Sporting a new name, the Yellow Corner Sports and Martial Arts Gym offers Muay Thai, Boxing, Tapondo, Gym Workout, Dance Aero, and High Intensity Interval Training lessons at its gym.
Headed by Head Trainer and Muay Thai Instructor, Kru Bayani Albos, the other teachers are Coach Rodel Rubio as Gym Coach, Coach Eugene Morados and Coach Arman Blauta as Boxing Coaches, Kru Francis Amandy as the other Muay Thai Instructor, Sensei Moreto Pabricante as Tapondo Instructor, and Coach Jonathan Prado as Dance Coach.
Would-be model, Keys Cosido (photos), is one of their Muay Thai students.
The Christmas countdown is well on its way and for some, Christmas shopping has already begun in earnest. But for those of you who are still looking for more gift selections, you may want to drop by the newest kid on the block of El Grande that just opened last month, Sukhi Gifts & Treasures.
Owner and proprietress, Sheryl B. Manlulu used to work in a trading company and it took awhile for her to finally find her niche in the trading industry. An entrepreneur at heart, she loved purchasing and selling and she gets to do just that in her her store and business, where she has put her knowledge and experience in trading to good use.
Sukhi Gifts & Treasures is a retail store offering giftable items, stationery products, bags, organizers and other "must haves" that are both fancy and functional. "My idea is to have a store that will cater to middle and upper class consumers (including students) who look beyond the crowded retail mall for a special shopping experience. In addition to offering a wide array of unique quality products, the customers will enjoy friendly customer service in a convenient and uncongested location," she says.
A resident of Alabang, Sheryl chose BF Homes for her shop because of its diversity. "It is not only a residential area but a commercial area as well. I can only start small, but I want to have enough exposure to keep my business thriving. And I think BF Homes is the best choice of place for me to begin," she adds.
A traveler along El Grande going towards Lopez gate will not miss the large and bold sign outside her store. Aside from an attractive logo, Sukhi Gifts & Treasure also has an interesting story behind its name. Sheryl's first choice was the obvious "suki", the Tagalog word for a loyal and frequent customer; she thought there was a nice catch to it.
"My second choice for a name was "happy" in a foreign language, since I wanted to create an idea of "fun" in my store and in the items that I will sell. When I tried to search for different translations, I came across the word "sukhi" which is the Hindi word for ''happy.' I instantly liked it. It's like playing with the word "suki" by adding an "h" to it, and at the same time it was describing my store and my personal feelings for this business," she reveals. Some may call that a sign of good fortune.
She is off to an auspicious start, already attracting corporate clients and other buyers. She can customize a product and help conceptualize products that will fit her client's need and budget. She also offers promotional and party giveaways. For her opening promo, she is giving away cute character pens for every P250 worth of purchase.
Looking back on her beginnings, she fondly recalls her business mentors with gratitude. "I always look up to my uncle and aunt (Tom and Mike Onate) when it comes to having a business. I saw how they started and I want to be like them. And it was they who encouraged me to start my own business since I already have the knowledge and the experience. I will always be grateful for all their help." And if your aim is making people happy, how can you go wrong?
It gives us a special thrill to see an entrepreneur from BF Homes become a success story. Sheila Amora and her baby, Funky Plum Vintage has come a long way, indeed, from the first time we featured her last November.
We are happy to have been there with Sheila almost from the start and to see her grow as an entrepreneur.
Starting from a small shop in the D-Square building in Phase 3, where she was bursting at the seams (pun intended) as her fame and clientele grew, she has since moved to a bigger space at The Pergola with another branch coming out soon.
In a little under a year, she has been riding a wave of accomplishments that has made Funky Plum close to being an overnight success, no mean feat in a very competitive industry.
And the mainstream media has taken notice, too. Funky Plum is now styling broadcasters Mai Rodriguez-Morillo of ANC On-The-Scene and Amelyn Veloso of TV5 Balitang Tapat. We will not be surprised if this is just the beginning of many more good things to come for this hardworking mother of two.
Recently, she posted on her Facebook page the mantra and philosophy of the late Steve Jobs, which to us, can sum up her own philosophy and the secret of her success: "You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."Visit Funky Plum Vintage today and get a chance to win SM Gift Checks!
