Friday, December 29, 2017

Argan Oil Shampoo for Stronger Hair

I posted a few weeks ago about how tea tree oil shampoo helped me get rid of dandruff. I also mentioned that I have falling hair due to stress and all other stuff that makes the hair and scalp weak. Maple Holistics graciously sent me a bottle of Argan Oil shampoo to try, which I did. 

Argan oil has been used since the 600 B.C. and it has been proven to help make the scalp and hair strong. The oil from the argan fruit is rich in vitamins A, C, and E and is proven to contain linoleic acid, antioxidants and omega-6 fatty acids--all of which are essential for hair growth. Like tea tree oil, argan oil is also good in eliminating dandruff. While I stopped using tea tree oil shampoo, argan oil shampoo didn't disappoint. I don't wonder anymore why the Phoenicians have long, luscious hairs.

What I like about Maple Holistics' products is that they don't leave strong chemical scent on my hair--it just smells all natural.

If you want to sample some of their products, you can just visit this link and they will graciously send you samples. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Shampoo for Hair Fall and Dandruff

I have the typical Asian hair--long and black--and like other women, regardless of race, I also have problems with hair fall and dandruff. I am picky when it comes to hair products and styling my hair, in fact, I have never used a dye. My hair fall problem and dandruff began in my late 20's, probably because of the amount of stress I always have to face at work and I have oily scalp. I have tried various products that promise to get rid of my problems, in fact, I have been loyal to this famous shampoo brand for years but it still doesn't give me the results I need.

I finally stumbled upon a Tea Tree Shampoo by Maple Holistics. It's main ingredient is organic tea tree oil that is known to cure acne and various fungal infections. It also has antiseptic properties and may be used on cuts, abrasions, burns, insect bites and boils among others. Other than its therapeutic properties, it also has cosmetic benefits like promoting hair growth by creating a protective layer on the hair, hence, preventing hair loss.

The first time I tried the shampoo, I already noticed that my hair is fuller and softer. After the third time and until now, there's less hair fall and my dandruff and accompanying itchiness are gone. I like wearing black and dark colored tops so getting rid of dandruff within a week of using the shampoo made me more confident.  I couldn't be any happier!

I'd definitely recommend this shampoo to anyone who has the same hair and scalp problems as mine.  To order, simply go to their website or you can order at Amazon or you can sign up here for free product samples.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Random Clicks: Horseshoe Bend

I am so blessed to be able to see the magnificence of the Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. I took this photo using an iPhone 8. This is the kind of things that I love to do--nature and photography. The 1-mile hike was definitely worth it.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Movie Review: Kita Kita (I See You)

They say "Love is blind", while others say "the lovers are". Whichever you believe in, one thing is for sure, love comes in the most unexpected way. Kita Kita (I See You) is not the typical romantic comedy film you see regularly in theaters. Lea (Alessandra de Rossi) and Tonyo (Empoy Marquez) are the main characters of the movie--they are the most unconventional pair but I was surprised by their chemistry. Their acting was so unbelievable that they made me believe everything is real. 

I laughed and cried. It made me think. It made me see what the eyes can't.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Random Clicks: Caramoan, Camarines Sur

The beachfront of the inn where we stayed overlooking the cluster of islands with magnificent rock formations.

Caramoan is a relatively unexplored gem of Camarines Sur in the Bicol Region. If you are from Manila, you will have to endure at least 15 hours of land travel or at least 4 hours via Legazpi City in Albay if you will travel by plane. The long and winding road and frequent poor cellphone signal will get you bored so I suggest you bring something to keep you busy or might as well sleep and sacrifice seeing the breathtaking scenery along the way.

We left the house before midnight on May 10 and arrived in Caramoan at around 4 in the afternoon the following day only with two brief stopovers for breakfast and toilet break.

We were supposed to go to Gota Resort but unfortunately, it was under exclusive use of the Survivor cast and crew. We ended up in a more public venue wherein inns and hostels occupy the beach front. Anyone can swim on the beach but you can't be satisfied with just that because you can see the beautiful islands and rock formations from afar.

This small island with a sandbar, cottages and store is where we had brunch. It is around 45 minutes away from the inn.

It is important to haggle for an island hopping tour and to negotiate only to the one who owns the boat because our experience was we talked to a middle man; and agreed on the price and number of islands to visit only to be asked a different price on the day of the island hopping. Having experiences in other tourist destinations, it is unfortunate that we had that kind of ordeal. Since we really wanted to see the islands and we understand that they are not yet keen on handling tours, we met halfway and proceeded with the tour.

