Thursday, October 06, 2016

Holistic Skincare: Skin Vitals

Skincare. Oh how I love thee. I don't obsess as much as I should, really (in your 30's you should really be strict about sun protection, they say!) because I still forget here and there but yes, I do invest in premium products - ESPECIALLY ones that are made with only the purest, natural and if possible organic ingredients.

Skin Vitals is a breath of fresh air in Manila. I attended the launch in the healthy Hillside Cafe and Juice Bar where we had some healthy treats while learning more about the products. This holistic skin care line is made with premium ingredients (infused with my ultimate favorite pure essential oils, too!!!) and can be used daily because it is very mild. I am told that even pregnant and nursing moms may use Skin Vitals, Yay!

Here with Cristal Leung from Skin Vitals. She is HK-based but creates all products in the US before distribution worldwide. She taught us so many technical things about skin and how to effectively use products. I can't wait to learn more from the Skin Vitals team!

I am currently skin testing the Make Up Filter (aka gentle make up remover), Pristine Cleanser, Waterful Serum and V'Lift Potion Moisturizer.

The Skin Vital products are currently available at Facets and Figures, The Parenting Emporium and Beauty MNL.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pursue Your Passions Without Going Broke

Wow. What a title, right? For me, it hit me hard because I've always been the dream chaser- do whatever it takes to get it, even if it meant risking it all. Like how I played "the game of life" in 2010 when we uprooted and moved to Palawan to live in paradise.

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Security Bank to share this very topic with an intimate group of media influencers and bloggers. I was brutally honest in sharing what I went through when I didn't have a financial back up plan for my dream project. To make the looong story short: FAILURE isn't a word I fear anymore because I've been there and done that. In fact, I thank my husband and myself for failing on that dream because it placed things in perspective and taught us life-long lessons needed for us to rise. Just like a Phoenix, we feel like we have begun entirely new lives within this lifetime.

Obviously, we are now wiser beyond our years. And grateful that we can start over because in truth, we never stop dreaming and creating our realities. So, we have new goals and visions to manifest. It makes it more exciting because we currently have the knowledge and tools that we didn't have in the previous years to make it through.

Security Bank came in my life at the right moment, now that my husband and I are seriously thinking about investing for our children's future. We can no longer be selfish about living "our dreams" alone. We have to also be realistic on HOW to achieve those without suffering. As parents, we are fully responsible for the welfare of our children.

In the workshop, not only did I share my story, I also learned the true value of investing for myself and my family. This is something I have always been interested in but too scared or shy to really learn since any topic that discusses money can be quite sensitive. The Security Bank officers during the day made sure to answer all our inquiries on UITF or Unit Investment Trust Funds where we can choose to invest in the manner of our personality. I am a natural risk taker but believe it or not, when it comes to money that I have earned or want to invest in, it seems that I want to play it safe which makes me a conservative to moderate (surprisingly, not an aggressive) investor. You can learn more about UITF and how you can start investing now for as little as Php10,000 here. 

What I loved most about Security Bank is the hassle-free personalized banking service called "Switch Kit" wherein a dedicated sales associate will open an account for you in the comforts of your own home! There was a document that I needed to sign for me to open my UITF and true enough, like top service, a representative came to my house for this breastfeeding- work-at-home mother. (Yes, I was really nursing my 2-year old to sleep at the time of her visit!).

For more information visit to know more about Security Bank's products and services.

Monica Manifests: The Shift

In the recent months, I felt an intense pull of energy to STAY put and not travel. (very different from my last year of non-stop travel with the family thus prompting me to launch My Little Globetrotters). I quit traveling (for now) and stopped going to many of the social events I was invited to, took a pause on blogging and even take digital detox days to truly BE with my children. What happened next was an abundance of time and energy to do the things that I really wanted to do but didn't have the time for because of all the excuses I kept telling myself. I used the sudden freedom to recalibrate and think things through. Have my goals and dreams changed? Where do I spend a bulk of my time and energy on? Does it add up? Am I truly investing in the right path to get to where I need to be?

