Get on Your Feet!

I thought that when I transitioned from working in an office to being more on the go as a fitness professional, I was leaving behind the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Apparently, the amount of time I spend sitting, whether it’s in front of a computer screen, at a table doing arts and crafts, or commuting in heavy traffic, also exposes me to a risk of a shorter life. According to an Australian study, people who reported sitting for at least 11 hours a day were 40 percent more likely to die during the study than those who sat less than four hours daily.

For the new study, van der Ploeg and her colleagues surveyed about 220,000 people from New South Wales, Australia between 2006 and 2008. The surveys included questions about participants’ general health and any medical conditions they had, whether they smoked and how much time they spent both exercising and sitting each day.

Then the research team tracked responders using Australian mortality records for an average of almost three years, during which 5,400 — between two and three percent –died.

They found that the extra risk tied to sitting held up regardless of whether people were normal weight or overweight, how much time they spent working out and whether they were healthy or had pre-existing medical conditions, van der Ploeg’s team reported this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

She said too much sitting may affect blood vessels and metabolism by increasing fats in the blood and lowering “good” cholesterol levels.

“When you are standing or walking your leg muscles are constantly working, which helps to clear blood glucose and blood fats from the blood stream,” she said. “If you are sitting this is not happening because the muscles are not active.”

So, time to peel yourself away from your laptop, or your iPhone playing Draw Something. It’s summer; get up and do something!

Planetshakers + Israel Houghton & New Breed on April 21

I was able to attend Becca Music Inc.’s BLOG THE BEAT event two weeks ago and got updated on their planned concert events for the year. In case you’re not familiar with Becca Music, they’re the events company that organizes concerts featuring contemporary Christian music artists. I remember going to the Becca Music office some years ago to buy tickets for the Switchfoot concert (can’t remember if it was the first concert or the second one). They also organized the Saved Music Festival at Araneta Coliseum last year featuring Gary V, Quest, Jodi King, Sideshow, Parachute Band, and Starfield.

This year, their first major event is the PlanetShakers + Israel Houghton back-to-back concert on April 21 at Araneta Coliseum. At Victory church we often use PlanetShakers songs for praise and worship: the most memorable one for me is “Nothing Is Impossible”.

It’s going to be a great worship experience. I’m going out of town and won’t be able to watch it, but I was super happy to win tickets for the concert at BLOG THE BEAT because I could give them to Michael and Marielle.

Who are the PlanetShakers?

Formed for the first Planetshakers Conference in 1997, Australian Christian Worship band Planetshakers is passionate to see generations worldwide unite together to worship God. Their heart is to see people encounter God, be transformed by his presence and empowered to make a difference in their world. Hailing originally from Adelaide, the Planetshakers Band is now based in Melbourne at Planetshakers City Church, under the leadership of Senior Pastors Russell and Sam Evans.

With over 20 internationally acclaimed albums, the band tours annually to the USA, UK, Europe, South Africa, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Since 1997, the band has grown substantially with two teams now travelling the globe regularly.

Who is Israel Houghton?

Israel Houghton is known for injecting contemporary gospel and worship with a blazing energy that has made him among the most influential tastemakers in his field. As a singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist,
producer and worship leader, he has created a canon of songs that have become standards in houses of faith around the globe. He has accomplished this largely as the leader of “Israel and New Breed,” a Grammy, Stellar and Dove Award-winning musical ensemble and ministry organization that has amassed gold-selling albums and critical platitudes.

Surf Bound: Bali

Even though my surfing has been in stops and starts (I pop up at Club Manila East only every 6 months, and haven’t been on an ocean surfing trip in ages), it’s one of the things I try to do every opportunity I get — if I have a companion to come with me.

And that’s the problem: I’ve got a great freelance schedule, but everyone else is tied down to a 9-to-5. So any time I look for a travel companion, they all have work.

But I don’t think anybody could refuse a free trip to Bali, though. I mean, it’s BALI, one of Asia’s top beach and surfing destinations. This year, Aloha Boardsports’ Surf Bound: Bali is sending one lucky winner and a companion on a paid three-day getaway!

For every P2500 worth of products purchased from Aloha Boardsports stores, you’ll be entitled to one raffle entry. The lucky winner will receive a paid surf trip for two to Bali, Indonesia, inclusive of airfare courtesy of Air Asia, accommodations, and products from RVCA, Billabong, Dakine, Von Zipper and Sony.

Surf Bound: Bali prizes

Surf Bound: Bali prizes

Even if you don’t get the grand prize, three winners will also be chosen to win a Sony NEX-5N digital camera, a pair of Von Zipper eyewear, and P5000 worth of gift certificates from Aloha Boardsports and Billabong. The grand raffle draw will be held on June 4, 2012 at Aloha Boardsports Mall of Asia.

If you’ve been thinking about refreshing your beach staple wardrobe this year, this could be a win-win situation. For more details, visit the Aloha Boardsports Facebook page or

I'm surf-bound to Bali!

I'm surf-bound to Bali!

I Drop My Phone Back and Forth

I hate getting my phone scratched and banged up, so I use jelly and hard cases, screen protectors, socks, etc. to keep my phone from looking the worse for wear. Still, I can’t completely avoid accidents, such as when my phone falls out of a jacket I’ve draped over my arm, or when the screen protector peels off during a trip and something scratches the screen before I can replace the protector.