There are restaurants in Caramoan, not posh ones, that offer a variety of dishes. We ordered tapsilog, drinks and bread the night before as our breakfast for our island hopping day. We left at around 7 in the morning and reached the first island after 45 minutes. It has cottages and stores wherein fresh seafood can be bought and cooked. You will be charged 100 pesos for a cottage that is good for 10. The white sand and crystal clear water is so inviting. We stayed for only 2 hours because we might not see the huge sandbar in our next destination.

Next stop is the sandbar and floating cottages. For 100 pesos, you can stay and eat at the floating cottages for as long as you want. It is best that you wait here while the tide recedes for the sandbar to appear just a few meters away. 

If you did not bring enough food, there are floating stores that sell fresh seafood that they will cook to fresh coconut juice to halo-halo. Of course, expect to pay a higher price.

This is how fine and white the sand is in the sandbar just a few minutes walk away from the floating cottages.

You can swim, walk  or paddle a kayak to reach the sandbar. Going here is one of the highlights of the trip because it is the first time I have seen a sandbar that huge.

These are closed areas for tourists because of on-going shoot for the reality game show Survivor. The production rented a couple of islands for 3 months. We were lucky to get a little closer to the islands to take photos of the beach. I suggest you call first the resort to check for the availability of more popular islands before you go to Caramoan.

Overall, the experience was tiring but exciting since it was my first time to go there. If I would compare its tourism strategy to other tourist destinations I have been to, Caramoan still has a lot of areas to improve. Nonetheless, I would be glad to visit again.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Holy Week Reflection: Forgiveness and Moving On

I had a blog post two years about forgiveness. I honestly have forgotten about it and that maybe it was  Divine providence that I was able to read it again a few weeks ago and for me to contemplate about what happened since that post. A few days after re-reading it, my son's dad called asking if he could spend a day or two with him. I said yes because I want my son to feel that he has a father despite everything. While waiting for my son to come home from school, we had a little chat. It was awkward at first but our conversation went well. After almost ten years of separating, I finally heard him say sorry. He didn't elaborate but I knew in my heart what he was talking about. I just gave him a nod to confirm that he's forgiven. When that moment happened, it felt like a heavy yoke was lifted from my shoulders and I knew at that point, we have both moved on.

I now fully believe that healing comes in time. If you allow yourself to be fully healed by that hurt, you must first accept that you yourself made a mistake, understand that it happened for a reason, forgive yourself and then forgive the person who did wrong to you. You can never move on if you keep on holding grudges and pain from the past. And above it all, pray.

Prayers are answered not in our time, but in His perfect time.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. - Ephesians 4:31-32

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Happiness and Peace

The first mountain that I climbed was Mount Batulao. It holds a special place in my heart because I got to conquer it with my son. I find happiness and fulfillment the entire trek despite its extreme physical demand. Every ascent to steeper terrain was so hard that I thought about quitting a couple of times. Each time I think of how far away I am from the start and how close I am to the summit, it fuels me again to just move forward.

I guess the lesson is, to achieve happiness and fulfillment, you have to work hard for it.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Random Clicks: Legata Familia Resort

The hotel where you and your family could stay for a day or two.

It's summer time! I bet you are already looking for a place to cool down this 35 degrees scorching hot weather. If you live in Cavite, there are a lot of new resorts that are not yet explored by many, and one of them is Legata Familia Resort in Brgy. Paradahan along Tanza-Trece Road. It is a 2-hour drive from Manila.

The main pavilion that can accommodate 30-50 guests for special corporate or family events

Entrance fee ranges from 150 to 230 pesos and cottage fee ranges from 400 to 2,000 pesos. The prices are higher compared to other resorts but I don't mind because it somehow promotes privacy and you will not worry about the pool being crowded.

The cottages in front of the main pool for small groups.

Originally, there is just 1 large pool that is no more than 5 feet deep with a kiddie pool on the left corner but now they have added another large pool with slides for the kids and kids at heart to enjoy.

The new pool with slides. Photo grabbed from their Facebook Page.

The hotel facing the main pool.

If you or your family would like to spend the night at the hotel, price starts at 2,000 to 2,500 pesos. There are six rooms available.

