Showing posts from August, 2011

Guisi: A Paradise in Guimaras

Every person deserves a much-needed break from one’s routine. I read somewhere that in order to move forward with what you are doing, you need to take a step backward. So, I took a step back from my work routine and traveled to a paradise called Guisi, a sitio situated in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras.

It was our first time to visit Guisi. It was my first out-of-Iloilo travel in five years.

We opted to pass through Jordan, the capital of Guimaras, so we took the pumpboat from the Ortiz Wharf. We reached Jordan at noon, so we were quite hungry. One tip in travelling: be careful with what you eat. So, we opted to buy Spam and had it cooked at the Paul and Michelle Carinderia instead of buying from its turo-turo.

After lunch, our group took a jeep that’s bound for Nueva Valencia. The trip took us 30 minutes and the fare was 40 pesos for each person. There are also tricycles that can take a traveller directly to Guisi.

Upon reaching Nueva Valencia’s jeep terminal, single motorcycles took us direct…

Iloilo’s pride in Pencak Silat and arnis

Iloilo garnered eight gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze medals in the martial arts discipline called Pencak Silat while five gold, seven silver and six bronze medals were won by the Arnis team during the Philippine National Games held from May 22 to 29 in Negros Occidental.
This was revealed by Lino Baldevarona, regional director of the Pencak Silat Visayas. The 42  athletes came from the Western Visayas College of Science and Technology, Central Philippine University and Iloilo Doctor’s College.
Most of the players have won medals in past games like the Palarong Pambansa, some were experienced athletes while the others are recent applicants for varsity at the WVCST, according to Noe Baldevarona, coach for the Arnis team. “Most of our athletes garnered medals in the Anyo and Labanan events. The Women’s Anyo Team was able to defend their title. For the Labanan event, we got seven silver and six gold medals,” he added. Anyo consists of arnis forms while Labanan is a full contact event.

Pinoy Icon 2011

We have modern day heroes who, in their field of expertise, have made a difference in the lives of Ilonggos. Recognizing them publicly is one way of inspiring them to do more as well as encouraging others follow suit. Besides, a good deed should be awarded.
This is exactly what Pinoy Icon 2011 does. It provides several awards labelled after Independence Day heroes, to modern day achievers. It is already on its second year and held every June 12, anniversary of the Philippines’ independence from Spanish rule.
This is a program of JCI Regatta in collaboration with ABS-CBN and SM City. This early, Pinoy Icon was adjudged as JCI’s Best National Community Development Program for Asia and the Pacific.
Visual artist Publeo G. (aka PG) Zoluaga Jr. was given the Juan Luna Award. He promoted art to a larger sector of the Ilonggo community. He inspired young artists through workshops. He is also a performance artist and a composer.
Demy Sonza is not only a politician but a writer. …

Energy in motion


By Kathy PURR Villalon
Photos by Ricky Alejo

I read somewhere that the hiphop community no longer wants to use the word “breakdancing”. They prefer “b-boyin`”.
Expect to witness a lot of b-boyin’ and other hiphop styles as Robinsons Place Iloilo once again holds its yearly Dance Showdown competition. The first elimination was held last July 17 with six groups participating.
360 Degrees’ choreography had humor and one of the dancers did an amazing backflip without using his hands. However, the group’s focus was more on entertaining rather than impressing the judges with the essential elements in dancing – unity and the tasteful combination of songs. Old Style Crew was very energetic but needed more choreography. The Groovers, the finalist and adjudged as the Best Performer, presented an excellent choreography despite a lack in the dance styles. It was a bunch of dancing porters and chefs who fused hiphop and chacha. Crypt Nasty Crew, another finalist exhibited many b-boyin’ styles. …


By Kathy PURR Villalon
Photos by Ricky Alejo

Red Logo, a direct selling fashion label, staged a show at the Amigo Plaza Mall recently.
Featured in the fashion extravaganza were four sets of clothing – sportswear, casual wear, children’s wear and formal wear. More emphasis was placed on the sportswear as the event was in relation to the week-long Food and Wellness Expo at the said mall.
The models were students leaders and active youth from the University of the Philippines in the Visayas. These school achievers were transformed into beautiful mannequins, thanks to the make-up by Mary Kay.
The show culminated with a song number by Ilonggo music sensation, Sheila Barrios.
Red Logo carries the brands Fuel, Agenda, Truth, Hush, Vero and Altus. It distributes accessories, footwear, flipflops and beauty products as well.
Meanwhile, Food and Wellness Expo was a project of the JCI Metro Dinagyang.*

Modeling. Insights.

