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

Post-Valentine’s Speed Date with the Philippine Volcanoes

Believe it or not, I’ve never been on a real Valentine’s date. In fact, this year I had work on February 14. But that was OK, because I was looking forward to February 15 when I would be speed-dating a few of the Philippine Volcanoes. No, not Mayon or Pinatubo or Taal…

Speed Date with the Volcanoes: The Ring of Fire

The Ring of Fire ain't got nothing on THESE Volcanoes.

I first became aware of the Philippine national rugby team from their Bench Body billboards last year, and from a press lunch Globe Telecom gave last year to publicize their continuing sponsorship of the team. Turns out, the Volcanoes have posted far better results in the international scene than the national football team. They’ve even been invited to take part in the Hong Kong Sevens this March, which is considered the premier tournament on the IRB Sevens World Series in rugby sevens (a variant of rugby union).

Speed Date with the Volcanoes: Coach Matthew Cullen

Coach Matt giving a few updates about the Volcanoes

This year, the Volcanoes are poised to make a bigger impression on the Philippine sports psyche. Aside from inking a television deal with GMA7 which will ensure their games can be watched on national TV, the Philippine Rugby Football Union will also be hosting some major international rugby tournaments in Rizal Stadium. Exciting!

Our speed-dating event organized by Globe also promised to be exciting. There were seven smoking-hot Volcanoes present that night: Chris Everingham, Jon Morales, Jake Letts, Nick Perry, Darran Seeto, Kenneth Stern, and Andrew Wolff. Four batches of seven women each were given two minutes of time with each player, which meant that each of these Volcanoes had to socialize and make nice with 28 women! (Poor fellas.)

Speed Date with the Volcanoes: Round 1

Let's call this a dating treadmill.

This event was also a sort of launch for Globe’s post-Valentine promo giving free Facebook access to Globe and Touch Mobile subscribers with internet-capable phones (excluding BlackBerry phones, which require a BlackBerry data plan, and Opera browsers, which access Facebook through a proxy). You can register to the promo by texting “FREE FB” to 8888 or dialing *143#. After your registration is confirmed, you can browse Facebook by accessing it through via phone browser or by using your phone’s Facebook app.

We were all each loaned a smartphone so we could take photos of ourselves with the players within the two minutes we had with each of them. At the end of the night, the photos would be uploaded to Facebook using Globe’s mobile data service and posted to the Globe MDS Facebook account.

Speed Date with the Volcanoes: Trouble with the Camera

having trouble taking a photo of myself with Kenneth Stern

I was part of the last batch, so my friends Karen, Faith, Tiara, and Marbbie (who had all had their turns before me) tasked me with some cheeky follow-up questions. OH-KAY.

Speed Date with the Volcanoes: Cheat Sheet

Inquiring minds want to know.

The boys were extremely nice during the speed-dates even though we kind of figured they’d be shell-shocked by the end of the evening. I have to say getting to talk with them albeit briefly has made me more curious about the sport they play. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the Volcanoes this year.

Noelle De Guzman is a Globe Mobile Data Services Brand Ambassador.

Storm in a Teacup

There’s a storm signal over the metro so it’s been raining off and on the whole day. After the past week’s late wave, this cool weather is very much welcome, especially since it gives me opportunity to indulge in thick blankets and steaming hot drinks.

Lately I’ve been indulging in hot tea. It’s the simplest of beverages to prepare — I mean, how hard is it to boil some water and put a tea infuser in? I usually enjoy it with some milk and Splenda at my favorite coffee and tea shop. I haven’t had any tea at home since my family and I have just moved into a new place and haven’t stocked our pantry well.

I attended the Lipton Thoughts and Teas blogger event at Paul Calvin’s Deli, BGC a few weeks ago (on a rainy day like this!) and tried to expand my tea preparation repertoire. Celebrity chef Rosebud demonstrated how to create home-brewed chai tea and orange tea with a few spices and extracts. It all seemed so very simple.

