Sunday, June 19, 2011

This is Nature Making Us Healthy Beautiful

Yesterday after my last appointment at Contours in The Podium, Ortigas I entered this store called Echo Store where I was just so delighted in discovering so many interesting naturally made products of different brands.  

I bought these Ilog Maria bee products as a gift for dad on Father's Day.  I found this Ilog Maria Bee Pollens useful especially for those who need extra energy for physical activities, those who are on night shifts, aims to lose weight, etc.  I bought the small bottle for PHP200; while the large one costs PHP583 and is 240 g at Ilog Maria's own website store.  Bee Pollens is really what the name suggests.  It is a natural energizer, so instead of drinking an energy drink to stay energetic, alert and awake, take a small teaspoon of the pollens and just let it melt in your mouth like candy.  It is also a fat burner as it increases your metabolism.  

Fresh Bee Pollens
Nature's most complete food
Different times of taking the pollens have different effects on weight:
  • Before meal - increases metabolism and helps lose weight
  • During meal - helps maintain weight
  • After meal - helps in weight gain
So be careful! J

Some of the health benefits of fresh bee pollens are:
  • increases stamina
  • heightens alertness
  • boosts mental capacity
  • burns and metabolizes fat
  • eliminates fatigue
  • eases hypertension
  • alleviates impotence
  • prevents prostate cancer
  • improves digestion
  • combats depression

Make sure to read the leaflet first carefully before you start using this product.  Small amounts should be taken first, and then increase gradually as your body gets accustomed to it.  Do not overdose.

The Ilog Maria Propolis Throat Spray is an anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant throat spray that keeps breath fresh, gums healthy, and relieves smoker's cough.  

Propolis Throat Spray (30 ml) Breath Freshener & Bacteriostatic Throat & Mouth Spray

This is made from Ilog Maria Virgin Honey, Propolis Gold & Peppermint / Spearmint Oils. Prevents colds and coughs, even fever/flu, if taken immediately after an "itchy throat" is felt. Spray twice on tonsils at first sign of a cough or cold. Soothes sore throat and smoker's cough. Excellent for cold sores or "singaw". Clears itchy throat & hoarse voice fast.

For their other products visit
Ilog Maria's bee farm is located at Silang, Cavite.

My main purpose of going to this store is to look for natural Citronella insect-repellant spray as I've seen it being used by Madame Berlyn during our recent Buri trip, and she told me that I can get one at The Podium.  There are several choices, several brands.  Citronella is the most famous of the natural insect-repellants, but there are actually other sources like Lemon grass and Eucalyptus.  

No DEET. These are all natural repellants that really work. Available in Citronella, Eucalyptus (my personal favorite) and Lemongrass. The aroma is pleasing when used on linens and very safe even for the baby's skin.

I found Giga's Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellant Spray's scent refreshing and not overwhelming compared to the infamous Citronella, and I'm not a fan of lemon scent.  It is refreshing and cool on the skin.  Echo Store  also offers oil insect repellants which stay longer on the skin, but is quite warm.  What I got was a water-based spray.  I love it.  I bought it for PHP190.

ECHO is the acronym for Environment &Community Hope Organization.  In Echo Store, they sell    a variety of natural products, their own and consigned by different brands.  A trip to their store would surely not leave you empty handed as you come out.   

Echo Store is a social enterprise that acts not only as a collaborator, but also as a link between the consumer and the NGOs.  It is located at the ground level of The Podium, Ortigas. Visit their website at

On that same day, after some shopping I went to Mega Mall to buy some gadgets, and I passed by a Giga kiosk at the second level of building B.  I immediately stopped, and looked for the insect repellant spray that I just bought.  I was a bit saddened to learn that it only costs PHP165 here, but later on realized that Echo Store is a social enterprise anyway, so it's just my little way of helping their cause.  A liter bottle of the natural insect repellant costs PHP1,200.  Giga also has a multitude of natural  products that would tickle your interest and awaken the environmentalist in you.  I bought these Giga NO PAIN and NO ITCH massage balms that are really soothing.  

