Monday, May 29, 2017

Kalimera! 90 Minutes of Nail Pampering and Effortless Peace

Grabbed from the Kallista PH Facebook page
Kalimera!  It means Good Day in Greek.  This was the first greeting I heard when I stepped into the receiving area of Kallista Nail Pamper Lounge at S Maison in Conrad Hotel MOA Complex.  It has been operating for almost a year now.  Every time I passed by S Maison (to dine), I would make a mental note to visit Kallista soon...and that "soon" happened earlier.  Finally.  

Kallista's glass facade is highlighted by two imposing Grecian pillars.  I was welcomed by a smart young lady in Greek outfit, and she presented me a list of services.  I went for the Kallista Signature Pampering service.  Since it is named after the Nail Lounge itself, then it must be the best treatment they could offer (I will try the other treatments next time).  Then the lady ushered me to my seat.  The interior is a classic 5th avenue - high ceiling, posh furniture, ceiling to floor curtains, and neutral palette. Air conditioning was just right (a freezing spa is a no-no for me).  I was offered drinks - coffee / tea / water.  I enjoyed a cup of good tasting, caffeine-free turmeric tea.  By the way, every side table has a stack of magazines (neatly arranged, each looking new). It's kinda obsessive compulsive (OC), and I like it.  

Lovely interior
Curated. Defined. 
A cup of turmeric tea, and a transparent case for my watch and ring
As for the Kallista Signature Pampering service, it includes hand spa - scrub, manicure, massage, polish for the hands; and foot spa - scrub, pedicure, massage, and basic polish for the feet. A nail technician named Yhana worked on my hands, while Cielle worked on my always-tired-but-happy feet.  They were meticulous, and always making sure that I felt relaxed. No messy floor here...I don't like the site of water all over the floor.  For the hand spa, Yhana scrubbed my arms.  The white towels they used were also smelling clean and fresh (not overly soaked in fabric conditioner screaming 'allergy!').   For this treatment, prepare to shell out PhP 1150 (worth it!). 

Their signature treatment includes a wide selection of Zoya nail polishes. I opted to pay extra for a quick drying OPI nail polish for my feet.  For today I could only have 90 minutes of me-myself-and-I moment, as BFD would be waiting for me at his fave ribs restaurant at the ground floor of S Maison.

If there is an opportunity area here, it is a free wifi service for customers.  The location does not offer a good mobile signal to support data connectivity.  I know people come to this place to relax, and some prefer to unplug from social media.  For people like me who prefer to stay connected in order to catch up on some online contents, a decent wifi connection is particularly helpful.  

Overall, I'm pleased not only with the interiors, but more importantly with the quality of service they provided.  This is one of the places in the Metro that I could think of when wrapping up a hectic week or an equally hectic weekend.  My experience compelled me to write this review of Kallista. I hope the ambiance and quality stay consistent in the days to come.  

Friday, May 26, 2017

MilestonePod 101

Meet your new running buddy - MilestonePod!  It's small, smart, and affordable!  It retails at PhP 1695 in its partner stores in PH.  It is a user-friendly shoe odometer - it measures pace, mileage, gait, and other performance metrics.  If you want to improve your performance in running, you need to measure - and MilestonePod provides you a comprehensive set of metrics that are easy to retrieve and read. 

If you just bought a unit, keep the box.  You will need the serial number in the box when setting up the device for the first time.

Frequently asked questions

Q:  Is the Pod ready right out of the box? What about calibration?
A:  You must sync with the MilestonePod App BEFORE your first run or walk, to ensure the correct date and time. The Pod is about 94% accurate right out of the box. Like any tracking device, it may need calibrated one or two times. After proper calibration, you should expect 97% accurate or better. Calibration pushes a personalized algorithm to your Pod, based on your specific gait.

Q:  Does it matter where I attach the Pod on my shoe?
A:  Yes. Placing the Pod 3/4 of the way down towards your toe provides the most accurate tracking. Specifically, if your shoe has a drop of 8mm or above, use the second lace cross from your toe. If your shoe has a drop below 8mm, use the third lace cross from your toe.

