Skin Warriors: Safeguard Derma Sense for Acne-Prone Skin

31 May 2015

Can you believe this heat? Morning and mid-day runs for food as quick break from work ceased being fun after being subjected to the unjust levels of heat and humidity we are currently being tortured with. I don’t sweat that much but I hate how I end up feeling sticky in just a short while.

This is what I wore to a work event we had last week. It was a backless dress that was supposed to keep me feeling fresh but I didn’t feel it because I was too busy melting under the 41-degree heat.

I have been using an organic brand for my facial skincare and an exfoliating body wash for showering, but I know these are not enough to protect the skin against acne.  Somehow my face has become extra oily these days due to the excessive sebum released by my oil-producing glands because of the excessive heat. Normal beauty soaps may also not work as effectively given that they don’t provide long-lasting protection from germs. When I was sent the new Safeguard Derma Sense products for Acne-Prone Skin, I decided to shelve my current skincare products for the time being so I can test its effectivity. I don’t really have acne-prone skin – I get the occasional zit that stays for just a couple of days when it’s that time of the month, but that’s it – but I figured no one can really be sure anymore because of this intense summer heat.

Safeguard Derma Sense for Acne-Prone Skin Body Wash (P120 for 200mL), Safeguard Derma Sense for
Acne-Prone Skin Body Bar (P88.50 for two bars of 90g each), Safeguard Derma Sense for Acne-Prone
Skin Cleanser (P199 for 100mL)
The new Safeguard Derma Sense line for Acne-Prone Skin is specially formulated to help fight the four major causes of acne breakouts: excess sebum, blocked pores, bacteria overgrowth, and inflammation—for clearer skin in eight weeks. It is dermatologically tested and helps provide noticeable acne reduction in 89% of people, helps remove acne-causing germs and excess oil, and refreshes with a Eucalyptus-infused formula. The most important thing to remember is that Derma Sense doesn’t just fix the problem; it goes to the root of the problem by getting rid of the germs.

I have been road-testing my new Safeguard Derma Sense for Acne-Prone Skin Facial Cleanser since last week and I am liking it so far! It’s no-fuss facial cleanser that does the job and does it well.

Aside from washing up twice daily with the new Safeguard Derma Sense line, here are some other tips for managing acne:

  • Change your washcloth regularly since bacteria can grow on damp cloth.
  • Wash your hands more frequently and avoid touching your face unnecessarily.
  • Never squeeze, pick, scratch or pop pimples as this can lead to infection and scarring. NOTE: As pimples contain nasty bacteria, popping it can get it more infected. Bacteria may also have a chance of getting inside other pores and giving them a place to stay.
  • Shampoo your hair regularly and when you can, style your hair away from your face to keep it from irritating your skin.
  • Although researchers have not been able to show that any foods cause acne, some people have found that certain foods seem to worsen their acne. Keep a record of the foods you eat to help you track if this is true for you. If it is, avoid these types of food and see if it helps your acne condition improve.
  • Avoid too much exposure to the sun as this can irritate your skin.
  • Get regular physical exercise to help the body flush out toxins. Endorphins released when you’re active also help give your skin a natural glow.

Watch out for my more comprehensive and intensive review of the new Safeguard Derma Sense Acne-Prone Skin line, but in the meantime if you have any questions you may course them through me.

Now I want a quick shower.

Connect with Safeguard Derma Sense on Facebook and on their official website for more information.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own. Check my blog’s complete Disclosure Policy here.

'All the Good Things' in Singapore

28 May 2015

I've only been out of the country twice so far, and both instances have been to visit Singapore. On my first visit as one of the Filipino teenagers to represent the country for Sunburst Youth Camp, I was fascinated by how it resembled a real-life Sim City. A little less than six years later, I went back with my friends and was blown away by how much the Lion City has changed in that short span of time. At the time Universal Studios wasn't fully constructed yet. When I go there again Universal Studios and the Marina Bay Sands will definitely be in the itinerary.

In recognition of local talent, the Singapore Tourism Board recently collaborated with award-winning Philippine indie act Up Dharma Down for a song and an accompanying music video inspired by Singapore. The song is named 'All the Good Things', and it's such an upbeat song with a catchy beat. Indeed, music is a universal medium of artistic expression that transcends geography and culture.

We went to the launch held in 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub last week, and it was a perfect date night filled with great music, great food and drinks, and great company.

Armi Millare said “the song is about having an idea of what’s good but only coming to terms with it upfront by actually doing something about it, such as traveling after a long time of toying with the idea of it. It’s about being open to new experiences, having that proactivity and positive outlook.” Meanwhile, the music video for 'All the Good Things' was inspired by the creativity, progressiveness and energy of Singapore, as shared by director Johan Polhem, former Senior Creative Director at MTV Australia and Gold Awardee for Music Video at the New York Film Festival. Watch it below.

The video documenting their exciting visit draws back the curtains on a fun and thrilling side of the country they had not experienced before. It takes us through Up Dharma Down’s journey to various iconic and off-the-beaten-track locations in Singapore, sharing the experiences and personal moments that inspired them to create their new song.

Were you enticed to visit Singapore after watching those videos? Well, great news! In celebration of Singapore’s 50th year, having these inspiring experiences to shop, eat and play is made even easier with the Golden Jubilee deals. The Golden Jubilee promotion is an exciting selection of exclusive deals on flights, hotels and more. Take advantage of special airfare deals, stay at any one of the participating hotels in the city for two nights to get the third night free, shop 'til you drop during the Great Singapore Sale for a chance to win S$500 daily, and embark on a gastronomic adventure with exclusive dining discounts from various establishments. To know more about the exciting Golden Jubilee deals, visit here.

Now that you have listened enough and enjoyed it a lot, visit for more exclusive content and to download the song for free!

Congratulations for a successful launch and big thanks to the Singapore Tourism Board, Up Dharma Down, and GeiserMaclang for having us!

Currently Vol. 21

25 May 2015

If there's one luxury I miss, it's the luxury of being able to read a book at my leisure. I'm so glad I was able to do that this weekend, but I wish we have more hours in a day just so I can have more me-time. I don't even ask for much; it can be as simple as having more time for painting, reading, writing, catching up on TV shows, or spending time with someone special.

