Sunday, March 30

Body: Better Yoga at ECHOyoga Shala

Yoga has become very popular choice of fitness now more than ever. Sometimes, I feel it has this very commercial connotation to it already as tons of yoga places seem to have sprouted everywhere overnight. Even fitness gyms now have yoga sessions in their schedules.

My first experience in yoga was not that effective probably due to self-teaching and I used to do it with my husband using a fitness video that was too vigorous. My second was sadly one that I vowed never to do again because I got sick. But when Janice invited me to attend a beginner's session at ECHOyoga Shala, I decided to give it a final shot. I said to myself I might as well start at the very basic.

ECHOyoga is the wellness side of ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle, the green retail store. ECHO means Empowerment Care Health and Oneness. Jeannie Javelosa, co-owner of ECHOstore, has been teaching yoga for close to 15 years, and with her co-teacher Marilen Elizalde, launched ECHOyoga five years back, offering weekly and corporate classes. Today, the two certified yoga teachers bring their passion for wholistic living through yoga in a new space called ECHOyoga Shala, located in Kalayaan Avenue, behind Rockwell in Makati.

The ECHOyoga Shala itself is what I thought yoga was all about -- pure, simple and open. 

Along with several mommy bloggers, I experienced the Gentle Flow session with Ms. Jeannie Javelosa, who has the calmest and most relaxing voice I tell you. It made me block out the noise coming from outside the shala. I almost fell asleep as we did the corpse pose. Hahaha. I came out feeling refreshed, strengthened and relaxed after the Gentle Flow session. 

We all sweated it out too. Muscles that I didn't know existed were stretched. My body felt sore the day after -- in a good kind of way.

Yoga has always been my grounding that brings me to my center, especially with my life as a busy mother, homemaker and wife. Through teaching yoga, I expand my awareness and can share this beautiful practice with many.” -- Marilen Elizalde

“Launching ECHOyoga Shala in a new space is for me a natural extension and addition to support ECHOstore’s philosophy of a sustainable lifestyle. Yoga is my disciplined practice that wholistically connects the Body, Mind and Spirit.” -- Jeannie Javelosa

The one thing that Jeannie told us that stuck to me was to practice yoga in life away from the mat, and that there is no line between them. 

That certainly hit home because living in a concrete jungle called Metro Manila is no easy feat. Every day we get bombarded with nasty traffic and terrible surroundings that stress us out to the max. We need time to relax our mind and body too. I had lost my interest in yoga before, but I now know that this is the kind of yoga that fits me, and I will certainly do it again. 

Thank you so much ECHOyoga Shala for having us. I'm pretty sure we'll be back. 


About the New ECHOyoga Shala

ECHOyoga Shala opens its new space with the objective to offer a wholistic approach to a sustainable lifestyle, strengthen community collaborations and bring a deeper understanding of yoga practice. It is open daily, from 6:30 am to 8:30 pm with five daily classes, weekend schedules and workshops plus a daily early morning Self Practice space.

Yoga in all its varied expressions will be offered to beginners, intermediate and advanced students classes like Gentle Flow, Restorative Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga Vinyasa and Power Yoga. ECHOyoga Shala’s thrust to go beyond just the physical practice of yoga as exercise includes sessions on Meditation, Breath Control (Pranayama) for distressing, and even “Off the Mat” community talks are led by certified and trained yoga teachers, with international experiences. Other offerings include counseling and life coaching sessions, and body-energy work therapies.

If yoga is to be embraced for a sustainable lifestyle, ECHOyoga Shala’s classes, sessions, workshop, community talks are sequenced and offered to guide the students in their yoga practice and discipline to develop a strong healthy Body, a steady focused Mind, a compassionate Heart. The ultimate goal is the development of a personal Self-Practice and tools that can be used for a deeper appreciation of life.

