Category Archives: Opinion and Outlook

Lifestyle is about our lives: why Pinay Lifestyle is here

On May 10, 2010, Pinay Lifestyle published its first post. It was about the Philippine national elections held on the same day. I wrote about how proud I am of the Filipino citizens who, despite the heat and the crowds, stayed on to cast that single vote. Looking back, it was quite apt that this was the topic of the first post. It somehow embodies what Pinay Lifestyle stands for.

Girl power!!!I built this site after seeing the plethora of lifestyle content out there, whether on TV, print publications, or the Internet. I realized that while the topics covered were legitimately about lifestyle—dining at restaurants, luxury trips, shopping, skin treatments, parties—they didn’t seem to touch on what most of my life is about. Like any average Filipina, I spend the greater part of my days working, having humble meals with family, colleagues and friends, strolling at the mall and enjoying affordable treats, staying home to clean up, etc.  I do get my own share of luxury on occasion, but that’s the point: it’s more the exception rather than the rule. It’s ironic that “lifestyle” tends to mean the rarer parts of our lives, or, from another perspective, the lives of rarer people. I found that a pity because I find the everyday lives of women quite beautiful. Even if an ordinary Filipina is just one more in millions, even if she’s only one vote, her life is worth hailing and forwarding, especially considering how Filipinas put so much love into daily life.

So, in 2010, I decided to set up a blog that represents this cause. Pinay Lifestyle started in Blogger as a personal initiative. Later on, I invited some people to blog with me, since my lifestyle alone would not be enough to forward the cause. Seeing the limitations of Blogger, I then moved the blog into its own home in 2011. Today, more than two years since the first post, Pinay Lifestyle is moving along as planned: a website with the necessary features and basic content. We also have a handful of people in our community, which we have yet to even promote.

I’ve been very busy with the backend. Many people know me as their go-to techie, but I’m not a web developer or a network administrator by profession, so I’ve had to do a lot of the site building by trial and error. I’ve made many errors, mind you, though you might see only a few left now. Hopefully it gets to the point that backend matters are minimized so that I could blog more (my last post before this one was in March!).

I’ve also put this site under the wing of my new business, Magnetic North Enterprises. Yes, this site is now part of a for-profit endeavor. How about the cause, you ask? Newsflash: a cause doesn’t run without money. I don’t plan on making gazillions through Pinay Lifestyle, but the profit potential at least justifies the investment, which has already been significant for this average-income Filipina.

But despite all the work that’s been done, many things still has to happen for us to move the cause forward. We need more community members and contributors. We need editors. We need sponsors. We need premium content. We need incentives (prizes! yay!). We need… so many more people and so many more things. How is this possible, with the meager investment we have? I don’t know, but I’m sure God does.

Filipinas are women of great love. This website is dedicated to them.

On makeup and being the real you

I like makeup. A lot. I believe that, while makeup is by no means necessary for existence, it nevertheless adds spice and interest to life.

Below are some of the reasons why:

First, makeup serves to enhance what’s already there. I never cease to be amazed at how just the littlest amount of mascara (one of the two items I am never without, the other being lip balm) make my eyes stand out just a tad bit better, or how a swirl or two of blush makes me look more awake and alive even after a late night out. Makeup takes what Mother Nature gave you and works with it so that you look like a better, more polished version of yourself.

Second, makeup is one of the many ways by which I can express myself. At work, my looks tend to be more sedate, although I do a smoky eye every now and then just to liven things up a bit. However, when I go out with family and friends, I tend to favor more colorful combinations (purple and plum shadows with teal eyeliner, you get the picture).

And while we’re on the topic of self-expression, I might as well say that I have a lot of respect for those artists and enthusiasts who are able to come up with avant garde looks (i.e. makeup that you wouldn’t really wear to work or any other real-life situation, unless you’re a runway model). Makeup is an art form, after all, with creativity and imagination setting the limits.

