Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gold Facial, Anyone?

I love gold. In fact, I’m so fascinated of this metal that I started collecting small pieces of jewelry when I begun earning my own money. You can never get wrong for wearing a gold, it’s elegant and timeless. But what about using them for facial? Yes, as in facial. Would you?

If you think that wearing gold jewelry is the only way to shimmer and make heads turn, think again. There has been a lot of news and advertisement lately about gold for improving skin and beauty. It has been claimed by cosmetic companies that this desirable metal really works magic on skin as it can make one look younger and considered to be a powerful anti-ageing treatment. Who wouldn't one a younger looking skin?

Then one day, I got a window of chance to experience this promise of a “sparkling smooth skin” and “without wrinkles” when I bumped into an Orogold Cosmetics promoter along the newly-opened mall in Singapore (Westgate). The promoter or sales person invited me to their newly-opened shop and had me sit down. He started asking my beauty regimen, products I'm using and other stuff while he was applying some sort of gold scrub on my hand. We waited for a few seconds then he tried rubbing it off taking some of my dead skin. He asked me to rinse it off quickly and wipe it dry. Afterwards he held my two hands together asking whether I can see the difference. At that time, I can hardly see the difference maybe because I regularly scrub my skin with my “trusted” beauty brand.

He then showed me another one, a facial scrub which he said were made of 24k gold. He started applying it on my face while talking about the benefits. According to him, this gold facial reduce fine lines, prevent ageing, enhance elasticity and among other things. After a while, he asked me to rinse it off and feel my rejuvenated skin. In fairness, it smoothen and lightened my skin a bit. Somehow, it may have removed some of the wastes and toxins in my skin. And it was just one application. Imagine the difference if the product will be used in a regular basis.

There’s one catch though, the price. It is gold, literally gold. I decided not to take any of the products the sales person offered. Even though their gold facial scrub products do actually work, I wouldn’t buy one. I know I could find an alternative facial that will give me same or better results without paying a gold price.

I will still buy 24k gold though, only jewelries. 

Would you like to try Oro Gold Cosmetics for yourself? You can find them at the following locations:
Orchard Gateway

218 Orchard Road

Raffles City 

252 North Bridge Road
Raffles City , SINGAPORE 179103
Suntec City mall

3 Temasek Blvd.
Suntec City, SINGAPORE 038983

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

10 Bayfront Ave
Singapore, 018956
West Gate

39 Robinson Road
West Gate, SINGAPORE 068911

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Tale of Two Towers and Two Moms

I've flown to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore for a countless times. Those business travels were quite fast and I guess they were just fine. I've also tried the bus ride from one country to the other. It was still comfy and great because I have a company. But my most remarkable travel to Kuala Lumpur was by the train.

Travelling a long distance by train wasn't comfortable at all but it's tolerable. It wasn't fast either but the slow-paced kind of journey feels like nostalgic. The best part of it was, I wasn't travelling alone. I was with two adventurous women, my mom and mom-in-law, who braved the 8-hour train ride with me on this journey. They were so excited to experience Malaysia that they were willing to travel on a budget and by train to get there. It was an abrupt plan and we just made last minute online booking for our itinerary.

We left Singapore by night and we arrived at breakfast at Kuala Lumpur Sentral. Because I would like my two moms to maximise their truly Asia experience, we dined at small restaurant and have them tried Malay food. I let them ordered nasi lemak and kueh. Nasi lemak is a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf. It is also considered the national dish of Malaysia. Kueh is a kind of dessert like rice cakes or any other traditional sweet delicacies. The nasi lemak that was served to us at the local restaurant was too way below my expectation, it was too little and it only came with a tear of scrambled egg. On the other hand, the kueh was quite rich and yummy. Both two moms liked it too.

After breakfast, we freshened up and off to another train ride. We headed to one of the tourist destinations in Kuala Lumpur which is the Batu Caves. It took us just about half hour to reach this Hindu temple and shrine. We were greeted with a gigantic monkey god statue painted with light blue at the entrance, but both moms didn’t dare to enter the first temple. Some of the tourists who took the same train with us, didn’t hesitate to remove their footwear and entered the temple when they arrived at the shrine. We continued to walk down to the nearby Art Gallery Cave instead and we enjoyed the garden view. As we went further down, we were then again greeted with enormous Hindu God statue painted with striking yellow gold. It was so huge that I can imagine it as almost as high as the limestone hill at the back. I was just a little disappointed that we didn’t climb that steep flight of 272 steps to reach the other parts of the shrine. We had to reserve our energy plus we only had limited time for this trip.

