Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Belo belles"
Sun.Star Davao, Aug. 29, 2015

Mother and daughter team Dr. Vicki Belo and Cristalle Belo Henares perfectly complement each other.

Dr. Belo, who is the Belo Medical Group’s founder, admits that between the two of them, it is Cristalle who is more entrepreneurial while she, on the other hand, sticks to the medical side of her practice and business. The 32-year old Cristalle acts as the CEO of Belo Essentials as well as the Managing Director of the Belo Medical Group.

 From a 44-square meter clinic in 1990, the Belo Medical Group now operates eleven state-of-the-art clinics that are strategically located across the Philippines, including its latest clinic in Davao’s Abreeza Mall.

Dr. Belo reveals that “the Belo Medical Group offers a comprehensive range of treatments from skin care to non-invasive, surgical and age-defying solutions. The group’s innovative approach to beauty has pioneered the application of the latest technologies from the US, France, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Brazil, Israel, Japan and Korea”.

“It is what makes us unique. We focus on bringing the latest available technology, medical procedure and products from across the globe to provide the best possible solutions for our patients.  The Belo Medical Group’s 25 years of exceptional expertise in the specialized field of aesthetic dermatology and cosmetic surgery has earned it numerous awards and recognitions”, she adds.

Up close and personal
To highlight its 25th year, the Belo Medical Group brought in the Belo Festivale in Davao, a four-day event showcasing the group’s brand story with various activities wherein patrons can take photos, and avail of Belo products and treatments at the Abreeza Mall. It culminated with a mini show by Club Mwah and ‘Belo baby’, Piolo Pascual.
During the recent exclusive media affair celebrating the Belo Medical Group’s anniversary at Seda Hotel, we spent a few hours getting to know Dr. Belo’s personal journey and the inspiring story of her mega success.
Joining Dr. Belo was her lovely daughter Cristalle as well as celebrity endorsers, 1973 Ms. Universe Margie Moran-Floirendo and multi-awarded actor Piolo Pascual.
There is something so sincere and candid when the charming Dr. Belo starts to talk. She has no qualms in divulging sensitive issues beginning with her life as an adopted child who was bullied at 5 years old in school. “Fat and ugly” were among the mean words uttered to her by mischievous classmates.
Growing up as a teen, she had unsightly pimples which made her a regular patient with a dermatologist. These experiences shaped her passion to specialize in the same field when she took up medicine.
‘Cristalle’ clear
Even if she came from a privileged background, Cristalle knows the value of paying it forward. In 2004, she volunteered as a pre-school worker for 10 months in Bukidnon with only Php3,500.00 as her monthly allowance.
After college, she started working for the Belo Medical Group in 2005. One of her biggest projects was overseeing the construction of the Belo building in Greenhills approving the plans and materials and collaborating with the design team. Dr. Belo confidently delegates these kinds of tasks to Cristalle as she is not fond of the rigors of site inspections and going over the details.

In 2007, the Belos launched their own beauty line, Belo Essentials, which with phenomenal sales is now serving as the retail arm that distributes beauty and personal care products to drugstores, supermarkets, and selected countries.

It is ‘Cristalle’ clear why Dr. Belo is mighty proud of her daughter and why her unica hija is beaming with pride over her mom’s continued success. Together, they commit to fulfill Belo’s vision to “make the Philippines, the most beautiful country in the world, one person at a time”.

So, what’s next for these unstoppable Belo belles? “World domination!”, declares Dr. Belo playfully.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015


“Marvelously Marbled”
Sun.Star Davao, Aug. 15, 2015

My personal preference when it comes to eating steak is its marbling --- lots of it! And, when it comes to marbling, Wagyu is definitely on top of my list.

Wagyu (pronounced ‘wag-you’) is “a breed of cattle native and unique in their genetics to Japan. ‘Wa’ pertains to Japanese and ‘gyu’ means beef. This beef is highly marbled which means that the muscle is finely interspersed with fat that is an ‘intra-muscular’ deposit of energy. When cooked, the marbling is absorbed into the muscle and gives the beef its “melt in the mouth” moisture and tenderness as well as its intense flavor”, according to an internet source.

The good news is that the marbling in Wagyu is found to contain monounsaturated fats. Research has shown that these fats can actually assist in reducing cholesterol levels in the body.

Highest grade beef

Recently, I was pleased to discover that my elusive bachelor-friend, Glenn Yap, took his passion for steak to the next level by opening Marbled Restaurant and Bar specializing in Wagyu A-5 beef, no less, the highest grade given only to the finest beef.

