AIM Feature: Rachel Arandilla

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“After a quarter life crisis, I decided to take MBA (because that’s why you take MBA, right?). After some eight weeks of GMAT self-study and receiving the AIM letter of admissions shortly after, I moved to Makati. It was a whirlwind for me, everything happened too fast.

At first, I felt like a bit of an oddball. The whole corporate culture was something entirely different to me. A travel writer by profession & fine arts by training, I grew up in an island with no Pt of time. My social circle made up of artists, surfers and bohemians. Imagine the amount of adjustment I endured when moving to Makati and going to business school.

My first math encounter since high school algebra was when I did my GMAT preps. So everything was completely new to me. There was a lot of times when I completely felt stumped. I would enviously look at my classmates and wonder how they breeze through LOB and Finance while every time I go through the readings, I cry on the inside. Rather than feeling bad for myself, I just tried harder. Remember, everyone starts off as a beginner. Every pro-surfer would look like an idiot when they first got on the board.

Starting off a little behind everyone else can be discouraging.Understandable-most of us grew up where success, or being the best, is celebrated. We get brownie points from our parents when we excel. Schools reward the top students in academic achievement. The problem with this mentality is it creates an illogical and immense fear in failure.

The biggest victims are the overachievers – they tend to be crippled with failure. Hence they tend to stick to their expertise and do not broaden their skill because of their anxiety on failure. “I can not dance” or “I’m bad at languages” or “I have no sense of balance”; But more of the fear of failing at it. It’s easier for them to say ‘That’s impossible,’ rather than ‘That’s hard’.

Willful advice for parents and future parents: rather than praising achievements, we should raise a kid who will not give up.

My arts background is not a crutch-everyone has to start a little bit. My learning curve may be much longer than my classmates’, but I think my learning experience was much more satisfying. When you finally ‘get’ what your classmates were talking about two sessions ago, nothing felt more rewarding.

Learn to accept that failure is part of life. Learn to laugh at yourself-the worth of wisdom from that failure is much more valuable.”

The Filipino Traveler Identity Crisis

On my numerous trips, I’ve been constantly approached and asked where I come from. For fun, I make a game out of it to let them guess. Most commonly, I’ve been perceived to be Thai. I’ve also been thought to be: Singaporean, Nepali, Kazakhstani, and on rare occasions, Chinese or Japanese.

filipinos what do we look like
But never Filipino. When I tell them my real identity (like Batman), two reactions alternately happen.
Either: “Oh really? You don’t look Filipino!” they say it like a genuine compliment, so I say smile. But I couldn’t help but wonder what they really mean by that. What’s a Filipino supposed to look like, anyway?

Or: Utter ignorance. “Where is the Philippines? Oh wait, wasn’t that in the Bible?” During these times I sometimes wished we have something notoriously spectacular, like the Fidel Castro or the Angkor Wat or the Dalai Lama. Oh wait, a lot of people aren’t even familiar with these. Oh wait, we have Manny Pacquiao.
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‘So, are Filipinos Asians or Pacific Islanders?’  

A fellow traveler asked as follow up, seeking to ensue an intellectual debate.

This gets a little more interesting. Before I could answer, another one butted in: ‘Neither? They seem more hispanic or latino to me.’

To note, these were raised by people who were neither Filipinos, but Americans. As westerners try to lump us into a particular ethnic group, we become more alienated and confused. Hence the understandable Filipino identity crisis. In the first place, we never classified ourselves as such or such before. It is all a western invention.

The Philippines is a creation by Western colonizers to begin with. If the Spanish never came, force-baptize the natives and named our islands after a historically unimportant king, there never would have been ‘The Philippine Islands’ in the first place. Our islands would probably have been absorbed by Chinese civilization from the north, or be integrated into the Muslim Malay nations from the south. Who knows?

To get back to my nationality guessing game, there was only one person who got it right once. Once. A Slovakian Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque guy we encountered in Ibiza.

Wow, you’re the very first person who got that right the first time!” I said, really impressed.

