Wednesday, April 23

Healthier Way to Eat Ice Cream

Some would associate Ice Cream with Summer. Well, doesn't mean we can't cut down a little.

Ice Cream too small for a big bowl? Trick your mind. Here's a useful tip to make ice cream yummy and not-so-fattening. In a nice-looking bowl, take a scoop of your fave ice cream. Just one. Ok, Maximum 2. Cut up some fruits. Try the summery fruits like mango and pineapple. Then put A banana split on half. You can put unsweetened rice crispies or animal crackers. I put one chocolate cookie cut in half here. Then, don't put syrup. Put a Tbs. of Virgin Coconut Oil. Trust me, it is very interesting when it hardens with ice cream.

Tuesday, April 22

A Model Life

What is in a model's life?
Fashion is such a fast business. As Heidi Clum would say, "One day you're in, the next day you're out." It is all appearance, looking young, fresh and edgy. Who can blame the Fashion World? It makes the economy run and fast.
But what about the Models? How does this affect their life?
A Model's lifespan is only the look they bring. If you don't make an impact by 25, you fade into the background. Models who make it switch careers but stay into the limelight. Look at Tyra, she hosts her own show. Heidi has her own show too. That makes Petra Nemcova too. She mentors six girls in a reality show that's not quite "Top Model" and all the more harsh.
"A Model Life" with Petra Nemcova follows six girls' journey in Next Modeling Agency. By the end of the show, only one will be picked to be one of Next's 18 models in the Fashion Week.

Executive Producer David Broome says A Model Life's aim is to "pull back the curtain on the modeling industry" and tackle issues like distorted body image, living in a big city on one's own, and self-esteem. As six models vie for a contract, walk Fashion Week's runways, and compete for ad campaigns, Nemcova acts as sideline coach. But really-gorgeous, pampered models as victims? More than you'd know. "Girls are anorexic and dying," says Nemcova. "It's stupid, but it still happens in this business." Broome cast a nutritionist to offer a healthy defense against fashion's never-too-thin manifesto. "Models pick up life-threatening habits to stay in the game," he says, "and the industry still spits them out."
Clip from:

Pull back the curtains indeed. We can see the harsh life even in the Agency alone. They haven't even booked jobs yet. They get critiqued left and right. Not only in their performances, mind, also how their bodies look. Michelle, the most anorexic looking girl with sunken eyes and ribs for torso, is what they call perfect and edgy. Theother girls with hips or bits of flesh, the agents are already saying they won't make it. Still, week after week, they are told to loose weight. What wieght?
Would you be angry at the agents for driving these girls to malnutrition or blmae the girls for doing it?
Sarah from ANTM Cycle 9 was sent home because she was too fat to be a regular model but too thin to be plus-size. How can a person be a model? Is it simply the looks, the personality or something more innate? All three are very subjective. One client might like a lot of character but some wants no character at all but looks alone. I've seen four Reality Show about modeling already. Each are very different yet same. Each client is very subjective and when all the contestants are beautiful, it all comes down to who would go the extra mile to get what they want.
America's Next Top Model, Janice Dickinson's Modeling Agency, A Model Life with Petra Nemcova, Make Me A Model, all these shows show the fashion world. They keep saying that the fashion industry is harsh and it is. The show gives you bonuses like a place to live in, challenges to win prizes and meet the popular people who mave and shake that world but it reality, when there is no show, a model's life is one full of struggles and woes.
In this country (Philippines), you can't be a full-time model. It doesn't pay. You are subjected to whatever a model is subjected to and you get very little pay. A professional model may earn Php3,000.oo to Php5,000 per walk but how many walks can you do a year? Fashion Shows are scarce and with competition, prices are being brought down. You can find a tall teen ager in the streets with edge in their looks, train her and pay her Php1,000.00 the whole night (Aprox, 4-6 walks). Cover model? Rarely. We have Actors, Singers and politicians gracing the covers and endorsing products.
So, a model life is one full of woes.

If you do wish to be a model, make sure your family is behind you. They not only give you support but also back-up. When you stumble, fall and be put down, there must always be someone there behind you to fall back on.

Saturday, April 19

Hanoi Trip

Three sisters, one destination. Me, Aki ria and Diki Marie boarded the shuddering Cebu Pacific Plane praying the Maiden Flight won't end up like Titanic. I know back in our minds, we were singing "On a Maiden Voyage, One a Maiden Voyage..."
Thank God, we landed! And lived to get conned by a colorum "taxi." Yes, we are not the only country with colorum taxis and taxis who tamper their meters. The good people of Hanoi may prefer to use motorbikes but that doesn't stop road accidents. they are hell-drivers, very much like us!
So, we immersed ourselves in culture and history. Going around one of Hanoi's most important Lakes, Hoan Kiem. Hoan Kiem Lake is the center of commerce in Hanoi. The Old District surrounds the small pond-like lake. Legend says that the old emperor took a boat trip in the lake and a giant turtle appeared and gave him a golden sword which he used to win a war. After, the turtle took it back and was never seen. You can find a stuffed giant turtle in the pagoda in the middle of the lake. Strange such big creatures actually exist in the small lake. Whether the turtle is the actual turtle of the story, no one can confirm nor deny.
The shopping district is basically everywhere close to the lake. You can buy anything and everything if you can find the streets. The Old Hanoi were ruled by guilds. Each street had its own wares, its own guild. So, you may find yourself in a street full of Musical instruments, a street of shoes, lapidaries or a street of greeting cards. There are no malls so you can find Nine West in front of the Lake. It is a law in Hanoi not to demolish old structures especially in the Old District. but they are renovated. The downstairs are all turned commercial but the top floors retain their colonial touches. By the way, Vietnam was conquered by the French.

