Saturday, January 17, 2015

“Dani’s wonderful world of Winx”
Sun.Star Davao, Jan. 17, 2015

Her big smile warms my heart. She shouts my name and waves her hand ever so gleefully that you would think we haven’t seen each other for ages.     This is how Danielle Christy Guiani Fuentes or Dani affectionately greets me every time I see her in school.

Dani is my good friend Toni’s bright and cheerful Grade 1 daughter who recently held her 7th birthday at Lispher Inn.

We wanted a simple and intimate party to celebrate with family and friends; thanking the Lord for the six wonderful years of Dani’s life”, says Toni, a breastfeeding advocate and owner of Nappy Hub Cloth Diaper Online Shop.

Together with Dani’s Daddy Troy and younger brother Wedi, Mommy Toni made their only girl’s birthday extra special by showcasing the well-loved Winx Club theme.

"Dani just loves Winx. They are her favorite fairy characters and our family also loves how the fairies are good-natured and courageous who defend the helpless. We hope that Dani will also possess and grow up with these endearing qualities”, says Toni.

Planning for the party was quite a breeze, thanks to Toni’s ever reliable fellow ‘Peas in a Pod’ moms Marie Lo and Ena Marie Tai of Creations Party Depot who imaginatively highlighted the Winx Club fairies Bloom and her five best friends, Stella, Musa, Tecna, Flora and Aisha at Lispher.

Donning her dainty pink-colored tutu and vibrant wings which magically moves and plays music with just the clap of the hands, Dani was giddy with excitement seeing the party venue filled with her ultimate faves.

While the guests waited for the party to start, kids immersed themselves in arts and crafts activities themed with Winx Club fairies.

Dani delighted the guests with her heart-warming rendition of “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart” which also served as her celebration’s opening prayer.
Dynamic party host Kring Kring Recla led the little ones in playing enjoyable parlor games while the parents busied themselves going around the food carts which were serving popcorn and French fries.
As Dani blew the candles of her birthday cake fabulously made by Cupcake Couture, she was beaming with happiness; grateful to God and her “fairy” friends for the memorable birthday party filled with much love and fun.

E-mail the author at Visit

Saturday, January 3, 2015

“A fresh start with Humabi”
Sun.Star Davao, Jan. 3, 2014

In welcoming the new year, Dr. Richard Mata and wife Erika Soriano-Mata greeted their Facebook friends with a stunning family photo and one of their favorite verses from Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.

Aside from being an in-demand pediatrician, Dr. Richard has saved many lives through his top dengue website, and made doctors’ prescriptions more patient-friendly through his innovative website,

On the other hand, Erika, a hands-on mom to three charming children, Patricia, Amanda and Richardo, has used her passion for fashion in making people feel better about themselves through her numerous speaking engagements which celebrate her audience’s God-given beauty inside and out.

Last December, this much-admired family who has been an ardent supporter of the Philippine Science High School’s scholarship program launched their own line of bags to further support the cause.

Know more about the Matas’ must-have accessory and why it’s making waves with bag lovers in this interview with Erika.

*How did you start supporting the scholars of Philippine Science High School?

About two years ago, our good friend, Dr. Charina Dioso, who was the head of the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) of Philippine Science High School, asked us if we can support some students who are really gifted but are just simply less fortunate when it comes to finances. We responded affirmatively on the level that we can afford.

We saw that helping dedicated students is a good investment because we know it won’t go into waste. These are serious students and some of them can become great leaders of this nation thus our help can multiply as we may help produce brilliant citizens who can touch more people.

*What made you think about creating bags for the scholarship fund?

Richard and I are believers of education.  We believe that anybody can get out of poverty if they will invest first in educating themselves.  We wished to continue and help more students in PhilSci.  That’s when the idea of having a business that can help these students came in.  

We are inspired by the business model of the popular shoes, Tom’s; that every time you buy a pair of shoes, Tom’s will be giving another pair for free to the poor children of Africa.  