“It’s not that difficult. You’re a tan Asian with very good American English. So there you go. Filipino.”
I was stammered, because now this includes another element to the whole equation: the Filipino Americanization. This is getting more complicated than I thought.

Geography 101

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Geographically, we are in Asia. Hence, we are Asians! I cross-checked and consulted the world map and I confirmed that we are in the right continent.
Likewise, we love our rice to death. There’s nothing more Asian than that!
To be more specific about it, we are Southeast Asians, particularly, of the Austronesian or Malay0-Polynesian ethnic group. Identifying features include: short face, mild epicanthic fold, straight, black hair, and a happy, light-hearted disposition. Sounds familiar?
filipina girls

‘Orphans of the Pacific’

On the other hand, being labeled as ‘Pacific Islander’ is not entirely wrong, either. Historically, we used to be part of the Spanish East Indies, which comprised of Moluccas (Indonesia), Guam, Mariana Islands and the Philippines.

Our islands were once called ‘The Philippine Islands of the Pacific’. We are located in the Pacific Ocean; a tropical island paradise, 7,000 of it. Even if most of the comprising ‘Pacific Islands’ are 4,000-8,000 km away, we see plenty of similarities in physical features and culture among people in Guam, Hawaii, etc.

Filipino migration to Guam has been happening for several centuries– the Spanish were fond of exiling Filipino rebels and prisoners to Guam. The Americans continued the practice when they took over.

Kumusta / Como estas?

The term Hispanic is a broad representation of the people and cultures with historical linkages to Spain. This term commonly referring to her former colonies, although strictly speaking, it refers to the former Spanish colonies in Latin America.

After 333 years of colonization, we have a rich hispanic heritage. The native tsokolate and mais made its way to the Philippines after centuries via the Galleon trade with our latino brothers. We share our fervent Roman Catholic faith with other hispanic cultures; as well as our love for lechons, siestas and fiestas. Do you know that ‘Filipino time’ and ‘Latino time’ is exactly the same?

And who else do we share our enduring obsession with boxing and beauty pagaents?

Today, very few people in the Philippines speak Spanish, although many of our abuelos still do when they’re angry. A few Filipinos also claim Spanish ancestry. I’d like to think my aquiline nose and freckles proves some European descent. Disclaimer: I swear I’m more modest in person.

are filipinos hispanic?

So the whole debate was really much ado about nothing.Our islands have been a melting pot of cultures for centuries.It’s okay to be a little confused about demonyms assigned to us. Identity crisis have always been part of us, and maybe that’s why it was so easy for foreign entities to colonize us. Who cares if you identify yourself as Asian, or Pacific Islander, or even Hispanic? It’s all a western invention.

 

 

‘The Green Man’ Matthias Gelber Comes to Cebu

Climate change is already happening. Global warming is no longer a myth. We have already felt the effects, such as recent climate idiosyncrasies that weren’t supposed to happen, but are already transpiring. A cynic would always say, ‘but… can we really make a difference?’ Well, can we?

I was excited to hear that fellow Climate Reality leader Matthias Gelber is coming to the Philippines’ two biggest cities (Manila and Cebu) in order to give talks on tackling environment issues and climate change. He will also be here as one of the presiding judges of Miss Earth 2016, happening tonight, June 11, 2016.

Matthias Gelber, better known as the ‘GreenMan’, is a professional speaker, green activist, eco-warrior and key advocate to pro-environment living. He is voted the ‘Greenest Person on the Planet’ on 2008 by 3rdWhale, Canada.

Gelber was born and raised in a small German village close to nature, and hence developed a strong connection with the Earth from a young age. Matthias is now based in Malaysia, where he lives without a car and a $10 USD/month electric bill. In Malaysia, he started Eco Warriors, a community movement on taking a proactive stance to fighting climate change.

Malaysia and Philippines are very similar when it comes to climate, geography and demographic, but our buildings are designed for purely aesthetic but totally inappropriate for our hot and humid climate. Gelber shares that the traditional houses, the Philippine bahay kubo and Malaysian kampung houses are more efficient in ventilation and designed for our tropical weather. Industrial progress does not necessitate cemented roads and concrete buildings. A progressive city can live communally with nature and thrive in it, rather than destroy the greenery.

