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Monday, December 10, 2018

December 10, 2018

It's Christmastime in Uptown Mall!



It's December. And it's the most wonderful time of the year once again! And with it comes the shiny shimmering surroundings everywhere in the Philippines.

Such a site to behold! We have been known to celebrate Christmas longer than anywhere in the world. Christmas decors began to come out long before November so it's not surprising that the the anticipation of a joyous holiday season is felt everyday.



In Uptown Corporate Center where the company we worked with occupies a place on the 11th floor, the environment turns into a glittery winter wonderland. Every corner is on a festive mood and everything feels so alive and glamorous.



This is indeed the season where we love to look at life in the merrier way and where the vibes of an energetic environment can be truly felt. We are enundated with so much happiness and we just want to feel the joyous moment while it lasts.



So after our Saturday overtime, my colleagues and I went around before going home, marveled at the shimmering surroundings and had a moment of fun. Once again, we felt like kids. 



It was past 4:00 in the early morning and despite of having a sleepless and tiring night, we enjoyed this little adventure and had the luxury to pose for some pictures.

This is how holiday season felt in the Philippines. Excitement grows everyday as Christmas ornaments come in multitude each day. The sparks and glitters intensify the festive mood. And helped us get through with life as if there's nothing between us but joy and fun.


Indeed, Christmas holiday is the most wonderful time of the year. It is also my favorite season of the year because it reminds me of my happy childhood in the province. Oh, Christmas memories!


Sunday, November 25, 2018

November 25, 2018

Cosmo Skin Collagen Powdered Drink


We've been hearing a lot about collagen as a building block to youthful skin, but what is it exactly and how can we reap optimum benefits?

There are lots of variants and types of collagen supplements proliferating in the beauty market today, we need to make sure that what we are buying serves our purpose.


Collagen contains hydroxyproline, an important amino acid that gives our skin a youthful glow. It is a protein found in the body of all animals and humans. It makes up connective tissues on skin, organs, cartilage and bones.

But as we age, together with unhealthy lifestyle - smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages and soda, consuming too much unsaturated fats, oily, salty and sugary food, deprivation of sleep, exposure to the sun  - our body slows down the production of collagen, therefore triggers premature aging.


To keep our skin supple, glowing, smooth, bouncy and youthful we need to counteract  environmental pollutions and the process of premature ageing by consuming healthy food, fruits, fish and vegetables. And boost the production of collagen in our body.

Studies conducted on the benefits of collagen showed promising results. Though most of it are financed by large manufacturers and there might be biases, results are authentic. Clinical trials on actual collagen supplements intake revealed that skin's structure and elasticity improved after a month of trials. Results include skin firmness, smoothness and suppleness, repairing it from signs of premature ageing like dryness, fine lines and wrinkles.


Before I started taking up collagen supplement two years ago, I did some research over the effectiveness of this product and the most potent variant. There are 28 types of collagen and not all of those types target skin elasticity and smoothness.


Only type 1 and type 3  address skin suppleness and structure, while type 2 targets repair of joints and cartillage tissues. So it is important to check the type of collagen supplements before buying. 

Collagen supplements are manufactured mostly from two sources: bovine (cattle), and marine (fish).  According to research studies, bovine source (cattle) is the most effective among the two since it is compatible with human tissues, therefore helps boost the production of collagen.


However, the fastest way for collagen supplement to penetrate into our body and provides the optimum benefits needed by our skin is through powdered drink. And not tablets. Why? It's because the liquid version enhances hyaluronic acid, a polysaccaride molecule that fights fine lines and wrinkles in the skin.

So I made a switch, and discard tablets in favor of powdered drinks. Cosmo Skin from Watson has this collagen powdered drink variant and very ideal for budget-conscious shoppers. Only Php750.00 per box which contains six tubes, and each tube can already make three glasses.


I just started this supplement a week ago and yet to assess the result, or any improvement, but personally I am satisfied with the way this product works in my body. Since this is a powedered drink, I can take it an hour after meal just like my normal routine of drinking water. So it serves two purposes, to rehydrate and to improve my skin elasticity and suppleness.

