Feng Shui Essentials for 2015

(Photo by: Myra Abando)

(Photo by: Myra Abando)

Celebrating Chinese New Year has somewhat become part of Filipino tradition. So much so that Filipinos are even the first ones in the supermarkets buying round fruits to bring their homes good luck when this day arrives, even partaking of tikoy (glutinous rice) to promote unity among family members and friends.

The President has even declared the day a holiday owing to the number of the Filipino Chinese community in various parts of the country.

Filipinos have embraced Chinese customs and traditions for the Lunar New Year, and for good reason. Filipinos, like the Chinese share common values like love for family, religiosity and belief in starting the year right to inspire many happy returns.

This is why Pinoys are increasingly fascinated by feng shui, which translates to wind and water – the art of harmonizing one’s life with the elements to encourage positive things in life.

2015 is the year of the wooden goat. According to Feng Shui Master Joseph Chau Kam Shing, the year is filled with both positive and negative elements so it is helpful for believers to sport lucky charms to counteract the negative forces and channel them into positive energy.

In his book Feng Shui Essentials published by the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp., Master Chau warns people who are born in the years of the goat, ox, rat and dog to be extra careful as they are offending the Tai Suey, or the star opposite Jupiter. While some difficulties await them, all hope is not lost as there are means to protect them from the negative elements.

Those born under the dragon (wood, gold), goat (metal), ox (water, earth) and dog (water) signs are also asked to refrain from going to funerals and burials this year.

Protection
According to Master Chau, the Master Protection Pendant should be worn by those who are born in the year of the rat, horse, rabbit, and ox and people whose surname are beginning in C, M, N, K, S and Y in order to counter the negative energy surrounding them this year. He says this is one of the best all round ways to remove bad luck, conflict and accidents.

For travelers, he advised the Safety Medallion to avoid road mishaps, and avoid evil spirits.

Health
Females are in need of the Health Medallion this year because of the prevalence of the Serious Sickness Star in the Southeast. Master Chau advises women to carry the medallion in their wallets or put one in the Southeast area of their homes, bedrooms or offices.

Money
Master Chau shares a variety of charms to enhance money luck this year. First, there is the Wealth Bucket, which symbolizes steady wealth and prosperity to the bearer. This item should be placed in one’s safety box, house or office to ensure stable income.

There is also the classic Jade Pei Yau, which is considered a money catcher. This animal is said to have a voracious appetite for money and encourages money to flow freely into the home.

For those having trouble collecting a debt, the Pay Back Collection Set may prove to be helpful. As part of the Financial Acquisition of Treasure (FAT) charm, this helps people collect on debts owed to them in the past.

The Trend Eight Antique Coins, on the other hand, should be placed inside one’s wallet, checkbook, passbook or record book by people having problems collecting on debts or stating out businesses.

Romance
For couples, the Brass Happy Couple encourages partners to have a faithful and harmonious relationship while theBrass Antique Pumpkin, which has carvings depicting long life, conjugal bliss, wealth and other positive relationship traits help couples have good luck and smooth sailing relationships.

The Jade Mandarin Ducks on Plate also depict harmonious relationships which usher in prosperity.

Career, Studies
The Jade Dragonhead Fish or pendant is one the most effective lucky charms for those who are starting out in their careers or needing help with their studies. A caveat is that the jade needs to be of good quality for it to be effective. ACicada charm on the other hand, helps children concentrate on their studies.

All the charms should be energized and blessed by a qualified person so that the positive chi within the ornaments will be activated. If not, the items will not serve its purpose and will only be decorative, Master Chau concludes.

This post was also published on cineramaetcetera’s partner bog Unli in the Philippines.

My not so successful attempt at my first movie marathon

IMG_0836[1]Laugh all you want but I got eliminated early at the Star Movies Scare-a-thon!

Yup, after all of the excitement (if you read this blog a week back, I was ecstatic to be picked by the electronic raffle), and the practice (I tried to condition myself not to react to scary movies, and not to drink too much water), I was actually one of those caught literally napping during the second movie by the marshalls. I actually don’t feel too bummed about it because the competition was tough. And I say that not to make excuses but to give credit to the competitors and the Star Movies/Fox Philippines staff who watch them like hawks.