We can all be agents of change through small, lifestyle changes that we can make in your own offices and homes. The first step to green living is assessing our electric consumption. 1kwh generates 600+ g of CO2 emissions. Hence, reducing our electricity bill not only saves money but also reduces our carbon footprint. Of course, making the conscious change of behavior is the biggest challenge we face as we try to live greener.

For more interesting eco-stories, practical tips and ideas, catch the GreenMan on  “A GREEN TALK at the Queen City of the South”, this Saturday, June 18, 2016 from 1PM to 5PM at the Greenery, Mabolo, Cebu City. The event will also feature fellow Cebu green advocates: Joseph Castillo of the JoeGreen Project; Rachel Arandilla of DAKILA & Climate Reality Project; and Archt. Joy Onozawa, Certified Green Design Professional.

To register and know more about the event, you can check their Facebook event page on this link.

greenman in cebu

Postcard Eats: Marissa’s Kitchen

I have a secret to tell. I know where the best sylvanas in town are. And, they’re proudly Cebuano-made.

It’s made in a quaint little bakery smack in the busy streets of Talamban; inside Marissa’s Kitchen.

marissas kitchen storefront

Marissa’s Kitchen is the brainchild of Marissa Unchuan, yes, the famous wedding cake maker, but she’s also known for one other thing (at least to me and her loyal customers): her heaven-sent silvanas.

classic silvanas

Marissa’s silvanas are only Php 275/pack, which has around 16-20 pcs in it (I didn’t get to properly count–we finished them too quickly!). They are available in Classic, Pistachio and Salted Caramel–the latter is my personal favorite!

Marissa Unchuan has a whole range of sinful baked goodies, which you can see from the menu:

marissas kitchen menu

In fact, we (meaning, my tastebuds and I) were so pleased about everything that I immediately decided to have my son’s birthday cake made. Here’s what the amazing Marissa did for Caleb’s cowboy-themed party:

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Gorgeous cake! They didn’t disappoint

Cake orders can be picked up from the store. You can come to the store to order cakes, bread and pastries. You can also choose to chill there in the shop and order other drinks and desserts–they have available wi-fi.

Marissa’s Kitchen is located at Go–Shen Building, Gov. M. Cuenco Ave, Talamban Cebu City. Just after Piazza Elesia, Marissa’s Kitchen is right beside Alberto’s Pizza.
Contact number: (032) 317 1076
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 9AM to 9PM

 

Caleb and Rachel for Zee Lifestyle Directory

I got a call from Zee Lifestyle editor Patty Taboada to model for the Dec-Jan 2016 issue for Zee Lifestyle Directory, to feature The Outlets Pueblo Verde in the cover and their tenants–outlet stores of Adidas, Levi’s, Nike, Reef, Converse, Giordano, etc.

So for a day, I had a fake little family: a dad, Ted Paraiso, who is also a SAFAD Painting student of mine, my 23-month-old boy Caleb Williams, and another sweet five-year-old Euan Pateña.

I never realized how fun and hard it is to shoot with children! One child gets cranky and when he calms down, it’s the other kid’s turn. hahahaha. I can imagine having a small family in real life… Caleb alone already feels like an army.It’s also a little hard to direct a toddler what to do, and Caleb didn’t really know yet what was happening most of the time. The shoot took longer than expected, but it was so fun and challenging.

The photos looked amazing in the end! I didn’t know how Robo Formacion did it like magic.

The Zee Lifestyle city guide is not for sale, but distributed around hotels, restaurants and other business establishments in Cebu City.

Enjoy the photos!

The Outlets at Pueblo Verde for Zee Lifestyle Directory
December-January 2016

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Sittings Editor: Patty Taboada
Photography: Robo Formacion
Makeup: Arnauld
Hair: Kherwin Zapanta
Production Assistant: Niki Remarca
Models: Rachel Arandilla, Ted Paraiso, Caleb Williams, Euan Pateña

 

calda pizza the outlets mactanthe outlets mactan family lapulapufamily shopping cebu mactanzee lifestyle caleb williams rachel arandillathe outlets robo formacion zee lifestyle directory

Are You Ready for Sinulog?