Now, following its previous success, lifestyle market The Caravan is back in town and is getting up-close and personal by celebrating the much craved “Me Time” through a shopping bonanza this coming May 30 and 31, 11AM – 9PM at the Kirov Model Unit (beside the Rockwell Tent), Rockwell Center, Makati City.

The Caravan is a unique shopping affair designed to bring back days of talent discovery, quality products, and a complete celebration of the senses. It was created through the collaboration of ARC Public Relations, Inc. and the Collab Contessa as they looked to piece together a compilation of exceptional experiences into a lifestyle market, where carefully chosen brands from budding entrepreneurs of the Philippines are to be curated and exhibited. Here are some of the brands that will be featured:

The Caravan is bringing people closer to their “Me time” cravings through a shopping event that is all about accommodating everyone’s guilty pleasures. From fashion to home to health and beauty and more, everyone will definitely walk out of The Caravan with a haul of great products and a really great time. Come Join The Caravan and this new wave of cult shopping!


What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. This was an impulse buy because I'm a fan of xkcd. I'm so glad I was finally able to open it after weeks of getting it!

Two sponsored posts.

The mellow pitter-patter of rain outside my bedroom window. Finally, rain!

My favorite pair of pajamas. I am so ready for bedtime!

Of my to-do list for this week.

Happy. ♡

This feeling. ♡

More me- and two-of-us-time.

More me- and two-of-us-time.

For more me- and two-of-us-time.

Is two-of-us-time even an accepted word? LOL. Whatever. Have a great week ahead, you! ♡ 

{Blog Tour} Buqo YA Bundle 4: Heart Choices

20 May 2015

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my stop for the blog tour organized by Dianne in support of the Buqo YA Bundle 4: Heart Choices. I'll be sharing excerpts from the stories in the bundle with you today.

Sometimes it’s hard to choose. Do you stay or do you let go? Should you become friends, more than friends, or stay strangers? Would you risk love for popularity? You’re invited to explore these stories and find out each character’s choice from the heart.

Until the Race is Over by Lyka Caparos
Rico wishes Lianne back in his life, but because of that viral article that Traecy posted on their school paper's website, it appears to be impossible for them to be together again. Traecy on the other hand, had only one wish for her birthday, to spend it with the one she admires since high school – Rico Avila. How can fate brings the two together in a race that would definitely reveal small discoveries that can lead to two choices: either to tear them apart or hope for a more unexpected relationship?
“When I see her, I always feel na gusto ko siyang kausapin. I want to keep her nearer and nearer to my world. It breaks my heart whenever I saw her talking to someone else. Na parang naka move on na siya in just two damn months.” He said laughing though I know he’s deeply hurt, then continued, “She doesn’t realize how hurt I was. She doesn’t even care about me anymore. Ang daling kalimutan para sa kanya ang mga pinagdaanan namin. But for me, it hurts like hell.” Napayuko ako ng hindi niya makita ang reaksyon ko sa sinabi niya. Tama nga Traecy, gumising ka sa katotohanan.
Gusto ko siyang samahan kahit ngayong araw lang. Gusto kong pasayahin siya kahit para sa kanya corny.
Gusto kong kahit ngayong araw lang, makalimutan niya ang sakit na nararamdamn niya sa babaeng ‘yon.
Sa maswerteng babaeng si Lianne na hindi man lang na appreciate ang lalakeng tunay na nagmamahal sa kanya.
“Mahirap ang makamove on. Mahirap ang makalimot. Mahirap ang magbigay ng payo lalo na kung wala ka naman sa lugar. Pero gusto ko lang sanang sabihin sayo na… libre ang maging masaya Rico. It really takes a lot of time para makalimot, and it takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself and to love yourself this time. Alam kong… hindi ako ang tamang taong magbigay sayo ng advice para sa ganyang bagay pero sana makatulong ako. Sana kahit hindi mo ako ganoon ka kilala, sana maalala mo man lang ang mga sinabi ko…”
“Looks like you’re good at advising ha. Sige nga, can you give me your final blow?”
I smiled and cleared my throat before saying anything. “If you’ve given a great love to someone before and that person never gave it back to you… someone will.”
Blog | Twitter

In That Summer by Jayen San Diego
Senior high school student Jane Enriquez is the ‘dream-girl’ of all male students at Southridge Montessori. Well, except the geeky student leader Sean Villamayor. Opposing from the start, Sean never expected Jane would become his partner for this year’s Summer Camp Immersion. Will this be their worst summer? Or will it turn out to be different?
“Ordinary? Are you really that blind, Sean?” Red asked.
Sean self-consciously adjusted his eyeglasses and added, “Well, she’s not that stunningly pretty. I even doubt if she still looks cute without her makeup on. She’s only here because she’s the chairman’s daughter.”
Red did not say anything, and Sean already knew that it was the end of their conversation.
“Are you done with the supplies?”
Sean was startled when he heard Jaine’s voice come from behind Red. He glanced at Red, who looked equally surprised by her presence.
Did Jaine hear what I said? Sean wanted to ask.
When neither of the guys answered her, Jaine added, “There are still a few boxes in the stock room. And Miss Darson said you should hurry up.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Red responded.
He gave Jaine a playful salute and his infamous smile. Other girls would have swooned at this. Sean noted that Jaine wasn’t even slightly affected. Maybe Sean was wrong. Maybe Jaine wasn’t like every other girl.
Red left, enthusiastically roping other basketball team members into helping him on his way to the stock room. Sean turned his attention back to his task. He expected Jaine to leave, having accomplished her  task. But she stayed and stared at him.
He wanted to ignore her, but he was surprised to find he felt self-conscious. He then reasoned to himself that it was just because he wasn’t use to working with someone watching him.
“Do you need anything else?” he asked without looking up from his checklist of supplies.
He waited, but Jaine just continued to stare. Irritated, he finally stopped working and gave her the attention she wanted.
“Do you need anything else, Miss Jaine Enriquez?” he asked again, giving emphasis to his formal way of addressing her.
To his bemusement, Jaine smiled. Her whole face brightened up when she did. And Sean was reminded of this season, of summer. He knew she wasn’t ordinary. But Sean would never admit he’d been wrong.
Blog | Twitter | Wattpad

