COMETs are coming! (E-jeepneys now in Quezon City)

Just when I was starting to live like a total hermit (with occasional trips to the nearest shopping mall, the nearest supermarket, and church), hope sprung again when I saw this article online. There are many reasons to love Quezon City in the Philippines. There’s the city’s laid-back vibe as seen in areas like the Maginhawa Street food strip, Tomas Morato, UP Town Center, and the Trinoma and SM North Edsa mall area. The country’s two best universities are housed here. And then this: eco-friendly and rider-friendly e-jeepneys called COMETs (City Optimized Managed Electric Transport) now ply the LRT Katipunan – Trinoma route!

But wait, there’s more. Thirty e-jeepneys are just the beginning. Soon, we will see more routes and more jeepneys, which will bring us an overload of good vibes:

  • An eco-friendly upgrade to the iconic Philippine jeepneys. Sure, it’s not as colorful and crazily decorated as the jeepneys we’d come to love, but that can be fixed. What’s important is that they now use lithium ion batteries which lessens too much dependence on oil. This also means (hopefully!) less transport strikes which cripple our movements around the city!
  • Safer jeepney design.  We passengers don’t have to worry about getting accidentally hit by upcoming cars on the road because the door is now located at the side of the jeepney, allowing us to board safely from sidewalks. And whenever the rains relentlessly beat the pavement and floods ensue, these jeepneys can still brave the roads, thanks to hydraulic wheels that can rise by one foot.
  • More orderly boarding and alighting, plus some creature comforts for the tech-savvy commuter. We all know that the way jeepneys (and other forms of public transportation) randomly stop at various parts of the road causes traffic. This behavior also reinforces lack of discipline among people, both drivers and passengers. It seems that a more orderly way of commuting is about to be institutionalized through the COMET. The COMET has designated stops which are actually followed from LRT Katipunan to Trinoma and vice versa. Passengers conveniently pay for the fare via a card that they tap-in when boarding and tap-out when alighting.  What’s more, this e-jeepney also housess some creature comforts for the tech-savvy: GPS and Wifi connection, flat screen TV that displays news and ads, CCTV camera for monitoring the safety of passengers, and continuous communication between the COMET command center and e-jeepney to effectively forsee and manage congestion to and from the destination. I like this a lot because it resembles my bus adventures while I was studying in Seoul. Very convenient!
  •  Better compensation for drivers. Gone are the days when jeepney drivers are unsure of how much they will bring home to their family – or if they will bring anything substantial at all. By being a COMET driver, they are given monthly salaries plus benefits. Here, drivers, passengers, and the environment wins. What’s good for one sector is also good for the others. A dream come true.

According to the aforementioned Rappler article, this is the COMET’s route. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m excited!

COMET e-jeepney route from LRT Katipunan to Trinoma, and vice versa. Taken from http://www.rappler.com/nation/69948-quezon-city-electric-shuttles-operational.

COMET e-jeepney route from LRT Katipunan to Trinoma, and vice versa. Taken from http://www.rappler.com/nation/69948-quezon-city-electric-shuttles-operational.

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BMW ECO PRO Screensaver

Most of us are online all the time. This means that our computers, of course, are also turned on all the time. Consequently, we consume energy–lots of it, with all of us put together.

Want to save energy and the environment, as well? There’s an app for that. BMW has partnered with Antics Studios (www.anticsstudios.com) and Naga DDB to create an app that turns off your computer whenever it detects you’re not using it (after around 10 seconds or so), and intelligently turns it on again once your computer’s webcam recognizes your face.

This app, when installed in every new computer, will supposedly help the world reduce CO2 emissions by 50,000 kilos and save over 50 million US dollars in energy consumption.

Visit this link to learn more: http://bmw.com.my/com/en/insights/technology/efficient_dynamics/phase_2/downloads/eco_pro.html

Note: I got my info from a press release sent by Antics Studios, Malaysia.

About to Try: Coconaturelle soaps & MediHerbs Shampoo Bar

Photo by Me.

Landmark really has a nice selection of affordable organic soaps. I spotted two brands that I’m about to try.

First is Coconaturelle. These are soaps made from pure virgin coconut oil. I bought the peppermint and lavender variants. These are some of my favorite scents. I hope these soaps are as good as they seem in my imagination!