An interesting package arrived today.

epic kit sinulog 2016

Upon opening, I instantly knew what it was for – my own Sinulog Preparedness Kit from Epic.

Oh shizz—I just remembered. Sinulog Festival is this Sunday! I didn’t even recall December passing by, and then I realize that it’s already the third week of January!

What’s Inside: The Sinulog Preparedness Kit

inside epic sinulog kit

The kit was a friendly reminder that I should get my game on this weekend! Thankfully I didn’t need to prepare most of the things I need. Most of them are already in the kit.

 

To get a Sinulog shirt or complete Sinulog kit, check Epic Festival Solutions on Facebook or contact them through their mobile: 0995 100 2880.

You can get or pick up orders at the City Sports Club Lobby (across Marriot Hotel and Ayala) from January 5-16 and at Sugbo Mercado, Garden Bloc IT Park from January 8-16 from 5PM to 1AM.

Here are things you need to prepare yourself mentally and physically for Cebu’s biggest festival:

  1. Shirt

tshirt epic sinulog january 2016

You’re going to get dirty this weekend. It’s going to be hot and there will be sporadic light rains (always the case in the last few years). You’re going to get paint in your clothes, and maybe spill beer on them. General rule is, wear something light and comfortable this Sinulog. You can still look trendy, but no need to dress to kill.

For footwear, wear your flipflop or most comfortable shoes! You’re going to be walking all day. Trust me, there is no other option.

  1. Whistle and Poster Paint

PRIIIITITIT! Make a lot of noise. Announce your arrival have a good time this weekend. Come out with war paint on your face and get ready to be smeared by paint by random strangers on the streets.

  1. Rave Bag

Bringing a bag around is going to get in the way of your all-day partying. Epic’s rave bag is keeps your valuables safe and close, at the same time keeps your hands free for other things. I like how Epic rave bags are well thought out to keep it safe from pickpockets, accidental losses, among other things. Good for me, as I’m very absent-minded, with or without the presence of alcohol.

  1. Ziploc Bag

Protect your phone and gadgets from liquids by encasing them in a ziploc bag. It’s going to rain, and the rains might have some ocassional alcohol content.

Based on experience, all networks are useless on Sinulog day. The networks just simply crash because of overcrowding. I’ve seen a number of friendships and relationships destroyed during Sinulog because of this.

  1. Festival Guide

Epic also has a handy festival guide in their kit which includes information, tips, map and great deals and promo offers from their partnering establishments: Citigym, Jango’s Cafe, Tazza, Surfin’ Ribs, Pizza Republic, TUF, Ayer’s Lechon, Fujinoya, Straightforward and Coffee Prince.

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The kit also includes stickers and a safety tag, in case of emergencies.

Unfortunately, there is no urine bag holder or alcohol check test included in the kit. Kidding aside, you’ve got almost everything you need in there.

 

My Wanderlust Kid Turns Two Today!

4 countries, 10 cities, 2 continents. All before turning two years old.
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My son and best friend Caleb was born on Christmas day. Unfortunate for the poor boy–he will end up having a combo present a year, with a card attached ‘Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday! Love, Tita’. (which, even his own mother is guilty, hehe)
Everyone says he looks so much like his dad, but I know he got one thing from me: the gift (or curse?) of love for travel. He’s probably had more passport stamps than I did when I was 18. I hope traveling too much doesn’t make anyone dysfunctional in any way?
My kid’s first trip in Bantayan at 3 months old


Caleb in the UK at 11 months


Caleb’s numerous trips in Hong Kong / Macau, his first at five months old


Caleb in Disneyland / Ocean Park at 22 months


Caleb in Dubai International Airport
dubai airport
One of our recent trips was in Siargao, 23 months

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Caleb at 23 months in Siargao

It’s amazing how we are both so blessed to be given the opportunity to see the world like we can now. We’re backed up by amazing family, friends and godparents who care for him so much–they assist us in any way to make our journeys easier.