The Values: ECHO
Empowerment, Care, Health, Oneness

ECHOyoga takes the lead in bringing practitioners of yoga together in a community space to share practice and experience their lives through yoga. “Shala” is a sanskrit word that means “house”. ECHO means Empowerment Care Health and Oneness. Through one space, ECHOyoga hopes to further bring these core values forward through strengthening community collaborations and bringing a deeper understanding of yoga practice towards living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Kids Yoga (ages 6-10 years old) May 6 – 29
A fun way to spend summer afternoons of May /Tuesday & Thursdays, 3 – 4 pm
Package fee of Php 4,000
Early bird rate of Php 3,800 if signed in on or before April 15
Drop in rate: Php 500 per class
Eight sessions that will help kids ages 6-10 years old
* breathe - tune in a focus
* have fun - be creative and playful with friends
* balance - feel posed, composed and alive
* stand - become stable, strong and grounded
* forward bend - reach release and flex
* back bend - be supple, open and trustful
* partner - have fun working together
* time in - unwind, rest and revive
To be led by Teacher Marilen Elizalde: Marilen is first a mom with three children, then was a Middle School teacher and is now, a certified Yoga Instructor. Allow Marilen to transform an hour into a session of insight, loving action, playful stretches and spontaneous heartfelt joy.

Package of Eight Classes being prepared for May

AWAKENING SUBTLE ENERGY BODIES (Friday Nights) –Package of Eight Classes being prepared for April and May
* Pranayama and Meditation
* Sound and Meditation
* Chakra Cleansing Meditation
* Manifesting through the Chakras
* Yin Rhythms and Meditation

 Here's how to get there:

 *All photos courtesy of ECHOyoga Shala
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Sunday, March 23

SM Kids' Fashion Summer Clothes

Manila's cold spell started last November. Well, when I say cold spell, it just means high 70s. I think this weather is perfect. Dry, cool and a bit windy. I know though that summer is just around the corner, peeking through once in a while. Every parent who has a toddler knows how often we have to get bigger sized clothes for our tots. They grow up so quickly. Like Allie for example -- I just bought her this shirt a couple of months ago; she used it a couple of times and now, it won't even fit her head.

What's a mom gotta do? Buy more clothes.

I've always been a fan of SM Kids' Fashion. Their stuff is unbelievably affordable, comfy and stylish. I chanced upon getting a sneak preview of their latest brands and styles at Shine Bakery in SM Aura , and I am so excited to start shopping for Allie (one of the perks of having a daughter is I get to dress her up!).

Their lineup of kids' brands now include Nautica, Elle and Maui & Sons.

If I get to pick my favorite set from the bunch, it has to be the gingham summer dresses. I think I'm buying a ton for Allie. I hope they have sizes for her. So cute no?

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Tuesday, March 18

Crafts/DIY: Scrapbooking at Gourdo's with Ime Oranga

First things first. I love everything paper. So when an invitation to a scrapbooking event came up, I just couldn't not go. It was hosted by Gourdo's, a store that I absolutely love. It reminds me of World Market, focusing mainly on kitchen wares with a great selection of arts and crafts supplies.

The event was held at Bonifacio Global City, and it was a pretty intimate craft workshop with scrapbook guru Ime Oranga. Ime's a mom who started scrapbooking almost a decade ago. Her style is very shabby chic, and having no experience in scrapbooking ever, I was very excited to get my hands dirty and learn from one of the best.

Ime introduced us to mixed media scrapbooking, her favorite materials and supplies.

The event was about "after-the-holidays", and that morning, we went ahead to do some Halloween pages. Here is the inspiration.

Ime taught us the step-by-step on how to make it. Here we are, busy at ripping sheets of paper.


Here's Ime demonstrating how to create that distress background effect using stamps and an inkpad. This is a clear kind of stamp that you can position on an acetate block.

She also showed us on how to use stencils and some textured media. Oh, and I got to use a heat gun too!

The effect of the texture medium is three-dimensional. Oh, and do you see those multi-colored thingamajig at the bottom? That's called flocking powder. It's like felt dust with glitter. Yup, you can get it at Gourdo's.

Scrapbooking won't be complete without die-cuts. Check out this table full of Halloween-themed die-cut treasures.

I think I did an okay job.

The scrapbooking newbies with Ime.

Watch out for Gourdo's upcoming craft sessions. I just know they are going to be so much fun.

Unit G Bonifacio Entertainment Center,
Bonifacio Global City
Taguig City, MM

Like Gourdo's on Facebook
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Wednesday, March 12

Gifting: Ideas for the College Graduate

March is the season for final exams, papers and yes, the dreaded thesis presentation and defense. Graduation is right around the corner for some, and it is a bittersweet moment. Do you remember what it was like? Last few weeks eating out with your barkada and hanging out with your org mates. Before you know it, you're stepping into the real world. It's kinda exciting, right?