On the Outside Looking In by Claire Du
Seventeen-year-old Freya Mahilum has always been in love with football hotshot Ezra Montelibano. Ezra, who’s too caught up with family pressures and his so-called girlfriend to pay attention to a geek obsessed with him. Freya knows she'd never stand a chance with him, but then fate conspires to bring them together. Will getting to know each other prove that love knows no boundaries or will they find that they're better off existing in two separate worlds?
“Come on! We need those points! Run for it!” someone shouted from the benches. I knew that was Ezra’s ever-supportive dad who cheered for him at every game. I’ve been to all of them, too.
“Duck!” another spectator shouted.
My eyes followed Ezra, and I saw that he was running toward me. He was looking right at me! I wondered why.
A football hit me in the face, blocking me from seeing the love of my life.
“Oww! That hurts!” So that was how people in Tube’s Funniest Videos felt. It wasn’t funny at all.
I held my face in my hands. It hurt so much that I thought my head cracked and I’d feel blood trickling on my arms. The football was there, lying innocently next to my feet.
“Hey, can you throw the ball back?”
Oh my freakin’ ball of fire. That was HIS voice. I composed myself and slowly raised my eyes.
Unconsciously, I batted my eyelashes, so he could see how long they were. His hair was ruffled, his forehead glistened with sweat, and he had these lines between his eyebrows as a result of him frowning. But that face, with the thick brows, piercing brown eyes, and those lips that looked better when he smiled—that was the face I couldn’t seem to get tired of staring at.
“Here you go. And don’t worry, it’s totally okay. These things happen to people,” I mumbled.
I couldn’t stop from smiling widely even though I knew I had a big, red splotch on my forehead. Add to that my uncombed hair and the tears that were about to fall due to pain, and you have a good idea how pretty I felt right at that moment. Not.
Claire has been a bookworm ever since she can remember. Her passion for reading started when she met Archie Andrews at the Airport Bookshop. Aside from writing short stories, she also enjoys reading and reviews at, playing the keyboard, and just cuddling with her dog Frou. She's the author of He Loves Me... Not?, one of the short stories in an anthology called Luna East Vol.1 : Kids These Days.

Blog | Twitter | Wattpad

What About Today by Dawn Lanuza
Aiden's stuck working for his family's amusement park, Funtastic World, for the whole summer. Nothing amuses him, until he met this terrified girl.

Gemma's stuck in Funtastic World thinking she could handle the park's rides. She couldn't. Good thing she met someone to guide her.

As the day comes to a close, Aiden and Gemma ask themselves if one day is ever enough to decide if they were better off as friends or strangers.
Gemma glanced at her watch and remembered that she was supposed to catch the bus heading back home at 7 in the evening. It’s already 5. Did she really spend a lot of time staring at The Big Red Dragon earlier? Or did she take too much time at the gift shop to buy nothing?
She started feeling like two hours wouldn’t be enough to complete everything. Could she maybe extend? Then again, how would leaving play out exactly?
“Alright, I need to go” isn’t going to cut it. She and Aiden already had moments. Now they’re in this limbo between being strangers and friends. They weren’t exactly strangers, but they weren’t friends just yet.
Plus they’re in an amusement park. They just met. Did it count for something?
She wished this could be more of a train incident where people smiled at each other when one offered a seat and that’s the end of that. They all get off their stops.
And if she and Aiden were ever going to be friends, in the real sense of the word after today, how’s that going to work? They’re going to stay in touch by texting? Chatting online? It all seemed superficial. It was not like meeting someone in school; she’s required to see that person almost everyday, which made being friends with someone almost compulsory. But meetings like these...what did one do with them?
File them to chance encounters.
Gemma betted that if they lived in a different time, this is the kind of thing that would produce a pile of letters, mailed back and forth within long intervals. It could take days, weeks, and months even. But people were cool back then. Now, relationships could completely end over a person forgetting to text or call overnight.
She didn’t want that.
Dawn Lanuza started writing stories when she was just a kid (the drafts weren't good or even finished). She works for the music industry by day and writes meet cutes and snappy comebacks by night. She currently lives with her family and an adopted dog.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Waiting for Whatever by Fay Sebastian
Denise knew pain at an early age. She has been waiting for her true love since she was 11, but she never gave up, knowing she'd meet him someday.

What she didn't know was that she already met the man she's been waiting for, and that he's sitting beside her at the airport. The thought never crossed her mind because she's seated between two guys who broke her heart before.
I’m not a big fan of waiting. Ayoko sa mga taong laging late, sa mga mahahabang pila, sa kahit anong delayed—flights, release dates, pag-ibig...
Ayoko sa delayed na pag-ibig, pero naghihintay pa rin ako. At maghihintay pa rin ako. Kahit gaano pa katagal, hihintayin ko siya. Si TL, si The One, si soulmate, si ano, whatever you’d like to call him. Basta kung sino man siya, kung sino man ang inilaan para sa’kin, hihintayin ko siya.
At dahil nga ayokong naghihintay sa kahit anong bagay, ayoko ring nagpapahintay. Nasa airport ako, naghihintay sa pagbubukas ng check-in counters. Maaga kasi akong nakarating, maaga pa sa maaga. I came here early because I’m extremely excited for my flight and because if there’s one flight I can’t miss, it’s this one.
I don’t want to be late for Paris.
Tita Mel gave me a roundtrip ticket to Paris as a gift for my 18th birthday. I’ll stay in the city of love for two weeks. Part of me wants to believe I’ll meet him there. Maybe while staring at the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, someone would say hi and poof. Let the magic begin.
Nagdala ako ng babasahin kung sakaling matagal-tagal pa ang hihintayin ko. Dinala ko yung novels sa reading list ko, pero nasa maleta lahat yun. Isa lang ang iniwan ko sa shoulder bag ko. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen—may nagsabi sa’kin na ‘di raw ‘to nakakasawang basahin nang paulit-ulit. We’ll see if that’s true. Let’s put this book to the test.
There’s a vacant seat between two boys near the check-in area. I wanted to take a seat and start reading the book, but when I saw who the two boys were, something inside me made me think twice.
Fay started writing stories since she learned how to write with a pencil, but she only rediscovered her love for writing when she was a high school freshman. Since then, writing has become her life.

Now a Speech Communication student at the University of the Philippines, she writes even during the busiest of days because writing prevents her from being a college zombie.