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Chilling with the gang and Oscar the dog, Boardwalk, Siargao


Caleb is so used to travel he is often unfazed in long journeys on the road, train, sea or air! He loves the journey as much as the destination.


He was getting too small for his bike. For Caleb’s second birthday, I got him a push scooter. Maybe next year, he can be ready for a skateboard. or a surfboard, perhaps.
Happy birthday, kiddo. (and shame you’re no longer lap child-free.)

caleb travel magazine sunstar
Caleb and Rachel Sunstar feature for the Mother’s Day Special. We saw our faces on the magazine in the Cebu airport!

Here are some blog posts related to traveling with baby that may help fellow mom readers:

How to Apply for Taiwan Visa for Philippine Passport Holders

Taiwan is a place I’ve constantly raved about to friends since I visited the place last month. Initially, Taiwan was a something I didn’t think about seeing or visiting. I have a sick compulsion of booking random tickets to cure bouts of depression, and for that case I decided to book to Taipei, because why not? I’ve never been there…

Starting December 17, 2015, Cebu Pacific is now flying Cebu to Taipei (CEB-TPE) flights three times a week! Getting to Taiwan is now easier and I recommend everyone to visit Formosa. It is important to note that you need a Taiwan visa to enter Taiwan.

taiwan-tourist-visa

I. What is a Taiwan Tourist Visa?

Philippine passport holders need to apply for Taiwan visa with TECO (Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office) to gain entry. Taiwan tourist visas are good for single-entry only and allowed a maximum stay of 14 days. They’re valid for 90 days from date of issue so you can apply as early as three months before your trip.

There are some cases wherein you can travel to Taiwan without a visa. If you have a valid UK/US/Schengen/Japan/AUS/NZ visa, you can skip the whole visa application process and simply apply for a visa exemption certificate online. Think you qualify for the Taiwan visa exemption? Read this blog post for more information: How to Apply for Taiwan Visa Exemption.

II. Requirements

  • Valid Philippine Passport with at least six months validity.
  • Online Application form to be filled out here. Once you’ve filled out and printed the form, be sure to submit this with all other requirements within fifteen (15) days.
  • Two (2) Passport photos taken within the last six months. (1.5″ x 2″ inches). One is to be attached on the form. Most photo shops should already know the specifications needed for visa requirements-just tell them it’s for a Taiwan visa. I had ours taken in Ayala Center Cebu.
  • Trip Details including the following:
    • Roundtrip Airfare Ticket Reservations.
    • Planned Itinerary, what you intend to do and places you want to see when in Taiwan
    • Hotel Booking or Reservations
  • School / Employment Supporting Documents
    • Certificate of Employment
    • Photocopy of school or company ID
    • Business Registration Certificate (if self-employed)
  • Financial Supporting Documents – proof that you have enough funds to finance your Taiwan trip and not travel to Taiwan for purposes outside of tourism (e.g., become an illegal alien)
    • Recent bank certificate
    • Income Tax Return (ITR)
    • Pay slips (for the last 3-6 months)
  • Personal Supporting Documents – proof of your identification details & personal circumstances
    • NSO birth certificate issued within the last year.
    • If married, NSO marriage certificate

Complete submission of these documents will be helpful in obtaining that visa, but does not guarantee visa issuance; but missing or incomplete supporting documents may result in a visa refusal.

III. Submission

Upon collating all the requirements, you can then file your applications to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO). Visa applications are only entertained on weekdays Mon-Fri from 8:45-11:45am only. Their address is at 41F Tower 1, RCBC Plaza Tower, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City.

Here are the visa fees:

taiwan visa fee

*As of writing, fees have been updated. Mainland China visa fee is PHP 1,400.00; for Taiwan, PHP 2,400.00 for single-entry visa and PHP 4,800 for multiple entry visa.  

It is best to arrive early so you can finish early. Arrive before 8:30am to sign up and get a priority number. Leave a valid government-issued ID at the reception area.

Once your number is called, present the original documents and a set of photocopies for the visa processor to go through. Once everything is in check, you will then wait for your name to be called for the payment of visa fee. The process is pretty quick and straightforward.

