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VMV Hypoallergenics Boldly Glow Coconut Oil Skin Bloom Blush Sticks

The most-awaited “skinnocent” blush stick from 100% Filipino brand, VMV Hypoallergenics, has now arrived. The Boldly Glow Coconut Oil Skin Bloom Blush Stick is made with moisturizing/antioxidant coconut oil produced in their own USDA-certified organic farm in Leyte, and absolutely does not contain parabens, preservatives, phthalates, fragrances, and allergens. Chock-full of anti-inflammatory and anti-acne monolaurin (a disinfectant derivative from coconut oil), it’s the skin-friendliest blush stick to date.

My love affair with VMV Hypollergenics started in high school (that was decades ago) because my Mom was such a staunch fan of their makeup, most especially their defunct loose powder. So you could say I grew up with VMV being a staple in our bathrooms and vanity table. I remember all the old products and weird product packaging — does anyone remember the white plastic containers that fuse together for travel (ala jigsaw puzzle)?

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The charming old town of Kiangan, Ifugao

My first encounter of the word “Ifugao” was my Mom’s faded and dusty photo that I brought with me to Show & Tell back in Grade School. On it was an actual Ifugao (the tribe) posed in “attack” mode, behind him was the famous terraces. I remember holding the crumbly photo in my hand and thinking, wouldn’t it be amazing to be transported back in time to see how everything used to be?

Kiangan_Elegantly Wasted 9

Although it would take decades before I’d set foot up north (I was always a beach bunny and never a trekker), I was happy to be able to experience the rich culture via the Tourism Promotions Board product update trip. More than just a quick getaway from Manila, I see it as a way to experience our different cultures and explore lesser known parts of the Philippines. Grouped with travel enthusiasts and experts, the expeditions are always more educational and in-depth.

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The Go Mindanao Bus

Imagine visiting a new country and exploring it with only a bus pass in hand. This is exactly what I experienced while going around Auckland, New Zealand last year. I got a day pass, hopped into the bus, picked the stops I was interested in, got off, explored, then got on the next arriving bus with my sights on the next destination.

See how easy that went? You are guaranteed convenience, adventure, and safety. This is the idea behind the up-and-coming Go Mindanao Bus, make traveling around beautiful Mindanao easy for all kinds of passengers: the solo backpacker, flashpacker, barkadas, corporate groups, and families.

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A quick guide to South Cotabato, Sarangani, and General Santos City

Thinking of your next big vacation? Divert from the usual tourist traps such as Palawan, Cebu, or Boracay and experience the unique culture of SOX. Short for SOCCSKSARGEN, it’s the development cluster referring to 4 provinces and 1 city in central Mindanao, namely South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City. If you’ve ever wanted to explore Mindanao, then this is the perfect time to visit as SOX has so much to offer.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY

GenSan, the city synonymous with our Phil. boxer Manny Pacquiao, is usually the starting point for any traveler. Here are some of the spots you have to check out when you come visit:

3DOE Ecopark and Restaurant

Adrenaline junkies, take your pick from the ATVs or buggies to get to the next cultural destination. I chose to drive an ATV myself on the way to Lamlifew Cultural Village in Sarangani. The travel time is 1-1.5 hours passing through scenic rice fields and involves crossing two rivers. The drive itself was fun, perfect if you already know how to drive a car or a scooter as it’s pretty easy.

Tip: Wear trekking sandals as you will get wet! Don’t forget your sunblock, too. 

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Stories from Ifugao: Innug and Noel Balenga

I’ve met so many wonderful people while traveling, some in the most random of places. While I wish I could share with you everything I’ve tried, encountered, or felt; oftentimes there is simply not enough time nor the words to adequately describe the experience. I hope to blog about them someday or maybe share them with my grandchildren when I am old and grey.

These are the two fascinating people I met during my trip to the province of Ifugao. When I had lost all hope of a story, fate intervened and I met both Innug and Noel on my 3rd day while exploring Hungduan.

INNUG, Ifugao farmer

I was not paying close attention while trekking the stonewall of the Hapao Rice Terraces. I stumbled while on the way down as my left foot stepped into a ditch, I was getting absent-minded and careless. Thankfully, I was able to hold on to Billy’s back as I fell which offered me enough stability to stand up and get my bearings. “Are you okay?” he asked. I laughed and fluffed my shirt. “No biggie,” I replied.

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Innug harvesting rice

Then out of nowhere, I spotted an Ifugao harvesting. She watched us inquisitively as we trekked by. It’s customary to ask permission before taking a photo, as most tribes fear that cameras and pictures take a bit of their soul. I was told by the guide that it was perfectly fine, and so I snapped a few.

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My Top 8 eats in Davao City

Let’s steer away from Durian for a bit and explore what else Davao City has to offer. Davao City has been so controversial as of late most especially because of our current President Digong, but this didn’t stop us from visiting this wonderful city during Kadayawan Festival at the height of Martial Law. If you’re wondering how the province is doing during Martial Law, it’s business as usual for everyone. While we were initially anxious about the military presence and constant helicopter rounds, eventually we felt safe and enjoyed the festivities.

Kadayawan is a Bagobo word that means happiness, and this annual festival celebrates Davao’s bountiful harvest through songs, dances, local tribal games, and lots of eating. Here are couple of my favorite eats that you should definitely check out when you visit:

Kaondayawan Food Festival

A new addition to the roster of Kadayawan activities, Kaondayawan (kaon in Visayan means “eat”) features hawker food stalls and unique drink concoctions. Think of it as a food park of sorts, installed at Palma Gil Street specifically for the festival.

Kadayawan 2017_Elegantly Wasted

I zeroed in on the lechon and wagyu stalls while my fellow tourists/traveling companions, Phil and Princess, ordered Lechon Shawarma and the evergreen isaw (chicken intestines). Read More