HELLO, HI SPA!
By Efren Silva
It was a long, hot and physically tiring working day. On such days, I usually have two options: EITHER get home quickly, take a nice refreshing shower, enjoy a light (ok, maybe not so light) dinner, and surf the cable channels with a dash of mobile FB on the side to lull me to sleep, OR, get a good massage. While a bad massage can ruin an average day for me, a nondescript massage at the end of a not-so-pleasant day will equally give me a not-so-desirable bearing the day after!
On that particular Thursday, I was glad to have opted for the second option. I went to Hi Spa.
As a lot of BF residents have probably noticed, spas have proliferated and prospered quite well in the subdivision. I have tried eleven of the almost twenty spas along the main roads alone, not to mention a couple of those home services, which, to my dismay, aren’t worth it. I am always eager to try new ones, and Hi Spa has been on my agenda for a couple of months now.
Although it’s on my usual daily route along Elizalde, two corners eastbound from Aguirre, I prefer getting my massages right before hitting the sack so I normally go anytime between 11 and 12. Too bad, Hi Spa promptly closes at 12mn (1am is typical for most). And since they have a full service wet floor (the only one inside BF), if you’re using the facilities as well as getting a massage, you have to be there at least 2hrs before closing time.
Since I have phoned Hi Spa a couple of times before--‘English please’, was the opening line of the call taker, audibly recognizable as a Korean--I already knew their schedule; I rushed with a friend to beat the 10pm cut-off. There was ample parking and the exterior was well-lit. Although there wasn’t any guard, the area looked quite safe and secured.
A Korean gentleman who was manning the reception area promptly oriented us about their facilities, services and fees (P350 for 1-hr massage, P550 to use the facilities plus a 1-hr massage, paid up front). A Korean lady, although less conversant in English, also came out to welcome us on our first visit to the place.
My friend and I were each given a laced locker key, a pair of towels and a set of spa garb. We were then ushered into the male locker area, which was adjacent to the spacious wet floor. It had a number of well-appointed shower stalls, a big hot jacuzzi and a slightly smaller cold pool. It also had a large sauna room.
The receptionist (I don’t remember him introducing himself or asking for our names) explained that the green hue of the hot jacuzzi was from the mint-scented oil in the water. He also apologized that the heat in the sauna was no longer at optimum level as they turn it off at 8pm. I was a bit disappointed about the sauna since I was looking forward to the heat to relax (and maybe to sweat out a pound or two).
But what the sauna lacked in heat, the hot jacuzzi more than compensated for! Boy was it HOT! I had to get my legs acclimatized to the temperature for a few minutes before I was able to take a full dip. The water jets were ok although I would have preferred them to be stronger. Alternating the hot jacuzzi, cold pool, and the not-so-hot sauna ultimately did the trick! My tight muscles loosened and started getting me relaxed in preparation for my much needed massage! But not before an interesting ‘intermission’...
My friend and I didn’t have company in the wet area and were basking in the solitude when an elderly Korean man, whom we later learned was the owner of the place, joined us. After some basic pleasantries and introductions, he talked a bit more about their facilities and clientele. Apparently, although they also had Filipino regulars, they catered mostly to Koreans who normally come earlier in the day, thus, the turning off of the sauna by 8pm. He again apologized about it and told us to call in advance the next time we visit after 8pm so they can keep the sauna on for us.
He pointed out that Filipinos prefer to come to the spa later in the day when there are less people because we are very shy in being naked. It was quite amusing that he equated modesty to ‘shyness’ as he puts it, because of one’s manly endowment! Haha, and he went on and on, rating the various nationalities on the ‘size’ department: Arabs, Americans and Asians, in that particular order. And he didn’t stop there! He went on to expound (verbally and physically!) that among the Asians, Koreans were pretty much at the end of the line together with the Chinese. I’d already cut it (no pun intended) at this point, as I know this site is GP. To say the least, the old guy was just hilarious!