IV. Waiting Period

Upon submission of documents, it takes three (3) working days to process the visa. If you want an expedited release, pay the expedited fee of Php 1,200 so you can get your passport within the next day. Releasing times are Monday to Friday, from 1:45PM to 4:45PM.

Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in the Philippines

41F, Tower 1, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati
Tel: (+632) 887-6688
Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:45AM-4:45PM
Applications: Mon-Fri, 8:45AM-11:45PM
Releasing: Mon-Fri, 1:45PM-4:45PM
Website: taiwanembassy.org
Email: phl@mofa.gov.tw

If you would like to know more about Taiwan, read my blog post on Taipei, Taiwan: What to Expect.

Around Cebu: Design Center of Cebu

As a design professional and lecturer, design is an innate need. I appreciate good taste, especially when backed up with practical aesthetic and functionality. Hence why, I am a big fan of Japanese and Scandinavian design.

A few weeks back, I got invited to the third year anniversary celebration of the Design Center of Cebu which is located in A.S. Fortuna, Cebu City. Design Center of Cebu houses high-end brands for interior design, furnishings and home products. And while you may have to battle the Highway to Hell to get there, the journey is well worth it: a little design utopia in the middle of the urban jungle of Cebu.

design center cebu
Photo from Sunstar

We were given a little tour around the complex were we got to know the tenants and their offerings. Here are the list of global lifestyle brands offered in Design Center of Cebu:

design center of cebu brands

From typhoon-proof windows to space-saving solutions, every brand specializes in solutions for a certain room in the house: kitchen, bed, bath, outdoor and more. Let’s run through them one by one!

1. Kitchen

Mobelhaus

mobelhaus cebu

Mobelhaus is a Cebu-based company offering modular system solutions for kitchen, cabinet and closet needs. Marrying Filipino craftsmanship with state-of-the-art German technology, Mobelhaus creates streamlined kitchen and storage solutions of high quality functionality and aesthetics.

Smeg

Smeg is the reputed Italian appliance brand that deliver products that truly express ‘Made in Italy’ style–design, technology and attention to detail.

smeg cebu fridge

I couldn’t believe the showroom also carried the iconic Smeg 50’s style fridges! I am a big fan of beautiful design that works well, so Smeg is an easy favorite among kitchen brands.

Focus Global

kitchen furnishing cebu design center

kitchen focus global

Focus Global offer a wide range of top-notch consumer and home furnishing brands for major department stores, appliance stores, wholesalers, as well as their own four unique retail and service stores. Some of the big names they offer include: Tempur, Sub-zero, Siematic, Miele, Oster, Coleman, Kitchen Aid, and more.

Hafele

Hafele is the premier supplier of German furniture, appliances and hardware from distinguished and world class brands for kitchen, bath, lighting and fixtures.

2. Bedroom

Tempur

I was surprised Focus Global offered Tempur pillows and mattresses on the second floor of the store. Tempur is a distinguished brand first developed by NASA scientists for astronauts. They would then perfect the technology in providing the best night’s sleep.

I gave the mattress a try and would never have woken up if I stayed in there for longer! It was too comfortable, it’s dangerous.

3. Condo Living

Dada

We immediately equate condo living to tight spaces. Thankfully nowadays there are smart and creative ways to maximize full use of what we have.

Dada provides smart space solutions for small spaces such as studio units and condo pads. Dada maximizes dead space into useful spaces for storage, and extra space (more usable space is always good in a condo!)

4. Outdoors

Eastman

eastman

If you’re planning on constructing a jacuzzi or swimming pool in your home, Eastman provides the latest water systems and technology to cater to your needs.

OHMM

ohmm

OHMM is a British-Singaporean furniture brand specializing in outdoor furniture. OHMM Furniture can withstand rain and other potential outdoor elements.