Why she holds writing instruments in an odd way will always be a mystery to the world.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Barely Even Friends by Kristel S. Villar
For pretty and athletic Emily Fonseca, nothing’s better than getting invited to join Luna East Arts Academy’s most popular crowd, the Elites. She only has to fulfill a list of dares to prove that she’s got what it takes. But will it cost Emily her rekindled friendship with language tutor and childhood friend Noah Calderon?
“Someone’s coming!” he announced, walking towards me in panic.
I quickly stuffed the paper inside my pocket and closed the drawer in haste. I watched Noah scan the room to look for a place to hide, and tugged me on my elbow when he saw a door at the corner of the room. He pushed me roughly inside just in time the front door opened.
We were in a dark and tiny broom closet. The air stank of floor wax, dust, and wood, making my nose itch. I reached up to rub my nose, but my elbow caught one of the shelves and it made a soft clatter.
Noah seized my arm and cupped my mouth with his other hand, hushing me to keep me still.
“Hello?” the female voice asked. I recognized it as one of our substitute teachers, but I couldn’t remember her name.
We stood there for God knows how long as we listened to the shuffling of papers. I felt Noah’s chest rise and fall, and his hot breath on my forehead. I felt the way my small frame measured to his lean build, and the warmth of his hand holding my arm. I closed my eyes, feeling the skin of his palm on my lips and inhaling the scent of his cologne amidst the stench of the closet.
Stop it, Emily, I scolded myself.
The room fell silent a few minutes later. I pulled his hand away from my mouth and leaned over the door to get a better hearing but Noah pulled me back in his arms, perhaps afraid that I would make
another noise.
“Do you think she’s gone?” I hissed at him.
“I dunno. I haven’t heard the door open yet. Keep still,” he whispered back.
Kristel S. Villar covers sporting events for a national broadsheet by day and tries to write fiction by night. In between, she takes care of her husband and son. She has penned Blast from Two Pasts. a contemporary romance novella, and The Rumor About Me, her first short story for the Luna East anthology. Her second Luna East short story, One on One is featured in the quarterly online romance journal, Clara.

Twitter | Facebook | Wattpad

Follow the blog tour by clicking the banner below.

There's also a special giveaway for everyone, thanks to Buqo!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get your weekly dose of feels and get the Buqo YA bundles now! Heart Choices is available on Buqo at a special price of only $0.99 (P45) this week! Purchases can be made using a credit card or your Smart/ Sun phone. Enjoy!

PS: I also have an ongoing giveaway for those who have a copy of the Sweet Complications ebook bundle. Check here. ♡

Wingstop Takeover in Bonifacio Stopover!

19 May 2015

How do you solve a problem like chicken wings cravings?

By going to Wingstop, of course!

With over two billion wings sold, Wingstop has captured and perfected nine recipes with flavors that have made everyone who has ever tried them crave for them. I first got my taste of these world-famous chicken wings just a little more than a month ago and I've come back more than five times already. The taste buds want what it wants, and my taste buds have taken a great liking to Wingstop. My personal favorites are the Louisiana Rub wings and Teriyaki Boneless Bites, but I literally wouldn't say no to any of the other flavors available.

Philippine All Stars during the launch of Wingstop Glorietta
Wingstop has been in the local scene for only about a year with seven stores currently open and a quick growth projection of opening 50 more in the next six years. The branches already open now are in Glorietta 2, Eastwood Citywalk, University Mall in Taft, Fairview Terraces, Starmall Prima, Starmall, Estancia, Greenhills Promenade, and TriNoma.

Well guess what, Wingstop is opening their newest branch in Bonifacio Stopover tomorrow, and they're givng away FREE WINGS!

The Wingstop Takeover will begin at 5 PM and will end promptly at 8 PM. No catch, no purchase required, all you have to do is BE THERE to receive your free five pieces of any flavor wings! It doesn't matter if you're the next to be served; free wings will stop coming at 8 o'clock, so you better be there early to beat the long lines!

Will you be there to get the goods? I'm not sure if I can make a quick escape from the office, but I will definitely be there on Thursday after TOMS One Day Without Shoes to check out the new store. Tweet me if you'll be there!

Check out Wingstop on Facebook and Instagram to connect and be updated!

Tsk. Now I want me some wings.

Currently Vol. 20

18 May 2015

I'm on leave from work today because I figured I needed a day to rest after our Pahiyas weekend. Aside from finishing the last two episodes of Will & Grace Season 3, I was fairly productive: I managed to get some work that needed urgent attention done, I managed to tick off some items in my to-do list, and I completely scrapped the first few pages of my Spark NA novella so I could begin from the top. 

Yes, my friends, I am beginning again.

Unlike my Buqo YA experience where everything started to flow the moment I decided, "This is it. I am going to write now." and fingers hit the keyboard, the magic just isn't happening for me this time. I couldn't embody Tanya's voice. I couldn't hit my stride. I couldn't make it happen. So, yes, begin again it is.

At this rate I don't even know if I'm going to reach the deadline. Please cross your fingers for me.

On to this week's Currently.


Still the same book I've been reading for the last three weeks. What happened to me?

See above.

My everyday playlist that contains songs from The Neighbourhood, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Yellowcard, Dido, Owl City, Nate Ruess, and songs from The Voice Season 7.

Like clean soap. I just took a shower.

A casual shirt and shorts. I'm just waiting for my friends and then we'll go to our carpool-mate's house for a birthday surprise. Yep, I have all these deadlines but I still couldn't miss this.

Of all my deadlines.

Anxious. I really want to finish my novella but self-doubt has crept in and at this point I don't know if I could still fight it.

New possibilities.

More free time to work on everything I need to finish.

More free time to work on everything I need to finish.


For the chance to just pause and watch the sun set and give way to the night. It's always my favorite time of the day not just because of the gorgeous colors that line the sky, but because it reminds us of the possibility that dark and light can coexist at the same time.

Also, Before Sunset is one of my favorite movies.

I wish I can go star-gazing.

Pahiyas 2015

17 May 2015

I just got home from spending the weekend at my friend Myk's house in Luisiana, Quezon with our other friends Ed, Ronnie, and Kayle. It was the feast day of Lucban in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers, and the aim was to join the celebrations and eat kiping, just like what we did four years ago. Unfortunately, we were met by some delays and so it was already late in the afternoon of Saturday when we reached Myk's hometown. I didn't mind; I just watched the sky transform its colors and waited for the stars to show up.