Lipton Thoughts and Teas: With Chef Rosebud

And then we were all challenged to create our own signature tea recipes for a prize! I immediately thought of apple-cinnamon, which would have been perfect for the rainy weather we were having…

…if only I knew how to execute it properly. I had no idea how difficult it would be to balance all those ingredients and flavors in one cup of tea!

Lipton Thoughts and Teas: Create Your Own Tea

I threw my first attempt out (it tasted like tea with vomit, ewww!) and tried again. It was better, of course, but didn’t taste as rich as I wanted it to.

In the end, it was a matter of who executed a good idea better: someone else was able to create an apple-cinnamon tea that appealed to Rosebud’s palate. As for me, I think I’ll stick to my black tea with milk. That one’s tried and tested. Ü

Philippine Fashion Week S/S 2011: The Boys&Girls from Ipanema

I’ve been attending Philippine Fashion Week for about two years now. While most people go for the clothes, for me it’s always been more about the spectacle. I love seeing what people wear just to attend the shows; it’s their chance to be a bit more avante garde in their fashion choices. Whether or not they look like a freak show is a different story. Hrhrhr.

I also love seeing how every show’s director can present the clothes and models in a different way. While the most usual change-up is the shape of the runway and the lighting/music arrangement, at the Resort Collection with Ipanema show on PFW Spring/Summer 2011’s Day 3 the director did more than that. Instead of the standard gait and pout, all the models who strutted their stuff looked and acted happy, skipping down the catwalk in their Ipanema flipflops and swimwear, sundresses, and leisure wear.

PFW Ipanema Show
PFW Ipanema Show

PFW Ipanema Show

they’ve got happy feet

Although some of the designs from various designers were predictable and/or inappropriate to be worn with flipflops and open-toed footwear, I loved the flipflop and sandal designs because they were colorful and looked like so much fun to wear (I blame the models!).

I’m not sure if they’re the current styles offered at Ipanema retailers (such as Shoe Salon), but I will be checking them out, particularly the women’s sandals. I need casual footwear that doesn’t look like tsinelas; I don’t often wear heels and I need to wear open footwear to allow my feet to breathe, especially after workouts and runs. Yet I still want to feel a bit more dressed up rather than looking like I just stepped out of my bathroom. “If the shoe fits, wear it,” people say, and I think Ipanema footwear definitely fit with my lifestyle and fashion choices.

By the way, I was photographed at the Ipanema event; my look was featured on’s PFW S/S 2011 Day 3 gallery. I guess I wasn’t one of those who looked like freak shows, yay!

Philippine Fashion Week S/S 2011 featured on

photo by Stylebible Digital

Why You Should Watch Amazing Race Asia (and Why I Won’t Be on It Any Time Soon)

I just flew back from a very relaxing All Saints Weekend in Boracay (yes, it’s my third time this year… I’m planning a mega-post next week about all my trips). I’ve always thought I could be a savvy traveler and even passed an application for the Amazing Race Asia Season 3. But meeting TARA4 Philippine teams last Thursday at the viewing party sponsored by Misibis Bay and the City of Legazpi confirmed that there’s something special about these teams. More on that later.

TARA4 Viewing Party: Group Hug!

Bloggers and TARA Racers Unite!

Ever since I switched away from SkyCable, I haven’t been able to catch an episode of TARA, so watching back-to-back Episodes 5 and 6 from the current season was a real pleasure. Episode 5 was the Philippines episode featuring activities around Legazpi City and Misibis Bay, which was the pit stop for that leg of the race. It was a great way to stimulate my interest in traveling to Bicol (with a little less stress and more time for sightseeing, of course). Episode 6 had the teams flying out to New Zealand from Misibis Bay.

What really struck me about “the Riches” Richard Hardin and Richard Herrera and “Party Girls” Lani Pillinger and Jess James (who couldn’t be at the viewing party) was their way of finding ways out of predicaments without freaking out. Basically, they were able to take the challenges on and have fun doing them. One incident that really stood out for me was when the Riches needed to get on an earlier flight in New Zealand, so they asked some people nicely if they could switch tickets. That shaved a precious three hours off their time and contributed to their first place finish for the New Zealand leg of the race.