The taste is not quite pleasing. A little offensive, and it smells like rust, but it is the benefit I am thinking and not on the taste and smell. Its texture after blending with the water is a little thick just like gelatin. It can also be mixed to fruit juice and soup as it does not alter taste.

To prepare, just pour the powder to a glass of water one hour after taking meal. Drink it twice a day to get the maximum result. One tube actually can make up three glasses.

However, keep in mind that taking the supplement does not produce a miracle result overnight. It takes time. So we need to check our lifestyle. As our body needs to absorb the collagen to get into our tissues, we should watch the food we consumed. The result always depends on and the way we take care of ourselves.


Sugary foods and other unhealthy stuff affect the production of collagen in our body. So while taking the supplement, avoid eating too much sweets - chocolates, cake, desserts, softdrinks, coffee, frappe. Avoid soda, alcoholic drinks, chips and salty food, oily and fatty foods.

Collagen supplement is most effective when it is taken with vitamin C. So while taking this supplement I am consuming also lots of fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C like oranges, grapes and broccoli. It's good also to consume avocado, strawberry, watermelon and honeydew. These fruits are rich in vitamin c and amino acid while avocado and watermelon are rich in glutathione.

Will continue to update this review post for the progress of this regimen. 😉

Sunday, November 18, 2018

November 18, 2018

How Do You Respond To The Call Of Times?


It's less than two months before 2018 would be over, still I could not wrap up my thoughts if this is a good year of my life, if things are aligned with the stars, if I am on the right path of my long term goals.

So here I am, sitting beside the window, pondering hard, wondering if I've tried my best to make a difference this year. If I've done my part of working things out to realize half of my dreams and what I've always wanted to do. 

Right now things seem so unclear. I still could feel something is greatly missing in my life, something is not right, something is empty. As though that missing piece is still out there, still waiting to be grappled.


Though I have outgrown my somber tendencies and I am no longer a crying baby when things go wrong, I would still throw tantrums discreetly when I am on the edge of everything. 

This year provided me with so many realizations, that not everything I wanted, even if I work hard for it, would be given to me. Not everyone I want to be with, would be there for me. 

Each day is a realization that I should learn to bend with the circumstances. Because at the end of the day, I have nothing left but hope, I have no one left but myself. I should learn to live independently.

Perhaps, it is fate. Perhaps, it is circumstances. Whatever it is, I no longer believed in destiny. I have come to realize that life is not ruled by destiny but by decisions and choices. We would become who we are because of our decisions and not by chance. We become what we are based on how we see things on a daily basis. And how we make decisions.

But I have reached a point in my life also that I no longer care about the ancient patterns of life where the traditional approach is still the dominant factor in everyone's mentality, where the stereotype is still followed.

We live through moments in a day. We live through actual occurences and not by the old system. We should respond to the call of times. We should live at the moment. This is life. And we cannot get through the tough days if we still bind ourselves to the system of yesterday, to the culture that no longer work. Those are bygones.

I have outgrown my vulnerabilities. I have overcome my fears on some aspects. Over the years, I developed courage that helps me evolved into a mature individual with sense and wisdom. This is a harsh world that never gives room to weaks and vulnerables. I should stay tough.

I have come to realize that what matters in life now is the way I interact to people, the way things work, the way I relate to them. This is how I view life now, appreciating the value of the people I met, the people I love to be with, the people who appreciate my worth. I don't dwell on labels. And no longer measure relationships through the scale of things that do not matter in the long run - age, height, weight, status.


This is how I respond to the call of times.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

October 28, 2018

Venom: Entirely disconnected from the Marvel Universe


One of the most enigmatic, anti-hero characters of the marvel comics made its way to the cinema, but unfortunately failed to show viewers clearly why it deserves to have a movie of its own.

To put it bluntly, venom is a mess, annoying and entirely disconnected from the marvel universe. Hazy, jarring, noisy, it is overwhelmingly mediocre, following a monotonous screenplay, with visual and sound effects that suck!

For the entire 112 minutes running time of the film, I kept on tying the loose end of the sequences of action in my mind to make sense of the venom characterization, but as the film progresses until it reaches the end, it becomes painfully tedious.

It fails to create a solid plot and defines venom as an extreme, thunderous character. Instead, it alters the character to soften its image and turns it into a confusing anti-hero trying to appear a hero. Such a flat, flawed script.