READY FOR ACTION. These security personnel serve as marshalls for the event. These guys look really tough but they're really polite and nice. But they're experts at detecting violations. They've been doing detail at the Movie Marathon for five years already. (courtesy of Star Movies Philippines FB page)

READY FOR ACTION. These security personnel serve as marshalls for the event. These guys look really tough but they’re really polite and nice. But they’re experts at detecting violations. They’ve been doing detail at the Movie Marathon for five years already. (courtesy of Star Movies Philippines FB page)

I may not have won the the big prize (P150,000) but I had a great experience at the event. I was totally psyched to see my fellow competitors assembling early at the venue (SM Aura Samsung Hall) and feel the excitement of being part of such a fun event. It was really fun to be part of such a great crew. Everyone was excited, everyone was talking and sharing how they entered the raffle. There were some veterans in the lot, who got picked again after they joined last year or the year before and it was great to see them a) share tips about their experience or b) keep their strategies close to their chest. It was generally a great atmosphere from the first moment Star Movies opened its doors to start the registration.

EXCITED MUCH. Participants line up to get their official Movie Marathon jacket from Star World, which will be their uniform for the night. (Star Movies PH FB)

EXCITED MUCH. Participants line up to get their official Movie Marathon jacket from Star World, which will be their uniform for the night. (Star Movies PH FB)

The Star Movie Marathon, according to event organizers was made tougher this year because competitors were not only tasked to sit through countless movies but because the genre was horror, they were also not allowed to have any reaction to the movies on screen. As such, the following rules have been crafted:

  1. No standing
  2. No talking
  3. No yawning and no sleeping
  4. No screaming and no laughing
  5. No coughing or sneezing
  6. No excessive blinking
  7. No hand and arm movements
  8. No phone use, call or text (except for designated times)
  9. No accessories like hats, shades, blankets, etc.
  10. No public bowel movements (if you pee/poop on your seat, you are not just disqualified but you have to pay for the damages)
  11. No bathroom breaks except for those who win bathroom passes. Still, if one uses the pass, they must immediately consume 500 ml of ice cold water before returning to their seats all in five minutes
  12. Star Movies jacket must be worn at all times within the hall
  13. No additional food and beverage other than what is provided

Its true that at first, the rules seem harsh but come to think of it, the contestants are playing for P150,000 and its justifiable for the organizers to want the prize to go to the person who most deserves it. I, for one, totally support that idea, especially after experiencing how tough it is to be part of the contest.

SAMSUNG HALL AT SM AURA. Adding to the challenge are the narrow seats, that are better fit for events than a movie marathon. But the challenge is supposed to be tough so only the most deserving will survive. (Star Movies FB page)

SAMSUNG HALL AT SM AURA. Adding to the challenge are the narrow seats, that are better fit for events than a movie marathon. But the challenge is supposed to be tough so only the most deserving will survive. Still, the venue’s dome shape and kickass sound system was world class.(Star Movies FB page)

People think that joining a movie marathon, especially a contest like this one, is all fun and games. I too, at first thought that because I was a movie fanatic, (I blog about movies, duh) it would all be just a walk in the park. While I enjoyed by brief stint as a participant, I realized that there are a lot more things to consider aside from one’s enjoyment of the films being shown. Among these things are the physical environment — the level of comfort that one has in the venue. If its too cold, (The Samsung Hall’s dome shape and really cool air-conditioning didn’t help matters) one has the tendency to move and want to move around for warmth, or he could enjoy himself too much and simply nod off to fall asleep, which is what probably happened to me. Kindly consider that while The Exorcist and The Conjuring are both interesting and compelling horror movies, watching them at 2 am (the competition started at 12 am) without sleep is in itself a challenge, a challenge which I underestimated and paid for dearly. :D I actually felt myself close my eyes and drift off for a second before the marshall shined his flashlight on me and politely asked me to step out. Busted!

Of course, there are other aspects to consider like mental preparedness like how will you keep yourself from responding to the movies when they’re really intended to shock, or how to manage your nerves and the tension of competing. I guess what it all boils down to is understanding one’s limits, and overcoming the physical aspect (like the call of nature and the freezing cold) and marrying that with a sound strategy that I have not quite devised yet.

After I was eliminated, I joined the other eliminated contestants on the balcony, which organizers have set as a waiting area fore those who are waiting til morning before leaving the venue. This was a really great gesture on their part because it showed that they cared for the welfare of the participants, to ensure that they stayed safe until such time they can leave when it is more convenient to travel.

At the balcony, we were still able to watch the movies being shown and even peek at what was going on downstairs at the competition. I was eliminated at 4 am but I was still able to stay to finish another movie before I left and there were less and less people who remained. I’m happy to note though that my two seatmates were still in it at the time, but most of the people on my row were already out. I would have loved to stay and still be part of it because they were starting to show the really neat classic horrors (Nightmare on Elm Street) but that’s how the cookie crumbles and I was glad for those who still stuck it out. Plus, I really really wanted to just veg out and go to bed.

