How Jackielou Blanco detoxifies her colon

How Jackielou Blanco detoxifies her colon
By Walter Ang
September 21, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Jackielou Blanco keeps fit and trim by making conscious efforts at exercising, eating healthy, getting enough rest and having a positive attitude. She also cleanses and detoxifies her colon on a regular basis.

At a forum that discussed ways to maintain colon health organized by wheatgrass-based powdered drinks manufacturer Easy Pha-max, Blanco said, ""I take So Easy Colon Cleanse, a three day meal replacement program, as a safe and effective way to 'let it all out.'"

Oncologist Dr. Anthony Abad said that the colon is the catch basin of all the toxins and waste products from the food we eat. Beyond fatty and oily foods, there are also processed foods, artificial ingredients, and preservatives?all harmful substances that can cause not only colon diseases but other problems such as migraines, weakened immunity, high blood pressure, liver and kidney problems. These can increase the chances of colon cancer as well.

"Toxins can stagnate in the colon and get reabsorbed into the blood stream, leading to self-intoxication," he said. "The colon is like `the garbage can' of the body. It should be emptied regularly. If left unattended, waste products will rot and become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. The solution is cleansing."

Losing toxins and weight
"You will lose a bit of weight and a few centimeters off your waist as one of the `good' side effects," said Blanco of taking the So Easy Colon Cleanse liquid diet program.

The product comes in a set of three boxes. Each box contains ten sachets of different powdered drinks that replaces the day's meals. The fasting process is meant to allow the digestive system to naturally eliminate hard-to-remove and built-up waste as well as rebuild damaged cells and tissues.

The drinks contain oil palm fiber and other types of fiber from different fruits and vegetables. "Oil palm fiber is highly effective in lubricating the inner lining of the colon wall, which makes elimination of chronic waste easier," said Blanco.

Research has also shown that oil palm fiber is a powerful anti-oxidant that promotes glucose metabolism and helps manage cholesterol levels. It contains lignin, which binds with cholesterol, bile salts, fats and toxins that allows for better elimination by the body.

"Once chronic waste and other toxic substances are removed, nutrients are absorbed more easily," said Abad. He noted that users needn't be afraid of feeling hungry since the regimen also comes with wheatgrass, which is high in fiber, therefore providing a sense of fullness.

Complete food
Wheatgrass is considered as a type of "complete food" because of its high levels of nutrients which include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, bioflavonoids, phytochemicals and more than 100 types of enzymes. "It provides the body with the necessary nutrition it needs to sustain itself during the three days," said Blanco.

Wheatgrass also works to neutralize acidity and help restore the normal pH of the gastrointestinal tract. It has chlorophyll that eliminates toxins in the blood. Its enzymes break down the bond of chronic waste to colon walls while its amino acids assist in cellular and tissue repair, allowing the gastrointestinal tract to regain its natural efficiency.

Nonetheless, Blanco reassured the audience that nibbling on bits of fruits or vegetables is allowed during the cleansing period. She confessed to liking apples and carrots herself. "I like the way they crunch, crunch, crunch in my mouth," she said.

All together now
The forum is part of Easy Pha-max's "Green Ribbon" campaign to generate awareness for the importance and benefits of preventive health. The campaign includes a series of health and nutrition lectures, leisure and sports rallies, and outreach programs.

Abad shared that there have been documented medical studies where patients were successfully treated for ailments such as fatigue, insomnia, allergies and even leukemia through colon cleansing. He advocates the regimen since it also removes mucoid plaque, considered the leading cause of colon cancer.

"It can be a bit of a challenge," Blanco admitted. "I've done the program at home while the rest of my family went about their regular meals, so there was a lot of temptation. But I really made a conscious decision to do this for myself so I can stay healthy for my loved ones."

Fortunately for everyone else who would like to do the regimen, they can join upcoming installments of the "So Easy Life Camp," where participants go through the process taking So Easy Colon Cleanse while engaging in lectures and social activities.

"There will be games, karaoke singing, dancing?a chance to unwind. You can go with your family and friends or meet new friends. It's easier to detoxify if you're with a group instead of doing it alone," said Blanco.

The camps are usually held in five-star hotels like Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay. "You'll also learn colonic massages plus breathing and stretching techniques?all of which can aid in successful waste removal from the colon," she said. "I really encourage everyone to take So Easy Colon Cleanse. I've tried it and it's one of the best gifts I've given myself."

Visit For details on So Easy Life Camp, call 890-1111 or toll free 1-800-10-890-111.