Sony, which releases this film, never holds the rights to the Spider-man character, so Venom, which originated in the Spider-man series as Peter Parker's nemesis, must have to come on its own. The result is a senseless logic trying to recreate the villain into a superhero.

This pushes the  plot to commit too many loopholes. One is when the megalomaniac scientist, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) blows off and venom bids goodbye to Brock. Only to reappear later when Brock talks to Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) at the steps of her apartment. And Brock, which at first dreaded the entire parasitic thing, appears to be loving the voices in his head. And even made a pact with the symbiote to kill only bad people. Such a joke time, as though the film tries to pile up so many bad ideas just to force the character to be a hero of the world. When it's not.


If not for those black monsters sporadically popping up in the scene, engaging into some dull fight scenes and crashing buildings with jarring sound effects, I would assume the movie is a loose sequence of another hilarious Tom Hardy film - This Means War.

Some scenes did not make sense. The flying motorcycle ride, the chasing of cars, the almost death of Eddie Brock when Drake thrust a spear on his body. What's the logic of that? The symbiote was already out of his system he could have died in instant before it could take control of his body again.

The only bright spot of the film is Tom Hardy's comical antics. He was really hilarious especially the gag he launched in the restaurant scene. The sticky monster invading his body seems like a bad dream poking fun at him for being broke.

This is the first attempt of a marvel-Sony collaboration to create a stand-alone film for the most enigmatic antihero in the marvel universe. And the script is trying to alter the character of this super villain monster to soften the image and makes it appealing to the viewers which betrays the very foundation of the venom characterization.

So how this "joke" started?

Well, Venom as we have seen in Spidey's past, forms when a parasitic symbiote finds a compatible host that could manifest its violent character. Because this is a dark alter-ego, it only becomes effective and compatible when the host accepts its manifestation. And the rage begins.

Through the previous Spider-man offerings, we all know that Venom's very first host was Peter Parker who turned a violent Spider-man when he donned a black suit.

Later, Parker fought hard to get rid of the symbiote due to its destructive and violent manifestations. Scrambling for its survival, the symbiote found a perfect host on Eddie Brock who was literally broke after losing his job.

In Venom, the whole symbiotes thing started when the egotistical CEO of Life Foundation, Charlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), launched a mission to the outer space in search for a habitable planet. The team returned bringing symbiotic life forms with them. However, the space craft crashed somewhere in Malaysia. While the other three species are recovered, one has escape.

Drake managed to secure the three and in a display of cruelty, which all scripts of sci-fi comics are known for, took homeless people as Guinea pigs to be experimented how these alien parasites could survive in the Earth and prevent the extinction of humans. Unfortunately, bodies of the humans he forcibly thrust to his laboratory, rejected the symbiotes.

British actor, Tom Hardy brings life to a dull movie with his comics antics
while Venom left to pick up its own mess. 

Meanwhile, Eddie Brock, an investigative reporter,  has been digging his heels to expose a scandalous project of a psychotic billionaire in the neighborhood. It's pretty much given, however that his girlfriend-lawyer, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) works as a defense lawyer for Life Foundation which has been accused of using humans for its crazy bio-tech experiments.

When Brock breaks into Weying's computer, he found a classified information about Life Foundation, which has been taking defenseless humans for its experiments and covering up their deaths.

He went to Drake and forced him to admit the accusations. It became the catalyst of Brock's misguided fate. He was fired for breaking rules in journalism, exposing and accusing personalities without concrete evidence (he couldn't name his source because it might angered his girlfriend for breaking boundaries in the relationship. Which turns out the case anyway).

From then on, Brock becomes literally broke. He lost his job, his girlfriend, his credibility, and his life went into a limbo. Frustrations piled up on his system until Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate), one of Drake's scientists sought his help to take evidence on Drake's crazy symbiote projects.

But, well, as with most of the marvel stories, it backfired. Paving the way of venom to materialize. Pretty much like those horror films where victims have been pushed to the door to be devoured by killers.

The symbiote  transfers to Brock's body when one of the victims he tries to save attacked him. The contact proves to be a compatible element and Venom comes to life. Brock starts to notice some weird changes in his body and behavior. And starts hearing a booming voice in his head which he dreaded.