Even before an hour had passed, we were told that our therapists were ready for our massage. We had to start asap as they had to leave promptly at 12mn since they still had a long commute ahead of them. So we reluctantly dried off, hydrated ourselves with cold water from the dispenser, got into our garbs and proceeded to the second floor.
The curtained cubicles were roomy, comfortably cool and amply lit while the massage beds were sturdy and had fresh linens on. I requested for hard pressure and so did my friend. Both our therapists apologetically told us they may not have good pressure anymore because they had already handled quite a few customers before us. We braced ourselves for a major disappointment but we were both pleasantly surprised! They delivered quite well, having a good and consistent pressure as well as an obviously well-learned technique. We were both glad to tip them generously.
We took a quick final dip in the jacuzzi and a leisurely shower before getting dressed. The receptionist bade us goodbye with a promise that our next visit will be much better. I hope to find that out soon!
En fin: Does Hi Spa have the best spa facilities in BF? Yes. How is their customer service? Average. How was the massage? Quite good. Are they reasonably priced? Yes. Will I come back? Definitely. Have they won me over from my favorite BF spa? Not yet...
(Editor: We would like to thank Efren Silva for reviewing Hi Spa for Good Living BF)
Like many kids back then, one of my not-so-fond memories were of lessons my mother put me and my siblings (and cousins galore) through, that is of dance and piano lessons--just hated them. A shy kid, I hated having to dance in front of people, specially strangers. I loved ballet though--in those days, every little girl seemed to be enrolled in Mrs. Locsin's ballet class. However, hate is just the opposite of love, as they say, and true enough as maturity sunk in, I went gaga over dance and took lessons on and off as I grew older .Today, my love of dance is as strong as ever. Even my favorite movies are dance musicals: The Red Shoes (hauntingly unforgettable); An American in Paris (Gene Kelly at his balletic best); Singing in the Rain (more than Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse defined the perfect dance partner for me); West Side Story (George Chakiris and Rita Morena at their fiery best); All that Jazz (a Bob Fosse showcase); White Nights (with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines at the apex of their careers, ballet and tap dance never looked this good); Saturday Night Fever (John Travolta forever); Dirty Dancing (Patrick Swayze should've been a bigger star); Billy Elliot (ok, it's not a musical but it's all about one boy's overwhelming passion--with a capital P--for dance); Chicago (Catherine Zeta-Jones fulfills her potential); Hairspray (100 extra lbs of fake body fat can't hide Travolta's gift); and heck, even Flashdance (even though it took three people to body double for Jennifer Beals audition dance scene at the end of the movie). I also like these movies--Dance with Me (where Vanessa Williams and Cheyenne are smoking hot); Save the Last Dance (Julia Stiles astonishes); Step Up 2: The Streets (the best street dance sequence ever); Shall We Dance
(both American versions; I wish I also saw the Japanese version); Center Stage
(yet another ballet drama), and Take the Lead
(Antonio Banderas can do anything as far as I'm concerned). And who could forget the Academy Award-winning performance of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman
where his blind character memorably
and superbly dances the tango with a game Gabrielle Anwar (lucky girl!)? That scene alone is worth the price of admission. Other recent dance movies that I regret not having yet seen are Strictly Ballroom and Mad Hot Ballroom. Those go into my bucket list.Of course, television can't be far behind. When a cousin lent me his collection of Season 1 of So You Think You Can Dance, I was glued to the TV for hours--I was especially riveted by the joie de vivre of and chemistry between the Fil-Am contestant, Melody Lacayanga and best friend, Nick Lazzarini, who bagged runner-up and first place plums respectively. Head judge and executive producer (also of American Idol) Nigel Lythgoe extravagantly bestowed on Lacayanga the ultimate praise when he said, "You make me want to be a younger man." Heady stuff, indeed. Watching the show, which I think is the best program on TV today notwithstanding judge Mary Murphy's earthquake-causing screams, has now become a habit for seven seasons.
Mr. Lythgoe, you are a genius. Now comes Got to Dance UK and its US counterpart, Live to Dance. Before that was Dirty Dancing the reality TV show. And why is Dancing with the Stars nowhere to be seen on Philippine TV?
I have to confess that I have not yet seen one episode of ABC5's Shall We Dance.