I am a lover of fashion by nature. I love bags too and very meticulous of the design and the linings, the zippers, the color, etc.  So the idea came. And, we do believe it’s divine.

What if we can sell bags of my design for this purpose?  I will enjoy it at the same time!  So we searched for sources of locally made bags but somehow wasn’t successful at the start.  But we continued our search and finally I found myself inside the Women’s Correctional Institution.  

Not that I did something illegal, but I found that I can have my designs produced there by expert tie box bag weavers.  These weavers were also happy because it will really help them in their livelihood program.  Talking with them and learning their stories on why they were there is truly heartbreaking.  Most of them are mothers with students who also needed support.

* Who will be the beneficiaries of the proceeds from Humabi?

For every purchase of a Humabi, bag lovers will be helping two groups of people: the bag weavers of the correctional institution and some chosen scholars at the Philippine Science High school.

*Why did you choose the name Humabi as your bag’s brand?

At first I thought of another name. It was supposed to be “Sisidlan”, one of the Tagalog terms for bags but when we did an Internet search, “Sisidlan” already existed so we need to think of another name. It took some time and then Richard said, “What’s the Tagalog term for weave?”  We searched our brains first but nothing really came out, so we shifted our search to Google and there it was: “Humabi”.  We looked at each other and then a light bulb appeared!  We searched for Humabi bags in the net but there was none.  We went to DTI and they said it was available and so we registered it as the official name for our brand of bags!  Thank God!

*How did you come up with the designs with your daughters?

I have 2 daughters: Patricia, 13 years old and Amanda, 9 years old.  When we discuss about designs, they usually pull out their old favorite bags and we start from there and just innovate some more.

*What were the challenges you encountered while planning for the Humabi brand?

Well there are many challenges but I love all of it.  Mostly it’s in the availability of my stocks as I am just starting out.  Just like when I launched it on my Instagram and Facebook accounts and showed my gorgeous ambassadors, I received orders immediately and even had one person order 30 pieces for her company’s Christmas give-aways! I did not expect that to happen immediately but somehow I was able to comply.

*What makes your tie box bags different from the other previously produced tie box bags in the market?

Well there are many ways Humabi is different.  To start with, it is my design.

I first asked myself, “Will I be proud to carry this kind of bag design if I go to a mall or a party?”, if my answer is yes, then I do believe it will work also for my friends and the rest of the women out there.

The quality of each bag passes through me.  Each lining is properly examined.  They know I’m very meticulous so the quality is very high or else I will bring it back to them.  I also provided a dust bag with the Humabi logo which added some elegance in the packaging.

Aside from the design and quality, what made it also different is that we placed a lot of effort in building some class to the Humabi brand with the help of our brand ambassadors who are respected mompreneurs of the city like Marga Montermayor-Nograles, Mimi Vergara-Tupas, Kaye Gempesaw and Bianca Baretto-Uy.  We also have a surprise line-up of Celebrity Ambassadors from Manila which I will soon reveal.  We also have released our website to receive orders nationwide and internationally.  

We believe Humabi tie box bags have a wide market because they are unique, attractive, strong and affordable. It also has a good story that will entice people to buy as they know they will also be helping.  We were also able to tie-up with great stores such as Soul in Abreeza and Martish beside Villa Margarita Hotel.  In other words, Humabi bags are packaged and promoted to be world-class.

* How many colors are available and what are the different names of the designs? Can you please explain their respective features?

FAITH BAG: It’s a square-shaped handbag with wave stitch design.

HOPE BAGS:  It’s a rectangular-shaped handbag with a corn stitch design.

LOVE SHOULDER/SUMMER BAGS: It’s a tote bag with a bigger size fit for outings.

KINDNESS SLING BAGS:  It has a peacock stitch design perfect for teens.

PEACE KIDS BACK-PACKS:  Circular in shape with either butterflies or flowers as accent.  Fit for little princesses.

All of the above comes in 10 different colors--black, brown, red, white, blue, orange, yellow, green, pink and purple.