When I graduated, my parents gave me a set of really good jewelry. I use it until now. It's something that I find very useful -- perfect for work and everyday wear. I mean sure, it must have cost a fortune but it doesn't necessarily mean you have to give jewelry during graduation. Find something that fits your budget and something that is perfect for the recipient.

I've already graduated, and now, I am the sister, the cousin, and the tita of a graduating college student. Finding that perfect gift for the graduate is not as tough as it looks. My problem is, I've been very busy and I can't seem to free up some time to go to the mall and buy a gift. The good thing is there are some online stores that are accessible now in the Philippines. For someone who's used to buying things online, this certainly is a good thing.

Lazada is one online shopping site that I found. You can pay using your credit cards, PayPal or you can even pay when they deliver your order. Shipping is free, and you can track your orders too. The best thing is, they have free returns (exchange or refund) for 30 days. Nice right?

So anyway, I've been looking for possible graduation gifts for all price points at the site, and here are some of the things that caught my eye.

If he has a phone, like an iPhone, he will be needing this really handy Power Bank charger [A, P499]
Here's a manly samurai foldable umbrella for him to use during the rainy season [B, 1,300]
You can never go wrong with this CK One perfume; even I use it sometimes [C, P2,100].
A classic watch like this Armani piece will be perfect for dressing up for that job interview [D, P13,910].
My nephew would love this Instax camera to capture memories instantly [E, P3,950].
Finally, if you got the moolah, he will love you forever with this XBox One console [F, P26,000].

This Pear Glace fragrance from Victoria's Secret is perfect for the graduating girl who loves fruity scents [A, P550]
After graduation, she'll surely be traveling. What could be handier than this DQ Bloom patterned travel wallet [B, P796]
Red lips are so in right now, especially Bobbi Brown. Do I hear graduation ball? [C, P1,140]
This Timex watch completes that first-day-onthe-job look [D, P3,591].
A lovely pearl necklace for the graduate will surely be appreciated [E, P13,000].
Does she love photography? A Canon EOS M will definitely make her day [F, P22,998].

All images are from Lazada.
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Tuesday, March 11

UPAA opens nominations for Distinguished Alumni Awards 2014

Here's a quick announcement from the University of the Philippines Alumni Association.


UPAA opens nominations for Distinguished Alumni Awards 2014

The University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) has announced the search for nominees for the UPAA Distinguished Alumni Awards 2014.
Nominations for the awards will be accepted from any UP alumnus or alumni chapter until March 31, 2014. The five categories are the Most Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Award, Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Awards, Distinguished Alumni Awards, Distinguished Service Awards, and Multi-Generation UP Alumni Family Awards.
The award ceremonies will be held during the U.P. General Alumni-Faculty Homecoming & Reunion on Saturday, June 21, 2014, 4:00 P.M., at Luciano E. Salazar Hall, Ang Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman Campus, Quezon City. 
The awards are conferred on alumni who have demonstrated in their chosen field of endeavor, exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions that bring about substantial benefits to society and distinct honor to the University. Recognition is given to achievements and contributions that impact the community in which the alumni are or have been active, whether this is at the local, national or international level.
Award nominations will be considered in such thematic categories as public service and good governance, poverty alleviation and human development, peace and social cohesion, gender equality and women empowerment, community empowerment, environmental conservation and sustainable development, entrepreneurship and employment creation, institutional or corporate social responsibility, culture and the arts, science and technology, education and health, or as defined by the achievements of a deserving nominee.
For inquiries, please contact the UPAA Secretariat at 920-6868, 920-6871, 920-6875 or Visit the UPAA website for detailed information, guidelines, and nomination forms
# # #
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Tuesday, March 4

Event: UP Diliman's Hagikhikan 2014

Last Friday, I watched the most-awaited UP Diliman Faculty Follies, titled Hagikhikan (Filipino word for laughter). It's a show where members of the faculty perform for the students and have fun on stage. The last time they had a show was ages ago, so people were really excited. It was my first time but I already had an idea on what to expect because of previous year's videos on YouTube. Performances were by college, and the event was hosted by the very funny Jovy Peregrino. Proceeds of the show were donated to Haiyan's victims. At P100 per ticket, it was so worth it.

We wanted to get good seats so we lined up at around 6:00pm to watch the 7:00pm show. I heard that the night performance was more fun than the afternoon because more people attended. The theater was full!

If you watched last Friday's show, you will agree with me that it was so, so, so funny that it was so, so, so awesome. It was a perfect way to end an awfully busy week (like mine). The mini performances were so entertaining.