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Marco Polo Plaza whips up treats

Marco Polo Plaza whips up treats
By Walter Ang
September 16, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Cebu City's Marco Polo Plaza hosted a week-long Swiss Alpine Food Festival at its Café Marco buffet restaurant. Frankfurters, bratwursts, schubligs and, of course, cheeses like emmenthal, gouda, gruyere, and tilsit were added to the restaurant's usual array of Asian and Western sections.

The Swiss festival is part of Café Marco's "Culinary Journeys" program that highlights particular cuisines at certain times of the year. The festivities culminated in a celebration of Swiss National Day via an al fresco buffet party at the hotel's Garden Terrace hosted by hotel general manager Johannes "Hans" Hauri.

Hauri, who is Swiss himself, started the annual party with the traditional ringing of a Swiss cow bell and jokingly introduced the audience to a cow replica that was standing guard onstage. He welcomed the Swiss nationals in attendance, which made up almost half of the 200-strong headcount.

Hotel executive chef Luke Gagnon (formerly affiliated with Excelsior Hong Kong and Shangri-La Shenzhen China) and his staff prepared iconic Swiss offerings like roesti (potato cakes), Oswald-style cheese quiche, spaetzle (noodles) and the very popular raclette (cheese and potatoes).

Veal, pork, beef tongue, and, yes, fleischkaese (meatloaf), prepared in Swiss methods, were also featured. Swiss chocolate cakes, apple streudels, chocolate fondue, engadine nut cake and zuger kirsch torte (cherry brandy cake) were just some of the treats at the dessert station.

The food festival is just one of the many culinary-centric undertakings that the hotel comes up with throughout the year to keep itself top-of-mind with its patrons. The hotel boasts of different dining venues for different inclinations.

Aside from its Café Marco buffet restaurant, the hotel has El Viento Restaurant and Bar beside its mango-shaped pool. El Viento specializes in Mediterranean cuisine and serves pizzas from an outdoor wood-fired brick oven.

Guests who prefer to relax indoors can stay at the Lobby Lounge and order wines and tapas while enjoying nightly live entertainment that range from acoustic, classical, Latin jazz, to rhythm and blues.

The hotel is located in the Nivel Hills district and many guests take advantage of the panoramic views of the Mactan Channel and the neighboring islands. Hauri noted that the hotel's penthouse dining venues are popular with both locals and tourists for the commanding vistas it provides.

The Continental Club Lounge at the hotel's penthouse offers complimentary refreshments and cocktails throughout the day for the exclusive use of guests staying on the hotel's upper floors. For everyone else, the penthouse also houses the hotel's Blu Bar and Grill, which offers Continenal cuisine and cocktails al fresco.

To entice guests to come and enjoy these different venues, "We make sure that something is always happening at Marco Polo so that the town always comes up here," Hauri said. "Our lights are always on. We have the biggest fireworks in the city on New Year's Eve and on Valentine's Day."

The hotel has also made sure that guests are greeted by staff in smart-looking attire. Food attendants wear uniforms designed by Philip Rodriquez while front desk staff wear Junjun Escario.

The man behind all the action is Hauri, a seasoned hotelier who has worked in the hospitality industry in Asia for the past 25 years. He was general manager of The Hilton, The Peninsula and Shangri-la and has been with Marco Polo Plaza since the chain resurrected the former Cebu Plaza Hotel in 2006.

In the renovation process, Hauri was cognizant of Cebuanos' shared history with the hotel. "This is where people had debuts, wedding receptions and different celebrations," he said. "You can't just take all those memories from them."

To keep long-time guests and to attract new ones, the staff freshened up the hotel's 329 guest rooms (which includes 20 suites), upgraded the inner workings of the 24-storey structure and established new venues within the hotel for Cebuanos and visitors to gather. Their efforts have earned them a Deluxe Class Hotel accreditation by the Philippine Department of Tourism.

The surface improvements go hand-in-hand with a conscious effort to deliver "authentic Asian hospitality experience and a warm welcome" to its all its visitors, noted Hauri.

This specialized hospitality extends to new tour packages that the hotel has created to introduce Cebu to visitors. The hotel can take guests on private tours to a guitar factory, dried mango factory and a rattan furniture showroom and workshop. Long-standing landmarks can also be visited, like Colon Street (the oldest street in the Philippines), Yap Santiago's Spanish-inspired ancestral home in Parian and the Cathedral Museum (home of a 1521 wood-carved Sto. Niño).