Moving on to the next stop, of course we then again took a train ride. It was the third train ride for the day. This was it, the moment the two moms have been waiting for – to see the once hailed as tallest buildings in the world. Without a doubt, these two magnificent towers are the best landmark of the city. Almost every tourist visiting KL comes to these buildings to step at the Skybridge, to shop and of course to take a snapshot. Since we were on a budget trip, we took the later. It was the cheapest way to get souvenir of the twin tower. We took as many pictures as we want and we even dragged some strangers to take us a group shot. We enjoyed the photo session. 

After we had enough of it, we went to the KLCC Shopping center, it is just located below the PETRONAS Towers, to take our lunch at one of the restaurants. Of course, we had “truly Asia” food again and that means spicy and yummy. We took different varieties of food such as meat, seafood and vegetables. We didn't even finished all as their serving portion seemed like good for extremely starving human being.

We explored the shopping center for quite a while and surveyed retail price. We were even converting currencies in between. We didn't shop, because primarily it carries mostly Asian fashions label like Sibel, Azru and the likes which we thought very expensive for budget travellers like us. We went to the shopping district in Bukit Bintang instead to look for cheaper alternatives. We shopped a little bit here and there and we took a paused at a hotel. We then walked from here to there again and suddenly we were at another shopping center, Parkson. It was almost time to leave the city now, but before we headed to the station, we grabbed burgers at a local fast food to ensure we will not go hungry on our way home. 

What a short yet fun day. The two moms were amazing. Together we were able to:
Braved the train and bus commute…
Tried the spicy food…
Tasted kueh and nyonya cakes...
Took shots of twin tower…
Walked through shopping district…
Bought tudung…
And had lots of laugh and fun in between!

When and where will be the next adventure? I can't wait... :)

To book your ticket, please visit KTM

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Getting Inspiration from the "Innocent World"

I haven't been writing or painting for quite some time now. It's been almost two months since my last blog. I've been quite busy in the past few days. Or maybe am I just pretending to be busy in my life? Well, honestly, I wasn't that busy... I guess I just don't have enough inspiration to write or paint something lately.
That's why I abandoned my comfort crib for a while and journeyed to the city to be inspired by “Innocent World”. It is a solo exhibition by a Japanese Painter Tomoyuki Kambe. The exhibition features various aspects of traditional Japanese painting styles that depicts the artist’s observation “that the big world is made of many tiny elements and living things around us”. The artist combines traditional art medium with modern technique to create art pieces that illuminate on the philosophy of seeing a world in a grain of sand. This is really evident on his latest and exquisite paintings displayed at Japan Creative Centre during the exhibition.
Some of the artworks at the exhibition
Impressive representation of nature...
the pebbles, small animals, and tiny plants...
Very detailed work of art

"Reaching Out"

In this big big world, it's the small thing that makes it more interesting. Now, I'm inspired.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Putting Some Orange in Life, Literally & Figuratively

"Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions,
it is governed by our mental attitude." -- Dale Carnegie
In today's fast-paced living environment, every one of us is facing myriads of tough life's challenges such as demands from works, families, peers or friends. As a person with multiple roles in life, we are expected to do more than what seems we can do. We are required to fulfill duties and responsibilities beyond our available resources and even beyond our preferences.

More often than not, these demands create more pressures to our already stressful life. We either embrace or shun away from these demands. When we try to clinch too hard on these, we could end up sabotaging our own health and sometimes, even our relationships with other people. And when we try to avoid these additional stresses, we’re running away from changes, possibilities and opportunities that can help us grow further. If too often, we continue to resist change and always do the same thing over and over again, we will get bored, we will languish. It’s fine to welcome additional responsibilities and demands in life, as long as we can keep up in caring ourselves and others. It’s also ok to do things over and over again, especially if the method is a proven success, but we must welcome change and improvement. It is important to spice things up in our lives once in awhile to discover new things and find new successes. As some say, we need to put some orange in our lives. If I say “orange”, I mean, literally and figuratively.