The show was opened by the amazing UP Pep Squad. It was my first time to watch them live so you can just imagine my reaction. I was in total awe. They were so good! I was in for a surprise because near the end of the number, one of my college professors (that's you Sir Silvestre) came out and danced too! Too bad I wasn't able to capture it on cam.

But there's a video floating around. So, if you want to watch the UP Pep Squad's performance, here's a video link from Felix Dean Ysagun.

College of Social Science and Philosophy was called that night Congregation ng mga Saykotik at Swabeng-swabe sa Pagsayaw. Haha! They were really good dancers too. Galeng! Bigay na bigay!

When College of Fine Arts (CFA) was up, La Diva (the host) introduced them as Council ng mga F*cking-ina-mo Artists! Yes, he was really making fun of the college names. For me, the CFA performers won best in costume and makeup.

College of Home Economics and the School of Library and Information Studies aka Combination of Hotness and Elegance (CHE) and Sosyalerang Librarian na Intelligent at Sexy (SLIS) did a Wicked/Frozen-inspired performance.

There was a bit of audience participation too. This guy was part of last Hagikhikan performance (he's an Arki prof too so I was told), and the host conveniently asked him to donate for Haiyan. The host asked for his wallet (all for fun), and this Arki prof willingly gave it. The host found some credit cards, bills and oops, a condom. The audience roared. Funniest moment. Swear.

College of Arts and Letters (CAL) did a Katy Perry number. It was so colorful. They had a lot of participating faculty members.

Call me biased, but I think that College of Architecture (Arki) took the best performance award. Haha! The guys danced their asses off, and there wasn't a moment when the audience was quiet. They were shouting and enjoying the view. I couldn't even hear myself! The performance started with a group of people doing a pretty awkward Swan Lake dance (think guys in white pig masks in jeans and tutus), and transitioned to a really great dance number. Who knew they could dance like that?

Here's a video link (uhmm, I'm not sure if you'll be able to see it though).

After each college's performance, the host interviews someone who just performed like this one Arki dude, who apparently became the talk of Twitterverse re Hagikhikan.

Timeline screen grabbed from Hagikhikan

College of Engineering had fun and did a shadow play.

College of Human Kinetics did a Cirque-sque number, complete with pole dancing pa. The guys were in swim trunks (oh em gee, pumayag sila?). At first glance, I was so impressed because there was a lot of abs. But yeah, they were just painted on. LOL!

College of Statistics came up next with a skit slash dance number. A lot of students loved this one -- probably because of Sir Mico.

For the finale, UP President Alfredo Pascual sang in front of us, complete with a live pianist. Galeng!

I suddenly miss UP. Just look at this stage -- full of fun!

At the end of the show, La Diva called up everyone on stage so the audience can take photos with the performers. Here I am with the coolest CFA professors.

--- and finally, backstage with the Arki profs! Yihee!

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Saturday, March 1

Event: Wicked in Manila

Wicked is probably my favorite musical of all time. So when the guys at Concertus Manila brought them here, we bought our tickets immediately. We settled with a Friday night show, so we can watch it with our folks (they are usually out of town during the weekends). We left early and braved the traffic. We got there just in time to get a quick dinner right before the show.

It has been a while since I've been to CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) so I was surprised that there were tons of restaurants across the side street near the marina. You can get your food from this area.

Funny too, because you can spot those who were going to watch the musical. People in fast food restaurants were wearing evening clothes, not evening gowns and tuxes, but little dresses, jackets and pants, that sort of thing.

That night, Visa had a photo booth area. They were offering free photos for each Visa cardholder. I heard promotions differ each night. My tita went another night and they were given witch hats.

Bottom photo grabbed from vsunday's IG

We also took some photos at the lobby --

... and inside too. Don't worry it was right before the show started. I was soooo glad I didn't hear anyone singing near us.

The stage was exactly like the one we watched in NC.

After the show, we went and got dessert at Diamond Hotel -- awesome truffle fries and salted caramel ice cream, by the way. My sister got lucky and she was able to have her picture taken with Fiyero (outside CCP), Glinda and Elphaba (at Diamond Hotel). Lucky, lucky girl.

Photo grabbed from rypaulvillanueva's IG
Well, one thing's for sure. We'll never tire of watching Wicked. If you haven't watched yet, you have 8 days left. Hurry and get your tickets now from Ticketworld.
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