ Abello good fortune in the Shanghai competition. Proudly Pinoy!

March 01, 2010

Enjoying your 40s

And my idea of fun has radically changed. While I could do heart-pumping activities like hiking in Sagada in my 20s and 30s, in my 40s I would rather go to the spa and just bliss out for three to four hours under the expert hands of a professional therapist. At 45, I have managed to master the art of relaxed breathing, slower heartbeats, and losing just enough consciousness to find a quiet calm zone, while still retaining enough awareness to hear the therapist tell me to turn over for the next part of my massage. (Click Something Like Life for the rest. In Photo: Illustration Spring Passing by Littlemisslove)