Q:  How does the Pod know when I run or walk?
A:  When you hold a cadence of 100 steps per minute (spm) for at least 6 minutes. Here are all Pod’s parameters:
1. A “Session” starts when your cadence is 100 spm or more, for 6 minutes or more.
2. The Pod senses a pause or stop, and erases it. A “Pause” is a drop under 100 spm for less than 30 minutes. If a pause is longer than 30 minutes, the session will end.
3. A session is considered a “Run” when your cadence averages above 140 spm.
4. A session is considered a “Walk” when your cadence averages above 100 spm and below 140 spm.
5. If a session is at least 60% “Running” (over 140 spm), the Pod will trim walks from the beginning and end of the session (i.e. warm-ups or cool-downs).
6. The Pod counts all walking and running within a session, as long as your cadence is above 100 spm.
7. The Pod counts every step towards the shoe life total (odometer feature) even if it’s not part of a Session.

Q:  How long will the Pod last?
A:  With proper care, the Pod should last for multiple pairs of shoes. There are many Pods still in daily use from our first update in July 2014 – not bad for PhP 1,695. 

Q:  How do I transfer it from my old to new shoes?
A:  When you are ready for new shoes, just “Reset” the Pod: Tap the Pod icon on the App Dashboard, choose RESET then follow the prompts. No data or run history will be lost!

Q:  What battery do I need when it’s time to replace?
A:  The battery is a standard CR 2032 watch battery (Lithium 3v) that is easy to find. It sells for about PhP 200 or less. It lasts for 4-6 months, depending on usage. The Pod “sleeps” when not in use and when the sensor feels motion it wakes up and becomes active.  This feature helps in extending the life of the battery.  

Q:  Can I use my Pod on more than one pair of shoes?
A:  It is strongly suggested that you have a different Pod on each pair of shoes you run or walk in. The Pod is designed (and priced!) to live on one pair of shoes. Here is why:
1 Accuracy – you run differently in different shoes
2 Odometer feature – so you know exactly how many miles are on each pair of shoes
3 Calibration protection – when you calibrate, the value is for your gait cycle for that specific shoe; gait cycle often differs between shoe types

Set up and other tips

Monday, May 22, 2017

Make Any Shoe Smart with MilestonePod

MANILA, Philippines Milestone Sports Philippines officially launches the much awaited MilestonePod; an affordable waterproof foot pod with extensive battery life that improves your performance and keeps you running healthy. In a day and age where one has to pay a premium to own a decent performance tracker, the MilestonePod is certainly a breath of fresh air.

Priced at only PhP 1695, the MilestonePod lets you know practically everything you want (and need) to know about your run. It measures foot strike, rate of impact, ground contact, leg swing and stride length which transcends what most GPS watches can cover. The MilestonePod is also as user-friendly as it is pocket-friendly. Not only does it record more than 10 different metrics, but it simplifies and summarizes all the data for you as well. Think of it as taking all the raw data recorded on standard running watches and being able to read it in the form of a children’s book. Simple, straightforward and animated!

“These little bits of information are what will bring every runner’s game up a notch. Given the many advancements in footwear, there’s still so much about ourselves that shoes alone cannot provide.” said Hitler Dulay of Milestone Sports Philippines at the Pod Powered event at Maximus Athlete’s Shop Café. “Clipping the pod onto any shoe instantly awards the shoe with a brain of its own.” he added.

Going Beyond Pace

So how does the pod fare with the experts? The MilestonePod is actually backed up by highly acclaimed athletes in different sports. Coach and Triathlete Don Velasco, has included the pod with his many tools in his famous run lab – of which has produced many podium finishers in recent local races. Milestone Sports Ultrarunner Rose Betonio is also an avid user of the pod. She was amazed by the accuracy and quality of information the pod was able to give as she finished 2nd female overall at the Monster Ultra 200 in Singapore last May 1, 2017.  

The MilestonePod is also amazingly well-matched with different platforms already being used by runners. It’s compatible with select Polar, Suunto and Garmin units. Furthermore, the pod is usable through popular and interactive running apps like Zwift and Strava. Many upgrades like these are said to be on its way making things more exciting for the growing number of ‘Pod Heads’ around the world.