Having a damaged phone bothers me to the point that I just have to buy a new phone. It’s why I have a new BlackBerry Curve 9360 when my old Curve 9300 has better battery life: I couldn’t stand the scratch on the screen and the banged-up trackpad.

Replacing a phone has a heavy price, so when Otterbox held its Drop Test tour last week at Power Plant, I went to see what it was all about. You can drop a phone in an Otterbox case? I thought in disbelief. When I arrived, two girls were juggling phones back and forth. Well, if they were juggling those phones they weren’t doing a good job; every three throws they dropped a phone.

Otterbox Drop Test Tour: Oops, I dropped it again!

Oops, I dropped it again!

That’s how confident Otterbox is in their product, which absorbs the shock and abuse thrown at it so that the phone inside is protected. In fact, Tenkie Box, the sole distributor of Otterbox in the Philippines, has been told by the Otterbox mother company to replace Otterbox cases damaged by drops, bumps, and falls, no questions asked. (Replacing the phone is a different story :D)

Also present at the Drop Test event was one of the local Otterbox brand ambassadors, Lorraine Lapus. I’ve known Lor since 2008 when she was a fulltime surf coach for the Philippine Surfing Academy based out of Club Manila East. These days she still surfs, but is a bit more jetset as the brand manager for Rip Curl at Stoked, Inc. Otterbox is a perfect fit for her active lifestyle in the city and out-of-town on surf trips.

Otterbox Drop Test Tour: Brand Ambassador Lorraine Lapus
Otterbox Drop Test Tour: Defender Series w/ Lorraine Lapus

Lorraine Lapus uses the Defender series

Apparently, BlackBerry was one of the first smartphone manufacturers to work with Otterbox, which is why I had so many options when it came to choosing my own Otterbox (with special thanks to Tenkie Box!). I could go with the sleek Reflex series (a hard shell that slides off and on for easy docking), or the attractive yet affordable Impact series (a durable silicone skin), or the heavy-duty Defender series (hard shell covered by a silicone case).

Otterbox Commuter Strength case

I'm such a sucker for pink.

I went with the Commuter Series Strength case. Aside from its attractive pink outer shell, there’s a soft silicone inner case that absorbs shock and cradles my BlackBerry like a baby. Also, 10% of the purchase price goes to support the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.

Of course, we had to show that we had full confidence in our chosen Otterboxes, so we had to do the drop test with our phones as well. I think my phone traveled the farthest when it landed and skidded across the platform. :'( But thanks to Otterbox, I won’t have to worry about my new phone getting beaten up. Much.

Otterbox Drop Test Tour: Media

Media and Bloggers at the Otterbox Drop Test Tour

Trippin’: The Long Drive, Attempted

my old travel blog header image

my old travel blog header image

I remember years back when I started my now-defunct travel blog that I set out some travel goals I wanted to achieve. One of them was to go on a road trip where I would be driving most of the way.

Driving within the city, the challenge is to avoid traffic and accidents and get to my destination in a reasonable amount of time. Long drives out of town, the challenge is to stay awake and not get lost!

Last February I had the opportunity to be a support crew driver at the Bataan Death March Ultramarathon 160. We took my car, so I was driving when we left Metro Manila at 12 midnight, arrived in Mariveles, Bataan at 3am, and supported our runner until 11am. This meant I was in the driver’s seat for 11 hours (!!!). We then drove to San Fernando, Pampanga to check in at our hotel, which meant another hour of driving. If I wanted to, I could probably drive to Camsur myself next time I feel the need to wakeboard.

(I’m going to fly off on a tangent and tell a story about the last time I was on a bus back from Camsur. It was after the Camsur Marathon where I had been invited as a media guest, and I had a return flight to Manila. Unfortunately a storm hit the Bicol region and my flight was cancelled. Tessa Prieto-Valdes was in the party and arranged for a van ride instead for those who needed to go home. Buti na lang I chose to get on the van; others who took a chance that there would be return flights or bus rides the next day had to wait out the storm for two more days!)

So, the other weekend was my first solo long drive. I attended a triathlon camp at Pico de Loro in Nasugbu, Batangas and decided to drive there the day before so I’d have enough rest going into the tri weekend.

I printed out directions from Google Maps and thought they’d get me there, but unfortunately they only took me as far as Nasugbu public market! Thank God for the foresight to download the BlackBerry app for Google Maps; I was able to use it with my Globe BBMax subscription to get real-time location and directions to Pico de Loro. Sure there were big directional signs every so often on the highway, but it was nice having a safety blanket.

Coming home I also drove alone and decided to make a stop at Bag of Beans in Tagaytay City. Even though the cafe was on the only road I could take to get into Tagaytay, I turned on Google Maps so I could find out how long it would take me to get there. I wanted to be back in Manila at a certain time, so if it took too long to get to Bag of Beans I would have just skipped the stop. As it turns out, I had just enough time to get a cup of hot chocolate and some sylvannas for take-out. Just the right thing to keep me awake on my long drive back home.

I’m excited that I can now drive myself that far. Where will my little car take me this year?