One of my fondest TV memories is watching the TV specials of Ann-Margret
, who I would like to think is the precursor of Beyonce and Lady Gaga. A compleat performer, the Swedish bombshell knew how to shake her booty and make it appealing to young and old alike. (My mom loved this particular show
). But at the top of my list of TV specials is Liza Minelli's Liza with a Z
--it showed Minelli at her most commanding as a singer and and as a dancer, paying equal tribute to both aspects of her talent. Sadly, it was all downhill after New York, New York for this uber-talented performer. This powerhouse performer truly belonged in a different era, an era that celebrated the musicals and its stars like her mother, the legendary Judy Garland
I mourn the what-could-have-beens had Hollywood given Richard Gere and Hugh Jackman the chance to dazzle in movie musicals. John Travolta's little dancing gems in Look Who's Talking
and Pulp Fiction
just makes me beg for more. It would've been a great, great shame had Chicago not come along for Zeta-Jones and Gere whose musical theatre backgrounds were crying out for that big musical spectacle. C'mon Hollywood, give these stars a stage again!
On a different stage are athletes whose grace and movement recalls a virtuoso dancer.
It is no accident that Roger Federer's greatest asset is his economy of movement, which at its most sublime, is described as being "an artist in full flight", a comparison to a dancer at his peak. It is instructive that fellow tennis supremo, Novak "The Djoker" Djokovic, in his much-loved impersonations
, mimics a ballet dancer in impersonating Federer--it makes you laugh at first but then you marvel after at the homage because it is spot on.For the most part, I now enjoy dance vicariously, but seeing it through the eyes of a photographer and an avid fan gives me an even greater pleasure.
It seems that the human body was born to dance. Never is a man sexier than when he is dancing and never is a human body at its most beautiful and wondrous than when it is "in full flight", whether as a dancer transported by his passion or as an athlete who is distinctly blessed with the movement of a dancer non-pareil.The following slideshows are our tributes to the Symmetry Dance Studio, a studio that nurtures our young talents and hopefully gives them the confidence through dance to pursue their dreams in whatever
field they may later choose. Bravo Gus and Venus and all your wonderfully talented teachers!
All that Jazz
Fire in the Bellydance
Hip Hip Hip Hop
Pole Dancing Passion
Robinson's Mall celebrated Halloween with the canine ambassadors of the Philippine Canine Club, Inc. (PCCI) in a fashion dog show called the Royal Loyal Pooch.
"I never thought something like this existed inside BF Homes!" This was the first thought that came to mind when we first entered the gate to The Village Sports Club. But as we passed by prospective members being toured around, we overheard one woman say the very same thing to her companion. It is a pleasant surprise.
Older residents may remember it from some years back but the existing club is under new management, and they have done wonders with it. Envisioned as "your premier sports and wellness hub in Southern Metro Manila," this 1.8 hectares exclusive sports club was softly launched in May of last year. It is not fully operational yet and remains a work-in-progress but Phase 1 has already opened its doors to its members while Phase 2 will begin its construction next year.
The Village Sports Club presents an impressive array of club amenities. Phase 1 has the following: Its swimming facilities include a 25-meter 8-lap pool, a lagoon pool, a kiddie pool, a toddler wading pond, and a water playground, all of which surrounds the Gazebo where you can hold your events in an al fresco setting; a Sports and Wellness Pavilion with four IBF-approved badminton courts, four multi-use volleyball or futsal or additional badminton courts, and an indoor basketball court (members and guests were treated to a live view of the recently held Pacquiao-Margarito fight in the Pavilion); two outdoor green clay tennis courts; a Zenith Wellness center with Technogym cardiovascular and weight training options; Technogym's KINESIS One; a dance, yoga and pilates studio, a sauna and steam room, spa treatment rooms, a Novuderm aesthetic clinic, a day care and playroom, locker rooms, and spacious shower and changing rooms, all of which are spaciously housed in the first floor of the Sports Pavilion; a prospective Juice Bar underneath the Gazebo, a future Snack Bar and Coffee Shop, a Clinic, a jogging path, and finally, an Events Lawn, which is in its finishing stage and ready for bookings in January.