The other side of the main pavilion.
There are a lot of fruit bearing trees in the resort to add more shade and to cool down the place like on this side of the pavilion. If you will rent the pavilion, it comes with a comfort room, a kitchen, a bar and 1 bedroom. Chairs and tables may be requested at the information area.

For more information about Legata Familia Resort, just visit their Facebook Page here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Random Clicks: Maragondon Hanging Bridge

Maragondon is a municipality in the Province of Cavite that is located 54 kilometers South-West from Manila--roughly two hours drive. Aside from the famous Trial House, wherein Andres Bonifacio was tried for treason and sedition in 1897 and later was executed in Mount Nagpatong, the municipality is also famous for the Pinagsanhan Hanging Bridge. 

It is a suspension bridge at the Maragondon River that connects the town proper to Brgy. Pinagsanhan that is a common route for mountaineers going to Mount Nagpatong.

The Maragondon River.
There used to be rafts that take tourists to the other side of the river. There are also sari-sari stores where you can buy food and drinks.

Random Clicks: Casa Escondida Anilao Resort and Dive Center

The spectacular view from the balcony. This is my favorite photo of the trip.
I have a friend who is a professional diver and he invited me to go to one of his diving trips to snorkel (because I don't dive). I immediately said yes because I badly needed a vacation.

Casa Escondida Anilao Resort and Dive Center in Mabini Circumferential Road, Mabini, Batangas. It is 3 hours away from Manila. The resort offers 24-hour accommodations with meals included in fully air conditioned rooms, day tours and diving facilities. It is actually one of the favorite diving resorts of local celebrities. I cannot say that it is a family friendly resort since there isn't much to do for kids except for snorkeling and island hopping (the pool is 10-feet deep so swimming without a vest is not recommended), but if the kids are in to learn how to dive, this is the place. To learn more about the resort, just click on the link.

The pool area. On the left is where divers prep their gears. Just above on the left is the restaurant.

The view of the beach from the pool area.

The rocky beach where you can snorkel.

The coziest area in the balcony.

Just one of the amazing views you will see during your island hopping tour.

The romantic sunset as seen at the resort.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Things To Do In Cebu

Snorkeling at Sumilon Island.

Before I proceed, disregard the date and time stamp on the photos because I was too excited to use my action camera that I forgot to check the setting. Silly me!

My first time in Cebu was more of a city tour and although it was fun for a first-timer in the Queen City of the South, it felt incomplete. After 3 years, I am back and it was a more adventurous and daring trip with my friends.

Our tour package included 2 nights and 3 days hotel stay, swimming with the whale shark, trek to Osmena Peak, Mainit hot spring, canyoning to the Kawasan Falls, snorkeling at Pescador Island, sardine run in Moalboal and Sumilon Island sandbar stay. All of that for only 6,500 pesos. You will get a better deal if you are a group of 5 or more.

We arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport around 7 in the morning last March 12 and we immediately headed south to Badian where we were met by our travel agent. We rode a taxi from the airport to Cebu Bus Terminal and then rode a Badian via Barili bus and it cost us 500 pesos. If it is your first time to go South of Cebu, just tell the bus conductor where you will go and he will tell you if you're in your right destination.

After the 4-hour bus ride, we finally arrived at the hotel. Our agent informed us that we only have 15 minutes to rest and change our clothes because we will go to Moalboal for our first activities--Pescador Island snorkeling and sardine run.

The breathtaking beach of Moalboal.

While waiting for our boat to arrive, we frolicked on the shore, did snorkeling. Just a few meters off the shore is where you will meet the school of sardines and if you are lucky, like us, you will see a friendly sea turtle. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my action camera because I forgot to charge the battery.

The crystal clear water and white sand of the beach were so inviting. It doesn't matter if the water is cold. While waiting for our boat that will take us to Pescador Island, I took some photos using my mobile phone macro lens.

It's nice to see things closer that we usually see them. It's like a different colorful world that we tend to take for granted.

Pescador Island is 30 minutes away from Moalboal. It is a solitary island where you can snorkel and jump off the cliff to the sea if it is high tide. We saw different kinds of colorful fishes, an eel and a lion fish. We were so lucky that day because we got to see dolphins from afar!

The gentle giant called "Butanding" or whale shark.

We were ready at 4 in the morning the next day for our trip to Oslob to see the whale sharks. Viewing time is from 6AM to 12NN only and there's a long queue so we had to be there early. It is mandatory to attend a short seminar about whale shark behavior, their importance in the ecosystem and the things you are allowed and not allowed to do during the tour. 