"When life gives you lemons, make orange juice
and leave everyone wondering." - Anonymous
In color psychology, orange is the color of adventure, cheerfulness and inquisitiveness. It has a “freeing action upon the body and mind, relieving repressions”. So whenever life feels dragging, it’s time to get some orange to refresh, reenergize and relax.
Below are some of the “oranges” that can improve our lives in some way or another: 

Orange for Relationships
Happiness – not necessary smiling at all times or getting what we want, but rather its being contented with what we have and living with a thought and meaning
Kindness - practice random acts of compassion at any time, in anywhere to anyone.
Encouragement – praise others even for a small success and inspire to do better

Orange for Work
To order g3, please leave a message.
Creativity & Energy – inject new ideas to what we do; put some humor at work; play and celebrate good times
Optimism – never lose hope and keep positive.
Motivation – learn the “whys” of what we do to keep us going.

Orange for Health
Orange/Citrus – take powerful natural antioxidant which helps the body develop resistance against harmful body agents.
G3Juice – take Superfruit blend that contains so much good stuff to increase energy and enhance longevity; promotes health in muscles and joints protecting and strengthening vital tissues.
Last but not the least; try to wear orange from time to time. Based on color psychology, wearing orange can help to balance your emotions. Especially if you are in distress, it can lift up your spirit. If you are not a fan of bright or colorful dress, just try once and have some fun.
Power Up Day

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Relics of St. Paul's Church

St. Paul’s Church is one of the oldest Christian churches in Malacca. It was originally built in 1521 by a Portuguese captain, Duarte Coelho; however, it was transformed later into a burial place for the noble by the Dutch then as a powder magazine during the British occupation. The church is located majestically at Bukit St. Paul. It’s now part of the Malacca Museum Complex comprising the A Famosa ruins, the Stadthuys and other historical buildings.

It’s just a few minutes climb from the stairs right after the façade of Fort A Famosa. Although the church has lost its splendid ornament, it is still worth climbing the stairs to enjoy the bird’s eye view of the city and Straits of Malacca. It’s also a little bit breezy at the top of the hill as the church is surrounded with big old trees; however there are some vendors and hawkers selling souvenirs, toys, bottled water and among others which seemed to be a little distraction to the overall ambience of this historic place.

Inside the ruins, there are large granite tombstone belongs to some of the Dutch noblemen buried at this hill. There’s also one big hole in the Church barricade with steel bars which is the open grave that once contained the body of St. Francis Xavier before he was shipped to Goa, India, in 1553.  In front of the Church stands a marble statue of St Francis Xavier, known as the Apostle of the East because of his extensive missionary works in Asia.

Through times, the church was used for different purposes from place of worship to burial to power magazine. Today, it’s just a mere historical spot in Malacca where tourists, by standers and hawkers flock.

I may not be a Catholic believer, but it’s good to know that there are still some people visiting this place to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis Xavier. And I hope that this church will continue to stand as a reminder of the teachings of the Christian faith.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Finding the Lost Venice of the East (1)

We’ve been doing a “heritage walk through” since early April and over the weekend we went a little further from Singapore.  This time around, we explored the historical Malacca or Melaka. The city which is one of the smallest states of Malaysia is just about 2-3 hours non-stop driving from Singapore. Since we travelled by luxury coach which is impossible not to stop along the way, our journey took about 4 hours.

While on the road, we’ve learned the history of Malacca in a nutshell. "Melaka, popularly believed to have been named from the Melaka tree was founded in 1396. Before the 15th Century, Melaka was just an ordinary fishing village", the tour guide shared. The city is located on both sides of the Malacca River near its mouth into the Strait of Malacca. Its river played a vital role in the history. The guide also said that Melaka was “once dubbed the Venice of the East, where the traders of East and West met, its river was the beginning point of the "Sultanate of Melaka" empire, attracting traders from all corners of the world.” But as time went by, due to some reasons (nature, conflicts, rapid development or any others), the city lost its fame.
Hotel Equatorial Melaka
Today, Melaka regained its glory, not as a world's major trading port but as a tourist destination. Myriads of tourist from across the globe visit this city every year. The city is without a doubt rich in history, culture, heritage and tradition that it made to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. As we approached to our hotel, we had a glimpse of the “old” and “new” Malacca. We saw both modern high-rise buildings and traditional style houses converted to commercial establishments. We checked in at Hotel Equatorial Melaka which is located in the heart of the city. We had a good experience at the hotel, checking in was very fast and requests were promptly attended. It was not my first time at the hotel; I’ve stayed there last year for a business trip. But during our weekend stay, I fully enjoyed the hotel amenities. The property is rather old compared to others hotels around the area. Nonetheless, it is nice and clean. Beds smell good and very comfy. It has nice selection of dining and cool outdoor swimming pool. The lobby is quite spacious as well. It’s just a short distance from the major places of interest in Melaka such as St Paul, Jonker St, Christ Church, Fort a Famosa and the river. Shopping malls are also close to the hotel. Having housed in a strategic hotel like this, we had many choices to do – shopping, sightseeing, swimming, dining or seeing a movie.