*So far, how is the response of people to Humabi?

All I got are always praises for the bags!  Usually when the package comes to their homes, they get surprised the moment they see it.  It starts from the dust bag which women really love and when they open it, they can’t believe that it was all made out of tie box twines.  

They admire the craftsmanship and the dedication given to it by the weavers.  I also realized that people really have a helping heart. Knowing that they are helping both the women in the correctional and worthy students of PhilSci gives them great joy that they supported Humabi!

* What are you future plans for Humabi? 

We are all excited.  The future is really online.  My husband is my partner and actually my IT guy.  He immediately made the website for me all by himself without the need of me hiring a website developer.  

From there, we will link an ad about my website, so his thousands of readers can easily see my link and perhaps become resellers of our unique colorful bags.  We believe there’s a niche for these kinds of bags even in the first world countries especially if they will know it’s for a good cause. I am also going to introduce another design by January and Facebook and Instagram are of big help.  

But more than anything, the future that we are looking forward to is actually to see the weavers with their children still able to finish schooling even if they are still serving their sentences and also see our Humabi scholars in PhilSci to walk on stage with flying colors during their graduation ceremony.

E-mail the author at Visit

Saturday, December 20, 2014

“Christmas must-haves at Chimes”
Sun.Star Davao, Dec. 20, 2014

“What to give? What to wear? Where to buy?” Without a doubt, these are the frequently-asked questions this holiday rush.

It’s 5 days before Christmas but don’t you fret as Chimes Specialty Store’s two leading brands rise up to the demands of the Yuletide season with their exquisite style and beauty.

Be the dressiest damsel of the party with Plains and Prints’ 2014 Holiday Collection!

Rhett Eala, designer and creative director of Plains and Prints, shares that the brand’s holiday collection plays up on the Modern Metropolis theme featuring 20 unique, trendy dresses inspired by the different cities around the world.

“I think one of the things many people dream of is to experience what it’s like to spend the holidays abroad. With the collection, we’re sort of letting them do that through famous cities such as Milan, Shanghai and London,” says Eala.

Another fascinating aspect of this collection is the mishmash of materials to create unique pieces with interesting cuts, silhouettes, colors and prints.

“We also wanted to reflect global fashion, and that’s going towards the edgy side. However, we still wanted to retain the classy, timeless vibe we are known for. So, we incorporated that by using a combination of many different fabrics in classic silhouettes”, explains Eala.

Other exciting themes for the holiday collection include the East Meets West which is inspired by the merging cultures of east and west in varying shades of red and fuchsia with warm tones of peach and gray combining chic and elegance in flattering silhouettes; and the Heaven and Earth Collection which is influenced by the vibrant colors of the sky with complementing touches of earth color tones.
And, what better way to showcase and wear the Plains and Prints’ Holiday Collection than our best dolled-up faces using the skin-caring and proudly Filipino makeup brand, Happy Skin.

Last month, I was on fan girl mode when I personally met awe-inspiring model, columnist and Happy Skin co-founder Rissa Mananquil-Trillo during the launch of their latest beauty products in an intimate affair aptly dubbed as “Save Room for Dessert” at Chimes.

Joining Rissa was Happy Skin’s resident make-up artist Sophie Uy who skillfully showed guests how to apply make up in a jiffy with vavavoom results.

In time for their first anniversary celebration, Happy Skin introduced their hot new must-try products:

HAPPY SKIN SHUT UP & KISS ME LIP & CHEEK MOUSSE (P699 each) is a “dual-action lip-cheek wand that colors your puckers with velvety richness and lends cheeks a lasting, happy flush” in three shades: “yuletide-red “Mistletoe Kiss”, a bold must for festively feisty chicks; “Swept Off My Feet”, a sweet but punchy pink; and “Warm and Toasty”, a friendly taupe that’ll keep your nude pucker appropriate but warmly approachable”.