FRIENDS FOR LIFE. Did I mention that I made some new friends? She's one of them. :D

FRIENDS FOR LIFE. Did I mention that I made some new friends? She’s one of them. :D

At the end of the day, I didn’t win but at least I got to make some new friends, laugh at myself, re-watch a few good movies and get a souvenir jacket and a loot bag plus, most of all, I got to keep this awesome experience. If I enter and get picked again next year, I would be better prepared but if not, its still cool because at least I got to join this one, and not many people could say the same. As for the winner, while I have yet to find out who he/she is, I am totally happy for him/her. He/she totally deserves the kudos for being the badass who stayed through it all. And thanks also to Star Movies for giving me this opportunity. It was one of the most enjoyable and unique experiences of my life and I loved every second of it.

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FINAL FEW. The last four contestants face off with true horror as the ghouls stare them straight in the eyes. (Star Movies PH FB)

This just in: There’s already a winner and coincidentally, his name is Star. Congrats dude!

LAST MAN STANDING. Finally, after hours and hours, Star was declared the winner of the Star Movies Scareathon Year 5. (Star Movies PH FB)

LAST MAN STANDING. Finally, after hours and hours, Star was declared the winner of the Star Movies Scareathon Year 5. (Star Movies PH FB)

V <3 V: A Life and Style Diary

vern

Dress cute wherever you go. Life is too short to blend in.

Famous words from hotel heiress and fashion icon Paris Hilton that young fashionistas the world over took to heart. Sisters Vern and Verniece Enciso pushed the envelope further and started V <3 V, a lifestyle blog that seeks to guide their readers on how to be hip and trendy, all while maintaining a certain sophistication that seeks to showcase the wearer’s personal style and preference.

Two years after the blog became a hit on the internet, Summit Media has taken on the cudgels of bringing the Encisos’ unique style to the Filipina fashionista, printing a compilation of V <3 V’s best tips on a variety of lifestyle topics like fashion, travel, beauty, music and wellness into a life and lifestyle diary.

The book is compact and easy to read. It serves as a cheat sheet for Pinays who want to be fashionable but are cautious about committing fashion faux pas.

The layout is fun and chic, and Vern and Verniece’s take on what’s trendy and what’s not reads like refreshing suggestions to their readers. In presenting the same fashion pieces in multiple ways, they are able to provide options, giving their audience a peek at the possibilities for basic items of clothing and accessories.

Because the sisters, despite looking alike, have different interests and styles, they are able to relate to different types of readers.

The Enciso sisters made sure that most of the recommended items and accessories featured in the book can easily be bought from the mall. For Pinays on a budget, similar items can be acquired from the local tiangge, giving them the power to look their best given the limitations of their own budgets.

Of course, an entire section is devoted to make up and hairstyles for various occasions where the sisters provide step by step instructions on how to achieve certain looks to give readers that much needed boost of confidence when going to the mall, partying with friends and even going to a job interview. The best thing about these tips are the fact that they were acquired through years of trial and error so they are presented in a practical and understandable way.

The Encisos travel a lot and their book serves as a travel journal of sorts, filled with magnificent photos that encourages readers to pack up their bags and head out to their next destination.

Its ironic that these young girls would have a section entitled Life 101 in which they share thoughts about their journey so far, but despite their youth, the insight that these two sisters share with their readers would no doubt relate to anyone who has ever had their heart broken, their dreams dashed, or found inspiration in the little things.

V <3 V is a book that every young Filipina should have. It inspires confidence and gives budding fashionistas the tools that they need to be stars they were born to be. Girl power all the way.

Awards

First of all, I would like to give a shoutout to http://grace4films.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for the Quintet of Radiance Award. Its my first time to be nominated and I’m really psyched to be part of it. So, I’m copying off the rules from http://insidethelifeofmoi.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/awards/ (a big thank you by the way), and the rules are as follows.

blogger1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Include a link to their blog

3. Select 15 bloggers you follow and want to pass the award onto.

4. Nominate the 15 bloggers and inform them of it.

5. Finally, list seven interesting facts about yourself.

So, that being said, here are the seven interesting facts about myself :

1. I am an animal lover and I would have wanted to be a vet but I’m afraid of real blood. (For horror movies, my motto has always been the gorier the better).

2. In relation to Item #1, I absolutely love tigers and if given an opportunity, would want to raise one as an exotic pet.

