*FAITH, *MOTHERHOOD, Beauty and Wellness

Keeping It Real: Let’s Talk about Mental Health

How are you?

Me, so-so to be honest. And no, it’s not just about the elections. Since last year, I’ve already been feeling something different and it was only this year that I had the courage to finally face it and start my way to recovery. After all, acknowledgment is the first step to healing. So here I am, sharing my story.

I’ve been experiencing occasional panic attacks and recently diagnosed with a panic disorder. It was almost a year ago when I first experienced symptoms: hyperventilation, lightheadedness, feeling panicked and unsafe — the trigger? Mostly when I’m alone and away from my comfort zone (home, familiar faces, daily routine, etc.). Like when I’m trying to have “me time” at the mall, driving by myself, doing errands, etc. At first, I wasn’t aware that I was having panic attacks, I just thought that maybe it was all part of my postpartum phase in life, hormones doing their usual thing, and kind of shrugged it off.

Pre-pandemic, I was the kind of person very happy and content with myself. Like I considered my “me time” sacred — spending hours doing my own thing, even watching movies in theaters all by myself! That’s why when I felt the first symptoms of a panic attack last year (which at that time, I didn’t have a name for it ’cause I wasn’t aware), I knew that something was up. And then it happened again the following month, and again, and again, you know the drill. Which led me to Dr. Google (lol), and that’s when I did the one thing most medical experts wouldn’t recommend: self diagnose! Haha! But maybe I really know myself well because when I finally consulted a clinical psychologist, turns out, I was right. Hence the panic disorder diagnosis. Once that was finally determined, the only thing left to do is manage it, not be in denial, and hopefully, go back to my usual “independent” self one day at a time.

I wanted to have the best of both worlds so I consulted both a clinical psychologist (for the psychological and scientific explanation) AND a Catholic healing minister friend (for the spiritual side). As of this writing, I’m in on-going consultations with my psych, learning coping mechanisms and whatnot (which I may or may not write in another blog post); my friend also prayed over me (and continues to pray for me). I was told that one of the root causes of my panic attacks was having trauma when I gave birth alone (due to the pandemic protocols). Add to that the overall pandemic effect, postpartum hormones, major life changes (hello motherhood!), and my lingering abandonment issues which can be traced back to childhood (you’ll be surprised to know that most of our “issues” as adults can be traced back to that) — listing all that does make sense why I am where I am now in terms of my mental health.

I know I still have a long way to go. WE all have a long way to go to achieve “normalcy” again in our day-to-day life. My only point in sharing this is to let others who are also experiencing the same know that they’re not alone. And that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Heck, acknowledging that you’re not okay is actually a way for you to eventually be okay. Mental health matters now more than ever! So if you’re still shy about it, I hope you’ll eventually find the courage not to be. I know that each person processes things differently and at their own pace (that’s why it’s really NOT helpful to tell someone to “just get over it”), but I believe that we can overcome every challenge life throws at us and come out stronger each and every single time. At the end of the day, believe that the good always outweighs the bad.

Most importantly, God always has a plan for everything. And that’s what faith is all about, walking alongside God despite experiencing the things we don’t like and we don’t have control of. After all, He didn’t promise a pain-free life. Even Jesus experienced His own sorrowful moments, but it was in those moments that He gave birth to new life and saved us all from eternal darkness.

So yes, my current mental health is probably a cross I’m tasked to carry on my shoulders for now. I can only pray that it’ll be a cross that can help shed light not just to myself, but to others as well. If that’s really the case, then so be it. 🙂


“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.”
-Jeremiah 29:11

Beauty and Wellness, Reviews

Weekly Essential: A Massage from Esencia Day Spa

For more than a decade now, I’ve been a big fan of massages, mani-pedi’s, and whatnot. Those close to me know that I really allot a budget for these treatments every payday (kikay mode! #sorrynotsorry), and I’m glad that my sisters and some of my girlfriends also share this same “wellness priority” mantra in life. Haha. Anyway, I’ve been to a lot of spas in the metro — for massages, for nails, for waxes — so I’m a little confident in really recommending some of my go-to establishments and the services they offer.

For this post, I’ll be focusing on ESENCIA DAY SPA located in Solenad 3, Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. 🙂

esencia 1

As most of my friends know, I’m a Manila girl during the weekdays and a Nuvali girl during the weekends. The result of that? Going to Solenad (an Ayala Land mall in Nuvali) has been a part of my Saturdays for almost four years now! Solenad 1 is famous for its restaurants and the koi fish pond. Solenad 2 has more restaurants, some spas and stores, and a supermarket. As for Solenad 3? I believe it’s the most complete. It has ALL those plus the cinemas! And of course, Esencia Day Spa!!!