Phase 2 will comprise of a main lobby, a main dining hall, function rooms, a grand ballroom, a bowling alley, a game room, a library and business center, pocket gardens, a salon and barber shop, a sports shop, a gift shop, fine dining and outdoor informal dining restaurants.
The Village Sports Club invites you to "unwind, rejuvenate or reconnect" in a place where you "can feel right at home."
Next to putting on a lipstick, having polished and lacquered nails seems to be the next best thing to feeling dressed when you're in a hurry and on a budget. The sight of manicured fingers and pedicured toes is always a morale-booster and eye-candy at the same time.
Is it any wonder that nail spas and salons are mushrooming everywhere when it's both a guilty pleasure and an art all by itself.
I had the pleasure of enjoying a thoroughly relaxing afternoon at Pamper Your Feet, a newly opened nail spa that easily and delightfully lived up to its name.
Its lime green walls and black leather easy chairs give it a dark, edgy look but also a cocoon-like ambiance that embraces you and relaxes you, settling you down and away from the heat outside. Cool samba music wafts softly as you sink into your chair.
The nail technicians come and do their job quietly, efficiently, proficiently. The atmosphere is professional and informal at the same time. It's a world away from the neighborhood parlor of the past with its in-your-face music, frenetic frenzy buzzing around you, and loud chattering voices of haircutters and tv denizens alike competing for attention.
I get a Pamper Me Foot Spa
. It puts me in such a good mood I opt for a hot pink nail color. I have to say that Pamper Your Feet has stamped its mark on what pampering is all about and their nail work is excellent. Three weeks later, my toes are still as attractively colored as the day I stepped out of their spa.
It is a relatively new nail spa so it is understandably putting its best foot forward so to speak. This early, the shop deservedly has garnered its fair share of clients and will continue to do so if they maintain this level of standard.
"Fashion fades. Only style remains," so says Coco Chanel, the eternal diva of style. And when one who has faded from the fashion scene to raise a family decides to come back to embrace its lifestyle once more, a thriving business is born.
Sheila Amora, mother of two, former commercial model, and now savvy businesswoman and proprietress, has gone back to the fashion world she left behind and put up Funky Plum, a vintage clothes shop that has caught the avid attention of many women--from 16 to the ever-young -ty somethings--since she opened her doors just over a month ago.
With a supportive hubby and two pretty daughters behind her in her new venture (who help mommy in the store), she attends to her clients, personally looking after them. It's all part of her vision "to bring their zest for fashion back to life by introducing them to their own individual style. It's all about creating their own set of fashion rules to tailor-fit their lifestyle."
"Funky plum," she explains, "would like to offer every woman a chance at bringing out her best through the services we offer: One-on-one styling services; one-on-one make-over sessions (where we teach you basic make-up tricks); wardrobe consultancy services (we look through what you already have in your closet and help you mix and match). We can even re-work, re-invent, and alter pieces you already have to make them look more pleasing to you. We also custom-make clothes from casual wear to formal wear."
Fashion, she notes, is constantly evolving, which has its pitfalls. "Many women," she observes, "get lost in translation due to the various trends and fashion rules they feel they need to keep up with. Due to all the pressure brought about by the cruel rules of fashion matched with the daily pressures of their everyday lives, they choose to let go."
Uh, I can definitely relate to that. Some days, I wake up feeling like a queen with nary a care in the world and other days I wake up feeling like the world has descended upon my shoulders. But didn't I just read in the news the long-overdue admission that women can't have it all? It's a truism that Sheila understands and infuses into her business philosophy.
"Our thrust is to make women of any age, shape, or size feel wonderful about themselves when they wear our clothes and not be limited by the dictates of fashion. Every woman has the potential of looking their best without having to follow every latest trend. A woman just has to know what looks good on her and work from there," offers Sheila who's own style looks enviably effortless, making her her own best advertisement.
I only have to look at her to see that she lives and breathes the essence of Funky Plum, an individualistic style that highlights each woman's personality and brings out her hidden fashion sense.