Lani and Jess also worked really well together, being supportive instead of criticizing each other as some other teams would do. One of the bloggers present at the event commented that there was a lot of positive energy surrounding these teams. Rich & Rich and Lani were really nice as well, socializing with the bloggers by going around each table asking if we were okay, and saying the food would be coming out soon. (Hahaha!) Richard “Rampage” Herrera was even offering beer to bloggers. When I said I didn’t drink beer, he offered rum. I thought it wasn’t on the menu, so I said sure. To my surprise, he came back 5 minutes later with a rum coke.

TARA4 Viewing Party: With the Riches and Lani

photo by Azrael Coladilla

Overall our Philippine teams have great personalities and star power; it’s hard not to watch when they’re the ones on-screen. And, needless to say, they are all so pretty to look at!

The reason I shouldn’t be on the show is that during my flight back from Boracay, our plane was supposed to be diverted to Kalibo. I threw a fit, which may be good TV drama but isn’t really something I would like to see from someone representing the Philippines. Eventually we were able to check into an earlier flight which would leave from Caticlan — and on that same flight was Rich Hardin! I was so ashamed. I guess I need to keep watching more TARA4 to see great examples (like our teams) for how to deal properly with travel pressure.

Now if only Destiny Cable carried AXN so I could keep watching TARA4.

Vanity, Vanity: A Vanity Fair

Two weeks ago my friend Liz Lanuzo from invited me and a host of other bloggers to “Vanity, Vanity: A Vanity Fair” at SM North EDSA Sky Dome. It was the third day of the event, which was supported by several major beauty and health brands.

Vanity, Vanity: Body Shop Makeover
Vanity, Vanity: Face Shop Makeover

Face Shop and Body Shop offering makeovers

I’m not really a beauty and fashion blogger although I do appreciate good grooming. (It’s why I’m the Kikay Runner.) It was a bit intimidating to be among these stylish bloggers; coming over on the MRT I noticed one girl who was wearing something very LookBook-ish, and true enough she was also at the event!

We had a little game of Blogger Scrabble, where we were separated into two groups, all wearing two letters from the words “BLOGGER” and “I AM VAIN”. After a slow start, my group won and we took home bottles of acai berry juice! I’ve heard good things about the vitamin and nutrient content from this juice, so we shall see if it really works. I’ve been feeling a bit run down lately…

Liz also gave a talk about the Top Ten Tips to Level Up Your Beauty and Fashion Blog. Much of it was common sense, realy, but she presented them in such a way that it would be easy to remember and apply to each blog post made. They’re also actually good tips to apply to any kind of niche blog. Ü

At the end of the afternoon, the winner of the door prize was announced. Each of us bloggers had been asked to write down answers to two questions: “How vain are you?” and “When are you at your most beautiful?” So guess which question I won the prize for. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but it went something like this:

“I am so vain that everything I do comes from concern about my appearance. I started working out because I was concerned about gaining weight; now I’m a group exercise instructor. I started running because I wanted to tone my legs; now I’m a host for a television show about running. I started putting on make-up because I didn’t want to look shabby; now I’m invited to events such as this. Yes, I am that vain.”

For that honest answer about my vanity, I won a pot of Mosbeau underarm and inner thigh whitening cream.

Vanity, Vanity: Mosbeau Underarm and Thigh Whitening Cream

My mom was happy to receive this from me.

That was on top of all the other loot bloggers received. I had to bring all these bags onto a crowded MRT, and there was just so much stuff that I could bless my friends with (sometimes I don’t get around to using stuff I’m given). Definitely a well-supported event.

Vanity, Vanity: SeriAsia Moisturizer

SeriAsia Ganoderma Moisturizer

Vanity, Vanity: Loot Bag

Clockwise L-R: NaRaYa bag and pouch, SkinFood whitening gift pack, Acai Berry, NuDerm Supreme White Soap, Dermclinic pen

Thanks so much for inviting me, Liz! I feel a yearning for a make-up post coming up soon… (Or maybe, on my friend’s blog Bless My Bag. *wink*)

G Live: The BODYJAM Main Event

Over the last four years I’ve written again and again about BODYJAM, a pre-choreographed dance party workout I teach at a local gym. In the years since I’ve become an instructor of the program, I’ve written about it less and less, simply because as an employee of the gym I don’t want to let too much of the mystique out of the bag (and because any occasional whining about work conditions might get me called to “the principal’s office”).