By Kathy "Purr" Villalon
How is modeling important for students? First, just like any competition, giving a person a certain challenge trains him or her to push himself or herself further in order to meet the required task. Second, it develops sportsmanship. It teaches the student how to compete fairly as he or she is bound by certain regulations set by the organizers of the competition. He or she discovers that the best way to get ahead of the competition is not through stepping on another person’s toes but improving oneself. Third, it provides the person with more knowledge about fashion because he or she gets to converse with designers. Designers teach them how to dress and walk better. Fourth, it gives them the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of becoming part of the fashion industry at an early age.
Robinsons Place Iloilo recognizes these elements and at the same time, they are on the look-out for new fashion models who can be the faces of the mall’s promotions. Thi…

Romance with wine at Henry’s

By Kathy "Purr" Villalon
Several years ago, some Ilonggos’ idea of a night out with friends involved drinking beer. However, beer makes one feel bloated. It leads to weight gain. And a headache. Then, the studies of wine’s health benefits became public. Wine is derived from grapes, a rich source of antioxidants that are known to kill harmful free radicals. So, many beer drinkers shifted to wine. “There is more character to wine,” said Henry Carroll, the man behind Henry’s Wines and Liquors, which recently opened at Plazuela de Iloilo. “Ilonggos are ready for Henry’s. Nowadays, we see people, even the young ones, preferring wine,” he added. ROMANCE. The reasonably small area of Henry’s and it’s dimly lit space create a feeling of intimacy or romance as one checks one shelf to another in search for that perfect wine.
Outside are tables where a lonesome or a group can delight in every sip of Henry’s wine and enjoy the food catered by Steps of Rome amid the sound of chill-out music …


By Kathy "Purr" Villalon

It is every artist’s desire to have a venue for creative expression and Robinsons Place Iloilo makes this possible through its artsy projects.
One of these is the Robinsons Design Lab, which is now on its fifth year.
The Robinsons Design Lab is a three-month competition among young fashion designers. Every month, the designers face a common challenge.
This year’s grand winner is Paul Conte. The other winners were Archie Concepcion, first runner-up; and Reynan Donguines, second runner-up.
Their final challenge was “New Minimalist.” The designers were asked to design clothes based on the said theme and for a budget of only P300.

The judges were celebrated and renowned designer Randy Ortiz, Project Runway Philippines Season One Grand Winner Aries Lagat as well as Editor and Surface Magazine Contributor Jae de Veyra Pickrell.
Ortiz had good things to say about Conte’s collection, which was in gray and black. “I …

Paul Conte: Dressing Up Lady Gaga

By Kathy M. Villalon

New and young fashion designer Paul Conte expressed that he wants to dress-up singer Lady Gaga.
“She is just amazing as her clothes,” Conte, winner of the 5th Robinsons Design Lab competition, told The News Today.
Conte revealed that this daring singer is his inspiration for success. “She gives me life and she inspires me. I always listen to her songs, even when I’m sketching,” he added. Conte is only 18 years old. This third year AB Political Science student of West Visayas State University was given a glimpse of the challenges he faces if ever he decides to make fashion designing his bread and butter.
Through the Robinsons Design Lab, he was exposed to varied tasks. “Well, all of the challenges were tough. From the streetwear to the androgenous challenge and from the red carpet to the minimalist competition,” Conte said.
The mall’s competition had monthly challenges and the designers were asked to come up with related designs at a limited budget. “W…

Not a normal childhood: A story of two kids with cancer

A normal childhood consists of happy moments like repeated visits to the park. But for Angelica Wayne Lucine or “Angel”, seven years old, the number of visits to the doctor and the hospital seems to surpass her playtime at the park.

This is because Angel has Ewing’s Sarcoma in her right hip. It is a malignant round-cell tumour found in the bone or in soft tissue. The most common areas where it occurs are the pelvis, the femur, the humerus, the ribs and clavicle. Genetic exchange between chromosomes can cause cells to become cancerous. Ewing sarcoma is the result of a translocation between chromosomes 11 and 22.
It was on September 2010 when Angel’s mom, April Rose, 31, noticed a mass on her right hip. Angel complained of pain at that area, but it eventually disappeared. However, the mass re-appeared a month later, coupled with pain in the right hip. Angel was losing weight as well.

So, they consulted a doctor and she was asked to undergo x-ray for the chest and the hip. She was diagnosed…

The heart's friends

By Kathy M. Villalon

Here’s a piece of good news. “We are living longer. The death rate caused by cardiovascular disease is falling,” said Dr. Leo Malunes, Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgeon of The Great Saviour Hospital-The Medical City during his presentation at SM City Iloilo recently.
“However, heart disease is still the number one killer that affects mostly young and middle-aged persons,” he added.

“In order to avoid heart disease, you have to know your enemies. They are smoking, high cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle and obesity, among others. Heart disease can also be hereditary,” Malunes said.