This is where things of the film become annoying. Though the intention seems good, it was flatly written. Tom Hardy might be fantastically excellent on his comic scenes and makes almost no effort to be as hilarious as possible, prompting viewers to burst into fits of laughter, but the Venom itself sucks. It could not simply settle to its character as the script is being softened to make it appear good and heroic instead of sticking to its dangerously monstrous streak and temperament extremes.

It lacks focus, jerking from one scene to another and follows an incoherent screenplay. It fails to define the character of the Venom itself. Looks like only a strip in a midnight horror film trying to appear scary. In which attempts both failed. As a result, it turns out to be a painfully boring interpretation of characters. The sound and visual effects are too mediocre, so uncharacteristic for a sci-fi film made out of a cartoon book.

Hardy nails it, yes, when it comes to his performance. He saves the film from being so entirely disastrous. His comics antics breathes a life in a dull film. So Venom sounds like an Eddie Brock film  portraying him as a regular guy trying to make sense of his misfortune by poking fun at himself.

Perhaps, due to its PG-13 rating, and the superhero norms in a movie, Venom's character has been thoroughly sanitized to portray a hero-antihero image.

Aside from biting people's head and assuring Brock they'll only kill bad people that threatens to destroy the earth, Venom is totally out of its own character. Film director, Robert Fleischer's attempt to sanitize the character by altering Venom as a hero rather than stick to its violent tendencies sounds mediocre and the way the character transcends makes the entire plot overwhelmingly tedious.The fight scenes with a loose symbiote that manifests the cruelty of Drake did not help.

It lacks focus and the plot just jump from one idea to another without a clear definition of the venom's character, making this entire film visually and logically incoherent. It was as if the director changes his mind towards the end of the script by revising only half of the plot to suit up some commercial intentions instead of respecting the flow of logic. Sucks! The only bright spot that makes the film interesting is Tom Hardy's comical scenes.

Perhaps, Sony is trying to show a film on a more psychological level of defining one's character and not bringing a marvel antihero into a film franchise. That human beings have venoms within themselves and its manifestations will depend on the host's current state of mind.

If the host breeds anger and violence, the venom deep within becomes destructive and murderous without compaction. If the host chooses good intentions and has a pure heart, the venom channels a superhero manifestation. Which really makes the film totally out of character.

The post-credits shows Eddie Brock back on his job and his very first assignment is to visit a serial killer in jail, Cletus Kasady, host of another symbiote villain in Spiderman, Carnage. Kasady appears to be promising Brock of more killing spree if he will be freed. Urggh!

A bad joke. As though the epilogue is trying to show us some "this means war" idea. That another venom installment is on the way. And Eddie Brock's venom will have to face another bad energy symbiote in the next chapter. And we all know where it leads us. Sulk!

But for people who never actually look on technical merits of the film and less critical on the plot and screenplay, perhaps they will find it entertaining and hilarious. But for movie goers who are particular on the flow of a well-written script, Venom sucks. It's nothing but a futile attempt to make the film appealing to set a stage for more installments. Oh God!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October 23, 2018

Maxima of The Netherlands, the Queen of Fashion

Even before becoming a Queen Consort, Maxima is already known with her chic fashion sense and sophisticated choices of wardrobe. She always shows her versatility in fashion and colors and no matter where she is and what public engagement she graces, she manifests elegance and style.

The Queen of style

She is my top pick as the most fashionable and gorgeous wife of a European royal followed by Princess Stephanie of Luxembourg and Princess Mary of Denmark. And Letezia of Spain, wife of King Felipe VI and Queen Mathilde, wife of King Philip of Belgium rounded up my choices.

But perhaps, few have known that Maxima didn't come from the world of fashion when she met King Wilhelm-Alexander of The Netherlands in 1999 who was still a prince at that time. She was an investment banker at Deutsche bank in New York. 

Born on March 23, 1971 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Maxima Zorroguieta perhaps never thought that one day she would meet a prince and become his princess and lived to become a Queen.


