Pinoy team competes in World Pastry Cup in Lyon, France

A three-man contingent from the Philippines will compete in the World Pastry Cup, Coupe Du Monde de la Pátisserie in Lyons, France on January 25.

Vicente Cahatol, Rizalino Man?as, Bryan Dimayuga (1)

Twenty-eight year old Rizalino Mañas, Bryan Dimayuga, 24 and 36 year old Vicente Cahatol, all from Makati Shangri-la, will compete with 20 other teams from different countries worldwide in what is considered as the premier competition in the world of pastry.

As Gabriel Paillasson, founding president of the World Pastry Cup has said, “The World Cup will be at the Patisserie what Formula 1 is at the Automobile.”

Renowned pastry chef Buddy Trinidad is part of the official team as juror. Per contest rules, he sits as one of the judges of the competition but cannot participate in evaluating the Philippine team creations.

The World Pastry Cup runs 10 hours long non-stop during which each team is required to create 3 chocolate desserts with great wines using sponsor product Valrhona, 3 frozen fruit desserts using another sponsor product Ravifruit, 12 identical plated desserts, sugar showcase, chocolate showcase, ice carving and ice cream cake.

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Miss Universe 2015 Top 15 fearless forecast

The 63rd Miss Universe pageant will be telecast in Manila next Monday, January 26. Of course Team Philippines will be rooting for our bet Mary Jean Lastimosa who, at 27, is one of the oldest contestants but still has a good chance of winning. She’s expected to follow the footsteps of the other Filipina beauty queens who managed to bag impressive runner-up honors in Miss Universe….but so far, the crown has been elusive.

Our fearless forecast is that MJ Lastimosa will make it to the Top 15 and it’s already a mean feat considering there are 88 candidates in all. In the past year, she has sculpted her body to perfection and trained so hard for the competition.

MJ Lastimosa from

Here are the rest of the candidates in our fearless forecast who will round off the Top 15 in Miss Universe 2015 to be held in Miami, Florida:

2. Miss Albania Zhaneta Byberi

3. Miss Australia Tegan Martin

4. Miss Colombia Paulina Vega

5. Miss Costa Rica Karina Ramos

6. Miss India Noyonita Lodh

7. Miss Kosovo Artnesa Krasniqi

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Favorite photos from the #PopeFrancisPH visit

In a few hours, Pope Francis ends his historic visit of the Philippines that made headlines around the world and showed the power of the Catholic faithful. Don’t judge, but I just stayed at home, watching the event unfurl vicariously on TV and social media. Information overload was certainly rife as it seems everybody out there wanted to be on the scene.

Here are my favorite photos from the Papal visit as gleaned from the timeline of my friends:

The Manila Hotel rooftop was one of the best places in the city to take in all the action of the crowd below. Tech editor Art Samaniego uploaded this shot, and the media estimated a whopping 6 million people attended Pope Francis’ mass at the Quirino Grandstand (whew!)

Pope crowd

Young girl Tricia Farnacio‘s selfie with the Pope made the internet rounds. Tricia is suffering from kidney disease and her photo with the Pope is heartwarming as it shows him at his most charming, lively self…

Selfie with Pope

If he wasn’t comforting & blessing the sick, the Pope was also kissing & holding babies. Here is one poignant shot from the Facebook page of BBC News anchor Rico Hizon. Until the passage of the Reproductive Health law, the Catholic Church prohibited the 76 million or so Filipino Catholics from practicing contraception. Go figure.

via Rico Hizon

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My list of #fearless Pinays 2014

Last November, Whisper – the leading sanitary pad – held the Whisper Fearless Fair at the Enderun Tent. It was an action-filled afternoon highlighted by the acrobatic performance of the DLSU Animo Squad, the All-Girls Division Champions of the 2014 South East Asian Cheerleading Open; and the pole dancing doyennes from Pole Cats Manila. Then prominent Filipino race car driver Michele Bumgarner drove by in the open field and spoke about how she conquered a male-dominated industry through determination and confidence in her ability.