"A sidetrip to Casa Gorordo, Magellan's Cross, Fort San Pedro and Gullas Museum completes the experience," Hauri says. The hotel also offers a southern trail tour which leads to culturally-rich towns like Carcar, known for its shoe factory, Balay na Tisa (an ancestral home), St. Catherine's Monastery and Argao Cathedral.

"What we have sums up as an elegant urban resort hotel," he said. "We are all very excited to serve guests and extend hospitality that is distinctly Filipino."

Call (032) 253-1111.

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REVIEW: Orosman at Zafira is rousing and (who knew?) fun

Orosman at Zafira is rousing and (who knew?) fun
By Walter Ang
September 13, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Brilliantly directed and choreographed by Dexter Santos, Dulaang UP's Orosman at Zafira (which closed yesterday) is an exhilarating show that makes the Francisco Baltazar's komedya not just accessible to contemporary audiences, but also engaging, not to mention, fun.

This particular theater form, not to be mistaken as comedy (the Tagalog term komedya is derived from comedia, a Spanish generic term for drama), was brought over by colonizers as an evangelizing tool, usually has plots about saints or warring kindgoms, and uses staging conventions like structured choreographed entrances and exits.

This production is definitely not your great-grandparents' komedya.

Sound and movement
Santos clearly directed the piece with an audience in mind, selecting staging devices that successfully render both the theatre form and Baltazar's work for today's sensibilities. With his artistic collaborators, Santos executes this epic story with stylized movement, evocative choreography and a distinctly Filipino score.

His dramaturgs have edited the original text, changed Baltazar's original Turkish kingdoms to Filipino tribes and created a narrator to help audiences along.

Carol Bello, former member of world music group Pinikpikan, has composed original music that is earthy, textured, haunting and immensely rousing. While the music of a traditional komedya is performed by a brass band, Bello's neo-ethnic music is performed by a live orchestra using indigenous instruments like djembe drums, kulintang (gong chime) and kubing (jaw harp) together with electric guitars and keyboards.

Santos replaces the traditional marches with movement vocabularies inspired by the country's regional dances. He marks the narrative with three impressive battle scenes that showcase a heady amalgamation of fight stances and dance. The cast charge, pounce and attack as they twist, glide and leap.

He delivers a coup de grace in the last battle scene by making his cast use musical instruments as weapons, an all-out sound and action machine.

It's complicated
Beyond the spectacle of the battle scenes, more importantly, the show reintroduces Baltazar's canonical work to audiences. And the work can seem like a handful, with characters who covet, scheme, kill, avenge, pine and love?stuff that teleserye producers would love and audiences will have no problem relating to.

Love in a time of war is daunting, Santos and Bello seem to say. Music for battle sequences are loud and fast while the love duets are all furtive, angry or grief-ridden. No joyful, danceable Broadway-esque love anthems here.

To help audiences remember who's who, production designer Tuxqs Rutaquio assigns color motifs to the tribes. He opens the show with a single file of reeds that break into labyrinthine components, mirroring the fleeting delicate nature of calm and the many convoluted plot turns that the characters must negotiate. He then punctuates major narrative segments via a moon (that turns an ominous blood red at one point) that crosses the length of the stage.

In the show's world premiere in 2008, the preternatural voice of Tao Aves (inherited from her mother Grace Nono) as narrator added a mystical quality to the proceedings. In this year's restaging, we caught her alternate, Natasha Cabrera, who nonetheless provides a more human, more relatable sound, especially when her character's father is slain in the second act.

Boys and girls
In Florante at Laura, Baltazar's more known work (since it's required reading in high school), the male protagonist (Florante), gets tied to a tree and waits quite a while to get saved while the female characters (Laura and Flerida) have to do a bit of work.

These are plot points that Baltazar repeats here. Orosman ends up shackled and Zafira has to (among other things, avenge her father's assassination and finds out her beloved is the son of the enemy) come save him (as she fights to maintain control of her tribe).

The alternating actors who play Orosman don't have much to do, really, but pop onstage occasionally, show off some pecs and abs, declare love for Zafira, and then wait for her to save him.

It is more fun watching Zafira, played with wonderful aplomb by Delphine Buencamino. Her expressive face infuses the character with depth and spunk. She does her parents, theatre stalwarts Nonie and Shamaine Buencamino, proud.

Jacinta Remulla provides steady support for Buencamino's performance as Gulnara, the concubine of Zafira's father who battles side by side with her. Roeder Camanag is a strong Boulasem (Orosman's father).