HAPPY SKIN ALL EYES ON HUE EYESHADOW PALETTE (P1,299)  is set to bring on the happy from day to night with a carefully curated palette of very useful colors such as Oatmeal, Biscuit, Hazelnut and Espresso. “For Happy Skin’s first ever eyeshadow palette, we made sure to feature four ultra wearable shades that complement each other and that also flatter every skin tone!”, shares Rissa.

HAPPY SKIN EYE NEED A MIRACLE CORRECTOR (P799) proves that “you can fake happy ‘til you feel it. This potent product claims that it can powerfully tackle fatigue under the eyes, extremely dark circles, scars, veins, bruises, and even tattoos and birthmarks!”

Still clueless on what to give the nicest people on your Christmas list? They would absolutely squeal in delight once they receive these adorably packaged Happy Skin treats from the Save Room for Dessert Holiday Collection 2014.

FORBIDDEN FRUIT (set of 3 Happy Skin Shut Up and Kiss Me lippies at P1,399 or P549 each) tin set with new lippie shades, “Mistletoe Kiss”, “Under the Sheets”, and “Naughty and Nice”. The lippies have excellent color pigmentation, high level of moisturization and can last for hours without retouching.

SEALED WITH A KISS (set of 3 bestselling lippies at P1,299) tin. This is Happy Skin’s small gift back to their loyal fans in “First Kiss”, “Summer Fling” and “Crushing on You” shades.

EYE CANDY SET (set of 4 mini eyeliners at P1,299) tin. A collection of limited edition colors of Happy Skin’s bestselling gel eyeliners in “Plum”, “Watermelon”, “Cotton Candy” and “Butterscotch”. These new hues have a hint of modern, wearable pearl that can easily transform your everyday look.

HAPPY SKIN SERVED ON A SILVER PLATTER (collection of 5 bestselling products at P1,999) set showcasing Shut Up and Kiss Me “Honeymoon Glow” lippie, Get Cheeky with Me blush in “First Kiss”, Eye Am Here to Stay 24H Gel Eyeliner, SS cream and foundation brush.

The Christmas countdown may be almost over but don’t hit the panic button just yet. Head on to Chimes now for these Christmas must-haves!

Wishing you and your families a blessed and meaningful Christmas!

E-mail the author at Visit

Saturday, December 6, 2014

“Sheikh Shack sarap!”
Sun.Star Davao, Dec. 6, 2014

Succulent beef brisket slowly braised in its secret house stock, meticulously diced into cubes and pan seared to perfection. Then, the heavenly beef is generously wrapped in tortilla bread with fresh and crisp vegetables and drizzled with a specially-concocted garlic sauce. Put them all together and what do you have? Sheikh Shack sarap!

The delicious idea of Sheikh Shack was born in early July this year. One of the partners, Engr. Jerome Go, broached the idea of opening a shawarma stall to his group of friends. So, they enlisted the help of Chef Caitlin Yao to make the menu.

Chef Caitlin has worked for Café Firenzo and Dimsum Diner prior to opening the Shack. She also runs her own small food business, Not an Ordinary Meal (NOM).

When the partners were throwing names around, partner Eng. Paeng Rodriguez suggested the name Sheikh Shack. The play on words was inspired partly by the popular burger franchise Shake Shack and the word sheikh, an Arabic honorific used for royalty.

A month later, Sheikh Shack successfully debuted at the DAVCON Kadayawan Bazaar where they were sold out every single night. Seeing the potential the Shack had to offer, these friends, 12 guys and a girl, decided to open its first branch.

“We can best describe the food at the Shack as an elevated food stall. We were inspired by the concept of food trucks and awesome quality of food for affordable prices”, shares Chef Caitlin.

“Our bestseller is our beef shawarma wrap and rice. Our one-of-a-kind garlic sauce is what we believe to be our specialty. We can’t tell you what’s in it, but we can promise you that once you try it you’ll never be satisfied with any other garlic sauce out there”, the young chef guarantees.

Sheikh Shack is a favorite hang-out of a lot of families and kids who come in after school for snacks. “They usually order the beef shawarma rice with egg”, says Chef Caitlin.