Where does she get her clothes? "We source designer mod vintage clothes for everyday wear," she answers. "We make sure that every vintage piece we have is stylish, of very good quality, and suitable for women of all ages. We have one-of-a-kind pieces that range from extra small to extra large from casual wear to formal wear so that we make sure that we can cater to the needs of any woman of any shape and size.
"All our pieces are dry-cleaned and/or hand-washed, depending on the fabric; we ensure that all our items are fresh-smelling and ready to use. We also offer alteration services on our one-of-a-kind pieces."
Funky Plum also designs its own casual to formal wear and has its own line of vintage-inspired pieces. Its own designs extend to one-of-a-kind accessories to match every outfit in the store. To finish off the look, it additionally sells pre-loved designer bags and shoes.
All in all, Funky Plum is a heady mixture of irresistible products and pampered services, all housed in a one-stop shop for women on-the-go who've no time to browse the malls, and run by a vivacious, stylish woman who lives by the philosophy of Coco Chanel.
It's a potent combination sure to help any woman look good.
Moist Chocolate Cake
Ever wondered what it would be like to quit the corporate world to pursue your dreams to become an entrepreneur? For example, what if you wanted to bake and sell cakes but you didn't know how? What if your first cake was an utter failure? Would this stop you?
You may want to ask Mitchie Ganal. " The first chocolate cake I made was a disaster!" she laughs. "It was salty and rock hard. I followed the recipe but used rock salt instead of iodized salt because the recipe just said salt. I didn't know any better." That was back in college, where she took up Social Science in UP majoring in Area Studies. She considered shifting to Business Management but her mother discouraged her.
She muses that she has always dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur. "It was always at the back of my mind even when I was studying or working. I started secretly selling stationeries that my mom bought for me (for my personal use supposedly) when I was in Grade 2. Not that I needed money back then but because I was happy selling them. When I was a bit older and had two younger sisters already, during summer breaks my mom would cook something or have something for us to sell in the village just to keep us busy," she recalls.
As in her younger years, she did not really need to engage in business; her salary was enough to get her the perks she wanted, but she found going into business fun and exciting.
She went on and worked for various companies. When UP Manila offered Masters Courses, including Business Management, she signed up without telling her parents until a few days before the start of classes. Although she did not pursue her business plan cum thesis of putting up an internet cafe and coffee shop, she found time to go into the buy-and-sell operation during the "ber" months.
What followed seems like kismet. Finding her Management Trainee job physically taxing (she headed three departments towards the latter part of her tenure), she decided to take a one-month sabbatical a year ago in order to rest, wanting nothing more than just to eat and sleep.
But finally having had time to think and not one to be idle, she thought of occupying herself with a hobby. Suddenly, her disastrous college experiment loomed large in her mind -- maybe she could redeem herself by going back to baking.
This time, Mitchie was determined to make it right. She bought and read a lot of cookbooks and enrolled in a short course at the Heny Sison Culinary School. She did not have much time to rest as it was October and the Christmas season was just around the corner. Starting with just two recipes--chocolate cupcakes and oatmeal cookies--she plunged headlong into the bazaar circuit, going from one bazaar to another together with her sisters who sold their own products.
To distinguish herself from her competitors, she focused on making bite-size mini-cupcakes; after improving her recipes, she expanded her business by customizing her designs according to her client's wishes. Orders poured in. She further grew her line by including cakes for all occasions. Although her most popular cakes are her pink birthday cakes, she wants to specialize in wedding cakes.
Now resigned from her job, she still gets calls from various companies to go back to corporate life; she has turned them down with no regrets. But she credits her work experience for giving her the right attitude and strategic knowledge that has served her well in her own business.
Mitchie is presently savoring the sweet taste of her hard work and perseverance. "At the moment, I am very much enjoying being an entrepreneur and the success I have, however small they are.
"I'm very happy and satisfied -- proud even -- that in so short a time, I have started this business and have pushed my limits with success. I didn't have any formal training in baking so I am really happy with what I have accomplished so far," she marvels.
"I've succeeded in the many challenges I faced while working for others. But the challenges brought about by starting the business and the demands of the clients are far from what i have faced in the past. And, i have not had enough of it yet. Maybe I wont ever."
Mitchie has come full circle.
Mitchie's Sweet Petites