This little running buddy is a must-have in every runner’s arsenal. It can guide a beginner to start running with proper form, or help a seasoned runner breakthrough from a plateau. If you’re looking for a low-cost, informative and durable performance tracker, this pod is the perfect fit for you. With the MilestonePod, less is definitely more.

Available at Maximus Athlete’s Shop Café, Flying Don V Coaching, Multisport Hub and SwimBikeRun.PH.

·         Pace
·         Distance
·         Duration
·         Foot strike
·         Rate of impact
·         Leg swing
·         Ground contact
·         Cadence
·         Stride Length
·         Runficiency Score
·         Shoe Odometer


Milestone Sports Philippines
+639224647489, +639178846426 | FB:  MilestoneSportsPhilippines
#MakeAnyShoeSmart #MilestonePod #MilestoneSportsPH #PodPowered

The Leather Care Project: Waterproofing A Pair of Driving Shoes

In this side of the planet, rainy season seems is sending us an advanced notice through occasional rains and thunderstorms in the late afternoon or early evening - usually just in time for the afternoon rush hour.  When it rains, it does not only literally pour, but it also adds up to what already is heavy traffic.  

Rain is also equivalent to wet shoes, wet feet.  Even if you do not go outside while it is raining, its aftermath - wet pavement and busy streets are sure to splash some water to your shoes. 

While dry season is still officially on, there is time for you to prepare your precious leather for the wet season.  You can apply waterproofing solution on your shoes or bags, if you cannot really keep them away from water during the wet season.  Water is one of the enemies of leather - it can drain the beauty out of the leather, making it susceptible to cracks.    

I tested a waterproofing solution from one of the more reputable brands in leather care - Saphir Invulner Waterproofing (made in France).  BFD volunteered his favorite Gucci driving shoes.  The waterproofing solution claims to be safe to use on sensitive leather, nubuck, and suede. It is silicone-free; it allows the leather to 'breathe', as it protects the surface from water and stain.  It will not cause any discoloration.  I found out these descriptions are true based on the result of the test - a 'healthy leather'.  

By the way, clean and moisturize your shoes before you apply a waterproofing solution.  There are other waterproofing solution brands in the market, but I can only write about a product that I already tried using.  

After giving Saphir Invulner 30 minutes to dry, I applied a second coating. After another 30 minutes or so, I poured water over the shoes.  The water just slid to the floor, and I shook off the remaining droplets - the leather did not absorb the water.  
After waterproofing = clean, moisturized, and protected leather. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Beginning: My Leather Care Project, Domesticated Meowth Edition

I try not to count the days before I go on a corporate hiatus.  It has been a deliberate decision in favor of family.  I'm somehow dreading it, having realized how much I love my work and I will surely miss it...but I know my priorities, and there are things that couldn't wait anymore.  

In the past weeks, I've been evaluating some ideas on what to do while I stay home (most of the time) in the coming months.  I simply don't like staying at home most days of the week, and not being a productive member of the society.  Well, it's just me. I need to do something worthwhile, and possibly generate income in the side.  

Early this month, I went to Hong Kong for a quick break.  I was once again surrounded by shoes and bags - lots of it!!! in varying styles and brands!!!  I could go window shopping (I shopped just quite a bit) for almost 10 miles, visiting shops along Canton, Salisbury, and Nathan Road.  It was an excellent cardio exercise, putting in more than 22,000 steps a day without feeling a huge amount of effort.   

During this trip, there was a moment in my mind, I was running an inventory of bags and shoes in my closet - hoping that it would help me make a more sensible real time purchase.  Some of my bags and shoes back home need serious attention after months of use.  Ah, I need a high quality mink lotion for those leather candies at home - then I came across a shop that sells premium leather care products from France.  I was there to buy mink lotion, but I ended up purchasing a couple of items more for my leather restore project home edition.  Later I would learn that the products I bought are rarely sold in boutiques or department stores in Asia.  For its complete product line-up, one has to buy online from EU - and the biggest distributor in EU does not ship products to the Philippines. 