“We think that the Shack offers something familiar but better. It is comfort food that we’ve managed to do really well and we at the Shack feel that our products won’t be a fad but rather a staple. It’s something that you look for when you’re on the go or in the mood to give yourself a treat”, enthuses Chef Caitlin.

Sheikh Shack’s first branch just celebrated its one-month anniversary recently. And, when asked what is the experience like doing business with friends, Earl Ang and Chef Caitlin Yao who are both managing partners and cousins, have this to say, “Running a business with friends is not easy but it is most definitely fun. The multitude of ideas and personalities are what make Sheikh Shack. The most important thing is that we all respect each other’s ideas and decisions. This common feeling of respect makes the Shack run smoothly”.

For budding young entrepreneurs, Earl and Chef Caitlin have this sound advice, “Go out there and take the risk, it’s scary and tiring at first but nothing beats the feeling of owning something that’s your own.”

Sheikh Shack is located at Corner Palma Gil St., Bo. Obrero, Davao City (along Starr, Bricklane Compound and the Brewery). They are open from 10am to 10pm, Mondays through Saturdays. Call telephone number 3004692 for pick-up orders. Sheikh Shack’s second branch will be opening soon at the basement of Gaisano Mall of Davao (near Handyman), from 10am-9pm Mondays through Sundays.

Follow them on Facebook via Sheikh Shack Shawarma and at Instagram@SheikhShackShawarma.

E-mail the author at Visit

Saturday, November 22, 2014

“Skinfatuated with VMV”
Sun.Star Davao, Nov. 22, 2014

Growing up with sensitive skin, there was only one local brand that helped me survive my teenage years—VMV Hypoallergenics. Now, as a mom, I still continue to use various VMV products to look my best.

From a brand that one would find only in the Philippines’ department stores, VMV has emerged to be a successful world-class brand in the US, with its flagship VMV Skin-Specialist Boutique in SOHO, New York; Italy, Sweden, Norway, Mexico, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Spain, Japan, Singapore and Costa Rica (soon), both through e-commerce sites and brick-and-mortar stores.

VMV is also close to my heart because a dear childhood friend/former neighbor of mine, Anna Marie Tancongco-Anastacio, is VMV’s awe-inspiring Chief Business Development Officer. Yes, we have a Davao connection at VMV!

Let’s get to know the dynamic Anna--business executive; president of the Chamber of Cosmetics Industry of the Phils., Inc.; wife to Warren and doting mom extraordinaire to Gian and Diego in this interview:

*How did the Tancongco family end up in Davao?

Our family is really from Cagayan de Oro. However, my dad worked for Del Monte, the manufacturer and marketer of processed food, as an operations head for the Mindanao plantations. Del Monte’s Mindanao office was based in Davao City. So, our family had to move to Davao City.

*How many years did you live in Davao? What was your childhood like?

I lived in Davao from 1982 until 1990, from 3rd grade until 4th year high school. About 8 years of my formative growth was spent in Davao. I had great memories growing up in Davao, among the best years of my life! At first, I didn’t know anyone at all, but I quickly gained awesome friends in our village such as you, the children of my dad’s colleagues in Del Monte who were Americans, Puerto Ricans, Spanish and Costa Ricans, and my schoolmates. I attended grade school in Stella Maris Academy, then went to high school in Ateneo de Davao. I was very blessed with a lot of friends, many of whom I still keep in touch through Facebook. 

*What do you miss about life in Davao? 

The food! I love durian, mangosteen and pomelo... So every time I go to Davao, I gorge on these fruits and bring crates back to Manila. And even when I buy fruits in Manila, I try to look for Del Monte or Dizon Farms produce... And, of course, my friends. Although some of them are already based in different places around the globe, some are still based in Davao.

*How did you end up working for the beauty industry?

Since companies usually start looking for prospects in colleges even before the students graduate, I immediately had three offers for work even before I graduated from Ateneo de Manila University. Two were banks and one was a cosmetic distribution company.