Second is MediHerbs Shampoo Bar. It says in the packaging that it’s a handmade soap that’s infused with Vitamins B, C and E and jojoba esters, wheatgerm oil, rosemary and gugo extracts. It also claims to deliver a non-sticky feel in the absence of commercial conditioners with regular use–whatever that means. I’ll get to understand soon after I try this, I suppose.

At any rate, I’m excited to try my new finds!

About to Try: ONE Naturales Citrus Spice and Everything Nice Lotion

Photo by Me

I saw the ONE Naturales product range at ANC’s Shop Talk some time last year but I haven’t gotten around to buying one. It’s supposedly made from all-natural ingredients. It’s also not tested on animals. The packaging uses no plastic so none of the usual cosmetics bottles will end up in landfills for something like 1,000 years–plastics will take that long to decompose.

It’s weird, though, how the ONE packaging uses a lot of carton. That is, recyclable carton. But still, I wish the packaging were a lot simpler…

Anyway, I bought the Citrus Spice and Everything Nice lotion at Landmark last Saturday since I’m running low on lotion. My other alternative was the Human Nature lotion but I decided to skip that one in favor of ONE. I figured I should give this lotion a try since the texture of the Human Nature lotion really disappointed me–it’s a bit on  the gummy side so when you apply it, it takes a while for the lotion to get absorbed by the skin.

So once my lotion runs out, I’ll start using this ONE. I hope it does its job without the gummy texture. The package says it’s made of sweet almond oil, linseed seed oil, and coconut oil, so I hope all those oils will keep my skin moisturized!

About to try: 100% Natural Purifying Facial Scrub

This wasn’t on the list I made of things to buy at the Human Nature store today, but after seeing the “Introductory Price” mark (P99 for a 50ml tube), I figured there’s no harm in putting another product in my shopping basket.

Aside from the price, another reason why I decided to give Human Nature’s newest facial scrub a try was the sweet strawberry scent. This supposedly has real strawberry seeds and fine bamboo granules for gentle exfoliation, resulting in smooth, supple and oil-free skin. I hope it delivers on its promise. Well, the reviews on the HN website look promising so I’m optimistic about this.

Another reason why I’m giving this scrub a go is because I want to see if it will make a good alternative to my weekly facial mask routine, in which I use The Face Shop’s various masks (my favorite is the Pearl mask). I like Face Shop masks. However, the routine is getting to be expensive (P65 per mask vs. P99 facial scrub which can last for several applications), and since I’ve booked several trips for this year, I need to cut down on some expenses to give myself several decent vacations.

Besides, I’m the type who likes to simplify processes, so if I can improve my cash flow, keep the amount of lovely goop I put on my face low, and keep my skin smooth and supple all in one go, then I must be doing something right, yo! =)

About to Read: Novelist Shin Kyung-sook’s “Please Look After Mom”

My leisurely morning ritual of reading my RSS feeds turned to gotta-have-it-now excitement when I saw this headline on Korea Herald:

Shin Kyung-sook becomes first Korean to shortlisted

for Man Asian book prize

Wanting to put variety into my enjoyment of Korean entertainment, I’ve been looking for a Korean author to jumpstart my K-literature experience.

And this news seemed to be IT.

After some more Google searches, I was convinced to dip my toes in K-literature with Shin Kyung-sook for the following reasons:

book cover please look after mom

The plot and the premise. The novel is described as a “deeply moving story of a family’s search for their mother, who goes missing one afternoon amid the crowds of the Seoul Station subway.” The description goes on to declare the book “an authentic picture of contemporary life in Korea and a universal story of family love. (Amazon.com)”

What piqued my interest further was the conflict, which the Man Asian Literary Prize website described as “a disquieting portrait of what can happen when ancient rituals and tradition are ignored in favor of modernity.” Knowing Korea’s breakneck economic growth, this type of conflict isn’t too far-fetched as a literary piece.  

Pico Iyer’s glowing review of the book in Wall Street Journal. Iyer is a writer I respect, so when he says Please Look After Mom is “the most moving and accomplished, and often startling, novel in translation I’ve read in many seasons,” I believe him.

