Havaianas Contest: Be a Happy Sole & See Brazil!

What is it about us Filipinos that make us one of the happiest people in the world?

In study after study, it has been found that it is not wealth that makes people happy. In fact, many of the unhappiest people live in First World countries and surrounded by abundance. According to the New Economics Foundation, an independent global think tank, Filipinos are the happiest souls in Asia and 14th worldwide. This new record makes the Philippines the only Asian country to be ranked in the survey’s top 20 – with more developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom ranking 114 and 74, respectively.

New research by Richard Davidson, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin found that humans have more control over their happiness than previously believed. 79% of Filipinos polled said they were happy with their family, religion, friends, love life and health. Surprisingly, even those in the D income bracket were also found to be part of the happy crowd despite their lack of material wealth.

These results seem to confirm a growing theory that happiness is really not found from external factors but felt from within one’s self.

In line with these happy findings, Havaianas decided to launch its Happy Soles campaign. Its flip-flops have stood witness to a significant part of many Filipinos’ happy moments — in the beach, the mall, family gatherings, vacations, and many more. What better way to celebrate happiness then than to give a Filipino and 3 friends the chance to travel to Brazil via its “Happy Soles Will Travel to Brazil” creative competition.

Brazil??? Yes, yes, yes! The land of samba and Mardi Gras and places like this —

Here are the mechanics.



Get Fit and Designer-Fitted with Nestle Fitnesse

Over a year ago, I discovered Nestle Fitnesse cereal. It went well with my being a yoga practitioner as it was light enough for me to munch on even before a yoga class without that heaviness that goes with eating. Yet, it provided the energy and fiber that I needed. It was a healthy snack that I always had around the house. In fact, while many take their cereal with milk, I took mine straight out of the box. It was something I could just continue snacking on.

When I took on a consultancy project, I found myself staying late in the office. Again, Nestle Fitnesse cereal was my constant companion. I had a resealable container in one drawer always filled with the cereal. I especially liked the variety that had fruit in it.

See? Here is my current supply of Nestle Fitnesse & Fruit!

Now, guess what! Nestle Fitnesse is offering a challenge to all of you to get into the FASHION AND FITNESS mode.

If you’re wondering what the “14 DAYS” is on the lower right of the box, that’s exactly how long one of my favorite snacks is giving you and up to 8 of your friends to lose some pounds and win an entire designer’s wardrobe. And I don’t mean just any kind of wardrobe. Handpicked by the country’s top editors, the shortlisted wardrobe is a dream come true for a fashionista. “For the prizes in NESTLE FITNESSE’s 14 Days to Show off Your Shape, we found out what some of the country’s most stylish people want to have in their closets,” shares Myra Garcia, Consumer Marketing Manager, Nestle Fitnesse . “And in doing so, we were able to shortlist what’s arguably the most coveted designer wardrobe to hit Manila.”

Start your way to a fit life and get rewarded with a set of clothes that will make you look good in a new body.

Take a look at 3 of the 8 designer items up for grabs by the winners:






Are you tempted already by these luscious clothes? I am!

The rules are simple and fun, actually. Here are the mechanics:

14 Days to Fitness and Fashion

So what do you have to do to get a crack at Manila’s most coveted designer wardrobe?

Simply form a team of 2-8 members, and using Nestle Fitnesse’s 14-day meal plan, everyone in the team has to lose at least 2 pounds in 2 weeks. “No, 2 pounds is not that daunting, it only needs a few diet tweaks,” quips Myra Garcia. She explains that participants only need to replace breakfast and one of the main meals – either lunch or dinner–for 2 weeks.  She adds that to exercise as well as eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and low-fat, carbohydrate rich foods is the best way to complement the 14-day regimen.

And as part of the challenge, participants also need to chronicle their 14-day regimen via an online “fitness diary” accessed at www.fitnesse-14days.com <http://www.fitnesse-14days.com> . The Top 10 most popular FITNESSE 14-day diaries will make it into finals.