After our lunch at Papa John's Pizza, we refreshed a bit and decided to explore the “old” Melaka in a laid back manner – walking. Another option to experience the heritage trail in Melaka is by “trishaw” also known as rickshaw or pedicab. It is a tri-wheeled cycle decorated with colorful which can be hired in an hourly basis. In Melaka, trishaw owners even attached stereos on their cabs and play loud music while on the road.
Trishaw for hire
While we were heading towards our first stop, we got curious about an on-going event in an open field near the mall. There was a little crowd cheering, shouting and running. We decided to drop by and see what was going on. We learned after that it was the final day of the Malaysian National Paintball League 2013 which was held at Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall.
We continued our walking adventure and in just a few minute, we’ve reached the façade of the Fort A Famosa. The structure is quite similar to that of Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila. According to written accounts, “the hallmark was built by the Portuguese in 1511 as a fortress and sustained severe structural damage during the Dutch invasion in the early 17th century. The British East India Company had then set to destroy the said fort but timely intervention by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1808 saved what remains of Porta De Santiago or commonly known A Famosa Fort.”
Ruins of Fort A Famosa
To be continued... Our next stops include St Paul, Jonker St, Christ Church and the Melaka River...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Walking Through Heritage (2)

After the River Walk early this month, we continued our little "walking through heritage" adventure in one of the most historic landmarks in Singapore – Fort Canning. The park is located on a hill in the downtown area. Some parts of the park are being upgraded during our visit as such we were not able to witness other highlights of the property. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the lush greenery and tranquility of the place.

Sights at the Site

Next stop - Heritage Sites in Malaysia

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pink Within the Green

Lonely shade, Happy shrub.

It was Friday, the sun shines so brightly and it would be such a waste to stay at home all day. Embarking on a peaceful walk to get up close with nature and greenery and reading a book on a bench under the tree, will be a perfect way to spend the afternoon. And so we did.

Read and relax.

We packed few sandwiches, sausages, fruits and drinks and brought along some books too. We hopped on a bus and alighted at a nearby nature park. The scorching sun of April was unbearable but as we walked through the lush forest tracks we spotted interesting plants and birds that made us seemingly forget about the torrid weather. We’ve seen different kinds of ferns and large native trees. Fruit bearing trees such as Langka, Rambutan and Pakak are  also evident in the mini forest.

Natural shelter, refreshing shade.

Dragonflies watching at the verge of the pond.

Before we continued our nature trail, we paused for a while at the Shelter and had a bite of the goodies we brought. Unlike other recreational areas we’ve visited, there were neither vendo machines nor drinking stations in this nature park. Luckily, we brought more than enough throughout the afternoon.

After recharging our empty stomach, we went down to the pond plaza and found an idyllic spot under the big tree to read books. It’s a quiet and relaxing paradise; a little haven in this busy city country. We went closely at the verge of the pond to check if we would find some fish, unfortunately, we didn’t see any. Instead, we witnessed dragonflies and butterfiles in the surroundings. Squirrels and monitor lizards are common in the area as well. There are few signs of “Don’t Feed the Monkeys” in the park, but no signs nor trails of monkey during our trip.

Tall and Beautiful.

At the bank of the quarry pool.

Near the pond plaza is a stairway leading up to two scenic lookout points. Since we’re still full of energy, we climbed to have a bird’s eye view of the pond. Atop, there’s another shelter where we sat for a while and ate some fruits. After eating and observing birds at the same, we packed our things.

Wild and rich flower kissed by the sun.

Wild sunflower along the way reminded me of my other home - Baguio City.

It was time to leave the park, but instead of taking the easy path going to the bus stop, we turned the wrong way which led us to a long steep path going to the War Memorial Park entrance. We searched for the nearest exit leading to the main road and as we walked down the road, familiar things greeted us. These many wild sunflowers swaying in the wind seemed to be waving at us. Saying hello or saying goodbye, it doesn’t matter. All I know is, these rich yellow living things reminded me of my former haven, my Baguio, my other home. I know it was really time to go home. J
~~~Pink and Green