I liked his balanced assessment of the book, which took into account varying audience receptions based on their different cultural backgrounds: “Some American readers may open up Kyung-Sook Shin’s novel and marvel that moving away from a parent can be seen as a source of anguish and a kind of heresy. Others will read it and recognize how much is at stake when we create our own lives and step away from our pasts. The largest split across the globe today is not between Islam and the West, or between China and the United States, but between cultures of the future and those of the past, often within the same country (even within the same family). “

Korean women

Photo from theconstantcrafter.blogspot.com

A peek into Korean women’s lives. I must confess that I tend to be partial to women writers and women’s literature, and that I’m fascinated with traditional and modern women’s lives. So what sealed the deal, so to speak, in my grabbing a copy of this book at my local library as soon as I finished reading the Korea Herald article was Iyer’s insightful take on what the book is all about:

“Please Look After Mom” is full of quiet anger about a time when women had to give up everything to protect their families, and to walk behind their husbands. But it’s also clear-eyed about a modern age in which some women don’t know how to do anything for their families—or even have families to do anything for. It would be easy to say that Ms. Shin has given us an unforgettable East Asian mother out of Amy Tan in a globalized world we recognize from Jhumpa Lahiri. But the author’s first novel to appear in English does something more than that. It tells an almost unbearably affecting story of remorse and belated wisdom that reminds us how globalism—at the human level—can tear souls apart and leave them uncertain of where to turn.”

It is also worth noting that Shin Kyung-sook is the first Korean novelist to be included in the prize’s shortlist. This is surely a proud moment not only for Korea but for “womanity” as well. =)

That the book has sold 1.5 million copies (and counting) in Korea and that the book has been published in more than 20 countries is a very pretty icing on the cake.

Congratulations for being shortlisted in this prestigious award Ms. Shin Kyung-sook! I’m quite excited for this book to take me along what I imagine to be an emotional Seoul subway ride for the soul. I hope March 15 (the day of the winner’s announcement…and the month designated as Women’s Month all over the world) will bring you and Korea very good news!

 

References:

http://www.koreaherald.com/lifestyle/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20120111000800

http://www.koreaherald.com/lifestyle/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20120111000920

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703730804576319130980329832.html

http://www.ktlit.com/authors/shin-kyoung-sook

http://www.manasianliteraryprize.org/kyung-sook-shin/

http://www.amazon.com/Please-Look-After-Kyung-Sook-Shin/dp/0307593916

Soap deals at Landmark

I chanced upon two soap deals at the Landmark department store a couple of weeks ago. This means I have more soaps in my stock.

Kinis Oatmeal Soap

First up is this buy-2-take-1 deal on Kinis Oatmeal Soaps. This is my first time to see this particular brand so I thought I’d give it a try. The oatmeal variant is a plus, since oatmeal supposedly exfoliates the skin well. This therefore makes it great for oily and acne-prone skin.

Kinis soap has big bits of oatmeal in it, so you know this brand delivers what it claims to be. My only worry: Upon closer inspection when I got home, the label didn’t clearly state the soap’s complete ingredients. However, it boasted having mineral oil to supposedly help soften the skin. Yikes. I just read from the Human Heart Nature site that mineral oil is bad for the skin. It is synthetic, so applying this on your skin is like wrapping it in plastic. This means your skin can’t properly breathe!

Oh well. Lesson learned.

Koji-san Kojic Soap

Second is the Kojie-san Skin Lightening Soap. I’ve been seeing this brand in supermarkets for quite some time now, but only thought of buying it when I saw the two-for-P50 deal.

Actually, I don’t need skin lightening as my complexion is already naturally fair. I just thought I’d try it because it seems all natural.

Why stock on soap?

I stock on soaps when I find great deals because soap is an oft-used product. So buying in bulk isn’t a waste since you’re bound to use these bars, anyway. Moreover, buying in bulk also means paying less than the regular price. This means you get to save more money to buy other things or to contribute to other funds, such as–and these are my vices–food and travel!  =)

More Human Heart Nature Purchases: Lotions, Shampoo and Other Potions!

Last Saturday was a very productive shopping day for me at the Human Heart Nature headquarters. Aside from scoring a free pot of Love Minerals Blush with the Love Minerals Powder Foundation I purchased, I also bought some of their new products to try.

First off was their new Hydrating Lotion. I bought both of the new line’s variants. There’s Moonlight Passion, which I bought in all its 200ml glory for home use.

Hydrating Lotion in Moonlight Passion

And then there’s Sweet Indulgence, which I bought in its teeny-weeny 50ml cuteness for travel use.

Human Heart Nature Hydrating Lotion in Sweet Indulgence

Both are infused with the lovely and sweet smell of passion fruit, so getting any of the two variants (or both, if you’re an eager beaver like me!) is bound to be a good choice. Moreover, these products are 100% natural, so you won’t have to worry about nasty chemicals seeping into your skin. Since it’s without mineral oil, silicone, parabens and phthalates, you get ultra moisture and yummy scented skin without the threat of premature ageing!