Third, you can work with as few or as many products as you desire or feel comfortable with. Sometimes when I do makeup on myself or on other people, I find that I will use four or five eyeshadows to achieve the effect I want (and that’s just the eyes). However, if for you a made-up face consists of using only concealer, powder, and lipstick, that’s fine, too. If there’s one thing I’ve realized over the years, it’s that there is no fixed rule on the number of products you “need”. Magazines and websites can go on and on about how a product like, let’s say eyeliner, is essential to anyone’s arsenal. But if you know that you’re not going to use it, why buy yourself a tube?

In the end, it’s about using products that work for you and your lifestyle. It’s about creating a look for yourself that makes your day just that wee bit brighter, your stride a bit more confident.

This post was written by Anj de la Cruz.

When responsibility hits you unexpectedly

When I was in college, two of my close friends got pregnant unexpectedly. At first, both tried to continue with their studies but as time went by, the pressures of being pregnant and homework took a toll on them and they decided to just quit school and focused on their growing bellies.
After a few years, one of them decided to continue with her studies while the other opted to become a full-time housewife. Both are happy with their chosen paths, but not without regrets and difficulties along the way.

I may not know what they went through during those times, but every time we see each other, they always tell me that life has a funny way of making you grow up. These girls, who I’ve known all my life, didn’t experience any hardships growing up. When they had their babies, I didn’t know that they had it in them to be mothers, let alone raise a family.

That was 15 years ago. Now, they tease me that it’s about time I should have my own family. My answer’s always been the same. “I’m not in a hurry”. When we’re together, it’s as if they’re making up for lost time. I guess because only now that they can actually get free from their responsibilities at home. Their children are already in high school and they’re actually living a comfortable life.

But my friends are lucky. Most unwanted pregnancies don’t always have a happy ending. In a survey conducted by the National Statistical Coordination Board, 23% of Filipino teens are engaging in pre-marital sex therefore causing not just unwanted pregnancies, but also a risk of getting sexually-transmitted diseases.

Not every girl who gets pregnant can face this kind of responsibility. And sometimes, they just don’t want to. It’s a bitter fact. If I may be blunt here, but most kids these days can be a little bit selfish. They like to think that they can do everything, but they tend to forget that their actions have consequences.

I hate it when pregnant teens cry and say that they’re not ready yet to be parents that’s why they’re choosing abortion or giving up their kids for adoption. If you’re ready to have sex, you should be ready too with everything that comes with it. I’m not advocating anything here, but it takes a lot of maturity to do grown-up stuff, and if you think that you can’t handle it, then don’t do anything stupid.

An hour of pleasure is not worth a lifetime of misery. A child is always a gift, but that gift shouldn’t be abused or better yet taken for granted. Yes, I pity those girls whose parents can’t accept this kind of situation, but what I pity most is the kid inside the mother’s womb who will suffer the consequences of these people’s actions.

I don’t like that fact that my friends got pregnant at an early age and that their education and dreams were put to a halt because of it. But I’m proud of them for not giving up and facing their problems head on. When things got rough for them, they kept on going. They transferred to a new “school,” learning more about the depth of life since they started raising their kids.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

When the game itself starts playing you

Couple crossing the street holding handsI’m exactly not a pro when it comes to dating. Even at my age, I still consider myself a novice when it comes to this topic. I guess I’m used to going out, having fun and not really consider it as “dating” per se. Besides, what is dating anyway? Flowers, chocolates, fancy restaurants, classical music, the whole shebang?

I have friends who are serial daters. They like to go out with their date/s almost every week. It’s funny that when I ask them if they enjoy their dates, they would mention everything from the food to the ambience to the service, except for one thing: what really happened during the date. It’s not that they’d like to keep it a secret, but, to be honest, they don’t really pay much attention to the “date” itself.

I was talking to my cousin a few days ago about courtship and dating. She said she still prefers traditional courtship. I asked her what she thinks traditional courtship is, and she said she wants the guy to visit her at home, get to know her parents and maybe go out once in awhile, preferably just the two of them so that they could get to know each other more.

What if the game of dating turns the tables and starts playing us? The game’s so old that most people take it for granted. They assume that since dating is a way to meet someone, they become accustom to the whole process, and it becomes mechanical.