With their five-year warranty, their clients are provided with confidence in the durability and quality of their products. Even better, the brand offers complete freedom on customization over fabric, fibre and colors.

ohmm outdoor furniture cebu

5. Other Furnishings and Fixtures

Illuminazione

Illuminazione offers modern lighting, chandeliers, lamps, lighting fixtures and supplies. They also have a collection of beautiful porcelain pieces by Lladro, all imported from Spain.

Admittedly, I am more into minimalist than kitsch–but I fell in love with one of the pretty pieces; a 200,00o peso-worth sculpture inspired by Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’.

Design Source

wood panel

Nothing feels richer than wood panel floors on your feet. Design Source provides you with such luxury–offering luxury flooring that are also creative and sustainable. Some of they offer are Lamett, Prego and Steiger.

Kenneth & Mock

k&m

Kenneth & Mock offers top-of-the-line windows and doors according to your needs and specifications. In their showroom, they give a demo on how weather-proof and durable their products are; very important as we all know the Philippines is prone to earthquakes and typhoons. Kenneth & Mock proudly shares that many of their clients from 15 years ago still find their K&M windows good as brand new. With over 17 years in the industry and more than 3,000 clients, Kenneth & Mock is indeed the best in the industry.

6. Food

Design Center of Cebu doesn’t only offer home furnishing brands–they also house two of the best restaurants in the city, too! Tavolata is a traditional Italian Trattoria while Beqaa is a Middle Eastern Kitchen. Both are part of the esteemed Abaca Group of Restaurants.

tavolata as fortuna cebu abaca

tavolata dinner

Whether you own a ten-bedroom mansion or a humble studio unit, I’m sure there’s something for you in Design Center–especially if you are a stickler to getting the best quality.

Around Cebu: 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Try Salsa

You get tired of Cebu’s club scene after a while: same crowd, same scenario, same cliché dance moves. I’m not really a creature of habit so after a couple of Saturday night outs that already feel like routine, I was ready for a change of scene.

I heard of a weekly salsa event at Maya Mexican through a friend, and finally decided to see it one Wednesday evening when I had nothing to do. And it’s just what it’s name means: salsa is hot, and I’m not talking about the dip!

salsa night maya cebu

Not convinced and still a little shy? I’ll give you five good reasons why salsa dancing should be mainstream!

1. Salsa is sexy.

Salsa is sexy. A guy friend I brought there said: “This is cool. It’s like a scene from the Dirty Dancing movie.” It unleashes the inner latino/a in you. Without noticing it, your hips start to do the talking.

It’s not that difficult too–and this is coming from someone with admittedly two left feet.  After learning a few basic steps from one salsa night, you can already look like you know what you’re doing. If your lead is exceptional, you’ll look just as awesome as well. Just go with it!

2. It will never be a cock fest.

Maya has a lively and more international crowd. At any given salsa night, male to female ratio is 1:3. What are the chances to having that ratio in any other party or event? Close to none.

So if you’re tired of dancing with other dudes and need more female eye candy, you’re always welcome to check Salsa Wednesdays out.

3. Salsa Nights also mean Buy 1 Take 1 on Mojitos!

Yes, you heard it. Maya Mexican Restaurant also offers Buy 1 Take 1 on Mojitos and P395 on all burritos all night long, only every Wednesdays.

4. There will be some respect of personal space.

I don’t like a lot of things about clubbing: the sweat, the smell, and the ‘accidental’ groping. Good thing you won’t have to deal with these with salsa. Sure, you’ll still be sweating(salsa is good cardio workout!), but at least you won’t come out smelling like smoke and a mixture of other people’s smells.

5. It’s free.

Oh shat, I had to wait ’til the end of my post to announce the most important thing: it’s free! Grab your most comfortable heels and check it out.

Salsa Wednesdays are every Wednesdays at 8:30PM to 12:00 midnight at MAYA Mexican Restaurant, Crossroads, Banilad Cebu City.

If you’re interested to learn salsa dancing, you can learn within a month with Cebu Salsa Club at Epic Performance and Fitness, every TTh at their Escario Branch from 7:30pm-9:00pm, and every Sun at their Oakridge, AS Fortuna branch from 10:00am-12:00pm. For more information, you can check Cebu Salsa Club’s FB page.