Today we were able to go to Dalitiwan Resort for a quick dip and to Lucban for lunch and to try our luck with the kiping decorations before we went back to Manila. I almost never stop laughing when Ed and Myk are around, and today I realized that it is possible to laugh more.

What follows is another busy week ahead but I'm actually pretty excited. Have a great week ahead, you! (ノ・_-)☆

Join us for a party #withoutshoes

16 May 2015

Back in 2012, I participated in TOMS One Day Without Shoes, an annual global event that aims to spread awareness for children's health and education. More than anything else, that event made me realize how lucky I am that I get to do my day-to-day activities with my feet safe and protected. I know it's is easy to take some things for granted because they've always been there, but when you think about it, not everyone enjoys the same privileges we do. Reality hurts, and the truth is, millions of children all around the world are forced to go to school without shoes or even slippers on. When you think about it, aside from the health hazards, not having shoes can also harm the kids mentally and psychologically.

And that is why I applaud TOMS and the One for One movement wherein for every pair of TOMS sold, a pair of shoes is also given to a child - and now, One Day Without Shoes. With the slogan "Go without shoes so kids don't have to", the aim of the project is to make the more fortunate experience first-hand what it's like to go without shoes so they see the stark and sad reality of these children.

One of the most important lessons I learned from my previous job is the value of empathy. Empathy means putting yourself on the other person's shoes. It becomes easier to empathize when the other person has literally no shoes.
This time around, TOMS steps it up by coming up with the #withoutshoes campaign. For every photo of bare feet posted on Instagram with the hashtag #withoutshoes, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. No catch, no purchase required. (Limited to one photo per Instagram account only.)

The goal is to donate a million pair of shoes. We hope you can join TOMS with this initiative by posting your #withoutshoes photo and encouraging your family and friends to do the same!

On May 21, everyone is once again invited to spend their day barefoot not just to experience what it’s like to not have shoes, but to show that if we all unite and take the right steps – we can move the world. This year's local arm will take place at Bonifacio High Street, and will be hosted by the famous Walk This Way host from Intramuros himself, Carlos Celdran, in an interesting and new "tour."

If you need any more convincing, here's Troy Montero inviting you to be there. May 21, 4 PM, Track 30th Park, Bonifacio Global City. Save the date!

TOMS believes that if we tap the right people who genuinely want to make a difference and have them take the right step to make that happen, it’s not impossible to make this world a better place. Let’s have a world with people moving together, moving for one another, and moving to inspire each other.

To know more about One Day Without Shoes, please visit this link. Hope to see you there!

{Blog Tour} Buqo YA Bundle 3: Finding Fairytales

13 May 2015

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my stop for the blog tour organized by Dianne in support of the Buqo YA Bundle 3: Finding Fairytales. I'll be sharing excerpts from the stories in the bundle with you today.

We all want the happy ending, the dream come true. But what if it doesn’t happen? How far would you go to get that “ever after?” Would you change who you are? Would you swallow your pride? Is the story really going to be as perfect as you think? Follow the path of these characters and see where they lead.

Fall for Grace by Anne Plaza
Aso’t pusa, away-bati…

Sino sa inyo ang unang aamin?

Meet Grace Almeda—the darling of Luna East Arts Academy—maikukumpara sa isang artista sa hitsura, reputasyon, at katarayan. At heto si Jason Jacinto—the resident school genius—kilala rin sa pagiging go-to person ng mga estudyanteng problemado sa pag-aaral. Nang magkabanggaan ang kanilang maliit at magkaibang mundo, napilitan si Grace na hingin ang tulong ni Jason sa isang mala-life or death na sitwasyon. Mukha ngang pumuti na ang uwak dahil dumating ang araw na kinailangan ni Little Miss Spoiled Brat si Boy Genius. Pero ang hindi alam ni Grace ay may dahilan ang lahat sa likod ng pang-aasar at pambubwisit ni Jason. At sa ‘di inaasahang pangyayari, may isang mahuhulog ang loob para sa isang naghihintay lang ng tamang pagkakataon.
Mabuti na lang at hindi nila kailangang mag-usap habang naglalakad. Mas kailangan nilang pagtuunan ng pansin na hindi masyadong mabasa ng ulan habang sinisigurong hindi liliparin ng hangin ang payong. Sa kahabaan ng kanilang paglalakad ay walang ibang nasa isip si Grace kundi ang pagkakalapit nilang dalawa. Hindi siya gaanong nilamig dahil na rin dito. Kung ganoon lang sana kadali patahanin ang dagundong ng kaniyang dibdib. Ni minsan ay hindi pa siya pinakitaan ng kagandahang-loob ni Jason. Hindi rin naman niya sinasabi na hindi ito mabait; hindi lang ito naging mabait sa kaniya. Kaya nga medyo hirap siyang intindihin ang mga pangyayari, lalo na ang mga bagong nararamdaman niya sa mga sandaling iyon. Gaya nga ng sabi nito, hindi malayo ang lakarin. Pag-angat niya ng tingin ay napansin niyang ilang dipa na lang sila mula sa waiting shed. Mabilis nilang tinungo iyon. Nang naroon na ay pinakawalan na siya ni Jason at nanumbalik na siya sa kaniyang katinuan. “May Bus 5 na dumadaan dito. ‘Di ba malapit na yun sa inyo?” Pinapagpag ni Jason ang payong. “Oo, pero lalakad pa ako nang kaunti.”Tamang-tama, naaninag na nila ang ilaw ng paparating na sasakyan. Walang jeep o tricycle sa lugar at serviced vans lang ang nakakaraan doon dahil isang exclusive property ang buong compound ng Luna East pati ang dating subdivision na tinirhan ng pamilya Almeda. “Heto.” Iniabot ni Jason ang payong sa kaniya. Napatitig lang siya dito na para bang nagsalita ito ng ibang lengguwahe. “Sabi mo maglalakad ka pa papunta sa inyo. Kakailanganin mo ‘yan.”“Paano ka?”Nagkibit-balikat ito. “Hindi naman ako mamamatay kung maulanan ako. ‘Tsaka dadaanan ng bus ‘yung bahay ko.”“Sigurado ka?”Hindi na ito nagpatumpik-tumpik at inilagay ang payong sa mga kamay niya. “Ayan na ang bus. Sige na, nang makauwi ka na. Baka hinahanap ka na sa inyo.”Tumigil ang coaster sa tapat ng shed at sumakay na siya.Tiyempong may bakante sa tabi ng bintana kaya doon siya naupo. Kinawayan niya si Jason nang umarangkada ang sasakyan. Kumaway din ito sa kaniya, sabay kindat.
Si Anne Plaza ay mula sa Lungsod Quezon at nakapagsulat ng isang chick lit novella, ang In Over Her Head (2013). Ang Fall for Grace ay ang una niyang kathang YA romance. Nagtatrabaho siya bilang isang marketing associate para sa isang ad agency at malimit siyang nagsusulat kahit hindi pa tapos ang kanyang shift. Nakahiligan na niyang magbasa ng Tagalog romance novels (noong kapanahunan pa nina Helen Meriz, Jo-An Solis, Gilda Olvidado, atbp.) at nakapag- publish na rin ng apat na akda sa ilalim ng My Special Valentine.