I see hearts getting crushed because they thought that they were having a good run, but it turns out that they were being outrun. People get tired of all the mind games when it’s just supposed to be easy. Why has dating become so complicated?

I know, I don’t have much experience when it comes to dating and therefore I can’t make any expert opinion on it. But what I do know is that when you like someone, things shouldn’t be difficult. Even during dating stage, you shouldn’t need to pretend to be someone else. Like, if you can’t eat what you want during your date because you’re afraid of what your date might think, then probably it’s not worth going out on that date altogether. There are things in life that should happen naturally. Sometimes, the more you make things complicated, the more they’ll worsen.

And a chef’s advice to people who are beginning to enjoy dating: when it comes to choosing the restaurant, make sure the place is comfortable for the both of you. When it comes to the food you’ll eat, go for those that are easy to eat and digest. You’ll probably want to avoid “logistical” difficulties 😉 But don’t limit yourself the usual pasta and or salad! There’s no harm in ordering a yummy steak or fish. And don’t worry if you’re lipstick ends up on one of your teeth; just make sure to lick your teeth once in awhile. If you’re a clumsy eater, avoid ordering shellfish, and anything with red sauce. And while I don’t suggest kissing on first dates, maybe you should refrain from eating anything with too much garlic or onion to be safe. But you can always bring your breath freshener.

Kidding aside, dating should be fun. Because you get to go out with the person you want to be with. Don’t use it as an excuse to play around, remember, sometimes when you think you’re playing them they’ll end up better players than you are.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

How to whip soft peak egg whites

My friends always tease me that I have the muscles of a construction worker, because I can whip egg whites in a short period of time, without the help of an electronic mixer. I admit, I’m really good at whipping egg whites, but I can’t take full credit on that. I have to thank my special whisk for that.

I don’t use the ordinary whisks because I couldn’t really incorporate much air using it. I’ve tried different whisks, even those with balls inside and until I found the one that best suit me. I got it at SM department store. It’s so cheap I seriously didn’t expect that it’ll be that effective.

I often use cold eggs, meaning fresh out of the refrigerator. I know some of my chef friends though would rather use room-temp eggs. So I suggest you try both, and see what will work for you. I often beat egg whites for our TORTA. My family is obsessed with TORTA, be it wrapped in whipped eggs, tortang talong and or stuffed ampalaya.

You have to separate the egg yolk and the egg whites, make sure there’s no hint of the yolk in your mixture. Then beat continuously for at least 2 minutes. Don’t beat it as if you’re angry at someone. Just make sure it is continuously.

After a few minutes of beating, take some rest, at least a few seconds just so your arm won’t feel like it’s about to give up on you. Then start whipping again. Continue whipping till you are able to flip the bowl without the egg whites falling. If it slides, then just continue beating, but make sure you don’t over beat because it’ll become clumpy or worst you’ll lose all the air you incorporated in it. After flipping the bowl and the whipped egg whites didn’t fall on you, start mixing in the egg yolks.

Don’t be afraid to mix the egg whites with the egg yolk. The more you are afraid of it the more it’ll fail. So, just relax and start whipping. If it fails, then start again. But I assure you, if you’ll use my special whisk, it’ll help you, big time.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

Condoms: not safe sex

Got these from the Food and Drug Association of the US. Interesting facts that our very own Department of Health does not tell us:

DOH: Condoms are 100% safe and effective. (Heard the DOH Usec say this over at TV Patrol.)

FDA: The surest way to avoid these diseases is to not have sex altogether (abstinence). Another way is to limit sex to one partner who also limits his or her sex in the same way (monogamy). Condoms are not 100% safe, but if used properly, will reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. Protecting yourself against the AIDS virus is of special concern becuase this disease is fatal and has no cure.

More from FDA:

What is the government doing about condom quality?

Manufacturers “spot check” their condoms using a “water-leak” test. FDA inspectors do a similar test on sample condoms they take from warehouses. The condoms are filled with water and checked for leaks. An average of 996 of 1000 condoms must pass this test.

Will a condom guarantee I won’t get a sexually transmitted disease?