A few days went by and I was home once again.  Day 1 post vacation, I spent hours of web research - leather, leather types, leather care, etc. Then I started working on the most 'needy' pieces in my closet.  If I am to offer leather cleaning and restoration service to friends, then I have to begin with my shoes and bags.  I set-up an interim work space in our balcony, and I was happy with the result of my first attempt on cleaning and restoration.  

In a few weeks' time, I will be traveling for professional training.  I found an organization in Southeast Asia that offers a trade course, specializing in handbag cleaning and restoration. Wish me luck!  

Gucci Canvas Tote - the leather trim was already dull due to wear and tear.  I used to send this baby to a Manila-based bag spa, but the leather treatment was sub par.  I cleaned the bag, interior and exterior; applied conditioner to the leather; and meticulously dabbed a renovator cream onto the dull edges of the leather.  I also applied a silicone-free waterproof solution to the this bag.  

Prada Tote Bag - Leather is skin.  This is snapshot of my bag after it was cleaned and conditioned.  This baby is looking forward to more years of use and understated elegance. 

Burberry leather flats - I brought this pair to a Manila-based bag spa, and then to a famous shoe and bag repair chain - but they did not even want to touch its dull leather.  They could only clean, best effort.  What I did was, I cleaned the shoes first - then conditioned the leather with a shea-butter based leather cream.  I carefully applied a renovating cream (in circular motion).  When the solution dried up, I finished it with a spray of a silicone-free water proofing solution.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Revisited: Triumph, Tribulation, and the Bags I Bought

From the window of a room at Radisson Blu, Paris; un-boxing my birthday gift to myself.
It has been seven years since I started collecting bags.  It is still not about luxury, for luxury's sake. There is always a reason behind every purchase. Since 2013, I'm quite successful in my intent of limiting my purchase to one bag a year only, and taper it down to a budget that is respectful of hard-earned money.  I don't really need a lot of bags, after all.  I tend to buy a bag that will age well, so I can use it for a long time. 

To this day, I'm still using the very first branded bag I bought in 2010 at LV Greenbelt in Makati.  It was no other than the iconic LV Speedy 30 Damier Ebene.  I was giddy as a teenager.  I thought about this purchase for a month.  I was not getting enough sleep for a week, spending late nights browsing LV's online catalog.  I couldn't even wait for my next trip to HK.  I gotta have it one Friday night.  I left my car in the parking office and hailed a cab, in order to get to the LV store before they closed for the night.  I was delivering a big project with success, and getting by after making a tough decision to finally leave something behind.  I was thinking, "I'm all grown up now.  I deserved a 'grown up' bag."
Speedy 30 Damier Ebene.
Photo grabbed from the official Louis Vuitton website.
Two months later, I found myself wandering along the busy streets of Canton Road in HK.  The Prada flagship store was so attractive to my eyes more than ever.  A week before that trip, I sent an email to a Prada store to request for a quotation for a Tessuto bag with leather bow. The bigger the change a project would bring, the bigger the adversary.  I was simply glad that work was flowing as expected.  I rewarded myself with a Prada bag that night in HK. I also bought my first Longchamp Pliage with matching pouch during that trip.  

Since I bought 3 bags within 2 months, I went on a self-imposed bag ban for 10 months. Then another big project at work was completed, and the Marc by Marc Jacobs Baby Groovee became the latest addition to my closet.  As new projects started to roll to production, time for a short break again in HK.  I got another bag - a Gucci coated canvas tote.  

Seize the happy, single life! In 2012, I traveled to EU.  It was mandatory for me to visit the LV store at Champs Elysee in Paris.  My birthday gift to myself - a Speedy 35 Bandouliere and a large Longchamp Eiffel Tower bag (very useful for travel).  

LV Speedy Bandouliere 35.  Photo taken at Versailles.
Beginning 2013, it was one bag a year (most years).  Every purchase was backed by a story of celebration for overcoming difficult scenarios.  I usually timed my purchase while on vacation, so acquiring a new bag becomes a more rewarding experience.   Here are some of the pieces that added sweetness to my travels.  