So you can see a lot of the French influences like architecture food and theatres. It was to our delight that Hanoi has an Opera House and we were fortunate to be at the last night of the Spring Ballet entitles "Chopiniana" and for the second part, West Side Story.

Vietnamese culture cannot be complete without a Vietnamese Theatre. In front of Hoan Kiem lake is the Water Puppet Theatre where the famous art form is performed with traditional music using traditional instruments are used. The Water Puppet performance are little segments depicting Vietnamese life and culture like Dragon Dance, Dance of the Phoenix, Planting Rice, Catching Frogs, The story of the Emperor and the Turtle (One where the emperor is given the Sword and its return). Of course there is also a segment where a Scholar returns home and the whole town celebrates.
Do you think Valentines Day is popular in Hanoi? Nothing can compare to teachers day. Flower prices rise tenfold during Teachers Day. Vietnamese revere their teachers. A one point in history, they were revered as gods.
To me and my two sis' delight, we found a place of reverence to one of the most important things in our life, Literature. We went to the Temple of Literature. It was built by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong in 1070. Later it was made into "University of the Sons of the Nation," Hanoi's first university. Today, we find the names of the scholars and teachers immortalized in stone on the back of stone turtles.

After seven days, we ready to go home. Bringing culture, memory and a whole bunch of silks, we arrived in Manila, tired and hungry. Nope, Cebu Pacific did not feed us in the four-hour journey plus one hour delay. And Hanoi Airport closes its restaurant at ten so no food for us.
But boy! What experiences we now carry, from the trip to the tours to going home, our Hanoi experience is incomparable. One day, we hope to return and tour more sights that were not part of the itinerary we set for ourselves. We would also wish to see Saigon, Ho Chi Min and possible take the train up all the way to Beijing. It is a ten-hour experience!

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Thursday, April 17

A Day of Plays

Day 6 in Hanoi
Water Puppet Show, shopping and Spring Ballet

Wednesday, April 16

An Emerging Dragon

Day 5
Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is a river system described as an emerging dragon. The limestone islets protruding in a line like formation gave it it's name.
When visiting Ha Long Bay remember these: Wear comfy clothes that blocks sun and weather. Wear good shoes that you can trek with. Although food is provided, bring your own drink. They only have coke on board and it is a dollar each. Water is not so safe inn the islands.

I did enjoy my Ha Long experience. The 4-hour cruise was leisurely and perfect for relaxing. We went into an island where you can go inside a cave with natural grottoes with stalactites and stalagmites. Some contain fossilized creatures.
Food is a simple fish and vegetables but rice-all-you-can. There is not water on board to drink and you must buy your own coke. In the islands and the harbor, there are water, sodas, chipos and souvenirs for sale but they charge a tourist price.

Monday, April 14

A Street Lined with Silk

Day 4 in Hanoi
Silk Village to shop for silk.

Sunday, April 13

Super Chocolate

Chocolate Buffet at Sofitel Metropole, $15 a person. Worth it? Yum! Super chocolate!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 12

Temple of Literature

Day 2 in Hanoi

The Temple of Literature or Van Mieu was dedicated to culture and history. Aritsans and scholars all came together in the temple to pay homage to literary heritage immortalized in stone.

Friday, April 11

Day 1

Hanoi Trip. Arrived this morning.
So far...
Hoan Kiem Lake and vicinity.

Thursday, April 10

Another Guilt-Free Snack

I'll call this "Guilt-free Rolls"

What you need:
6 or more pieces of Wheat bread slices
1/4 cup cream cheese (fat free if you can)
1 Tbs. non-fat milk
1 Tbs. Mayonnaise or Mayomagic
1/4 cup grated quick-melt cheddar
3 cloves of garlic
1 medium sized green or red bell pepper (Both if you want color)
A hand full of chopped spinach leaves
Snippets of fresh basil
Dash of Pepper
Dash of Salt

How to do it:
1. Cut the sides of the wheat bread. Using a rolling pin or a hand round glass bottle, roll flat the slices of bread.
2. In a bowl, mix Cream cheese, mayo, milk and cheeses. chop in small cubes the bell pepper. Mince garlic. Chop spinach and basil. All all those to the cheese mixture. Add salt and pepper. Add more if needed, depending on taste.
3. Spread it evenly on the flattened wheat bread then roll it. Slice then serve!

Good for snacks! Can be served in cocktails too!

Tuesday, April 8


More pics from Puerto. Very colorful. Just gotta love nature!

Monday, April 7

Puerto Gallera!

Me and Mom!

For more pics of our vacation:

Thursday, April 3

The Promcat

I joined and submitted a short story entitled Promcat. I'm glad I got useful insights and good comments. Other writers have reviewed and rated my story. I got a 3.5, 4 and three 4.5 out of 5. Yey!
Promcat opens with Alicia De Leon who is a senior student who doesn't want to be crowned Ms. Wallflower of the Night in her prom night. She tells her frustration to her pet Cat on the night of the prom. The cat, by the name of Alonzo, gave her a life-changing kiss and became her dream come true.

*Yup, this Alonzo in the story was inspired by my Alonzo in the real life.

Tuesday, April 1

A Hero by Reflex

I opened the door to a haggard, shaking mom dressed in suit, pearls, diamonds and other blings.
"Mom, what happened?"
"I saved a man." Well, sort of save. Going home, she took the tollway from Alabang to Bicutan. 1km away from the toll gate, a truck behind her hit the fence and turned turtle. She stopped, backed up and tried to see what had happened. The man was trapped inside and can't get out because of his seatbelt. Mom crawled in through the window and let him loose. When they got out, people started to "usyoso." Mom sped away.
"I don't feel like a hero." She said to me and Diki.
"Ma, helping people has become your life that it became reflex."

Mom, Soroptimist president and Hero by Reflex!

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