So, I have switched my old Instagram name from @dharmadreamsbig to @MonicaManifests and also use the same name now for Facebook. The old name didn't feel right anymore and it helps to be aligned with your current desires. I've also been doing a lot making with my hands. I needed alchemy in my life, where I can make things from scratch and then come out with a completely new product that can be of good use like art therapy, cold processed soaps (thanks to soap mentor extraordinaire, @AnaGutch of @bodyfoodallnatural on IG), healing balms and salves. During the new moon week, I planted new seeds of herbs and veggies on my garden patch. I've also been meditating and praying more. For someone who is in another cross-road in life, I simply asked for guidance. 

The Universe listened to my thoughts and intentions and brought upon me changes that needed to unfold for myself. The invites from potential work clients also started to shift-- from those that do not align with my personal values, to those that actually do! I have been invited to speak on my personal life pursuits and help inspire others -- which IS my dharma or purpose. (By the way, I still have to change my blog name, too!)

In connection with my new changes, I have collaborated with @nabalo on Instagram who is giving away her glorious gem of an e-book "Manifest With The Moon: Your Workbook for Lunar Phase Manifestation" to my followers. Read mechanics on my Instagram page @MonicaManifests and join me in manifesting new dreams!

Monday, May 23, 2016

:earning How To Save at The Smart Saver Kiddie Camp

My whole family recently attended the Smart Saver Kiddie Camp organized by Game Changer for Security Bank at their main branch in Makati. It is a three-hour program which integrates financial education with fun and interactive workshops designed for 7 years olds and above. While the older kids (like my son) were able to sit down and focus on the lecture, the younger ones were busy creating plushies at the La Pomme crafts station.

I've always wanted to open an account in a bank very close to my home for the kids so that they can experience walking to the bank (perhaps taking their piggy banks with them?) and learn the powerful tool of restriction or saving.  Lo and behold, there is a Security Bank right next to our street, a mere 5 minute walk from our home! 

I took the opportunity to take both kiddos to the neighborhood branch today to open their Jr. One accounts. This is Security Bank's saving product for kids 18 years and below. What I find really super is that their interest rate is higher than that of a regular savings account with an opening AND maintaining balance of only Php100. Awesome, right?

I loved the fact that there were no lines (must be my lucky day!) and we were attended to right away by a branch officer. I just showed our valid government IDs (in my case, I used our passports) and the officer did all the filling up of forms and within minutes, my little ones were given their first savings passbooks! I cannot wait to encourage my kids to save the money given to them by relatives, even small change like coins do add up!  

"It's not how much you earn, but how much you save!"

Parents interested in the Smart Saver Kiddie Camp or want to open a Jr. One account for their kids may visit any Security Bank branch or log on to You can also call the Security Bank Hoteline (02) 8879188.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

A Mother and Yogi's Balancing Act (with Vegan-Friendly Regetta Canoe!)

These days, my life's been extra challenging as I balance my duties as a wife, mom, entrepreneur, and yoga teacher. If you have been following my blog posts, you would know that we lost our household helpers a few months back so my husband and I have been tag-teaming chores and caring for our kids in between earning money to survive. I legitimately know how it feels to be independently responsible for yourself. It's like I have been living inside a bubble for a time and now that it has bursted, reality strikes. I am currently questioning all these I being prepared for something bigger here?

I received an email invite to attend Regetta Canoe's Philippine launch in Susi, a gluten-free and vegan resturant in Bonifacio High Street. I took the opportunity to get a quick break from my kids and domestic errands. I am still currently nursing my 26 month old daughter so any time apart from her truly helps the weaning process (which I plan to complete this year!)

A media event wouldn't normally push me to philosophical questioning but because the theme of the afternoon was all about finding balance, (the shoe supposedly does help with this and posture!), I looked inward.

As a yoga practitioner, I know that balancing poses embody the struggles that we experience in life so we may be able to outwardly manifest our strength to pursue all that is necessary with grace and endurance.

Here is my really cute pair of Regetta Canoe which we took on to the streets of BGC and a little patch of grass where we were asked to do some poses that required us to balance for prizes. Lucky yoginis in my group had the advantage of flexible limbs! Watch our super fun Boomerang photo on Instagram @dharmadreams with #RegettaCanoePH to see our winning post for the day!

What are the important features of the Regetta Canoe shoe?