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Just the Way You Are by Kat Sales
Rica Valdez has always been one of the guys, so it was hard for her to find a prom date. When her new friend and crush Joshua Fernandez volunteered to take her to the prom, she wondered if he liked her back too, or was he just being nice?
Homeroom was Erica Valdez’s favorite time of the day. It allowed her to review the assignments she had due for the day, and if there were none, she could read a little of whatever book she had going on at the moment.
Her friends teased her a lot about it, but they knew her well so she didn’t mind. They benefited from it anyway, as Rica would look over their homework too.
The class adviser, Mr. Suarez, was early today. He was sitting at his desk when the students started coming in. It meant something, that was for sure. He never came early. He was always just on time. When the clock hit 8:00, Mr. Suarez stood up and looked over the students, as if quietly doing a headcount. Once he was done, he started on the roll call. No one was late, for once, and no absent students either. The young teacher grinned, and half of the girls in the class sighed.
“Great to see you all. I hope you had a good weekend. We’ve got a couple of announcements that you might like.” He reached back on the desk and picked up a sheaf of papers. “Ok, first, your quarterly exams will be on February 3 to 7. Your teachers will hand out pointers for review within the week.”
The class groaned, and Rica couldn’t help but grin at that. No one liked quarterly exams, even she who was a pretty ok student.
Mr. Suarez looked over the paper he held in his hands again and read out the other announcements. He answered the questions the students had. Around thirty minutes later, he checked the clock. “That’s it.”
He looked at the paper again. “Oh, I almost forgot. The junior-senior prom will be on Friday, February 14.”
Writer :: Thinker :: Problem Solver

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Love in the Time of Viral Videos by R. Linea
Like. Retweet. Follow. Fall in Love?

They say that that the things we own tend to own us in the long run. Today, at a time when we’re connected 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, social media has helped shaped who we are, how we want to be seen and how we deal with other people. And if that’s the case, then who knows us better than our own social media accounts? This is the story of Patch and Sebastian who met in real life, as told by their digital selves. This is their story in the time of #hashtags, inspiration boards, and viral videos.
I – Hurley. Chen. Karim.
Are YOU ready to be famous? This is 15 Seconds of Fame! The show where we give everyone a chance for worldwide popularity and then be forgotten to obscurity. Like all you viewers know, we’re always on the lookout for either the next Ellen DeGeneres discovery or the next evening news exposé. Because here in Fame, fifteen seconds you’re in and the next fifteen, you’re out!
Grab your popcorn my lovely viewers and get your bandwidth ready for a slew of videos that’s worth  your miniscule attention. Right off the bat, we’re serving you the nth version of Let It Go sung by an
unknown Filipino! And he not only sings it perfectly, he does it without his shirt on, right in the middle of EDSA traffic! Talk about grit! Oh yes, two things Filipinos are infamous for, traffic inefficiency and hitting the high notes, together in just one video! Could he be the next Oprah protégé? Will his face launch the next thousand memes? Only time could tell!
And by time, I mean your fifteen seconds is up, Mr. Half-naked Elsa. We now move on to the sequel of one of the forefathers of viral videos. I present to you, Charlie Bit My Finger Part Toe! Awww…look guys. Charlie’s biting his brother’s toes this time. He’s so cute with his googley eyes…as he tears the entire toe off! Oh my freakin’ G! Oh, I can’t watch this. Too much blood! I’m blacking out! I’m blacking out! Oh this isn’t good. Why does their mom just keep on taking the video? Can somebody please hand over my barf bag? Somebody please report this video immediately! Take it down!
The First Time They Met by Ana Valenzuela
What’s making Mayumi anxious on her best friend’s birthday party?

Is it her long time best friend Marie? Marie is now in college, and Mayumi starts to doubt their friendship as Marie meets new people and gets closer to them.

Or is it this basketball player named Micah? A guy she recently met and who has turned into an overnight confidant.
“Can I ask you for something?”
“Sure, anything,” Micah was standing now, on her left, his back on the tree.
“Could we wait for the sunrise?”
He looked down on her as he nodded.
“It’s a photographic cliché, sunrise and sunset,” she said. “For me, the sun rising actually isn’t. It’s a
different experience when you see the sun wake up instead of it seeing you get out of bed like
everybody else. It’s the start of a new day, and that’s what makes it beautiful.”
“The first day,” he sounded like he just laughed. He folded his knees as he sat next to her.  “I’ll wait with you.”
Butterflies flew inside Mayumi’s stomach as she stammered, “great play, by the way.”
Ana Valenzuela is a graduate of AB Literature from UST. She has written for several magazines and online news blogs.

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The Path of Us by Cassandra Javier
Are our paths already laid out for us, or can we make them ourselves?

Can fairytales actually come true?

Clara has always been fond of fairytales and grand gestures. She always had a plan of how she’d like her life to turn out, and that’s why she worked hard to be on top of the class, and make sure that she has her real life Prince Charming to boot.

And then there’s Andrew.

Andrew’s always been the easy go lucky guy, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not smart and appealing; it’s just that he chooses to go through life in a fuss-free, no nonsense way.

When Andrew and Clara’s paths meet, things don’t exactly go easy. They hated each other with a passion, but then they got to share unexpected moments, and end high school with a memory that they’ll never forget. In college, they lose each other, and Clara has to go through the hardest things on her own--until a trip back home sends them to each other’s paths again.