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, which is teaching BODYJAM. Last week, I had one more reason to love my job more, and that reason’s name is Gandalf Archer.

G Live: Gandalf Archer

otherwise known as “G”

No, this is not Gandalf from Lord of the Rings (although I think he’s just as cool =p). G is the program director, choreographer, and worldwide face of BODYJAM. He’s based in Auckland, New Zealand, and travels every quarter to take the experience of BODYJAM to instructors around the world.

This month, on his way home from those travels, he dropped by Manila. He’d been hearing a lot about how passionate we are about the program, and how Filipinos love to dance. So, last Monday night we BODYJAM instructors had a little meet-and-greet with him.

We usually get choreography for BODYJAM through DVD, and many of us had only seen him on our TV screens. So meeting him in the flesh was a completely different experience. My mind is still in denial, actually. It all feels like I was watching it on TV.

G Live: Photo Op

OMG. OMG! *hyperventilates*

I had my copy of BODYJAM 43 (my training release) signed by him. It was strange because I was starstruck up until I walked up to him and started talking to him. And then something switched on in my brain and I was just chatty all of a sudden. I was with a fellow instructor, Ryan, who had been having posters autographed for the past few minutes.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi. Sorry to bother you…
G: Oh, it’s not a bother.
Me: (holding my hand out) I’m Noelle, and I think you know Ryan. He’s back with another poster, I think he’s gone into business selling them…
Ryan: (laughs)
G: Well, it’s going to be a short-lived business, like, it’ll be over in five minutes.
Me: Would you mind signing my training release?
G: Sure. (scribbles)
Me: It was ten releases ago.
G: That’s a lot of releases.

We had a question-and-answer period; my trainer Arnold Warren told us to make it interactive, so we had to think up of some questions to ask G.

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I asked him “the hardest question” (4:07)

And then he wanted to dance with us a little. Once the music started playing, we just went wild, and we just lost ourselves in the experience.

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dance, dance like it’s the last, last night of your life

That wasn’t the end of it. The next night, we had arranged for a big event, called “G Live: The BODYJAM Main Event”. People could buy tickets to enter what we had billed as a two-and-a-half hour dance workout, led by G. He taught the upcoming release, BODYJAM 54, plus something he billed as “55” but was actually a freestyle routine. Fan-freaking-tastic.

G Live: Kicks

kicking it

G Live: Dancing

dancing up a storm

G Live: When the Beat Drops

hit it!

There was a part of me that had gone to sleep and had just been going through the motions. It took an encounter with G, someone who lives a really creative life bringing BODYJAM to life, to wake me up again. The time he spent with us told us that we do matter, we do make a difference, we have something to be proud of. It was something I badly needed, and since then I’ve been supercharged.

The Philippines loves you, G. Come back soon!

Oceana Contest Winners!

Thank you all very much for joining my Oceana GC contest. To recap, I am giving five Oceana gift certificates each to three people who commented on my Oceana post about what their favorite cuisine is. Now since there were duplicate entries, the real total number of people who joined the contest is 78. I used‘s list randomizer three times; the people whose names appeared first each time I randomized the list of names are the winners.

So, with no further ado, congratulations go to the following people:

  • Kate: “My fave cuisine would have to be Thai 🙂 I love how each dish is a blend of so many flavors. I also like the spices that they use.”
  • Arthur: “I love Mexican cuisine! The spicy food really sticks to my palate and makes me dance salsa all the time!”
  • Jayson R. Biadog: “I like Filipino, Western, Chinese, Italian and Japanese Cuisine!”

To you three, please leave a comment in this post with your email address so I can get in touch with you about mailing your GCs.

Thanks again!