The Nestle Fitnesse 14 Days to Show off Your Shape will kick off on November 14, Saturday, 9am, with the voting period lasting from November 15 to December 3, 2009.  And as adjudged by Manila’s top style icons the winners will be announced on December 10, 2009 in a special fashion show.

“People who’ll join this challenge will have nothing to lose but pounds,” jests Myra Garcia.   “Not only do they win the fashionista closet of their dreams, but they walk away with health tips, tweaks and tricks during their 14-day challenge and continue on living a healthier, fitter and a more runway-ready lifestyle.”

For more information about Nestle Fitnesse’s 14 Days to Show off Your Shape, please log on to www.fitnesse-14days.com <http://www.fitnesse-14days.com> .

My White Confession

I have a confession to make.

I am not that much of a cake eater.

If you gave me a choice between ice cream and a slice of chiffon cake, I would choose the ice cream. Every time. Oh yes, I loved cheesecakes and chocolate mousse, the desserts that are more melt-in-your-mouth type rather than the spongy, cakey ones.

When Red Ribbon hosted the mommy bloggers one afternoon in order to introduce their new, surprise ‘White’ cake, I went to the event more out of curiosity over the kind of cake that was going to be launched. The weather that afternoon was not very cooperative as it rained cats and dogs just as I was on my way to the Libis branch. There was a time when I thought of just turning back as I did not want to risk getting caught in a flood just to try a cake.

It was an intimate affair as only mommies and a few kids were present. There was the usual round of introductions and opening remarks as well as a sneak preview of the cake which turned out to be the White Forest Cake.

I actually felt excited listening to the presentation as they described what the White Forest Cake was made of. For one, it was all covered in white chocolate shavings. Mmmmm… Then the piece de resistance was… oh my, long-stemmed maraschino cherries. LOTS of them, sitting right on top of the white chocolate shavings. I was not disappointed when they brought out the actual cake. Unlike many photos where the advertised picture is sometimes far off from the real thing, the White Forest Cake looked exactly like it did on the tarp inside the room.

We all started clicking away with our cameras taking shots from every angle. What else does a blogger do but take lots of pictures, right?

But here’s the part that really surprised me. When I was finally given a slice of the cake to sample, I was actually looking forward to taking that first bite. No, I was not disappointed. There were cherry bits folded into the chiffon cake together with cream filling, the chiffon was very light (cloud-like) and unlike a lot of cakes that are too sweet for my taste, this one was JUST RIGHT!

See how nothing was spared to fill the innards of this cake with cream & cherry bits? Yummy!

See how nothing was spared to fill the innards of this cake with cream & cherry bits? Yummy!

When the event ended, I was one of those left behind at the branch because the car was still fetching my children. That was a blessing in disguise because Red Ribbon’s branch head offered me still another slice of White Forest Cake. Yes, by this time I no longer minded eating another serving!

Red Ribbon also gifted us all with our very own White Forest Cake so I was really excited to have the kids try it as I knew that if I loved it, they were sure to do so too.

If there is one gauge of a cake’s success, I would say it is the length of time it takes to consume. I had another meeting that evening so the cake was sent home ahead for the children to have for dessert. I was lucky I still had the chance to eat a slice the next day because with my 4 kids and a nephew at home, the White Forest Cake was gone within 24 hours. Now you know why I have no family pictures with the cake…

Luckily, October is the month when 3 of my family members have birthdays. Maybe that’s a great excuse to go get another White Forest Cake from Red Ribbon. 🙂

Picture the Ways of Spreading the Sweetness of Gratitude


Two words. Two syllables. Too simple.  Too often left unsaid.

My parents taught me to say thank you whenever possible. And — Thank You is not only reserved for people with authority over us or who are our friends and family. Even household help, office workers, drivers, security guards, salesladies in malls, janitors and the like deserve to hear our thanks when they do something for us.

I personally believe that Filipinos are a grateful people. Yes, busy-ness sometimes becomes a reason not to verbalize gratitude but I think this is not the majority of us. Just take a look at the recent wake and funeral of Pres. Corazon Aquino (Tita Cory). The sight of people from all walks of life braving the rains and wind then, patiently lining up for hours exposed to the elements just to glimpse her body for a few seconds, was a humbling sight of a grateful nation that wanted to physically express just what Tita Cory had done for the country. The world was witness to how we, as a nation, expressed our GRATITUDE to someone who loved our country and us.