Anyway, I was asked who would come on top of mind when the phrase “fearless Pinay” is mentioned. It was quite hard putting a list, not because I couldn’t think of anyone, but because most Pinay women wield power in their personal lives, survive the worst of situations and are therefore finetuned to be fearless! When it comes to specific people, here are my choices:


Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is the first one to cross my mind, and am sure most people would agree. She first shot to national consciousness as Immigration Commissioner in the late 80s and was best remembered for her line: “I eat death threats for breakfast.” Even now that she’s battling Stage 4 lung cancer, Miriam’s chutzpah is undiminished. She continues to voice her strong opinions on matters of national interest and even launched a bestselling book recently, aptly titled ‘Stupid is Forever.’

Leni Robredo - waiting for a bus

Congresswoman Leni Robredo of Camarines Sur makes my list because of her viral ‘Waiting for a Bus’ photo that made the rounds of the internet recently. In this country where officials run around in SUVs and with countless bodyguards in tow, Leni’s gesture to take public transport sans security staff makes me hope for a new generation of politicians not hung up on abuse of power. Of course, my impression is that she’s already fearless dealing with things after the untimely death of her husband and succeeding him in politics.

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#RememberHaiyan : P&G reports on Project Hope

Yesterday, we were huddled in a conference room in Makati City watching a documentary on the victims of Supertyphoon Haiyan (also known as Yolanda) which ravaged eastern Visayas last year. Today, November 8, we say a prayer on the first year anniversary of that catastrophe and remember the countless lives (and livelihood) that were lost. The question on everyone’s minds is: how are the affected and surviving families coping 365 days after Yolanda? How are they rebuilding their lives?

Do watch this short film with me, and spare 12 minutes of your time, to glimpse into the lives of some residents in Leyte province who were affected by Yolanda and how they faced the difficult task of starting anew:

Anna Legarda Locsin, Communications Head of multinational company Procter & Gamble, noted that a calamity of immense magnitude as Yolanda taught the world of the Filipinos’ “tremendous strength to move forward after so much loss.”

Thankfully, rehabilitation efforts in badly-stricken areas like Leyte got a much-needed push from the private sector. Locsin said P&G immediately implemented Project Hope together with its distributor partner in the Visayas, Dranix East.

P&G, along with the personal contributions of its employees, donated a total of P100 million products, cash and safe drinking water in the aftermath of Supertyphoon Haiyan/Yolanda. But the best manifestation of the help is, perhaps, the orange-colored Project Hope stores. Approximately 3,000 of these stores could be found in the major roads, tent cities and even the most remote locations of Yolanda-hit areas in Leyte.

Inititial Hope Store model by P&G and Distributing Partner Dranix

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Rexona #RunToYourBeat2014 highlights & photos!

An estimated 10,000 (or more) people participated in today’s Rexona Run 2014. The last time I joined was in 2011 and this activity has definitely improved by leaps and bounds. The bigger turnout means I could not even find parking in the open grounds. Going around Mall of Asia made me late for the unholy 3:45 a.m. gun start. Best to take a taxi or call an Uber service next time :)

Rexona Run 2014 was simply awesome and extraordinary because of the presence of the music-themed tunnels, namely Retro, Hip Hop and EDM. It was like being transported into another world as people went through the tunnels, and stopping for a photo-op was in order. The coolly-decorated areas, with sounds blaring from popular artists, were simply a feast for the the eyes and the senses!



Rexona Run

I didn’t stay long enough to witness this guy propose to his girlfriend in the post-run program. But it certainly made news. “Will you run with me for the rest of my life? And I promise, like Rexona, I won’t let you down'” Hahaha. Swak! (photo courtesy of @rexonaph on Instagram)


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#TeenWeekPH2014 makes kids future-ready

Now on its second year, Teen Week PH 2014 had a fun launch recently and I do like the whole concept of empowering teens to be ‘future-ready.’ SM Aura’s SMX Convention Center Hall 2 was jampacked with students from different schools in Metro Manila who excitedly joined activity booths and hobnobbed with today’s most famous influencers.