No. There’s no absolute guarantee even when you use a condom. But most experts believe that the risk of getting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases can be greatly reduced if a condom is used properly.

In other words, sex with condoms isn’t totally “safe sex,” but it is “less risky” sex.

These are what DOH should really tell us. Not spend a freaking $8M to buy condoms from the US! $8M can create freaking jobs and get these sexually active peeps busy with earning money instead of having sex. Gosh how many malnourished kids could be fed with this!!! Not to prevent 100 HIV infected Filipinos from spreading the virus! Millions of other Filipinos can benefit from food and shelter. 😥

Remember, condoms only REDUCE probability of HIV. It doesn’t exactly protect you from it. Besides, if you have HIV, why they heck do you want to spread the virus? Duh?! And a chance of getting 1 of the 4 defective condoms?!?

And the Catholic Church must have done well for our country to only report HIV cases (what, 100~1,000 of them?) just in recent years, whereas the US reported 12 million cases EACH YEAR! Correlate that with condom use (FDA statistics). Ehem.

This is a repost from “Eat My Chalk Dust”. You can view the original post here.

This post was written by Trish Castro.

Feeling intellectual right now? Try this: Philosophy of Work

Time and moneyHere’s a summary of my Philosophy class on why persons work:

Work is part of the humanization — that which makes a person more human, and different from animals — process of man. By definition, “work is the activity which man exercises in a free and burdensome way, with the purpose of acquiring the means to satisfy his own needs and wants.”Let’s face it. We have to work if we want to achieve something. Analyze the statement closely. Work is clearly a means, and not an end. it is an activity that has an end outside itself. The activity that does not have an end outside itself is contemplation, an end in itself.

Distinguishing roles, as in your role as a CEO and your role as a father or mother, has a tendency to split the personality of the person as if he or she is a different person at work, and at home. [Maybe that’s why there are schizophrenics… hmmm.]

Although work humanizes us, it can also dehumanize us when we start becoming workaholics. We know that we are workaholics when we have already destroyed our social life.

To end, “Work is for man. Man is for others. Man is for God.”

This is a repost from Diary of a Semi-Young Teacher. You can view the original article here.

This post was written by Trish Castro.

Ladies, don’t settle for anything less (a video message from the good guys)

There still are good guys out there. But where oh where are they? They’re just around, and they appreciate us for all that we’re worth. Don’t believe me? Watch this video and see.

You might want to check out the YouTube comments while you’re at it 🙂

More good stuff at

Don't Believe the Lies

The place of media in a democracy: the HK hostage crisis

After watching this afternoon’s senate hearing with the media on the hostage crisis, I felt that we need to be more clear on the role of media in a democratic society. I’m not saying that media practitioners had no fault in this incident; on the contrary, as they have found themselves, they need to establish a few more guidelines here and there. But I think it would do well to understand better why they’re there.

I’d like to address this matter with respect to the following areas:

Reporting to the world

Photo by Sakuradate
Much has been said about the country’s maimed reputation because of the broadcasting of the hostage incident. Yes, it’s true, we’re now economically worse off because of the whole thing. Yes, it’s true, our fellow Pinoys in Hong Kong experience much greater discomfort than ever before. But to say that the media are at fault shows a grave misunderstanding of their role. The media serves as a check and balance for the government. That’s why they’re called the “watchdog” of the government in a democratic state. If, in reporting the facts, they expose the mistakes of a government, then that’s all in a day’s work, and sometimes even a job well done. The negative economic repercussions arising from the government’s mistakes, therefore, are not the media’s fault.

But how about protecting the nation’s interest? Don’t journalists have a role in that? Yes, precisely, they do, and that is in doing their job well. The media will not push for our nation’s progress by “marketing” our nation to the world. That’s the role of marketing people. They will serve the nation by bringing forth the truth that the public ought to know. The moment we ask them to lose their objectivity for the sake of making our country look good, we would have done our country a great disservice. So, regarding Sen. Enrile’s question on where journalists draw the line between national interest and professional ethics, I’d have to say that there is no conflict between the two.

