Tried and Tested: Forest Magic Gugo Shampoo

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The funny thing was, I bought this gugo shampoo while on vacation in Baguio, thinking that it was a Baguio product. What was I thinking? For one, I was thinking how much I needed to re-stock on shampoo pronto. Two, I was determined to buy a natural product. Three, I’ve always wanted to try gugo shampoo since I was a kid, except that the gugo that I saw decades ago was very raw and scary. Four, this bottled version seemed friendly. And last but not least, I bought a bottle because I wanted to help the folks at Good Shepherd in Baguio.

But as soon as I examined the fine print at the back, it turns out to be a product from (ta-daaah!) Antipolo City!

Don’t get me wrong through. Although I almost regretted buying this product, using it made me change my mind. It’s actually a good product. I’ve been using it for more than a month now, and I’m pretty happy about it.

The highlights:

1.  It has a very rich formula, as evidenced by the thickness of the liquid. It’s not runny, but a rich, gooey brown that assures us that the manufacturers didn’t scrimp on ingredients.

2. It lathers up quite nicely, so we can imagine how it cleans our hair thoroughly.

3. It leaves my hair soft, even without using conditioner. I’m happy that it does the job of cleaning my hair without stripping it off its natural oils.

4. It leaves a faint gugo scent on one’s head. The smell isn’t for everyone. It’s not as fragrant as flowers, but I don’t mind since the smell isn’t overpowering nor disgusting. It’s just…a smell that we can live with.

5. Gugo shampoo is supposed to be a great remedy for thinning hair. It’s also supposedly good for preventing dandruff. As for thinning hair issues, I can’t say much since I’m not balding yet. For preventing dandruff, I suppose it works since my hair has felt soft and squeaky clean since I used this Forest Magic gugo shampoo.

My favorite hot cups of coffee and chocolate in Baguio, Philippines

This coffee by Cafe by the Ruins is made special by the shell-shaped sugar that comes with it. I thought it was a cookie, but it turned out to be some form of brown sugar. Just drop it gingerly on your cup, stir, and enjoy! Or, you can do as I did -- I pretended it was a cookie and I turned it into "dessert"!

This coffee by Cafe by the Ruins is made special by the shell-shaped sugar that comes with it. I thought it was a cookie, but it turned out to be some form of brown sugar. Just drop it gingerly on your cup, stir, and enjoy! Or, you can do as I did — I pretended it was a cookie and I turned it into “dessert”!

This hot chocolate drink, called tskokolate de batirol, is an old fashioned way of serving our favorite cold weather drink. It is made by manually mixing and stirring real cacao balls from a special wooden stick called "batirol". When in Baguio, don't forget to visit this place named after this well-loved chocolate drink at Camp John Hay!

This hot chocolate drink, called tskokolate de batirol, is an old fashioned way of serving our favorite cold weather drink. It is made by manually mixing and stirring real cacao balls from a special wooden stick called “batirol”. When in Baguio, don’t forget to visit this place named after this well-loved chocolate drink at Camp John Hay!

I got a cup of civet coffee, supposedly the priciest coffee in the planet, for 100 pesos from Good Shepherd in Baguio. I didn't get it from a fancy cup, just a normal paper cup, but it tasted...oddly...weird. It was good, but weird. I paired it with Good Shepherd's oatmeal and strawberry muffin, which was one of the most authentic-tasting oatmeal muffins I've tried thus far. They didn't scrimp on the oatmeal and molasses so the 25 pesos that I parted with was money well-spent!

I got a cup of civet coffee, supposedly the priciest coffee in the planet, for 100 pesos from Good Shepherd in Baguio. I didn’t get it from a fancy cup, just a normal paper cup, but it tasted…oddly…weird. It was good, but weird. I paired it with Good Shepherd’s oatmeal and strawberry muffin, which was one of the most authentic-tasting oatmeal muffins I’ve tried thus far. They didn’t scrimp on the oatmeal and molasses so the 25 pesos that I parted with was money well-spent!

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! =)

Another great use for HN Sunflower Beauty Oil: Lip Soother

While vacationing in the US, I found out another great use for the very versatile and multifunctional Human Nature Sunflower Beauty Oil. This time, it’s for soothing chapped lips!

I’ve learned from previous trips that autumn doesn’t do any good for my lips, so I made sure to bring lip balm. But for some reason, it didn’t work. As a temporary relief, I swiped a few drops of the Sunflower Beauty Oil and (surprise, surprise!) it did the trick! It eliminated flaky lips, smoothed it out, and kept it hydrated. It’s a beautiful (and beautifying) accident!