Sometimes we don’t forget to thank others but we neglect to thank those closest to us — our families — thinking that there is no need to since they are, precisely, ‘family’.  I believe that verbal expressions of thanks within the close family circle not only makes the family member concerned feel appreciated and needed but serves to strengthen the familial bonds.

My warm THANK YOU goes to the person who has become my partner in life and father to our 4 wonderful kids. All these years, his calm and prayerful disposition has always been a source of strength for us when difficult situations hit. I have seen him countless times reach important decisions only after deep prayer and discernment. He is not the perfect husband or father (neither am I the perfect wife or Mom) and many times, work occupies his time. But he is a devoted and loving husband/father who takes his role seriously, bonds with the kids whenever he can, and can always be counted on as an anchor and adviser not only within our extended family but even with friends and clients.

On hubby’s last birthday, we surprised him with a family dinner and a huge cake to express our love and thanks for our padre de familia.


Now that aside, how many different ways do you think are there of expressing gratitude?

Flowers? Chocolates? Cards?

Oh, I am sure we Filipinos can do better than this! LET’S GET CREATIVE!

Toblerone, a popular international Swiss chocolate brand, is now on its 3rd year of sponsoring National Thank You Day in the Philippines.

National Thank You Day logo

In conjunction with their celebration, my blog is hosting a PHOTO CONTEST.


The photo contest is open to all Filipinos of legal age living WITHIN THE GREATER MANILA AREA ONLY.

HOW TO JOIN (updated 9/7/09)

1. Take a photo (must be your original work) that shows a creative way of saying thank you or expressing gratitude. Yes, use your imagination, think beyond the ordinary, make it fun, crazy, romantic, cheesy, or as wacky as you wish.

2. Only 1 entry per person. Any persons featured in the submitted photos must have given permission to the entrant for him/her to be used. The use of minors in pictures must have the explicit approval of the parents/guardian.

3. Post this photo entry in your own website (blog, Multiply, Friendster, Facebook, etc) and link these photo entries to the gallery found in www.thankyoudayphilippines.com.

4. Also post the link from your entry to mine here as a comment so that it qualifies as an entry in my blog. Make sure that I can access/view your entry. (Please be sure to provide a valid email address when posting your link as this is how I will get back to the finalists chosen)

SELECTION PROCESS (updated 9/7/09)

1. From the entries, I will select five (5) finalists (the decision will be considered final).

2. Three (3) top winners among all shortlisted entries (other bloggers will submit their shortlists as well) will be selected by a panel composed of employees of the Sponsor and its PR agency, GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications, Inc.

3. The 3 top winners will be announced at the National Thank You Day Awards on Oct. 20, 2009 at Mall of Asia. Each one will receive a Toblerone gift pack (all shortlisted entries will also be given a thank you kit).

For more details on the contest mechanics, please visit www.thankyoudayphilippines.com.


The photo contest begins Monday, Sept. 7, 2009 at 2PM and ends on Friday, Oct. 16, 2009, 5 PM. I will close off the Comments section of this post once the deadline has passed.

And yes, a BIG THANK YOU in advance for joining the contest.

Krispy Kreme Searches the World Over for its Fave Fans

Krispy Kreme celebrated its 72 years today by treating its customers who visited its stores in selected countries to free doughnuts and coffee today. I was at their Boni High Street store earlier this afternoon with some of my blogger friends. We were treated to free doughnuts and beverages as we sat around and just enjoyed each other’s company despite the rains outside. I think the rains actually made us enjoy their coffee even more!

As part of a continuing celebration of their anniversary, Krispy Kreme has also launched an international search for Krispy Kreme’s fave fans all over the world. If you are 18 years old and above and live in any of these countries (Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines and the United Kingdom) you may join in.

Win a year’s supply of doughnuts and more than that, get a trip for two to the home of Krispy Kreme in Winston, Salem, North Carolina, USA.