3. I love to go on adventures and am willing to try everything at least once, but I am also a believer of the concept of a calculated risk. Thus, I try as much as I can to ensure my safety before doing anything extreme.

4. I would like to study abroad (preferably on a scholarship because I can’t go on my own)

5. I love my mom above all others

6. I would love to get a job in development communication

7. My dream is to backpack Europe

So, now for the Quintet of Radiance. It is a total of four awards. They’re pretty self explanatory :D

most-influential-bloggerabc-awardinner-peace-awardsunshine-award

In order to accept these awards, I need to describe myself using every letter in the alphabet. This is super tough so brace yourself.

A- Adventurous : I am always game to try out a new thing and see new places

B- Big hearted : I  have a soft heart when it comes to those in need.

C- Clumsy: Anything that requires balance or coordination? Count me out

D- Devoted: I am very loyal to my friends and family

E- Emphatic: I feel for others and understand pain and suffering

F- Fun: I always look at the positive side of things

G- Gregarious: I love to spend time with my friends and family.

H- Hilarious: I crack up my friends all the time. I must be funny.

I- Intuitive: I have a good grasp on stuff involving people.

J- Jolly: I like to smile a lot and be positive about things, even though things don’t always go as planned.

K- Kind: I try to show compassion where I can and try to be a good person most of the time.

L- Loving: When I give my heart, I give it completely.

M- Mischievous: I’ve been known to prank people once or twice. *wink wink

N- Nurturing: I like to share my experiences with others so that they may learn from it, whether its good or bad. I likewise like learning from other people’s journeys.

O-Ordinary: I’m a simple girl with simple tastes. I have big dreams though :D

P-Professional: I take a lot of pride in my work and my work ethics.

Q-Quirky: If you saw my list of quirks, you would agree.

R- Resourceful: I always try to make the best of any situation.

S- Strong: I would like to think that I am strong willed.

T- Temperamental: I have a mean temper, something I would like to curb and manage better in the future.

U-Underrated: I think that there is a lot to me that people don’t know yet, but they would be surprised, and pleased to discover.

V-Versatile: Life has taught me to go with the flow, and I have become quite flexible to different situations because of it.

W-Wide reader: I love to read. Nuff said.

X-Xenochial: I had to consult a dictionary to find a word that describes me using the letter X so I came out with this, which means hospitable

Y- Young at heart: No matter how old I get, I want to maintain a child-like enthusiasm for all things

Z-Zealous: I am a passionate person at heart for a number of causes.

Whew! As for my nominees, here they are:

 

 jonverzosa.wordpress.com
dtmmr.com
fitandfabmanila.com
iamipodman.wordpress.com
mannaforjenny.tumblr.com
strickenwithwanderlust.wordpress
rhodaline-escala.blogspot.com
grace4films.wordpress.com
jmmnewaov2.wordpress.com

So I hope you guys accept this nomination because you all totally deserve it. Ciao!

Teddy Bear Museum: A walk through history with the cute and the cuddly

Originally posted on cineramaetcetera:

When I originally booked my family’s trip to South Korea, I wanted to visit as many settings to Korean dramas as I could and one of them was the Teddy Bear Museum featured in one of my favorite Kdramas, Princess Hours. However, I knew that the Teddy Bear Museum was situated in Jeju and we only had time to look around Seoul so I was a bit defeated.

Luckily, I didn’t give up and researched a bit more, only to find out that there is a branch right in the middle of the city at the N Seoul Tower. And the great part is, the area is also covered by the Seoul City Bus Tour, which we used to travel the city’s various tourist spots in two of our four-day trip.

Getting there: Commuting is a bit tedious as the area is uphill since the tower offers an overlooking…

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Conquering Pico de Loro: My first climb

pico (41)It was Chinese New Year and a holiday when my buddies finally convinced me to join them for a climb. If you knew me, you would know that I don’t have the best cardio in the world (far from it, really). I worry that I might hold up the rest of the group because I’m slow, or maybe I might injure myself in the attempt. After much negotiation, in which they pretty much catered to my every request (not to complicated climb, not too expensive etc., etc.), we finally settled on Mt. Pico de Loro in Ternate, Cavite as the destination of my first day hike (They’ve been there before, they just accommodated me. Yes, I have great friends).

Eventually, our small group of three expanded to 16. We were joined by my officemate Rene’s group of friends, and we were very lucky that they were an awesome bunch. We rented a jeep for P4,000 and met up at Dasmariñas before 5 am. We reached our destination at around 7 am and logged in at the DENR mini office at the base of the mountain and paid a minimal fee of P20 per head for the use of DENR facilties like the toilet and huts. There are times that the DENR personnel lecture hikers on the rules when visiting Pico de Loro.