(photo courtesy of Esencia Day Spa's Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of Esencia Day Spa’s Facebook page)

I’ve been going to Esencia ALMOST every Saturday since December 2015, and I believe it’s about time I share with you WHY. Aside from their Moroccan-inspired interiors, they have the most amazing foot reflexology ever!!! And I’m not even exaggerating. Like I said, I’ve tried a lot of spas (even abroad), and their foot reflexology is just the best for me! They have a well-trained staff, and the strokes they use are really balanced — just enough pressure to make you feel calm and relaxed! (And sometimes, even snore too! You know what I mean? Haha!)

esencia 2

esencia 3

Aside from that, I also recommend their therapeutic body massage to remove those aching muscle knots (or what Filipinos usually call “lamig”). The 60-minute treatment is just not enough (bitin!), so I say go for the 90 minutes — which is what I prefer anyway. But if you’re not into that, you can just go with the classic Swedish body massage.

Recently, they have promos and one of which is the “Spa for Two.” My sister and I availed of this and for two hours, we escaped “stress” thanks to the treatments included in the package: foot scrub + warm stone body massage + tea = all for only Php1,999 for two! This is a limited-time offer, so I highly suggest you drop by Esencia as soon as possible! (You might even bump into the owner, Les! Say hi to her from me! Hehehe!)

esencia 4

Lately, I’ve noticed that Esencia has been jam-packed and fully booked (which is great, I’m really happy for them!), so if you want to book a slot or two, make sure you give them a heads-up first.

contact Esencia Day Spa today! :) (photo courtesy of Esencia Day Spa's Facebook page)

contact Esencia Day Spa today! 🙂 (photo courtesy of Esencia Day Spa’s Facebook page)

My recommended treatments in order:

  • Foot Reflexology
  • Therapeutic Massage
  • Swedish Massage
  • Warm Stone Massage

So the next time you find yourself in the south side of the metro, head over to Nuvali and enter the doors of Esencia Day Spa! Promise, you’ll come out refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated — even alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic! Wahahahaha! 😉

esencia 5What treatment/s are you looking forward to try at Esencia Day Spa?
What other spas in the metro can you recommend?
Let me know! 🙂

Beauty and Wellness, Gathered Thoughts, Movies, Reviews

Made in the Philippines! :D

First of all, can I just say HELLO?! Not just to you, but to my blog itself! 😛 I know I’m not as active in the blogging world as compared to last year and the year before that… but here I am again! I already owe my blog seven entries (if I were to follow my “personal” blogging rule), so let this be one down and six more to gooo!

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to write about two brands — Snoe and Suelas — I’m patronizing for quite some time now. And then I watched Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo? in the cinemas that I decided to include local movies on my list. Why? I know that they’re all not making sense as of now but if there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s that they’re all PROUDLY PHILIPPINE-MADE! 😀


local movies

As mentioned earlier, I just recently watched Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo? and boy, was I glad I did! It wasn’t just the laughtrip galore that I loved, it was also the locations they used — which are very dear to me. 😉

Let’s start with the first restaurant where Sandy (played by Kim Chiu) met up with his boyfriend Gardo (played by Kean Cipriano). That restaurant is named Lola Cafe + Bar. Just a piece of trivia, that exact same place was also where I spent most of my childhood Christmases, summers, and whatnot — only then, that whole restaurant used to be my late grandparents’ house in Quezon City. It was then decided that the place would be open for rent so it’s a looong story why it is what it is now but yeah, you can say that it’s a house-turned-restaurant. I just can’t believe that the place where me and my cousins used to play hide-and-seek is now a movie setting. Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Like I said, it’s a looong story. Haha.

On the other hand, another place that was featured was Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. I’ve been a Nuvali “native” during the weekends for more than a year already, and Nuvali has been a frequent hangout for me and my family. It was just so funny that the two places were shown one after the other, considering that the former is in the North and the latter is in the South! Talk about an evening taxi road trip for Kim Chiu‘s character!

Anyway, this won’t be a review per se but I just want to say that the movie succeeded in what it was supposed to do: ENTERTAIN. And my point is that whether it’s mainstream or indie, I enjoy watching local films that I actually find it sad when people say that they’re just “a waste of money.” Okay, sure. There may be some titles that are only worth-watching on DVD or your local cable channel, but at least don’t overgeneralize. Just because one wasn’t made in Hollywood, doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be valued any less. Movies are made to entertain and inspire. To some extent, it’s a form of escapism. If the one you watched failed to give you at least one of those things, then sorry. But that doesn’t mean that you should write off local films completely. Ba’t mo sasabihing “corny” kung mag-eenjoy ka naman? Ang pagiging corny ng isang bagay ay nakapende sa tao. If a movie made an impact on you in any way, that’s not corny. Trust me, there’s a number of foreign films I’ve watched that I’d completely trade for a few kilig seconds of Xian Lim Ramon Bautista on the silver screen! Hahaha!