Will they ever be able to understand their role in each other’s lives?

Or will they just get out of each other’s lives for good?
"I'm sorry, okay? But Clara, you’ll do great. You’ll do amazing things because that’s who you are. You’ll manage out there because this is what you’ve always wanted, right?”
He went on, “And you know what’s even better?”
She looked at him and waited for what he had to say next.
“You’ll finally be able to get away with Pink or Purple streaks on your hair or whatever.”
She found herself laughing despite of herself. “Without you ratting me out?”
It depends.” He quipped, smiling. “I might see you in college.”    
“Oh god no.”       
They laughed. “See? You look so much better when you smile.”
“I still hate you.”
He laughed. “If you say so.”
She didn’t know what came to her mind right at that moment but she found herself inching towards him. In a span of seconds, she was planting a kiss on his lips. It didn’t last long—just a few seconds or so, and she wanted to bask in that moment, feel the butterflies in her stomach, the warmth of the air, the romance that the light of the fireflies gave, but she remembered that a) she had a boyfriend, and b) she hated Andrew—this shouldn’t be happening.    
“I’m sorry.” She said. “I shouldn’t have—“  
Please.” She said with finality. “I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.”    
She then ran away, leaving him and High School behind.
Cass is a cat lady who graduated with a degree in Broadcasting and has worked as a copywriter, a researcher in an IT company, a call center agent and was even a trainee for a time in a television network. She writes articles for a living. When not writing articles, she writes novels, fanfiction, short stories and whatever she may think of. She loves TV series, movies, music, and is a very big bookworm. She's also addicted to butterflies, faeries and Ice Cream.

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When Cocoy Became Kikay by C. P. Santi
Cocoy’s not-so-secret dream is to one day become a gun-toting, ass-kicking secret agent. But she has another dream—and this time, even her best friends don’t have a clue—she dreams of being with someone.

Problem is, she finds out that Jaime Arguelles—a.k.a. the guy she’d been secretly crushing on for years—likes girls who . . . well . . . like pink.

To Cocoy’s logical mind, there’s only one solution: it’s time to go girly. After all, how hard can it be?
“Since when did you start having a lablab, Coy?” Dags lifted a brow.
So much for keeping secrets. “So I like someone. Big deal.”
“Is . . . is it a guy or a girl?” Paulo asked tentatively.
I turned incredulous eyes toward him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Dude, whichever way you roll . . .” Dags shrugged.
Oh, c’mon. True, I was a T-shirt-and-jeans kind of girl and I hung out with guys, but that didn’t automatically translate to such gender assumptions. Sure, I loathed boy bands. And I loved basketball, camping, and shooting more than the average girl should. Living with my dad hadn’t exactly encouraged girly pursuits. But still.
I sighed. “Dude, if I were gay, I’d tell you. But I’m not.”
“So, who is it? You have to tell us,” Paulo protested. He stood to tower over me, arms crossed over his chest.
“Aw, Coy, aren’t we friends?” Dags cajoled as he strummed the first notes of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.”I sighed. Paulo, Dags, Joel, and I had been friends for years. The four of us were the only ones crazy enough to take up a dare issued by our neighborhood playmates—to see if a manananggal indeed left the lower part of its body at the abandoned Siangco house on Lilac Street.
Over the years, our friendship had been further cemented by bruises and scraped knees, basketball games, camping trips, fish balls, turon, and buko pandan royale, day-long village-hopping bicycle trips, and innumerable fries and Coke floats.
I never kept secrets from them. Usually.
“So who is it?” Paulo asked again.
Fine. I cleared my throat. “It’s . . . it’s Jaime.”
I counted five seconds of absolute silence.
Dags frowned. “Jaime?”
“Jaime Arguelles?” Paulo bent over, laughing. “Cocoy, you are so predictable!"
C.P. Santi is a Filipina author based in Tokyo, Japan. She is a wife to an engineer/musician/jokester and a full-time mom to two energetic boys. She loves cooking and baking, and enjoys feeding people, gorging on chocolate, watching J-doramas, belting it out in the karaoke box, and running around the house playing tickle tag. She also loves dreaming up stories about the people she meets.

In another life, she is also an architect and academic.

Her first book, Be Careful What You Wish For, is a contemporary romance based in Tokyo.

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Visit here to see the rest of the Blog Tour stops. Buqo is also giving away a powerbank to a lucky winner!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get your weekly dose of feels and get the Buqo YA bundles now! Finding Fairytales is available on Buqo at a special price of only $0.99 (P45) this week! Purchases can be made using a credit card or your Smart/ Sun phone. Enjoy!

PS: I also have an ongoing giveaway for those who have a copy of the Sweet Complications ebook bundle. Check here. ♡ 

Currently Vol. 19

11 May 2015

I have a ton of backlogs and I really need to finish Act One of my New Adult novella, but this past weekend I got the itch to paint - and so that's what I did.

I have a lot of mixing palettes but I was already running out of space to mix new colors, so instead of muddying them up, I just whipped out my newest mixing palette that I got from The Craft Central during Woman, Create. I really like this palette because you can snap the two lids shut, like a pencil case. Goodbye, dust!

Here is this week's Currently!


Alternative Alamat. Where oh where have all my time gone? Why can't I finish a book even after two weeks? What is wrong with me?

My Spark NA novella. Things are still looking grim at the moment. I am going crazy.

AhHa and Nothing Without Love by Nate Ruess on repeat.

Of a hundred thousand thoughts simultaneously happening in my brain.

Excited. I still couldn't stop smiling, you know.

This feeling.

To visit the new Lego Store that is opening tomorrow!

To add more words to my Spark NA novella. To remember that [unlike what happened with Buqo YA] I cannot cram 20,000 words in four days. To finish Nate and Tanya's story. (Same needs as the previous week's, huhu.)


"And suddenly you know, it's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings."
Have a great week ahead, you! ♥

A thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs

09 May 2015

It took me about three hours to get home last night, I'm currently nursing a massive headache that wouldn't go away even after two Advils, and I haven't been able to do any writing done even though the deadline for my manuscript looms closer... but I couldn't stop smiling. 

It was a long time coming, you guys, but last night I finally got to see Owl City perform live!