- corrects posture of the body
- reduces impact on feet
- arch support for increased blood circulation (yay for traveling!)
- lessen feet fatigue
- crafted with special heel and toe guard to protect from bumps for klutzy people like me!
- last but not the least, is its vegan philosophy: animal-free and cruelty-free in design and production!

A photo-ception of our beloved Regetta Canoe pairs.

Regetta Canoe is exclusively distributed in the Philippines by the Primer Group and is available at selected Res Toe Run stores nationwide. Visit or follow @RegettaCanoePH on Facebook and Instagram for more details.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Learning The Art of Bento

If we define roles in the house in a very conservative way, you might agree that women have more knowledge in the kitchen as mothers do the nurturing. I, on the other hand, have been in the minority of clueless ones when it comes to food preparation! Let me clarify. I am kitchen-challenged- not necessarily helpless. It takes a whole lot more effort for me to prepare a meal for my family compared to my friendly neighbor Jane who can cook up a delicious storm with no sweat. I guess we all have our personal gifts and cooking isn't in my cards. Boohoo. Thanks to my husband who I fondly call as my "chamba-chef" (Why? He produces hit or miss meals, LOL!), we are currently surviving (yes, keyword!) with our absolutely no-household help tag team. 

Recently, Heinz x Bento By Kat collaborated for a Bento workshop and invited kitchen challenged me, hurray! Seriously though, I crave to learn. Just because I currently suck in the kitchen doesn't mean I can't try, right? Thankfully, our workshop didn't include any cooking, just food preparation only.

Some of the ingredients we started off with---

Tada! Here is my finished product :) Compared to the other moms who totally kicked ass in design, I am probably on the bottom of the pit but... who cares! When I showed my masterpiece to my kids later on, they were delighted. "Oooh pretty food!" they must have thought. With practice, I'm confident that I will get better. When school starts after the summer break, I hope to continue to create cute looking baon (Filipino word for packed meals) for my son.

So, you thought Heinz only has ketchup? Think again! I was amazed at the selection and how many of their products are available here in the Philippines.

Thank you to Kat Maderazo and the Heinz Philippines team for inviting me to participate. I learned an introduction to the beautiful art of Bento and I cannot wait to do more for my kids' sake!

photo care of Em Sulit

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Motherhood Journey (So Far)

Most people think that we choose our children, when and how they will journey with us in our lives. On the contrary, it is they who choose us. Yes, you read that right. If you believe that we are spiritual beings, much more than our physical bodies in our earthly existence, then you will understand this concept. I learned it from my mentors at my son's Waldorf Schools here in the Philippines (he has been to 3 different ones to date!).

To give you a fresh perspective of where I am coming from, here is an excerpt from the book Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer which I highly recommend for all parents. (Prepare some tissue, I always get weepy reading this!)

Birthday Story 

By Susan Bruck
Song:The stars are watching when for a birth,A little child comes down to earth.Her angel leads her both day and night,To fill her heart with love and light. 
Once, not so very long ago, way up in the heavens, there lived a star child.  She lived there with the other star children, who were her friends, and together they would visit the sun, the moon and the planets.  She had a special angel who watched over her always.  She was very happy up there in the stars.  One night, as she was sitting all snuggled up with her angel and they were looking out at the thousands of sparkling stars, the star child saw something that she had not seen before.  It was a planet, and it was blue and green and most lovely to behold. 
“What is that place?” she asked her angel.  
“That is the planet earth,” the angel replied.  “Come, I will show you.”
And together they went to visit the earth.  When they got there, they saw great oceans and mountains.  They saw forests and winding rivers.  They saw birds flying in the sky and animals walking on the face of the earth.  The earth was so beautiful.  There were flowers blooming everywhere, and the baby birds were hatching out of their eggs while their mothers and fathers sang joyous songs.  They saw many children running and laughing in the meadows, splashing in puddles and gathering dandelions and violets that they put in each others’ hair. 
The star child and the angel continued their journey and soon they came to a large city next to a big lake.  Here there were many people working and playing.  Among them the star child saw a kind man and a loving woman, and she felt something stir within her. 
“I would like to come here,” said the star child. 
“And so you shall,” said the angel, “But first you must rest.  While you rest, I will weave you a garment, for when you leave here, you must leave your heavenly garments behind.” 
Song:  Sleep my little star child,            Sleep the long night through,            While you sleep I will weave a             Garment of light for you. 
And so the child slept for many days and weeks and months.  When she woke up, the angel said, “Now it is time.  Put on the garment I have made for you.”The child put the garment on.  The angel led her to a bridge made of all the colors of the rainbow. 
The angel said, “Take courage.”And the child walked across the bridge. 
Song: In heaven shines a golden star,
An angel brought me from afar,From heaven high unto the earth,And brought me to my house of birth. 
And soon the child saw once more the kind man and the loving woman, and the woman held the child close to her heart.  The child looked into the loving faces of her father and mother, and heard them say, “We shall call her Grace, and she is the best gift of all.Song:Welcome, welcome lovely day,With flowers bright and sunshine gay,And painted birds who sing their songs,And make me kind and good and strong.And so, dear children, Grace came to join us on this earth, and we are so glad you are here.
If you understand the story, you will grasp that our children are heavenly beings that incarnated to (re)learn lessons and also teach us what we need to learn in this lifetime ourselves. If you believe in karma, then you're probably nodding your head.