Just give local movies a try. And NO TO PIRACY. That’s all.


Moving on, my love for Suelas first appeared on my blog more than two years ago. That was the time I had my first pair and from then on, I just can’t get enough of it! Of course I had to “overuse” my first pair before I decided to buy a replacement. But after my second purchase, I’ve always been a loyal follower of the brand’s official website and Facebook page — always on the lookout for new styles that’ll tickle my fancy. You see, there are a few reasons why I love this brand so much: it has my size (I’m a size 10!), it’s stylish but also very comfortable (it’s foldable, too), it’s a Cebu-based business that now has several branches in the metro, and most of all, it’s “promoted” by one of my personal idols, Patty Laurel-Filart. Hihihi. Fangirl mode din ‘pag may time! 😛

my Suelas pairs… and still counting.

Suelas’ Celebracion collection, created in collaboration with Patty Laurel-Filart, is perfect whether you’re wedding- or work-bound. 🙂

And oh, before I forget! The Suelas team has always been very accommodating. I prefer ordering my pairs online and whenever I have a transaction with them, it’s always smooth sailing. In fact, I recently had “an unfortunate event” with one of my pairs and when I reported it to them, they didn’t think twice about repairing it — FOR FREE! So yeah, consider me one very satisfied customer. Can’t wait for my next pairsss! Mwahahahahaha! 😀


Last but not the least is a local beauty brand I just discovered a few months ago, which I now totally swear by its effectiveness and quality! ♥ And because of my support for the brand, one of my posts even got featured on their official Facebook page:

So, what’s your beauty pick of the week? 😉

From bath essentials to cosmetics to skin care, there’s something for every Filipina at Snoe (pronounced as “snowy”). Aside from the fact that their vintage-like packaging is very eye-catching, their products truly deliver.

My Snoe purchases in the last four months? Hahaha!

I’ve already tried some of their products (and I’m not finished yet!), but my top three purchases are the Hair Heroes Drunken Master shampoo, Rouge Deluxe lipstick in Chili Pepper, and Body Ritual Recipes fragrance in French Macaroons.

(photos courtesy of Snoe Beauty Inc.)

What I like about the shampoo is that it uses unusual ingredients (beer hops, anyone?), yet it doesn’t have a strong smell. I actually consider it as the best clarifying shampoo I’ve ever tried in my life. No exaggeration! After every wash, it just really makes my hair feel soft, light, and clean. If you have colored hair, this shampoo will just make your crowning glory all the more vibrant.

For the lipstick, I’m thankful that I discovered it at a time when I was in the hunt for that. perfect. red. shade! I like the fact that it complements my skin tone and it doesn’t dry my lips. Best of all, the color doesn’t come off easily — which is a good thing because I don’t have to reapply every now and then.

And the fragrance? Who can resist French macarons?! The scent is truly unique, sweet but not in the annoying way that you’d actually think of it as a dessert.

I’ve to admit though, Snoe‘s products are a bit pricey for a local brand (the shampoo alone already costs almost P600) but I think it wouldn’t hurt to try them once in a while. If you can spend on international brands, I’m pretty sure you can afford to support our homegrown products too. In fact, it’s the goal of Snoe to be internationally-recognized in the beauty industry, just like the Korean beauty brands we see popping just about anywhere we go these days. Besides, they say that “you get what you pay for.” Well with Snoe, I say you get what you pay for… and more! At least I did. 🙂


Sooo. If there’s a theme for this post, that’d be PATRIOTIC. Or maybe it was shopping? Haha! Kidding aside, I felt strongly obliged to write about these local brands simply because I want others to know that things made in the country can also be high in quality. Nowadays, being patriotic doesn’t necessarily equate to wearing our baro’t saya and answering in Filipino when you’re asked in English. Of course it still pays to be respectful to our national language and traditions, but you can now show your love for the country in different and simple ways (i.e., support local brands, yes? HA HA HA).

Anyway, that’s all I can give you for now. Just always be proud of being a Filipino and make the Philippines proud anywhere you go. That — that’s patriotic enough for me. 😉

P.S: I have another featured traveler at the end of the month, so I hope you’ll visit my not-so-abandoned blog anymore again by then! Mabuhay! Wahahahaha!