Among these three, it was actually the cosmetic distribution company that had the lowest offer - even lower than the monthly allowance my father would provide me when I was in school! However, I realized early on that I would rather work for an industry I know I will enjoy working in because then it wouldn’t feel like work, and the company had a portfolio that would be great on my resume. The company was part of a group of companies that distributed Estee Lauder, Clinique, Yves Rocher, Orlane, Burberry and other fragrances; Max Factor, Neutrogena and more.

Later on, I would get a call from VMV Hypoallergenics, inviting me to join them. Then I became a managing partner... And, the rest, as they say, is history. 

*Can you give us a short background of VMV?

VMV was founded in 1979 by a research-oriented, well-published dermatologist-dermatopathologist.  With all 76 allergens omitted from our formulations — and with the first and still the only validated hypoallergenic rating system — there's no safer brand out there.

We’re thoroughly skinfatuated: besides loving every minute of what we do, our products are unabashedly skin love: validated hypoallergenic (sans all known cosmetic allergens); 100% all-types-of-fragrance-free; 100% phthalate, dye, paraben + preservative-free; and non-comedogenic.

We’re proud skintellectuals: we really know what we’re doing; so hypoallergenic, we’re part of the American Contact Dermatitis Society’s reference database; so medically
impressive, our studies appear in (and are even awarded by) peer-reviewed medical journals and conventions.

*What makes VMV different from other cosmetic brands?

Its key proposition is really being the safest, most proven effective care on the planet.

The safety comes from its proven hypoallergenicity. I know “hypoallergenic” as a claim has been thrown around a lot lately, but our definition is quite unique in that it is objective and has been validated.

What we did is to use the allergen lists published by two most respected dermatological groups, American Contact Dermatitis Society and the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies - and we exclude these allergens from our formulations.

The proven efficacy comes from our obsession with testing — at the highest standard. We patch test every ingredient, finished product and accessories such as brushes and puffs to ensure their hypoallergenicity.

Lastly, we’d like to say that we care for you, from our diapers to our dermabrasion. We’re skinvolved; we’re in this with our customers for the long haul. We have products for babies, for sun and light protection, shaving, body and bath, for different skin concerns such as acne, anti-aging, lightening, and even a laundry shampoo for those who are allergic to regular laundry detergents!

*In recent years, VMV has expanded its market globally, what was your personal experience like pushing a Filipino brand to other countries?

At first, it was quite tough. The Philippines is not really known for skin care or cosmetics. It is more known for things like furniture, or for its skilled workers. We didn’t let that deter us. We were clear on our positioning as a brand: that we are a validated hypoallergenic brand and its science is evidence-based.

We let the brand’s strengths speak for itself instead of focusing on the origin. Many Filipinos were telling us “why don’t you target the Filipino communities abroad first?”. We knew we had a great brand story to tell and solid science-based products to showcase. So we decided not to limit ourselves to a specific community only. We went in the mainstream, accessible premium category in every market we entered. And when the consumers find out that we are actually from the Philippines (the packaging also says that we are “Made in the Philippines”), it becomes a pleasant surprise!

What also worked for us is the trend on organics and naturals. The driving force behind the organics and naturals trend is really the consumers’ desire to have ‘safe’ products for them to use.

Truth is, not all organic and natural are actually safe - peanuts and lanolin can be organic and natural but highly allergenic. Strawberries can be organic and natural, but some people are very allergic to it. So, VMV’s hypoallergenic angle fits very well into that market need, not only delivering safe but also effective products.

*If I were a busy mom and could only have time to do my make-up for 5 minutes, what VMV products do you recommend?

For on-the-go make-up, I suggest our Skintelligent BBBB (BB But Better) Skintangible SPF 30 as a starter. It evens out skin tone, gives you that fresh, dewy, natural look. At the same time, it gives you SPF 30 to protect your skin against damaging effects from sun and light exposure.