“I love steak!”, shares Glenn with a twinkle in his eye. “Marbled, a name coined by a witty friend, is three years in the making. I didn’t rush opening this restaurant because I wanted to consider every factor. We wanted our restaurant to be known for its reasonable price and good service”, he continues.

With Chef Richie Mearns, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, as its consultant, Marbled’s menu showcases lip-smacking family-friendly dishes with the Wagyu A-5 beef as its piece de resistance.

“In Manila, most steak houses sell their Wagyu at Php800 to Php1,000 per ounce but here at Marbled, we sell it an affordable Php450 per ounce only”, shares Glenn.

Young restaurateur

Marbled is not Glenn’s first foray in the food industry. He has been a franchisee of the popular Cebu restaurant chain Chikaan at Abreeza Mall Davao for four years and also operates Pollo Porco Cebu Lechon.

“Running a resto is never easy. It is a challenge but it really depends on your mindset. Chikaan has a system we followed which made it easier”, recalls Glenn.

From Chikaan, he learned that to be able to run a great restaurant, good food shouldn’t be profit-based. Instead, the focus should be on the quality of food and service”, explains Glenn.

‘Straightforward’ dishes

That’s why with Marbled, Glenn made sure that they presented value-for-money choices for their clientele. My family and I were pleased with the options they offered --- Japanese, American, and Italian dishes that Glenn describes as ‘straightforward’.

During our family’s first visit, we ordered their delectable French Onion Soup (Php210); Seafood Chowder (Php250) and Spinach Dip (Php140) as our soups and appetizer.

The kids absolutely loved their mouth-watering Spaghetti with Spanish Chorizo (Php250) and Fettuccine with Tomato Cream Sauce and Chicken (Php180). If the pasta tastes a tad familiar, you would be happy to know that it is because Chef Richie owned the former Boyd’s Pizza House of Kidapawan and Davao.

My sister-in-law and I had the Grilled Pork Chop (Php250) and Seared Salmon with Caper Sauce (Php595). They filled our tummies and did not disappoint with their generous servings and side dishes of seared potatoes and vegetables in season.

Marvelously Marbled

Other family members had US Prime Rib-Cowboy Steak (half-inch 500g steak at Php1,350) and US Rib Eye – Choice 320g (Php950). The steaks’ huge portions were more than enough for sharing as I caught my mom discreetly leaving huge cuts of her meat on my plate.

And, finally, the main reason why we were gathered at Marbled --- the Wagyu!

True to its claim, the Wagyu A-5 beef (Sirloin 150g at Php1,900 and Chateaubriand 200g at Php3,200) --- perfectly cooked medium well, and sprinkled with salt; melted in our mouths and boy, was it divine!

Marbled Restaurant and Bar is at JJ Commune, Loyola St., Bo. Obrero, Davao City with telephone number 2243594. Open Sunday-Thursday from 1030am-10pm and Friday-Saturday from 1030am till late.
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Saturday, August 1, 2015

“Oh my Omni!”
Sun.Star Davao, Aug. 1, 2015

If you are a practical mom like me, choosing the right household appliances and lights is something one takes seriously to save on rising electricity costs.

After 15 years, our first-ever refrigerator as a married couple conked out which left us with no choice but to switch to a new one. This time, we decided to invest in an inverter-type ref. On the other hand, our trusty air conditioner was also given its due retirement following years of loyal service. These simple changes gave us reasons to smile whenever we received our monthly electric bill for we did experience significant savings. Best of all, our food stays fresh longer and our room cools more efficiently with the upgrades.

When it comes to value-for-money lighting, Filipino households have relied on Omni for generations.

Omni LED bulbs consume 90 percent less energy compared to Omni incandescent bulbs. Even if the bulbs have high luminous efficacy, they are low on energy consumption. Its low heat emission likewise aids in the air conditioner’s electricity costs.

Because of its efficiency, one can actually save an average of Php 1,584.00 on one-year electricity bill by switching just a single halogen bulb to an MR16 Omni LED. Furthermore, Omni LED bulbs can last up to 40 times more than regular incandescent bulbs, so one also saves on operational and maintenance cost.

Recently, Omni launched its first batch of Davao brand ambassadors. Here’s what some have to say regarding the well-loved Filipino brand which they not only use in their homes but in their businesses and professions as well:

“As our athletes work on their fitness, we make sure we work on our lighting. Finding the perfect illumination and temperature mix for our gym in only one brand.”---Trent Pruett and Kevin Cracknell, Coaches of Crossfit DMA.