You see, when I was pregnant with my first child, I was already searching for my truth, a parenting path that would go "beyond the norm" as I have questioned conventional lifestyle practices that didn't seem to fit my personal values. Looking back at how my choices have been, the data clearly shows an alternative route-- From my birth choices (c-section to home water birth!), to extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing, opting for a Waldorf school, becoming a yoga teacher... even when we uprooted to live in Palawan for 2 that certainly took guts for me and my husband because many opposed us. People will always resist the unknown. But I have learned to stand for my quest for truth and embrace constant change.. because these changes, although uncomfortable, help you grow and evolve. Interestingly, a sense of rhythm also balances and grounds - a lesson my dear son brings to our lives today.

So, I thank my children for they have truly brought out the very best of me. Without them coming into my life, I would have made very different decisions and would certainly be a lesser version of me.

To my children - I know this love so well, it has indeed surpassed the bounds of time and space and will go on through eternity. Thank you again and again for choosing me to become your mother. I am honored and will rise up to the challenge of helping you both realize your life's mysteries. 

This is my personal story for Expo Mom's #TheMotherhoodJourney. Join the sisterhood of mothers expressing their unique journey with their children and get to win exciting prizes from Mommy Mundo sponsors. Find more details at their official page here. 

See you at the Expo Mom this weekend! 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Belo Goes All Natural with Belo Baby!

My second job after college was in Marketing and PR for the Belo Medical Group. Back then, I already wished for all-natural products made because that really interested me. In fact, a few months after I became pregnant, I quit my job and then later on formulated an aromatherapy based, all-natural bath and body line with my friend, Denise Gonzales-Bernardo. We named the company INDIGOBaby (after our babies!). Little did I know that many years later, Belo too, would create a product line that would make me swoon!  Why did Cristalle Belo Henares (the daughter of Vicki Belo, the founder of Belo Medical Group) finally do it? Well, have you heard the big news? She's engaged and is about to marry later this year! I guess they've got foresight and see babies in the near future! You wouldn't want to place any harsh chemicals on your baby's skin, right?  Cristalle completely agrees, did her research and consulted with the dermatologists in the Belo team for which ingredients are best for babies' skin. Cocoa butter, Shea butter and Sweet Almond Oil are the top ingredients found in the Belo Baby products.

Congratulations on jumping on the bandwagon for the launch of Belo Baby, Stalle! And thanks for inviting me and my kids over. We had fun learning all about the certified natural ingredients used in all the Belo Baby products. I've been using them not just on my kids, but on myself too! My favorite? The 2-in-1 hair and baby wash. Why? Because it is so travel-friendly! I just used this during our recent trip to Palawan (find stories soon at :)

Find Belo Baby products at leading supermarkets and department stores near you. To know more information about their full line of products, visit

Friday, April 01, 2016

Women Gatherings at School Of Styling

I have lucked out! School of Styling founders, Indy and Em are within my mom entrepreneur circles so I get first news on their offerings! A few months back, I attended their intimate launch which featured a workshop on whimsical paper flowers.