She is the daughter of a wealthy landed gentry in Argentina and has a degree in Economics from a Catholic University in Buenos Aires. And according to some accounts tracing the family roots of Maxima, her father, Jorge Zorreguieta, descended from a noble family in Basque.

But it was not all fairytale and happy story for this Argentinian Queen. When her relationship to Wilhelm became public in 1999, her suitability was put into question. By then, public opinion about commoners marrying future monarchs in Europe still unwelcoming.


It became more intense when the press discovered Maxima's father served as an agriculture minister during the turbulent period of Argentina where human injustices were reportedly committed.

An investigation on Jorge Zorreguieta's record was launched. It yielded a negative result and the marriage announcement was given a go signal in the parliament. However, Maxima's father paid a high price for a crime he didn't commit. It was privately advised he couldn't escort his daughter to the wedding to avoid attracting more unsettling news.

Maxima's parents didn't attend the wedding in Amsterdam and she was seen shedding tears during the ceremony. Years later, Maxima revealed how devastated she was to walk-down-the-aisle without a father on her side. But she did visit her parents in Argentina on private occasions several times accompanied by her husband. 

As a wife of Wilhelm-Alexander, the Prince of Orange, Maxima however, was known as Princess Maxima of The Netherlands. She couldn't carry the title, Princess of Orange because it is reserved for the female heir-apparent of a Dutch monarch. The Netherlands already follows an absolute law of succession where the eldest child of a ruling monarch is the successor irrespective of gender.


In April 2013, Queen Beatrix abdicated and her eldest son succeeded her as Dutch monarch. It was the first time that the country has a King since William III in over a century. Maxima also became the first Queen consort of The Netherlands since Emma Waldeck-Pyrmont.

At the state visit in UK
The King and Queen with their 3 daughters

King Wilhelm-Alexander and Queen Maxima have three daughters together. The heir-apparent, Catharina-Amalia, Princess Alexia and Princess Arriane.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

October 18, 2018

Perhaps, I Am A Bad Option

If only life has a delete button, perhaps, I will spend a day sorting out memories and delete all those useless moments that made me feel like a complete stupid.

There are moments in life that we really feel so bad, so down, so empty, feeling so useless and hitting rock-bottom, which I guess is normal because we're still alive and we're interacting, we're relating and there's always a downside. An opposite side of being happy.

But in due time, these things shall come to pass. Feelings aren't permanent, it can change overtime, it never stays longer in our hearts, the moment we realize it doesn't make sense, it's over. But for a time, we've to endure the feeling of emptiness. Because it's real.

Lately, I've been through rough times again. It often hits me when I'm at my lowest point. Perhaps, hormonal imbalances, but the feeling of rejection haunts me again like a dreaded ghost. And it is frustrating.

Though how many times I kept it away from my system, it keeps coming back when triggers. Especially when a particular situation where I would feel like no one wants to take me in or believe someone is not into me, the feeling of emptiness resurfaces.

I've been through a lot of emotional debacles in the past. And had the best lesson in relating - "allowing myself to be attached emotionally to a person who doesn't feel the same is emotionally damaging". Still, it seems I didn't learn my lesson. I still stumble to the same pit of illusions. Perhaps because I'm continue hoping that one day, I can still meet "the one".

But it seems life would not give me a fair chance. And seems telling me that I should give up and be contented of being alone. Though at times, yes, I'm giving up the idea, there are moments that circumstances allowed me to keep hoping.

Things happen the way we never expected it to take place. Feelings just flow and I often swam with it freely until I realized I was already drowning but too late to pull myself up. I was in the deepest part of the ocean. But I need to. Need to pull myself and lift my head above the water to stay afloat.

Perhaps, I need to give up that certain things will still take place. It won't. So i need to keep distance and wrap myself in a safe sanctuary away from everything and everyone that reminds me of that feeling.

I need to get rid of those moments of fun where I would be reminded of the presence. I need to let go of those traces of memories to get back on track.

For a moment I thought my life is a seies of disappointment and rejection. No one wants to take me in. Perhaps, I'm a bad option because I'm not always part of the choices.


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authorI am a blogger from the Philippines. My interest centers on travel and food, global affairs, European royals and self-help. I've a great passion in traveling and photography. I am also a book author with five published books in Amazon.
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