“My profession calls for the best lighting system. That’s why for me there is only one brand.”---Sofia Sibala – Hair and Make-Up Artist

“I am very particular with my lights. They need to have the best balance of color, luminance and temperature; and I only know of one brand.”---Milvene Mineses, Photographer, WPPI Member, Owner of Simply Gray Studio

“Isa lang ang ilaw ng tahanan ko.” --- Erika Soriano-Mata, Wife and mother of 3, The woman behind HUMABI Bags for a Cause

“Counting, recording and monitoring are only a few of a banker’s endless tasks. This is why we require the best lighting system for the job – the kind of clarity, brightness, coolness and accuracy that only Omni can deliver.” --- Kristianne Jungco, Banker

“I do intensive research both online and on hard copies for my lectures. Cool and steady lights at home and in school make it possible.” --- Jade Solaña, CPA, MBA (CAR), College Instructor II

“I couldn’t have kept up with my studying schedule without dependable lights at home.”--- Gea Sedayao, San Pedro College graduate, incoming St. Luke’s Med student

“Only the best lighting for all our business operations.” ---Jun and Mimi Tupas, Entrepreneurs, One Fab Pooch, Soul Kitchen Co. and Soul Lifestyle

“A teacher’s work doesn’t end in school. Main reason why I only insist for the best brand every time I prepare at home.” ---Lunar Fayloga, Educator

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Saturday, July 18, 2015


“Gourmet Bites’ sweet success”
Sun.Star Davao, July 18, 2015

It was indeed a sweet success for Gourmet Bites and Pastry Arts Academy, Philippines as they reaped a cornucopia of awards at the recent Mindanao Culinary Festival held at the SM Lanang Premier.
Run by sisters Chiara Samson-Sacdalan and Simone Samson-De Vera with husband Jay De Vera and their sister-in-law Architect Elisha Agdamag-Samson, Gourmet Bites is the culinary arts extension of St. Dominic Savio Business and Technical College, Inc. (SDSBTC). On the other hand, Pastry Arts Academy, Philippines (P.A.A.P.), the 1st pastry school in Mindanao, is the pastry arts department of SDSBTC.

Bagging a total of 3 gold medals, 2 silvers, and 3 bronzes during the three-day event, the Gourmet Bites and Pastry Arts Academy, Philippines family could not be any prouder of their representatives. Their instructors and students all competed in the professional level in the various categories going against challengers from the hotel industry; food catering and restaurants; as well as other schools in Culinary Arts and Hotel and Restaurant Management.

In the Wedding Cake Category, Gourmet Bites’ Pastry Arts instructors Chefs Pia Angela Dalisay Tecson and Christopher Vincent Borja won back-to-back gold while Certificate in Culinary Arts (CCA) Batch 4 student Jennifer Viola Villegas ranked 3rd highest silver in the Pasta Category (Live).
Meanwhile, Certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts (CBPA) Batch 7 student Kirsten Kaye Canillo won the 2nd highest bronze medal in the Plated Desserts Category, besting all the other student entries. Another Batch 8 student, Kate Laus, received the bronze medal in the same category.

It was no easy feat as CCA Batch 3 student Jesa Gomez clinched the only gold medal in the Local Seafood Category (Live) and in all of the cooking categories, earning 91 points out of a possible 100.

In addition, the Quick Fire Salad (Live) Category bronze medal went to CCA Batch 2 student Lady Bird Viola.

Gourmet Bites’ Chefs Remelina Cuenca, Janice Faith Ibañez and Gail Rodriguez were awarded the highest silver in the Filipino Cuisine Category (there were no gold medal awardees in this category) which earned all three to an all-expense paid trip to the Philippine Culinary Cup Manila in August 2015.

"With hard work, dedication and commitment to the craft and entrusting everything to the will of God, the participants practiced for days on end, working on their own and with their understudies and coaches to make their original concepts the best they could offer. And we thank each and everyone for proudly and bravely competing in the name of Gourmet Bites and Pastry Arts Academy, Philippines!”, Gourmet Bites’ Chiara Samson-Sacdalan enthuses.

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

“A step in the right direction with Chimes”
Sun.Star Davao, July 16, 2015

Chimes, the city’s specialty store for trendy finds, brings the latest designs from these global footwear brands:

Perk up your outfits with Happy Socks, a high-quality foot accessory spotted on Hollywood celebrities and their fashion-forward children. With their vibrant hues and fun designs, it is no wonder why these whimsical socks have become must-have essentials with the fashionista set.