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression is a basic element of a democratic society. It’s important because democracy, as a political ideology, assumes that persons bring themselves to fulfillment through freedom. To express oneself is one of those freedoms. This applies not only to media organizations as institutions, but to individual citizens as well. We must protect the freedom of expression because not doing so will endanger our democracy. Remember what happened back in 1972? Given this, I’m in agreement with Maria Ressa, Senior Vice President for News and Current Affairs of ABS-CBN, and other media professionals in saying that we don’t need more laws in this area. Adding legislation that places restrictions on the media could give a few ill-willed or ill-witted government authorities their precious windows of opportunity.

However, there are limits to the freedom of expression. I learned from media law class that there are two specific limits: national security and the right to privacy. I suppose it would be enough to discuss national security in this case. During the hostage situation, police intelligence was obviously compromised, since the Mendoza knew some of the actions of the police through the television on board. Maybe the media should have been further away. Maybe there shouldn’t have been any live coverage. Maybe they should have assumed that there could be a television on board.

I was filled with all these maybes until I heard the testimonies of the media executives during the hearing. Maria Ressa explained that, in the past, there had been worse crisis situations, but none of them ended like this one did. Why? Because the “crisis managers” (probably the police) used their right to set parameters on the media. But this time, the authorities did not use that right as extensively as they had done so in the past. On the other hand, the media set up and went on with their live coverage, trusting that the situation was being managed as well as they had always been in the past, thinking that the meager guidelines they were given were enough. They were wrong.


That’s where the “major major” mistake and resolution arise. Maria Ressa said that the media’s biggest mistake was to assume that the authorities were managing everything properly. She and Jessica Soho had discussed that the media ought to know what to do if the authorities weren’t doing their part, which I hope would give way to more concrete guidelines for operating during such circumstances.

Of course, we’re talking about the media’s role here. We’re not touching on the government’s role yet. But in a democratic society where people should care for each other, the media have now learned to not assume that the other party is doing well. After all, they are the watchdog of the government, so that’s one reality they have to factor into their professional practice.

Thankfully, the senators were very open and constructive in their inquiry, even if some of them didn’t seem to know much about the media. One senator admitted to simply fearing them. But, through this experience, I hope the Filipino people have gained a better understanding of their role in our country. We need to understand each other if we are to support one another in building a great nation.

Thoughts on P-Noy’s 2010 SONA

President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA)
President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA)

It had not been a long time since the elections when our new President shook our world again. In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) for 2010, he gave a burning speech on what he’d been busy with for the past two months. In case you weren’t able to catch the SONA, here’s a copy of it.

Just my two cents on the SONA:

  1. It seems that the checks and balances that are necessary in our system of governance aren’t in place. Why would so many unforeseen projects get implemented to the detriment of planned ones? If proper checks and balances were really in place, such things would not even be possible.
  2. P-Noy revealed a lot of controversial cases. I certainly hope they’re already undergoing due process because otherwise, these exposés could preempt the court’s decision or even be construed as public stunts. But I have to admit that before this SONA, I didn’t know people could have so many bonuses.
  3. Teddy Locsin said on ABS-CBN that he doesn’t believe in “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” and that structural changes need to be made. I wholeheartedly agree. If we allow our flawed system to continue spawning corruption, we’re simply going to have one public prosecution after another, without effecting a long-term change (especially after P-Noy’s term).
  4. I think it’s great that the government wants to closely collaborate with the private sector. After all, why should the government spend its limited resources on something that private citizens and institutions can do? Along that line, I hope P-Noy realizes that he should leave sex education with the parents because they’re the best people to talk about the topic. He can support this responsibility of parents by strengthening moral education in schools so that our children will grow up to be good parents. But other than that, I think taxpayers’ money should go to tasks that are really concerns of the government.
  5. I’m very happy about the move to make it easy for businesses to register. I’ve tried before (out of a real desire to pay taxes), but the process was just so tedious that it altogether discouraged a newbie like me. If the process were a lot more friendly, I bet many small businesses will emerge, generating more production and taxes.

What are your thoughts on P-Noy’s SONA?