All eyes, however, were on Reuben Uy in his intense and menacing turn as Orosman's villainous brother Abdalap. Uy's scenes with Buencamino register the most impact, tension, and strangely enough, chemistry.

Scope and scale
At the end of the day, its music and choreography are the defining characteristics of this show. It carries you through the narrative, sweeps over you and is a convenient storytelling device that allows audiences who don't have a steady grasp of Tagalog to stay immersed in the goings on.

Therefore, the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theatre underserves the material's epic scope with its small scale. Extensions are clipped and jetes are truncated. You half expect the cast to ram into each other whenever they dance onstage.

No doubt the proximity of the dancers to each other in such a small space adds heft to their pieces, still, one can imagine Santos's choreography and blocking truly blossoming if only he were given an appropriately bigger platform.

The restaging is proof that the show can sell, so the next step for Dulaang UP is to find a producer or apply for grants to push the production to its next logical and higher level. Can't the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the university's sister government institution, lend a helping hand? The Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (where Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats just wrapped) would be perfect.

Dulaang UP will stage Floy Quintos' "Shock Value, Take 2" directed by Alexander Cortez from Sept. 15 to Oct. 3, 2010. This will be the second production for its 35th season "Return Engagement: Plays that deserve a second look," a series of restagings of DUP's past popular works. Call 981-8500 local 2449, 926-1349, 433-7840 or 0917-6206224.

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Sigwada Gallery: thinking about art

Sigwada Gallery: thinking about art
By Walter Ang
September 13, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Sigwada Gallery considers itself as a "gallery-in-progress," says its owners, Fabian and Cecile Pagaduan.

Progress, for this particular month, is marked by celebrating its second anniversary with a group exhibit titled "Theses on Philosophy" curated by Joseph Crisanto Martinez. Emerging artists will showcase works inspired by philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, among others.

"They will tackle either their favorite philosopher's thought or questions related to man's existence, man's freedom, and God or morality," says Fabian, who has a masters in philosophy himself and is the deciding entity behind the gallery's artistic directions.

He dispels the possibility that the subject matter will make the artworks too high brow. "We live philosophy everyday! As long as we think about what it is to live and not just merely surviving," he says.

"The objective of the show is to promote thinking, reflection and philosophical engagement on the part of both artists and appreciators/collectors. And since philosophers have always been known to be trailblazers in idea concepts and thought, likewise, the artists explore new visual concepts as well."

The couple makes no claims to expertise and admits to being "new, small, inexperienced and naive." Nonetheless, the gallery is not without personality.

Along Oroquieta Street in downtown Manila, it's easy to miss amongst a row of stores selling religious paraphernalia. "I used to run a similar store," says Cecile. "After my husband retired from his banking career, we decided to open the gallery to support our son and our nephew. Both are studying to become artists."

Another point of differentiation is its earnestness. The gallery doesn't have a website, but it does have a blog where the couple chronicles their ever evolving thrusts for the gallery, confesses occasional bouts of doubt and apprehension, and inventories accomplishments.

There, they also make known the gallery's two-fold mission: "to pursue philosophy-oriented art on one hand and on the other, promote art for the masses."

The blog proceeds to point out the tenets that guide the gallery's selection process. "We will pursue aesthetics, new art concept, inspiration, mystery. Artworks that have A.C.I.M."

Clever acronyms aside, the couple notes that they are "very serious about making Sigwada a different gallery, a gallery for artists with passion and innovation."

And, yes, a gallery that's accessible to the middle class market: it has a self-imposed pricing cap of P50,000 for it works. There are plans to conduct an art sale later this year where works averaging one by two feet will have a price cap of P3,000.

Since opening last year, it has hosted a street art festival; organized an art exhibit in Manila City Hall; organized an exhibit entitled "Yellow Democracy" at the Lacson Underpass in honor of Cory Aquino ("The painting of Tita Cory used in the campaign of Noynoy was a gift from our gallery."); and even organized art workshops and performances with music jamming sessions.

"By just keeping at this, we know the buyers will take notice and come. It's the age-old formula of the hole-in-the-wall lumpia maker in Quiapo who makes the best lumpia there is but whose customers go all the way there to buy," says Fabian.

People do notice. "One of our buyers stated that prices in other galleries are high, even exorbitant, and that our pricing cap is a welcome and interesting development," he adds.

They've also received positive feedback from the artist community. "An artist who had stopped painting for years was encouraged to take up the brush once again after reading our gallery's vision and mission," he says. "It inspires us to continue along this track."