Happy Socks was founded by two friends, Viktor Tell and Mikael Söderlindh who are Creative Director and CEO, respectively of this company. “Inspired by colorful, playful patterns and designs, Tell is influenced by the daily “everything and nothing” when designing the Happy Socks collection. His motto, “All play, no work”, accurately shows what the label is all about, turning a simple and overlooked product into a creative as well as expres­sive success story”.

Today, Happy Socks are sold in more than 70 countries across every continent and can be found on pretty much anyone –hipsters, businessmen/women, kids, grandparents…you name it!
Next on the list is the Spanish footwear brand, Flossy. “Backed by a rich 30-year strong heritage, Flossy originated from the Rioja region of Spain and introduced the original plimsoll that became popular with bohemians, street artists, and sailing enthusiasts in Barcelona”.  

The brand is a sunny invitation to simplicity and comfort with its range of laidback and understatedly stylish footwear. Split into five ranges – Classics, Originals, New Edits, Exclusives, Special Prints, as well as Kids, Flossy focuses on luxe fabrics and plush leathers in core neutral and hot accents throughout, making for a zingy collection.

And, who could ever resist a pair of FitFlops? Gone are the days when looking good goes hand in hand with being subjected to the inevitable discomforts of fashion. Comfy is the new cool and FitFlop leads the pack with its super ergonomic range of footwear.

Turning the fashion world completely upside down, “FitFlop made its breakthrough when it introduced its Microwobbleboard midsole, developed by two visionary biomechanics”. Meant to withstand rigorous usage, FitFlop footwear is the kind of shoes you can wear until they literally fall apart. Reflecting the type of women that it caters to, these shoes are a perfect combination of beauty, brains, and biomechanics!

The designs available this season include “the all-new SuperJelly, Surfa, Lulu Leather, Skinny, Flora, Petra, Cha Cha, Bijoo, Novy, Aztek Chada and the highlight of this season’s collection, FF2, which will not only capture the fancy of many for its casual cool and preppy elegant designs but most importantly, the immense comfort that it will provide its wearer”.

Want you and your family to step in the right direction? Skip, walk or run to your nearest Chimes Specialty Store now!

Chimes Specialty Store is located at Gov. Sales St. and Felcris Centrale, Quimpo Boulevard, Davao City.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

“Turbo dad’s garage
Sun.Star Davao, June 20, 2015

As kids, some of us eagerly collected and traded stickers and stationeries. Others frolicked with their toy guns and prized marbles. For Architect Rafael “Raffy” Tayactac, Matchbox cars were his ultimate childhood passion.

“I remember I would save two pesos everyday from my baon to buy a toy car at the end of the week which cost ten pesos back in the day”, Raffy fondly reminisces. Then, using his mom’s shoeboxes, he would creatively transform them into a cool garage for his growing Matchbox collection.

In 2008, with a successful career as an architect, Raffy began to relive his hobby again. But, this time, he zoomed in on the real deal.

“My first car collection was a vintage Rover Mini Cooper which took me almost a year to restore. The restoration process gave me a different kind of high.  It was like putting back small pieces together until they were complete. And, that’s where my passion in collecting cars took off. It’s like playing with Lego but on a much bigger scale!”, enthuses Raffy.

Raffy divulges that being an architect helped him in restoring cars as it is also very similar to building houses, which he also absolutely loves.

“It takes six months to a year for me to restore a car.  It is always a challenge to me whenever I do it. I put my effort, patience and perseverance on my “babies”. And, at the end of a project, the feeling of fulfillment is priceless. It inspires and energizes me to do another one again. Before I knew it, my collection ballooned to a dozen cars already”, Raffy smiles.

When asked what he considers as among his favorite cars in his collection, Raffy cites his 1993 Porsche Carrera. “It is small yet with powerful air-cooled engine and of course, has excellent body curves”, he describes.

Being a doting dad to young sons Tofi and Ken, Raffy likewise wanted to share his passion with them. So, he decided to build a life-sized Lightning McQueen straight out of the Disney movie “Cars” much to the delight of his kids. This was followed by a miniature military jeep and recently, an impressive miniature village for their playroom at home. “And, my joy doubled because it now involves my family, most especially my kids”, says Raffy proudly.

A few years ago, Raffy became a member of Davao Classic and Sports Car Club which has other dads as co-members. “We share the same hobbies and talk all the time about cars. It’s nice meeting people with the same likes. With them, I learned how to be responsible on the road, and how to preserve and maintain cars. The club definitely expanded my horizons”, the University of Sto. Tomas graduate shares.