Pico de Loro, also known as the Parrot’s Peak, is a popular destination for newbie climbers, although at 664 meters above sea level, it is one of highest peaks in Calabarzon, because it is actually part of the Mt. Palay Palay- Mataas na Gulod Protected Landscape. Because of the rich biodiversity in the area, it is essential for hikers and mountaineers to observe the rules when traversing the mountain. Its pretty simple, really — pick up after oneself and don’t destroy anything on the way up or down. Sadly, some of the hikers have vandalized some of the trees by scratching and writing on them, as well as the rocks. True, conquering mountains is a pretty memorable achievement but not at the expense of marring the beauty of Nature with markings.

Reaching the base camp took us roughly an hour, and we registered anew in a different log book. We paid another P20, this time to help with the maintenance of the site. However, the base camp does not come close to covering the first leg of the journey. It is merely an introduction to the challenges ahead for those who want to reach the top and tick off an item on their bucket lists. At the base camp, hikers can fill up their bottles and canteens with cool water sourced from a nearby spring. There are also two cubicles for showering/ answering the call of nature. There are no more of these amenities on the way up so this is a last chance for those who want to visit the loo or wash up. For dog lovers, there are some dogs who thrive on the attention of the hikers and they’re very friendly. Some even accompany their new friends to the top and serve as guides.

Following the base camp, the trail gets a bit more challenging as the path gets pretty uneven so its advisable not to use thick pants like jeans because it impedes movement. I was wearing jeans thinking they provide better protection from the shrubbery but alas, I miscalculated and paid the price for my folly. It is better to wear trekking pants which are lighter and gives wearers more room for movement, something that is essential in negotiating the bigger steps required for uneven surfaces. A trekking pole comes in handy for the assault parts of the trail. One thing I learned from my journey was that hikers call ascending paths assault. Assault is just about right because I felt like my muscles were being assaulted on the way up. So for beginners, training for at least a week before the climb is important or else, your muscles will be screaming halfway to the top. When I wasn’t focusing on catching my breath, I took the time to appreciate my surroundings and the serenity of the area. After all, its not everyday that one can commune with nature and out in some much needed exercise that is not readily available during the workday.

Hikers seemed to have agreed that the holiday was a good day to climb because we passed over a hundred of trekkers on our way up. Some were smarter and camped overnight the day before so they were already on the way down when everyone else (including us) were going up. I am not exaggerating when I gave the number estimate. When we reached the camp site some three hours (and a lot of perspiration) later, there seemed to be a convention of sorts as tents peppered the site to the point where late arrivals would have no place to pitch their own portable abodes.It was nuts, but I was glad because I felt the general sense of inclusion that mountaineers and hikers have in their community. No wonder there are a lot of people who enjoy the outdoors so much.

After the campsite, we headed out to the summit which was roughly 15-20 minutes of pure assault. It was more difficult to climb because soil was not too stable and there were a lot of rocks along the way. After a short breather, we had to hold on to cogons (wild grass) gradually make our way to the top. Everyone seemed to be really friendly and really happy to see each other. Strangers greeting each other when they pass by and a lot of them actively helping us out, literally reaching out their hands for us to cling to when the terrain seemed too tough, especially on the way to the summit. Not only were we coached and encouraged on climbing techniques by fellow hikers but four to five guys almost had to pull me up and pass me around before I reached the top. Same thing on the way down. They were probably more tired from the effort than I but that did not discourage me from extending their help to other members of our group.

At last! The view from the summit was nothing short of magnificent. A 360 view of mountains, seas and clouds surrounding Pico de Loro contributed to the sense of accomplishment I felt after the four hour climb. But it seemed like there was another challenge awaiting adventure seekers. Pico de Loro had not one but two summits, the second one being the Peak, a giant slab of stone that was next to a steep ravine. Those who dared to reach the top really had to dig in deep to rely only on their skill and single rope dangling from the top. I didn’t attempt to conquer the second peak because I was a beginner and a bit on the clumsy side. Besides, I promised my folks that I will go back home alive so I contented myself watching as half of our group ventured towards the next challenge and took pictures of their success instead.

Despite the exhaustion, my first climb was a great experience. One that I would surely be repeating soon. Challenging, true. But rewarding nonetheless. The sense of accomplishment and the opportunity to appreciate nature. Making friends and being embraced into a community of these great natured outdoorsmen? Priceless.