BAG-abond.  Travelling with my Lonchamp Pliage and Metallic Black Tote from Ronald Reagan International Airport Washington DC to JFK in NY.
LV Neverfull MM. Photo grabbed from the official Louis Vuitton website
LV Kimono. Photo grabbed from the official Louis Vuitton website
Disney World is not the only happiest place in Orlando, Florida.  A couple of miles from Disney Downtown is the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlet - and they have a Prada boutique there with great selections.    

Part 1 of this article is still posted in my old blog Meowth Moments - Triumph, Tribulation, and the Bags I Bought.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Herbalife Philippines Is The Official Nutrition Partner Of The Philippine Volcanoes

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (APRIL 10) – Global nutrition company, Herbalife Nutrition proudly announces its newest sports partnership with one of the most exciting team in the local sports scene to date, the Philippine Rugby Football Team-Philippine Volcanoes. 

Herbalife Philippines General manager Rosalio T. Valenzuela and Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) President Rick Santos led the contract signing which was held at Herbalife’s Philippines corporate office. Also present to witness the momentous event were Herbalife Philippines’ management team; PRFU’s William Bailey (treasurer), Ada Milby (secretary-general), Jake Robrigado Letts (National Teams Head), and national team players’ Justin Villazor Coveney and Acee San Juan.

“This is another milestone for Herbalife Philippines, as this partnership exemplifies the company’s commitment to a healthy, active life, supported by good nutrition. Together with the Philippine Volcanoes, we are confident that we can inspire more people to make better choices towards a healthier lifestyle,” said Rosalio T. Valenzuela, General Manager of Herbalife Philippines.

The Philippine Volcanoes are one of the Philippines most successful national teams. Just recently, they bested 10 other countries to win the top prize in the Asian Rugby Sevens Trophy Series competition in Qatar. Currently, the team is ranked first in the Southeast Asia (SEA) after bagging the gold medal in the 2015 edition of the SEA Games.

With the recently forged partnership, Herbalife becomes the Official Nutrition Partner of the Philippines Volcanoes. The team will receive a monthly supply of products which includes the recently-launched sports nutrition line Herbalife24 F1 Sports and Rebuild Strength.

“Our partnership with Herbalife Nutrition is inspired by our shared commitment towards improving lives through an active lifestyle and healthy well-being. The collaboration provides a much-needed boost to the development and promotion of Philippine Rugby as the PRFU focuses on grassroots development and defending the Men’s and Women’s 7s medals at the SEA Games,” said Santos.

Herbalife Philippines General Manager, Rosalio T. Valenzuela and Philippine Rugby Football Union Inc. President Rick Santos sealed the news sports partnership via a contract signing ceremony held at Herbalife’s corporate office.
Herbalife Philippines General Manager, Rosalio Valenzuela and Philippines Rugby Football Union Inc. President Rick Santos raised their glasses for a shake toast right after the contract signing. Joining them are (from right) William Bailey, Ada Milby, Acee San Juan, Jake Robrigado Letts and Justin Villazor Coveney. 
                                                                                                                                                 About Herbalife                                               
Herbalife is a global nutrition company that has been changing people's lives with great products since 1980. Our nutrition, weight-management, energy and fitness and personal care products are available exclusively to and through dedicated Herbalife Independent Members in more than 90 countries. We are committed to fighting the worldwide problems of poor nutrition and obesity by offering high-quality products, one-on-one coaching with an Herbalife Member and a community that inspires customers to live a healthy, active life.

We support the Herbalife Family Foundation (HFF) and its Casa Herbalife programs to help bring good nutrition to children in need. We also sponsor more than 190 world-class athletes, teams and events around the globe, including Cristiano Ronaldo, the LA Galaxy and champions in many other sports.

The company has over 8,000 employees worldwide, and its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HLF) with net sales of US$4.5 billion in 2016. The Herbalife website contains a significant amount of financial and other information about the company at The company encourages investors to visit its website from time to time, as information is updated and new information is posted. To learn more, visit or