Another thing I bought was the Natural Moisturizing Shampoo with CREAMFoam Technology. According to the Human Heart Nature Website, CREAMFoam “works like a lotion together with Philippine coco nectar and pure avocado oil to keep your hair soft and moisturized from roots to tips.” The product is said to be 96.4% natural so we’re assured of something that’s safe to use on a regular basis.

Human Heart Nature Natural Moisturizing Shampoo with CreamFOAM

All in all, I’m very, very happy with my purchases. Since these products are new, I got them at introductory prices. The 200ml bottle of Hydrating Lotion set me back by just P179.75, which saved me P20. Regular price is P199.75. The 200ml shampoo, meanwhile, just costed me P129.75, which is P10 less than the regular price of P139.75. What a natural high!

 

Loco Over Promos: Love Minerals Foundation + FREE Love Minerals Blush

I got the surprise of my life last Saturday when I went to the Human Heart Nature headquarters in Quezon City to buy the Love Minerals Powder Foundation, among other things.  When I got to the counter, the girl asked which shade of Love Minerals Blush I’d like to have, as they currently have a promo where the blush comes free with any purchase of the Love Minerals Foundation. Stunned, I just gave her a blank stare. Oh what luck I have! For just P425 (the price of one mineral foundation), I get two products–It’s a great deal!

So I quickly mumbled I’ll-go-check-the-sample-shades-first then bolted to the makeup counter to choose. Since I’ve already tried the Petal Bloom shade and wasn’t too happy with it, I opted for the darker Tropical Rose.

This is how it looks like from the box.

Love Minerals Powder Blush in Tropical Rose, still in its box.

As you can see, the box has an old grandma-ish graphic look to it. But it’s not much of an issue for me as what’s important is the actual color the product will be on my cheeks.

The shade actually looks promising. I haven’t used it yet but I’m hoping it will give my cheeks that just-pinched look with just one 10-second round-and-round swipe of my brush with its dark color. This is because I do three sets of 10-second round-and-round brush strokes with my Petal Bloom shade–and it still doesn’t do the job. Sadness.

A pot of Love Minerals Blush in Tropical Rose

As for the Love Minerals Powder Foundation, I must say I’m quite happy with it. I tried on the Orient Pearl shade last Sunday when I went to Mass with my family. Human Heart Nature must have improved the formulation of the particular batch I got since it had very little trace of the metallic smell other blogs complained about. A couple of pats on the pot, followed by a few pats on the face, and then blend–That’s all I needed to get clearer and healthier-looking skin.

Some bloggers claim to have fewer zits after using this product for a while, but I have yet to prove that true. I’ve only used it once, after all. Also, I have yet to find out if this product really reduces oiliness on the face, but I truly hope it does!

Love Minerals Powder Blush in Orient Pearl

And I really hope they change their tacky box design. Look!

A box of Love Minerals Powder Foundation On a brighter note, what’s really important is the product and not the box. Both the Love Minerals powder foundation and blush are natural and organic, which therefore means that these won’t harm the skin now and in the future–and that’s the best thing.

More special offers here. I don’t know how long these offers will last, though.

Current soap stars in my bathroom: All Organics Charcoal, All Organics Calamansi

While everyone else equates summer with beaches, bikinis and banana boat rides, summer for me means sweaty armpits, stinky shirts and unbearable thirst. And even if summer has officially ended weeks ago, according to PAGASA, it’s still too insufferably hot.  So this soap obsession really makes sense, don’t you think?

There are two soaps in my bathroom right now. Both are from All Organics, which, as the brand name implies, is all about organic and chemical-free skincare.

First Impressions: All Organics Charcoal Soap

At first, I was wary and weirded out with the idea of using charcoal on my face. But the soap’s promise of clarifying the skin over time appealed to me. I’ve been only using this soap for just around two weeks, and so far, nothing dramatic has happened. What I do like about this soap, though, is the way it doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight and dry. The VCO is really working in this soap.

About to try: All Organics Calamansi Soap

Calamansi, also known as Philippine lemon, is known to whiten and brighten the skin. But what really appealed to me about this soap is its deodorizing effect. Think about it: It’s hot, you sweat a lot and therefore stink a lot. I figured using this soap will help minimize sweat and odor the natural way. We’ll see.