From Matchbox toys to real cars, this turbo dad is truly living his childhood dream. And, he wishes to pass on important values to his kids through his passion. “They should dream big and believe in themselves, and if they put their effort, patience and perseverance on their goals, nothing is impossible”, declares Raffy.

Happy Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads!

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

“Goodness you can smile about”
Sun.Star Davao, June 6, 2015

There is no doubt that smiling is the best way to spread good vibes. Studies show that a smile instantly boosts your mood, decreases stress, lowers blood pressure, and makes you look oh-so-pretty!

“A healthy set of pearly whites has become synonymous to confidence and beauty”, says Karina Requillo, Human Nature Davao’s branch manager.

“With all these benefits, it’s not surprising that Filipinos brush their teeth religiously. Unfortunately, most synthetic toothpastes in the market contain chemicals that may harm your health”, she continues.

“Human Nature, the country’s largest genuinely natural personal care brand, brings you goodness you can smile about in its all-new Human Nature Natural Toothpaste”, shares Karina.

According to Karina, there are 3 reasons why you should switch to Human Nature Natural Toothpaste:

1. Get a genuinely healthy smile and fresher breath.

Human Nature Natural Toothpaste is powered by GreenMineral Plus, a natural formula with zinc citrate, calcium carbonate, fluoride, sesame seed oil, spearmint oil and peppermint oil. GreenMineral Plus helps fight plaque, tartar, and cavities while keeping your breath fresh naturally.

2. A toothpaste that’s safe for your family.

Unlike most toothpaste in the market, Human Nature Natural Toothpaste is 100% free from harmful chemicals. It contains no triclosan, no SLS, and propylene glycol.

Brushing your teeth is a pleasant experience with Human Nature. While most natural toothpastes taste unpleasant, Human Nature Natural Toothpaste was painstakingly developed in the Human Nature Natural Care Labs to be both free of harmful chemicals and great-tasting.

“After almost 3 years in development and over 100 prototypes, Human Nature’s Natural Toothpaste is a great achievement for Filipino scientists in creating a world-beating product”, Karina declares proudly.

In addition, Human Nature Natural Toothpaste is safe for children. It is recommended that for children below 6 years old, only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is needed for brushing, with adult supervision.

3. Kind on the planet.

Human Nature Natural Toothpaste takes care of planet Earth while keeping your smile bright. It is biodegradable and contains no plastic microbeads. Plastic microbeads are used in many personal care products as exfoliants and abrasives. Plastic microbeads are too small to be filtered out by wastewater treatment facilities, making them ocean and waterway pollutants.

Human Nature Natural Toothpaste is available at Human Natural branches, dealers, and via It is priced at only P149.75 (120g).

Human Nature Davao is at Plaza del Carmen, Loyola St., Bo. Obrero, Davao City.

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“Smile and the whole world smiles with you!”

Aside from their family, what are the top three things that can put the biggest smiles on these moms’ faces? Let’s find out!

Station Manager/Regional Production Head of Oomph Radio 97.1 and Viva Live
Communication Arts Professor at the University of Immaculate Conception
1.    Radio work! Production/doing voice overs
2.    Cooking
3.    Teaching

1.    Tea…refreshes me
2.    Exercise…it gives me energy
3.    Friends… they make me young

Actress/Commercial Model/Entrepreneur                       
1.    Hearing my sons get up and singing in the morning
2.    Dignity of work and helping others
3.    Losing weight
4.    My first cup of coffee (oooppsss…that’s four!)

Profession Head, Human Resources Department, Philsaga Mining Corp.
1997 Mutya ng Dabaw
1.    Hugs and kisses
2.    Great reads
3.    Silence and solitude

1.    Doing something nice for someone else or just helping those in need
2.    When someone says something simple but heartfelt like “I’m really happy to see you!”
3.    Hearing my favorite song

Housewife/Entrepreneur/Interior Design Enthusiast
1.    Good food
2.    Nice view
3.    Pretty dress

1.    Capturing a good photo
2.    When I recall something I forgot
3.    Remembering fond childhood memories

Customer Success, LinkedIn Singapore handling Southeast Asia (Singapore, Philippines and Thailand)
1.    Being with my family, esp. my kids
2.    Serving in church
3.    Being in Davao

Full-time housewife/Entrepreneur
1.    Super yummy food
2.    Killer shoes
3.    Saturday mornings wherein I can laze in bed till 8:00 a.m.

General Manager, Mamay Inn and Resort
2000 Mutya ng Dabaw
1.    Seeing the sunrise when I wake up
2.    Beauty of nature
3.    Cute little kittens and puppies