"Art is not only for the elite, it is for everybody. Art can be fun, art can be a magnet for laughter and company. Here at Sigwada Gallery anything goes. We welcome everybody."

"Theses on Philosophy" runs till the end of the month. Sigwada Gallery is at 1921 Oroquieta St. (near corner of Tayuman St.), Sta. Cruz, Manila. Call 743-5873 or 0917-807-5659 or email

Big boys play with their fast toys: Stephen Lloyd's motorcycles

Big boys play with their fast toys
By Walter Ang
September-October 2010 issue
Asian Dragon Magazine

There is a unique sense of fraternity, Walter Ang finds out, when
Big boys play with their fast toys

With a background in geology, Stephen Lloyd moved to the Philippines from the USA more than a decade ago to focus on gemology. He owns a jewelry store, Vie Nouvelle Jewelry, in Peninsula Manila Hotel. From handling metal to produce intricate designs for precious stones, Lloyd spends his down time tinkering with the same materials, only on a larger scale.

A hobbyist builder and collector of motorcycles, the passion for these machines began when he was ten years old. His father had gotten him a Honda Cub motorcycle and issued a challenge, "If you can build it, you can have it."

His collection in Manila includes a Ducati, a Yamaha, a Buelle and a few others that he's built himself. Of course, he rides them as well. And the riding is what it's all about. Lloyd rides a Harley Davidson Chopper all around the metropolis. "It gets me where I need to go," he says. The best part, he confides, is being able to weave through the city's notorious traffic jams.

Beyond the utilitarian, Lloyd notes that riding is a culture on its own. One that engenders a connection between all riders.

Lloyd has even gotten a buddy interested enough to pick up this method of transportation. Christopher Lee, another expat from the USA, has been in the country for a little more than a year doing project management consultancy, with some projects involving small scale mining. The two crossed paths and got along, given their shared positive outlook for the country's business potential in the mining industry.

Lee drives a Buell 1125R and gets a lot of good natured ribbing from Lloyd on safety tips. The two go out on rides when they're not crossing off their to-do lists for work. While they're not part of any exclusive group, they've gotten to know and have become friends with other riders. "There's an automatic respect for other riders when you're a rider yourself," says Lee. "It's all about guys as individuals doing their own thing."

As it turns out, there are quite a number of businessmen and professionals like Lloyd and Lee who also ride. "So really, the cliché reputation that a motorcycle rider is a bad guy is just that, a cliché," says Lloyd.

Public relations consultant Ed Tamayo, points out that one should have an interest to begin with, but that this eventually evolves into passion and commitment.

Tamayo didn't always know how to ride, but got into it pretty much the same way that Lee did. "A friend introduced me to it," he says. This rider of a Harley Davidson Heritage Soft Tail became so enamored with riding that he eventually joined the Mad Dogs Motorcycle Club--a group of professionals, businessmen and executives that rides big bikes and are darn proud of its colors and tattoos.

Getting in isn't simply a matter of signing up. Potential members have to be invited by a member to engage in a "prospectship" that lasts at least six months. But once in, a member has bragging rights to being part of an exclusive international motorcycle club headquartered in the Philippines and has chapters in Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Beijing.

If the brotherhood between all riders isn't evident enough, the group has even codified its commitment to live up to the values of freedom, courage and loyalty. And less anyone think that it's merely an old boys' club, "the group has always been moved to give forward," Tamayo says.

"We share, however modestly, but from the heart, with other members of society," he says. The group regularly conducts medical and charity missions, especially to disadvantaged children.

It is perhaps an awareness of the risks inherent to riding that propels the group's unique thrust of benevolence. The awareness of the dangers propels any rider, in fact, to never take their lives or anyone else's, for granted. All three consistently mention the word "safety" throughout their expositions on riding as a way of life.

"At the back of your head, you're always thinking `Don't die,'" notes Lloyd. "You're not surrounded by a cage of metal like when you're inside a car." Some tips that they gave for beginning riders include getting a smaller bike with manual shift so that the rider gets used to riding on two wheels and always riding with an eye out for everything else that's on the road.

"Get a cheap one so you won't feel so bad when you wreck it," he says with a laugh. "Because you will definitely wreck your first bike."

It's clear from the way these gentlemen share anecdotes of riding and being a rider that the speed, the heft, the texture, the rumble, the feeling even, that only a motorcycle can provide is a deeply personal experience. "It's you, the bike, the highway. It's your own space, your own time," Tamayo lists off.

Lloyd adds emphatically, "When you ride, you feel free."