Made from virgin coconut oil with a generous amount of essential oils and extracts to make them really effective and very pleasant to the senses. It does not contain petroleum based products.

Lately I have been quite active physically so my muscles work more than it used to, and it gives me muscle pains.  The NO PAIN massage balm, which is VCO-based and has peppermint and ginger, is just heaven.  And  I am getting addicted to it already.  The sales lady dabbed a small amount on the points of my nape, and it felt so relaxing and cool.  I used to rely on this Poy-Sian inhaler and ointment that I got from Singapore (but originally discovered at Bangkok, which is their local product) for my headaches.  Now I just realized that I do not know any of the chemical ingredients of what I have been inhaling.  Both massage balms costs PHP85 (each) for the small one.  The big ones costs around PHP300-400.

As I mentioned on my previous 5 Beauty Regimens Worth Remembering post, moisturizing is very vital for the skin.  And oil is a good product to moisturize the skin deeply.  I bought this Giga Dry Mist Oil in Green Tea scent which lightly scents and moisturizes my skin minus the grease and oily sticky feel of some lotions.  I love Green tea's clean and fresh scent.  Best used after shower while skin is still damp.  It also has a Lavender scent, which I find a bit stronger, and seems more appropriate for night time before you sleep.  It costs PHP180 per bottle.  However, it is worthy to remember that this does not have any sunscreen protection, and might harm your skin if you heavily expose it under the sun with oil in it.  Just imagine frying an egg.  These body oil products are recommended if you stay inside an air-conditioned room for a long time, or if the weather is cold.
This imperceptibly light hydrating mist contains skin-conditioning plant oils, several anti-irritants that help dry skin feel unbelievably smooth. Absorbs quickly into dry or slightly damp skin Can be used by all skin types, and is ideal for sensitive skin. Available variants are Green Tea and Lavender.
Giga also has a variety of natural soaps, slimming seaweed oil, hair care, baby care products, etc.  You can pay their website a visit for the list of all the products they offer and store locations at

I think I'll be gradually switching from main stream to all-natural products, my kick off being Dickinson's all natural witch hazel toner.  By using natural products you don't only do your skin a favor, but the environment as well. Naturally made products might be a bit more expensive sometimes due to inability to mass produce, but nothing is more valuable than keeping your health always in its best state- naturally. ♥

See all HEALTH & BEAUTY posts.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Head Over Heels with Beautiful Calaguas

It was rather an impulsive thought due to our wanderlust hang-ups to make Calaguas our next destination after the CDO-Bukidnon-Camiguin trip.  Calaguas escapade is second to TBs many more travel adventures in the near (very near) future.

And so there we were, all packed up for a 3-nighter adventure to the remote Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte, Philippines.  Travel Buddies, minus James (so sad), Jen, Neil, Gerald, Meng, and myself eagerly shut down our PCs on Friday night and shifted from office to camping mode.  We left the office around 8PM and took a cab to Shell Magallanes where we met Grace, who flew all the way from Singapore to join us, and where the bus will pick us up.

The itinerary prepared by the tour organizer:

Day 0
08:00PM- Bus Station
08:30PM- ETD- Manila-Daet

 Day 1
 07:00AM - ETA Daet/ Breakfast
 08:00AM - ETD for Calaguas Island (tentative) or side trip macolabo island
 10:00AM - ETA Calaguas Island/ set camp explore
 12:00 NN- Lunch
 01:00PM - Siesta/ swimming/ explore/ picture happy campers
 06:00PM - Dinner
 07:00PM - Socials
 10:00PM - Lights out

 Day 2
 06:00AM - Wake up call
 07:00AM - Breakfast
 09:00AM - Break Camp
 10:00AM - ETD Calaguas - Daet
 12:00NN - ETD Daet
 01:00PM - Late Lunch
 02:00PM - Surfing Bagasbas 
 05:00 PM- Rest
 06:00 PM- Dinner 
 08:00 PM- ETD Daet-Manila              

We availed this Calaguas Hullaballoo Island Tour package that cost PHP3,000 per head.
It’s inclusive of:
  • Land and sea transfers
  • Tent accommodation at Calaguas Island
  • Full-board camp meals
  • Environmental fees
  • Free skim boarding lesson and use of skim board
Here’s their website for more info:

Our tents
Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
Grace's pasalubong from SG - cocktail chocolates
Photo by Jen Cobarrubias

It was 3PM when we got bored and finally decided to surrender ourselves to the rays of the sun (with so much sun block lotion) and enjoyed for the first time the waters of Calaguas.  We still could not believe how perfect the beach is.  It is truly the best we have ever seen.
Photo by Jen Cobarrubias

Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
We tried skim boarding, but Neil seemed to be the only one who really got the hang of it. It was much harder than I thought it would be. Surfing seems easier, and less dangerous.

Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
Ge and I borrowed this kite from a local kid.  It was nostalgic to fly a kite again. My first time to do it in a beach.

Photo by Sherelle Perez
Came sunset and we just could not help but admire the view of it from the island. Climb the hill behind the island, and it will give you a bird’s eye view of the beach.

Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
Photo by Gerald Habal
Taking a bath was a challenge.  As this is a virgin island, yet undeveloped (which I hope remains this way), there are no decent bathrooms.  They only have a very raw toilet made of hollow-blocks.  So we bathed by the poso with some other women.  Good thing it’s dark already.

After dinner, we prepared the much awaited kape melon.  A mix introduced by Jen and Meng that I was really excited about.  How? Just mix GSM Blue, 3-in-1 coffee (we had decaf), and Nestle Premium Dairy Melon (should be melon powdered juice but we could not find any).  We just loved this new mix discovery!  Even the kuya from the tour organizers loved it, and could not believe we just mixed it.

We gathered around one of the Boracay Rum lamps on the sand, and played word association while drinking (added shot of GSM Blue for penalty).

Lit Boracay Rum bottle as the centerpiece, so clever!
Photo by Sherelle Perez
We also celebrated Jen's birthday.
Photo by Sherelle Perez
This is how you do it.
The stars were so plenty I just wanted to lie on the sand and watch them and make constellations out of them.

We called it a night by 12AM, and slept in our tents, another first! (fourth)

I woke up around 5AM and our tent looked like it’s going to fall apart, the wind was ruthlessly shaking it.  And I saw Neil by the cottage, outside the tent, running after swimsuits being blown by the wind. I was just too sleepy to laugh, so I went back to sleep. Sleeping in the tent isn’t so bad, especially with my travel pillows. J  The uneven sand just made it difficult to make oursel comfortable as our blanket was not thick enough.

As I woke up: Open the tent, Ge! Good morning! Picture!
Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
By 7AM we woke up and had breakfast and did more swimming and photo shoots. And then at 9AM we packed up and left the island.

My top 5 must-haves on this trip:
  • Flashlight
  • Inflatable travel pillows (the comfort you can’t buy)
  • Blanket and jacket (AC on bus overnight will kill you!)
  • Sunblock!!!
  • Mosquito repellant
Bagasbas Beach was the next destination – surfing time!
We were assigned to a room at Surfer’s Dine-Inn, together with another group, where we can keep our bags and take a shower.  After lunch, those who will surf gathered for a few minutes  of basic crash course on surfing.

Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
Surf board rental costs PHP200 and surf instructor costs PHP200 as well – a total of PHP400 for one hour of surfing (lesson).  This was my second time to try surfing, first was at San Juan, La Union last year.  This time I had more bruises, rashes, wounds, and unbelievable muscle pain (not the most usual thing, it’s just me), but it was all worth it.

Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
We had dinner at 6PM, and left Bagasbas by 7PM.  We arrived Manila around 4AM, and went straight to KFC People Support to have breakfast.

During this trip, I had my first….
…overnight bus rides
…ride on that platform type of boat
... Pacific Ocean cross
… river-meets-the-ocean experience
…overnight camping
...kite flying in a beach
…worst body pain ever

Photo by Jen Cobarrubias
While other people were getting started with their normal office day, with a most contented heart we bid each other goodbyes as we went back to our homes (Grace to fly back to SG) to take the rest we need…and dream of the surreal piece of paradise we have just been to. ♥

See all TRAVEL posts.
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