I am forever curious about women (specifically mothers!) and their passions so I interviewed Em about SOS (School Of Styling):

Monica: Tell me why and how you started School of Styling? Maybe share your personal backgrounds and how you came together for this project.

Em: It is one of Indy's long time dreams. We were just talking about it one night. My core competencies are business development, developing businesses from ground up, business strategies, trouble shooting, sales and marketing, diversification and international business development. I was an expat for more than 10 years, lived in 13 different countries and was in senior positions for over 7 years. And Indy's core competencies are creatives and styling. So, we married both our strengths. There is a good fit and a very good working relationship between us. We trust each other. It was a natural progression.

School of Styling Philippines is not only for mothers though. Our target demographics reach far beyond motherhood. As seen in our previous workshops, we have kids as young as 5 year olds joining the workshops and grandmas. We have several fathers and single men who joined, too. 

Monica: Explain your work dynamics? Who does what between Indy and Em?

Em: Indy handles all the styling, sourcing, teaching and I handle everything else :) 

Monica: As mothers, how do you balance the time for family, work and extra curricular activities?

Em: Develop a strong support network. Indy has her own team and I have my own team. Both are highly efficient and reliable. If we want to do more things, we need to help and develop people and train them to do things the way we want it done. Sometimes we let them handle things also. You'll be surprised by how much one can accomplish when we allow people to help us.

Monica: If money was not an issue, what would you do for work? Share your deepest passions, please :)

Em: I would travel the world, get into fitness, get into more creative stuff like professional floral designs, photography and spend of course more time with family. I am already spending more time with them as compared to average Filipino moms. But, we are living in a real world where money is needed, and we need to work. I would also want to learn "usable" skills. When my husband and I lived in Africa, I wish I knew how to cut my own hair, do my own nails, know how to cook, know more about natural medicine.

Monica: What do you do for yourselves as  "mommy time out time"?

Em: The usual facial care, massage, mani+pedi, brow grooming, haircut, and reading a chapter from a book. When I get invited to events and the kids are not with me, I treat that as my "me-time" already. When they start going to school, I'd like to think I'll have more time to myself. If I'll spend and invest on "me-times", it would be travels :)

Monica: In your quotes and messages, you encourage people to love what they do or go for their dreams, how best do you think to do this for mothers who have a lot on their plates?

Em: Secure your finances first. Whether we like it or not, money plays a big part in our daily lives. I can do what I do because we have savings, we have steady income. In the absence of that, it'll be hard. I hate it when people say don't worry about money. Because it is not applicable to everyone. In my case, I spent many years in corporate world. I was an expat for over 10 years. I didn't love what I was doing. It was never my dream job. But it "equipped" me for the world I am moving in now. I can live in any country and start my own business or make my own money without looking for employment - and that's thanks to my previous job "that I never liked." Now I am pursuing many things, mostly related to my passion, and marrying it to my core competencies. But prior to that, it's all about training, exposure, experience, learning, equipping myself, learning, learning, learning. 

For mothers, it is not as easy, specially if they are the ones putting food on the table. But my advise is, if you really want to do what you love and go for your dreams, have a plan! Calculate your risks! Prepare for it. 

Monica: And lastly (because I love travel so much!), where would you dream of going with your families this summer and why.

Em: This summer, we are going to Vietnam. And probably US to attend an expo. It is not our dream destination, but we need to go there for business. If dream destinations, I would love to go to Bhutan, Peru, Mongolia :) I have a long bucket list. But this is my top 3.

The next School Of Styling workshop (happening today!) is pretty amaaazing. It seriously pains me like torture not to attend. Shall we clamor for a repeat performance?!

Do yourself a favor and sign up for a workshop or two or three this year! 

School of Styling Philippines

A Family That Eat Differently, Yet Stay Together

(OK, the Virgo Mommy Me is very much annoyed at that piece of tissue on the table but what can I do when I've got two famished kids hurrying me up so they can eat?! I don't have another decent photo of all our meals that day so this will have to do. Sorry folks for that mess! :P LOL)

This is what a typical family meal with the Manzanos look like. I ordered the Grilled Fish Fillet, my son the Classic Roast Chicken and my husband, the Grilled Steak. I wasn't able to capture my side order of Mandarin Salad because I ate it up before I could even photograph (Silly me, toink!) 