Then, apply a dash of Skintelligent Beauty Skin Bloom Blush to give cheeks definition and radiance. We also have dye-free options for those with extra-sensitive skin.

A mascara is a must! It enhances your eyes and it can make a difference to your whole face. VMV’s Ooh-La-Lash! Volumizing Mascara forms tubes around each lash. It is non-smearing so it won’t give you the “racoon eyes” at the end of the day. It is also easy to wipe off with VMV’s make-up remover or with warm water, with just few splashes, the tubes slip right off.

Then of course, a lip color. VMV’s Skintelligent Lipstick range offers different textures of lipsticks - from Subtle Shine for that elegant basic look, to Velvet Matte for that full coverage, full bodied, dramatic velvet finish, to Glitz for that glimmer glam look - and in colors available both in dye and dye-free shades. 

*I’ve heard so many good things about your Grandma Minnie line. What makes it such a hit with moms and kids?

Our Grandma Minnie would be our gentlest skin care line. All of the Grandma Minnie products contain an effective coconut-derived, anti-bacterial ingredient called monolaurin. Monolaurin is also anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-protozoal. Together with monolaurin, all our Grandma Minnie products also contain USDA certified, cold-pressed virgin coconut oil. So, you get all the goodness of VCO as well.

The most popular product in that line is ‘The Big, Brave, Boo-Boo Balm’. I always carry around and travel with one. It is the best ‘emergency’ buddy you can have. Got insect bites? Boo-Boo Balm soothes away itchiness while monoloaurin will also subside the inflammation. Got scrapes and shallow cuts? Boo-Boo Balm’s anti-bacterial properties will stop it from getting infected and facilitate faster healing. Got chapped lips? Apply Boo-Boo Balm’s moisturizing properties can help. Got joggers’ nipple chafing and bleeding? A common injury suffered by runners which has soreness and, in extreme cases, even cracked and bleeding nipples. We recommend the use of Boo-Boo Balm before and after a run. I have heard so many other cases where Boo-Boo Balm was so useful for our customers, even in loosening skin when stuck during use of superglue!

*Lastly, what are the must-have products of VMV for the family?

It’s difficult to only choose a few products to recommend as our products tend to have different purposes for each of the member of the family. But for basics, I would recommend the following at the very least:

ARMADA FACE COVER 30, 45 OR 60: A daily use of sunscreen by everyone in the family is a must. Skin cancer, even among Filipinos, is on the rise. Most people think that they only need protection from the sun. Recent studies have shown that immunosuppression and skin cancer can also be triggered by constant exposure to indoor lights that emit UVA, infrared and visible light.

ARMADA SPORT 70: For outdoor activities such as sports or family vacations. American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) strongly recommends that sunscreen be reapplied every two hours at least.

BOO-BOO BALM: A basic emergency buddy for any “boo-boos”.

ESSENCE ANTI-BACTERIAL HAND GEL: Viruses are easily passed around from the things we touch. Schools can be a great haven of viruses as children interact with sick teachers or classmates. So I always make sure that all (and I am not kidding) of my family members have their own Essence Hand Gel so they can easily sanitize anytime, anywhere.


In Davao, VMV products can be found at Ayala Abreeza Mall, Chimes and SM Department Stores.

The company will have a VMV Skin-Specialist Boutique in January 2015 in the soon-to-be-opened Centrale Mall, offering their products and facial services.

VMV can also be accessed through their online stores: for markets outsides the Philippines, and for the Philippines.

E-mail the author at Visit

Saturday, November 8, 2014

"A ‘boo’-tiful 8 years”
Sun.Star Davao, Nov. 8, 2014
Superheroes, Disney characters, spooky creatures….I can still vividly remember my first ever article for “Mom-About-Town” in 2006 entitled “The Village” featuring kids in Halloween costumes doing their “trick or treat”.

Back then, the experience of capturing the happy and excited faces of the children was such a thrill. And, to finally see my hard work on print, was pure bliss!