“Because we wanted to truly make the campaign for teens and by teens, this year’s activities were developed with the help of the teens through a crowd sourcing method done on the #TeenWeekPH Facebook page,” shared Mar Corazo, Project Head and Rexona Brand Manager. “Through this, we gave teens the opportunity to have a say and choose what activities they would like to happen in this year’s #TeenWeekPH.”

The booths had different topics for each day of the week such as #MoveUpMonday, #TransformTuesday, #WorkItWednesday, #TransformThursday and #FutureFriday.

There were oodles of celebrities at the TeenWeekPH launch and here were just some of those we spotted:

Unilever Teenfluencers Laureen Uy, Elmo Magalona, Slater Young, Nicole Andersson and Verniece Enciso


PBB Teens Fourth Pagotan, Mariz Stella, Fifth Pagotan,Vickie Rushton and Axel Torres


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Celebrities flock to H&M Philippines opening preview!

The maiden H&M Philippines flagship store is opening tomorrow, October 17 in SM Megamall and so far it’s the year’s most awaited event among Manila’s fashionistas! In fact, a lot of people were already lined up at the Mega Fashion Hall as early as today. We were able to attend the exclusive VIP party last night where Manila’s socialites and celebrities paid homage to Sweden’s much-loved fashion brand.

Here’s a photo spread of the beautiful people we saw at the red carpet.

Sam Pinto –

Sam Pinto

Bela Padilla

Bela Padilla

Ruffa Gutierrez and daughters Lorin and Venice –

Ruffa and kids

Tim Yap and Sophie Sumner of Britain’s (and America’s) Next Top Model

Tim & Sophie

The good-looking siblings Frank, Saab and Maxene Magalona –

the Magalonas

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Valerie Weigmann poised to win Miss World Philippines 2014?

The ceremonies for Miss World Philippines 2014 are going on at the MOA Arena as we speak. Though we never get to cover this event like we do the annual Bb. Pilipinas, our bets are on that Candidate No. 19 Valerie Weigmann will win the crown that will be left vacant by Megan Young tonight. (Although it’s tough shoes to fill since tonight’s winner will also have to bag the Miss World title bagged by Megan in Bali, Indonesia last year)

Like Megan, the 24-year old Valerie has showbiz roots, being known for her participation in Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition Plus. Her biography also lists her as a model, host for the noontime show Eat Bulaga and an owner of a German-Turkish restaurant in Makati known as baam.

This photo of Valerie in her official Facebook page –

Valerie Weigmann

Update: the 5’8″ stunner Valerie was named Best in Swimsuit, Best in Long Gown and Miss Fashion Runway in the ongoing ceremonies: Photo via @joryrivera on Instagram

Valerie swimsuit

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Sofitel Manila Half Marathon 2014!

Running bores me. But there’s something about an organized run that motivates you, and to run along with the crowd. My officemates and I certainly had fun joining yesterday’s Sofitel Manila Half Marathon 2014. We were there on behalf of our company (PAGCOR) which was one of the event sponsors :)


Overheard as we raced through the finish line: “O ayan, 1 kilometer na lang. Kelangan nang mag retouch para maganda sa picture.” LOL.

I realized it’s been three years since Rexona Run 2011. I looked at my before and after photos and happy to feel fitter and leaner now.No, I didn’t go on a crazy diet and will NOT give up rice. But I certainly put an effort in going to the gym (albeit irregularly) and practicing portion control (when not food blogging).

at Sofitel Manila Half Marathon 2014

Anyway, the Sofitel Manila Half Marathon 2014 was for a good cause since the funds raised will benefit the street children under the care of the Virlanie Foundation.

Virlanie kids

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