Read all the FAQs HERE. Just to give you an idea of how the contest goes, this is all you need to do, based on one of the questions in the FAQ page:

To celebrate 6 dozen years of making our customers’ lives special, Krispy Kreme is searching for their fave fans around the world. The contest requires applicants to submit a photo with a 72 word (or less) caption that answers the question: “How has Krispy Kreme made your life special?” Entries will be accepted through July 13 to September 15, 2009. A Local Krispy Kreme judging committee will then select a group of 12 finalists for each participating markets and then the ultimate winner for each market will be selected through on-line voting.

Join now. Their fave fan could just be YOU!

Your Time Management Tips Could Win a Watch from Kids Watch Central!


The winners are:

1. Eunice

2. Suzanne

3. Aly

Congratulations! Please check your email from me and bring a printed copy when claiming your prize.


What’s it with today’s generation? I find so many of my kids’ friends into the cramming mode. And I must confess, my own brood get into this mode every so often as well! I must admit, there are just too many distractions these days.

A whole lot more is out there than during my time when we just had to be taken away from the TV. Now, there’s the internet, the PSP, the Wii, the PS3, mobile phones, and all other techie gadgets that can really eat up time, if you are not careful.

When I was growing up, my super duper organized Dad always ingrained in me the value of managing my time. I guess it paid off that I was nerdy then. I was the type who would start on a paper weeks in advance, researching, writing and re-writing it till I was satisfied. That discipline was honed even more when I spent over 16 years with the leading accounting firm in the Philippines. Tight deadlines, plenty of overtime, pressure and stress combined squeezed out whatever time management skills you had already acquired and if you were still lacking in it, forced you to develop some real quick.

When computers were not staples yet of the home, it was easier to drill time management into my kids — at least the older girls. At that time, I had a house rule: No TV from Monday to Thursday. They could only watch TV beginning Friday after class till early Sunday evening.

Now, with computers and with homework necessitating research on the internet, it is harder to clamp down and impose rules like “no computers, no internet”. The “no TV” rule does not apply since they’d rather go on the internet than watch a TV show (should I be thankful?). But how to control their time on the internet?

With great difficulty, based on my experience. Let me give you a few examples:

“No computers from Monday to Thursday”Mom! Most of our assignments require us to do research. How can I access Wikipedia if you don’t let us on?

“Ok, you can go online but NO CHATTING!”But Mom, my classmates and I are online and we are discussing our assignments!

So I am left with the only thing I can impose on my boys (the girls, in college, are pretty much on their own already) — “I don’t want to see any gaming windows open!”. Let’s see them come up with a retort to THAT!

More important than just imposing rules is giving them a sense of OWNERSHIP and RESPONSIBILITY. Ownership means that they acknowledge that their assignments are theirs alone to prepare and accomplish. RESPONSIBILITY is accepting the consequences of NOT doing it properly or worse, not doing it at all. I have always emphasized to my kids that I will never go to their teachers to play down or cover up for homework that they failed to do. They had to face these consequences themselves.


Anyway, here’s something FUN, FUN, FUN! And it’s so easy because it comes from your personal experience!

I’d love to hear the best time management techniques that you ever gave out to your kids. Share any anecdotes that you may have experienced in using these techniques and what the results were on your kids.

Just post a comment below (with a valid email address) and that serves as your entry. You can submit only 1 entry until July 20, 2009 (midnight).

The three (3) most unique and interesting answers each get one (1) Kids Watch Central watch for your little one.  Kids Watch Central wants to give your kids a head start with time management. What better way than with a watch they can use to monitor time!!!

Kids Watch Central-IMG_0059

(Note: The actual watches to be given away may not necessarily match what are shown in the pictures.)

Winners within Metro Manila and surrounding areas may claim their prizes at GeiserMaclang c/o Arbee Panga, Unit 7D Tuscan Building, 114 V.A. Rufino St., Legaspi Village, Makati City. Provincial winners will get their prizes via courier. Open to residents in the Philippines only.

On July 21, I will update this post with the names of the three (3) winners.

Many thanks to GeiserMaclang and Kids Watch Central for this TIME-ly contest.

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