I had no inkling then if I would be writing for Sun.Star Davao for a year; maybe two? Never did I imagine that 8 years after, I would still be here to celebrate yet another anniversary.

It has been a ‘boo’-tiful 8 years… let’s flash forward to Halloween 2014!


WREY ZACH, 10 years old
COSTUME’S INSPIRATION: Dr. Gru of “Despicable Me”
KEY ELEMENTS: shaved head; thick eyebrows; all-black getup; gray/black stripes scarf; and pointed shoes
“The jacket and pants were borrowed from a cousin and Zach’s mom, respectively. The scarf was made an hour before trick or treating. Zach’s sister, Alyssa, used a strip of an ordinary gray fabric then used a black marker to draw the stripes of the scarf. The pointed shoes were bought from Chinatown.”


SUMMER EVE, 7 years old
COSTUME’S INSPIRATION: Agnes Gru of “Despicable Me”
KEY ELEMENTS: hair tied and hair waxed upright; blue jumpers; striped shirt; white shoes; and unicorn toy
“Summer’s sister, Alyssa, used an old bed pillow to make the unicorn. She took out the foam from the pillow. Using the white pillow sheet, she drew a horse and cut it accordingly. She dyed the white pillow sheets into a lavender hue. From the unicorn’s horn, eyes, hair and tail, everything was lovingly handmade by Alyssa.”


JOEY, 53; JOY, 47; CHESKA, 25; ISABELLA, 22; MIGUEL, 19; ENRIQUE, 12; and MARIA, 9
COSTUMES’ INSPIRATION: Rainbow family (Check out their previous Halloween costume as the Addams Family!)
KEY ELEMENTS: Colors of the rainbow
“The Mempins were looking for family costumes on Pinterest and found this idea. The headwear is handmade while the socks and colored tops were bought. They didn’t know what shoes to wear until the very last minute. Mommy Joy found a bunch of free hotel slippers!”.


QUISHA NICOLE, 8 years old
KEY ELEMENTS: Black horns and wings
“Quisha’s Mommy Jules rented the costume for the whole duration of the Halloween celebration. With the owner’s approval, Jules personally sprayed black paint on the wings. Quisha’s Maleficent getup won as the “Most Original” costume at S&R’s Halloween event”.


DAPHNE MANUELLE, 3 years old
COSTUME’S INSPIRATION: Mittens Fluff ‘N’ Stuff of Lalaloopsy Land
KEY ELEMENTS: jumpsuit with attached skirt; belt and fur vest; and blue wig with white bows
“Mittens Fluff ‘N’ Stuff is Lalaloopsy Land’s biggest enthusiast of all things snowy. She was sewn December 21st from an Eskimo’s scarf and has a polar bear for a pet.” (Source: Wiki)


TIFFANY ALESSA, 8 years old
COSTUME’S INSPIRATION: Madeline Hatter (daughter of Mad Hatter)
KEY ELEMENTS: wig, gloves, tights, and headpiece (hat/teacup combo)
“Madeline Hatter is the daughter of Mad Hatter. She is part of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as the next Mad Hatter. Combined with a vast array of non-synchronized patterns, her average look is a busy one, befitting her energetic personality.” (Source: Wiki)
KEY ELEMENTS: Real Iron Man effects with LED chest and hand lights


RAINE KENDRICK, 5 years old
KEY ELEMENTS: helmet, shield and suit
“The costumes, helmet and shield were handmade by their Daddy Raffy’s friend in Manila. They were made with rubber foam, glued and painted.”


JORGY and MISSY, 6 years old; MEGGY, 4 years old
COSTUME’S INSPIRATION: Elsa, Anna and Olaf of Frozen
KEY ELEMENTS: Elsa and Anna gowns plus the 3D headdress of Olaf
“The kids’ costumes were actually used last April during their Frozen birthday party. Mommy Maricel let a dressmaker make the costumes as there were no readymade ones available in Davao then. The cute headdress of Olaf was handmade by Shynne of Grafix 101.”

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