Adam Young's tweets and Instagram captions give me life
Spontaneous non-plans are the best. I went to the office yesterday dreading my work load and feeling sorry to be missing Owl City (again!) but, hey, I guess third time's the charm!

Audio wasn't as clear as we would have wanted, but no complaints!
Thank you Bonifacio High Street for this free concert!
It was very humid and the heat was rising from the ground but armed with our paper placemats, Miah and I found a spot with a far-away but sweet view of the stage and the lightning bolts on the not-so-distant sky. I haven't got all the lyrics of his songs memorized - some of them sound the same to me and some I only recognized by the time he got to the chorus - but he sang most of my favorites and then some. I got so kilig when he performed Fireflies!

Dim/ grainy photo is dim/ grainy.
I couldn't help but feel a wee bit disappointed that he didn't sing The Saltwater Room and Vanilla Twilight, though. (I was counting on him changing the lyrics to "drenched in Manila twilight," heh.) I love Adam Young's songs because even though they sometimes sound like a bunch of whimsical gibberish, they're actually very dreamy. And charming. And lovely.

It was a magical Owl City minus Vanilla Twilight plus Vanilla Cupcake Bakery night, because after the concert, Miah took me for a cupcake at the quaint cafe that has apparently been there for about two years now but I have unfortunately never noticed before. (I've only ever been to their Glorietta branch.)

Which is odd, because Vanilla Cupcake Bakery looks like my personality applied in 3D.

Chandeliers make me happy. Even my blog sidebar says so.
I had a red velvet cupcake, and it was perfect because I've been craving for one and I got the last piece available.

I couldn't have asked for a better person to go with!
Thanks, Miah!
And then I got home at 2 AM because of poor urban planning, major traffic jams, and stupid rerouting decisions. Heh.

Still, fun times were had. No regrets. ♡ 

TOMS Art of Giving Gallery and Silent Auction

08 May 2015

Of all the brands we have worked with, one of my personal favorites is shoe brand TOMS because not only do they offer stylish and comfortable shoes (have you seen their F/W 2014 and S/S 2015 collections? LOVE!), they're also making waves globally through their One for One movement, wherein every product purchased helps a person in need.

TOMS was started by American traveler Blake Mycoskie back in 2006 after befriending the locals in Argentina during his Amazing Race stint and noticed that the kids had no shoes to protect their feet. Tomorrow's Shoes = TOMS was born, and in just a short span of time they have identified global needs and created products to help address them: TOMS Eyewear (launched in 2011) helps restore sight to persons in need with every purchase of sunglasses and optical frames; TOMS Roasting Co. (launched in 2014) provides clean water to developing communities with the purchase of premium coffee; and TOMS Bags (launched in early 2015) helps provide safe births to mothers and babies in need through skilled birth attendant training and birth kits. Indeed, TOMS is in business to improve lives.

It's amazing to see how far the One for One movement has reached
This time around, TOMS has invited a few of the country's most creative young talents in the fashion, art, and design industries to design two pairs each of TOMS shoes. Named The Art of Giving Gallery, these artist and designer-customized shoes will then be displayed in TOMS’s newest store in SM Aura and auctioned off to the highest bidder, with the proceeds going to each artist's chosen charity.

The TOMS Art of Giving Gallery was launched on April 30, and here are some photos!

Invited artists Lilianna Manahan, Bambina Jacinto, and David Bonifacio with Lauren de la Cruz of TOMS
The bid card where you can write down your bids for the silent auction

TOMS's artists were chosen because of their passion for their craft, their different backgrounds, and aesthetic styles. I hope you can go visit The Art of Giving Gallery in SM Aura before May 13 so you can see this showcase of artistry with a purpose.

Creative Burst and Creative Block by Gil Ibe, made using acrylic paint and permanent markers

Bellina and Disco Toes by Nicole Whisenhunt, made using embroidered rhinestones, bugle, and sequin beads
Graphic artist Gil Ibe illustrated the two phases of a creative’s mind through intricate and out of the ordinary details on his designs while jewelry designer Nicole Whisenhunt displayed her expertise on beadwork. Both of them chose to dedicate the proceeds from their works to PAWS.

Escape by David Bonifacio, made using gel pens

Being Silly and Happy Life by Carlo Ongchangco, made using acrylic and Sharpees
Artist David Bonifacio’s pairs featured his unique and interesting use of the gel pen on canvas as he used travel and escape as his inspiration, while artist Carlo Ongchangco’s signature narrative style of art is on full display on his creations with the smiles of happy children receiving their own pair of TOMS as his inspiration. Both of them decided to support Real Life Foundation.

Streak and Merchicken by Lilianna Manahan, made using hammered brass and embroidered organza, respectively

Blue China and Full Bloom by Bambina Jacinto, made using acrylic
With her background on furniture, designer Lilianna Manahan made use of patterns and details that were taken from the tabletop creatures she has been making and translated into embroidery. She chose to give her proceeds to Fairplay for All. Meanwhile, art curator Bambina Jacinto made floral designs using blue and white china and the beauty of summer as inspirations. Proceeds from her designs will go to Cribs Foundation.

Marble-lous and Wooden Shoe by Nix Alanon, made using pens and paint
Interior designer Nix Alañon used his favorite wood and stone finishes as inspirations for his designs. The proceeds will go to Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation.

With The Art of Giving collaboration, not only does TOMS showcase the infinite design possibilities you can do with your TOMS shoes - it is also able to represent the active participation of the new generation in joining TOMS's One for One movement.

With my blogger friends Ava, Paul, Sarah, and Angela

The Gallery will be open until May 13 only, which is also the last day of the auction. Come visit the TOMS Art of Giving Gallery in TOMS's newest store in SM Aura and bid on your favorite designs, or you can also bid online!

To date, TOMS has given over 35 million new pairs of shoes, restored the sight of about 275,000 people and has provided over 67,000 weeks of safe water worldwide. In the Philippines, TOMS products are available at TOMS SM Aura, TOMS Megamall, TOMS Mall of Asia, The Give Project, Adora in Greenbelt 5, Shoe Salon, Rustan’s Department Stores and all Nothing But H2O Stores.

Disclosure: I work in PR and TOMS is one of our clients, but all opinions in this post are my own. Read my blog's complete Disclosure Policy here.