The heart has ‘unlikely friends’. Malunes said that it is best to make these a part of our diet in order to protect our heart from diseases. They are as follows:

“Dark chocolate raises our HDL, improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood pressure and improves blood vessel reactivity because it is rich in flavonoids,” Dr. Mal…

Heart-healthy recipes

By Kathy M. Villalon

Choosing the right ingredients in food preparation can spare us from having cardiovascular diseases.
Recently, Great Saviour Hospital-The Medical City hosted a cooking demonstration of heart-healthy recipes.  The demo was led by Dr. Carol Hernandez, nutritionist of the said hospital. The following are the recipes:


1 slice chicken breast
Iodized Salt
Cottage cheese, grated
Carrot, julienned
Cabbage, sliced thinly
Yogurt, regular
2 slices wheat bread

Marinate the chicken in salt and pepper. After 30 minutes, grill the chicken until well done.
Meanwhile, prepare the coleslaw by mixing grated carrots and cabbage with yogurt and cottage cheese. Put salt and pepper to taste.
Place the cooked chicken on top of one slice of wheat bread. Put the coleslaw on top of the chicken, followed by one slice of wheat bread on top. This completes a healthy chicken sandwich.

Dr. H…

Fit and Fine

By Kathy M. Villalon

Fitness enthusiast Jackie Lou Blanco was recently the host of “Fit and Fine” a show held at SM City Iloilo. She was joined by Dr. Rolando Balburias, a doctor of The Medical City.
“Fit and Fine” was the second episode of the duo’s “Eat Your Heart Out” project. The first was in Manila where they talked about guilt-free gourmet cooking. “Fit and Fine”, on the other hand, comprised of heart-healthy cooking, fitness demo and interactive forum involving nutrition and heart specialists like Drs. Carol Hernandez, Leo Malunes and Roberto Estepar. Also, physical therapist John Paul Miclat showed several stretching exercises that we can do even while at work.
The show was capped with an Open Forum. “I always feel my chest being squeezed. This happens when I have an activity,” one woman said. Dr. Malunes replied that this is typical for the heart, but it is best to have this checked. “That’s why we consider heart disease as a traitor. You only feel the sympto…

Don Protasio: Tents & Poetry

Some fashion collections start with a mood.

So, while Don Protasio, Ilonggo designer, thought of what collection to present for the Philippine Fashion Week 2011, his mood was, “I want release!”

So, he thought of the desert and its nomadic lifestyle, of colors brown and gray, of dry fabric, and materials that veer away from the body. This gave birth to the “tent” concept, which make up Protasio’s Fall-Winter collection for PFW 2011.
“No matter where you are, trends always follow what the fashion capitals have set. Thus, I followed the trend set by Paris where the fashions of the world are showcased. The most influential labels are there, so you have to follow their trend,” said Protasio on why he chose to have a fall-winter collection. “People who buy from you follow a certain schedule. In a business, you have to consider your buyer’s seasons in order to experience growth. Some companies abroad buy my collection through my site My clients are not solely Cambod…

SYK Unit

Vhouying King. Sayken Snipes. Conboy Ilonggo. Backs Tregah.
Rare names for a new breed of singers-cum-rappers in Iloilo City. They make up the SYK Unit (Share Your Knowledge) which is responsible for songs that are played over the radio and You Tube lately – “Boho” and “Kadako sang Moon”.
The members of SYK Unit are fanatics of hiphop and they love local and international rappers like Andrew E, the late Francis M, Dcoy, Denmark and Ill Pride to name a few.
“We used to revive songs because we didn’t have any original beat and had no studio to record our compositions,” said 27-year-old Vhouying King or Eduardo Llanera in real life. “We only used a tape recorder to record our rap songs.”
But every good work pays off. The group became popular when it won as champion in a rap competition held in Brgy. San Nicolas, Oton, Iloilo in 2003.
After that, SYK Unit met Mouth 3, the founder of Southsyd Souljaz. “We became members of his rap group. We collaborated songs. Mouth 3 encouraged me to mak…

The Cockney Chef: Mervyn Whitfield

By Kathy M. Villalon

JUST as you enter the front door of the Amigo Plaza Mall, to your left is the newest dining destination in the city – Stavros’ Kebab and Mediterranean House and Piccolo Mondo.
This family-oriented restaurant serves mouth-watering Mediterranean and Italian delights that were created by no less than Chef Mervyn Whitfield.

His expertise in the kitchen spans 42 years. But, surprisingly, cooking wasn’t really his first love.
“My father was in the Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. My mother is Italian, with a little bit of Greek in her. I wasn’t tall enough to go into the Armed Forces. My mother's cousin was a chef in a hotel, so I got into that instead,” he narrated.
He was only 14 when he left school and worked as an apprentice in a hotel. “When you are in a hotel kitchen, you do an apprenticeship. So, I started at the very bottom. I strained sauces for about a year and was a horrible job. All the rubbish, the pots and putting everything…