My daughter who is 2 years old pretty much has the same diet as I do. She doesn't have the consciousness to choose for herself just yet so I've got her on my (green) team. And I intend to keep her there for as long as I can, yay! On the contrary, my husband is a meat-eater and apparently, so is my son these days because (according to Waldorf Education) the formative years of 7-14 fall under the influence of the father more than the mother. Boohoohoo. Although I am on the opposite end of their diet spectrum, eating mostly plant-based dishes, I have chosen not to judge (believe me, this is hard) their food choices because I believe that we each have our own journey and karma to process. Perhaps my karma is being married to my husband, as he is married to me? Not necessarily a bad thing despite our differences.

They say, marry someone exactly like you. Well, I beg to differ. Opposites do attract because there are life lessons to learn from one another. If we all turned out to be the same kind of people, with the same values, views and attitudes, the world would be a very boring place to live in. So, I acknowledge that fact that we need variety and choices.

Kenny Rogers provides a wide range of food options for all kinds of food preferences. Did you know they have an awesome Mango Smoothie? It is absolutely perfect to cool you this summer! I'm craving for that right this instant. Yuuum.

Visit your nearest Kenny Rogers branch for your next family meal and see all the choices yourself :)

This is an advertised post. However, all opinions are truly of my own.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Ilog Maria Propolis Tooth Powder Review

New in my arsenal of natural products is the Propolis Tooth Powder from Ilog Maria Honey Bee Farm. I've stopped using conventional toothpaste for many years knowing that many of the ingredients used are neurotoxic. You read that right. Ingredients like flouride, saccharine and sodium laurate sulfate are bad for your brain and are cancerous. Even in small increments, everything we take do add up and may do us harm. Good thing there are more local products that actually care about your health (and not just make money out of consumers!).

I do make my own homemade toothpaste with baking powder and pure essential oils but I have to admit, it tastes nasty. And since the paste I make is usually in a ceramic jar, it isn't very travel friendly either. This pot from Ilog Maria is handy enough for travel and yes, tastes way better than what I make at home :P

Ilog Maria Honey Bee Farm
Silang, Cavite

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mom School Learning Through Play with Sun Life

Last Saturday, I was invited by Janice of Mommy Mundo to participate at Mom School with Sun Life. I eagerly joined because of the educational nature of the event which I used as a bonding activity with my older child. (I make sure we have weekly dates!) We played their newest product, Praxis, a really genius board game similar to Monopoly. It teaches all the principles of saving and economics through play. I so sooooo love this concept! 

I am a believer of learning through play which I speak a lot about here on this blog because I am a Waldorf Education advocate (where learning is based on real play, imitation, movement, etc.) as well as my travel blog on kids where we learn through travel, mostly outdoors.

Lessons Learned

Well, in that single session I learned so much about how crucial it is to be saving and investing because of unforeseen emergencies which we experienced first-hand on the game board! 

I admit, I am not fond of "worrying" and saving for the future because I have a "live today as if it is your last day on Earth" attitude. I honestly would rather spend my money on travel and food :P My husband truly balances me out because he grounds me in many ways (like in finances!).

Again, I was reminded that we do need passive income if we want money to be working for us.

The data for the Mocha Frapuccino Savings Study proves that if you spend on coffee everyday for a year, it amounts to over P50,000 which could be invested and in 40 years amount to over 2 Million pesos! Wow. That's radical discipline for me. A huge lesson on my part to commit to saving for 40 years!

Sun Life a wide range of products and services: investments and insurance plans which will suit any of your family's needs. I was surprised to learn they even have kasambahay / nanny cards which can help add value to your contracts. Perhaps this is a game changer when considering loyalty to work and employers which is what we all currently need, right?

To learn more about Sun Life's offerings, please contact an agent who will help you learn the meaning of financial freedom. I know I need the help!

Sun Life of Canada, Philippines
2/F Sun Life Centre
5th Avenue corner Rizal Drive
Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig City 1634
Tel No. 849-9888


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...