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.

I won the Binalot Contest but…

I won the Binalot contest on Twitter but I wasn’t able to get my prize — a bottle of adobo flakes and two tickets to Orosman at Zafira — because I was busy at work and school.

I was supposed to get it last Monday, during our school holiday, but I opted to finish my research report for my Communication Research class, which was due that day.

I thought of getting it after work, but going to Makati was just too much of a chore for me.

So February 12, the day of the Orosman at Zafira play, came and went with me watching my Korean dramas at home instead. All’s well.

Tried and Tested: EarthSpa Lemongrass Soap

Photo by Me.

Soaps are soaps. And the EarthSpa Lemongrass soap is a good one. It’s actually not much different from the other organic and natural soaps I’ve tried, but I like it, still. Any soap that’s not Safeguard (which doesn’t seem to clean, lather up nicely and leave a clean scent on my skin anymore)  is a good one for me.

Tried and Tested: Human Nature Balancing Facial Toner

Photo by Me.

The Tomato and Lemongrass Toner that I like is gone (as in phased out from the Human Nature range), and this is the replacement–the Balancing Facial Toner. I’m not really sure why they’d replaced a seemingly serviceable product, but trying this new one for almost two weeks made me decide that I like this replacement much better.

I’m not really sure what the ingredient elemi is supposed to do for my face, but this, combined with orange, makes for a clean-smelling toner.  According to the Human Nature website, elemi oil is “known for its skin-care benefits and healing properties.” It is quite vague for me, so I did a little googling and this was what I found out: It is “helpful in cases of heavy perspiration, cuts, wounds and skin infections. Elemi oil is said to rejuvenate the skin.”

Moreover the elemi tree is actually native to the Philippines. Locally, it is known as “pili.”

Another trivia from this website: Elemi oil was actually used by ancient Egyptians in the embalming process. Creepy, huh?

I like the Human Nature Balancing Toner, nevertheless. It does the job of cleansing and toning my skin. Plus,  I’m big on smells that stimulate and awaken, so this one’s good enough for me.

Coconut House

My usual Sunday lunch with the family was unusually good today. We went to this restaurant called “Coconut House” inside Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC). I wasn’t expecting much, since my childhood memories of QMC is jejemon at best (my family used to go biking there back when my parents were still young parents with not much money). But the restaurant turned out to be one of the best.

Here are the things I liked about the place:

1) It proudly serves Filipino food, from breakfast to dinner. They had “binalot” meals on the menu. We had kalderetang dagat, gising-gising with squid, and pork liempo—all served with brown rice and beautifully wrapped in banana leaves. For appetizer, we had ukoy and fresh lumpia–all made from coconut meat! AND (and I mean AND!), I finally got to taste “pansit buko”, a kind of noodle dish that makes use of coconut meat strips instead of flour or egg noodles. I thought I’d only get to taste this when I go to the province (I forgot which one). We had fresh coconut juice, which was still on its shell, to wash it all down. But that’s not the end of it! For dessert, we had coconut ice cream topped with chocolate and coconut munchies. Very delightfully dee-lish coconut overload!

2) Everything’s organic, and most importantly, affordable. Perhaps because of its QMC location, which consequently tells a lot about the kinds of customers in the vicinity, the prices of foods served here are super affordable. The pansit buko, for example, was just PHP75–and the serving was generous, too! The “binalot” meals were just PHP125–and each was served with organic rice! The ice cream was just PHP25. And the buko juice  was just PHP35. You can actually afford to splurge here even if you’re broke! And best of all, you also ate healthy. =)

3) There’s a space for coconut products like oils, soaps and accessories. I saw organic VCO soaps there sold for just PHP70. Gugo shampoos in 250ml bottles were priced at just PHP130. There were also bottles of coconut oil, coconut sugar, and coconut munchies. Accessories and home decor were also sold. Too bad I didn’t have much money with me. But I vow to give the bath products a try when I get back!

4) The wait staff were smiley. You’d think, that just because  the restaurant is located in QMC, that customer service would be sacrificed. But no. The wait staff were surprisingly nice, especially to kids. They can give Jollibee and McDonald’s a run for their “service with a smile” philosophy, simply because I felt that the kind of service and smile the Coconut House staff gave customers was a lot more sincere. It reminded me of those good guy underdogs in the Japanese dramas I watch, such as Vito, the Jap-Fil character that Matsu Jun played in “Smile”.

I hope we go back there next Sunday.