We were given 30 minutes to swim with the whale sharks. They are fed with krill. No one is allowed to touch the whale sharks but they swim so close to you that you will sometimes touch their tail and fins. One of the highlights of our entire Cebu trip is our whale shark encounter.

Our next stop was the Sumilon Island sandbar. We purposely hurried to be at the island because there might be a high tide and we will never see the sandbar. We stayed there for 30 minutes. There's a resort on the island so tourists can stay longer if they want to.

Our third destination on our second day of the tour is the Mainit Hot Spring. There are 4 hot springs with varying temperatures. If you like to experience Japanese onsen, this is the place to go. I dipped my feet for a good five minutes and it was relaxing. It's good for those who suffer from arthritis and other joint and muscle problems. 

While we did not stay longer in the hot springs, we trekked the up the river to see the beautiful waterfalls. It's unusual for a hot spring and a cold spring in one location but they were there. After entering a cave and passing through a waterfall, the end of the trail is this view. 

Part of our tour is the Osmena Peak but we were not able to climb because of heavy rain. From the main road to the drop off point, we traveled more than one hour in a van. It was a tiring day and we decided to head back to the hotel to rest.

In Badian, stores close at 7PM so I suggest you eat dinner early or book a hotel near 7-Eleven or the market. There are stores at the Badian Market that offers barbecues, roasted chicken, soups and rice and for a meal for 3, we only paid 300 pesos.

The trail to the canyon.
We're off at 8 in the morning the next day for our canyoning adventure to the Kawasan Falls in Badian, It's 15 minutes away from our hotel to the drop off point. Our guide recommended we descend the canyon to the falls because the other route is more exhausting. It's a must to wear a helmet and life vest.

Reminders before descending the canyon.

We walked 30 minutes to reach this station going down the canyon. It was a slippery down slope so we exerted extra effort on the legs and arms.

This is where the real canyoning adventure begins. It looks like we were in another world, an enchanted forest. The rock formations, the lush greens and clear waters will make you forget about the tiring trek.

It was my first time to jump off a fall and it gave me extreme adrenaline rush. It's the kind of rush that will get you to jump to even higher fall and platform. 

Halfway downstream, there stores that sell barbecues, fruits and beverages to replenish tired bodies. We rested and ate for 15 minutes before we jumped off a platform again. There are two platforms but I chose the lower one just because. It was so scary.

I jumped because there's no other way. During our canyoning adventure, I discovered that I am braver than I think I am. It was truly a journey towards self-discovery.

Here's another fall, I think the third of the largest. We walked, swam, and dove for more than 3 hours before we reached the Kawasan Falls.

The Kawasan Falls has the most turquoise of all turquoise waters I have seen. We only took pictures because we still have a long way to go before we reach the end of our adventure.

Women washing clothes in the river.

The walk towards the end of the river was easy, mostly flat and concrete pavements, so it was a relief from our tired feet and legs. After 4 hours, we were back in the hotel. 

We immediately packed our bags to go to Mactan Island, find a hotel to stay in for the night and see the 10,000 Roses Cafe in Cordova. We stayed in Chalet de Mactan for 1,500 a night for 3 persons. It's 15 minutes away from the airport and 30 minutes away from the cafe. It's already hard to find a hotel because it's already peak season so I suggest that you book the hotel before the trip to Cebu.

The famed glowing 10,000 Roses in Cordova, Mactan is 30-45 minutes away from the airport. The coffee shop is open from 10AM to 10PM but guests are allowed to see the roses until midnight. We arrived at 10:45 and stayed for only 15 minutes because our cab is waiting at the parking area a few meters away.

A best seller in Casa Verde.

While it's easier to go around the city in a cab, it's not cheap: a 30-minute ride will cost you at least 150 pesos. We had lunch at Casa Verde in Lim Tian Teng Street and was surprised to be served with a huge platter with rice and a pitcher of raspberry iced tea for only 1,099 pesos! After the sumptuous lunch, we bought goodies at Shamrock near Robinsons Galleria.

Overall, it was a memorable tour and I would definitely go back if time permits. I honestly love Cebu because it's clean, the people are friendly, food is delicious (I especially love their roasted chicken stuffed with vegetables.) and they know the importance of maintaining cleanliness to sustain their tourism industry.

If you are planning to visit the places we've been to, I recommend you contact Raymund Sande at +639151392249 or you can visit their Facebook page here.


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