Whether we mark it or not, everyone of us know that February is the Love Month. However, not all of us are aware that it is also our National Arts Month (NAM), which we should all surely celebrate because of our artists’ vast creativity and talents.
Pre-pandemic, art shows and events are mounted by both private and public institutions, including the leading agency for arts and culture in country. This year, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts themed NAM, “Alab Sining, Alay Sigla.” But as we all know, celebrations have also been limited to mostly online events. Museums and galleries are also behind in terms of establishments able to reopen.
In this regard, we should realize the importance of art in public spaces, in the streets, in the open for everyone to experience and appreciate all for free.
Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City is highly commendable for infusing art into its early development phase, filling the streets with installations and sculptures. The CDB’s developers and its art foundation carried this through in 2014 with the Arts BGC Mural Festival, which filled walls with larger than life paintings by both local and international artists. In the coming years, more murals popped up, naturally blending in the urban landscapes as breathing backdrops—even as their colors have faded through weather and time.
The earlier part of the 2020 feels like a distant and disconnected memory. In February, I ran my first marathon, the grueling 42 kilometers. I was planning on running more long, even longer distances, on both road and trails.
But as we all know it, a new and unknown coronavirus spread like wildfire causing a pandemic and locking us down in isolation inside our homes.
This sudden, unprecedented change made us reeling, made us feel unstable, made us desperate, made us into everything we had never experienced before.
I, for one, lived for a time like a wheel constantly turning. One moment I’m up, and in the next unexpected turn, I’m down. It was a cycle that was becoming exhausting and helpless.
That was until I took control of the wheels—literally!
With long-distance running out of the question, I turned to biking and covered distances farther than what was expected. Even biking came earlier than expected, as I was planning on learning this in 2021.
I couldn’t be more thankful for pursuing biking because it restored my balance and peace within, which was becoming chaotic. It made me realize that I was still capable of something good, especially for myself.
And just like what hiking, biking also allowed me to stay fit with an outdoor and physical activity, opened up new opportunities in my life, as well as made me go to and see new places (for free!), and most importantly, rekindled a sense of kinship and community with others.
In a pandemic-ridden world and quarantined life, these achievements could mean everything. These could mean finding yourself again, and retaking the life you previously knew.
So 2020, I’m leaving you for good, and cruising through 2021 with my (two) wheels.
HAVING been trying to avoid and minimize use of plastics for years already, I am aware that my beauty products are the bane in this cause. As we all know, plastics pollute our planet, from those brought to landfills to those that end up in our seas, and there to stay for eternity.
Plastics do degrade but for a very long time, and often, they just turn in microplastics that seep into the earth, or worse, fill the stomachs of the fish we eat.
During the pandemic, I found myself the opportunity to finally shift to clean and green skincare products to better take care not only of myself, but also of the environment.
I began looking for brands that are mindful of their impacts and constantly trying to reduce them with reusing and recycling packaging; and lastly, brands that are centered on plant-based ingredients and safe yet simple formulations.
On Part 1, I shared four Korean skincare brands that got me started on this journey. On this Part 2, I share brands from the other side of the planet, and one our very own.
MOST of us have read, heard or watched it. L’Oreal announced that it will drop the word whitening, along with others such as white, fair, fairness, light and lightening, in its products.
This is just the beginning as the entire L’Oreal Group aims to be sustainable for the planet and inclusive for all by 2030. It announced recently L’Oreal for the Future, a roadmap for a truly radical transformation.
As one of the biggest beauty businesses in the world this matters. Here’s everything you need to know:
WHEN this pandemic struck so unexpectedly and unprecedentedly, all of us had to set our priorities straight. For many, skincare took the back seat and was deemed unessential. That’s totally OK. For others, skincare became an important part of a holistic self-care. This too can’t be discounted.
Admittedly, I felt lucky to be one of those who could afford the latter. It also became an opportunity for me to finally shift to clean and green skincare products to better take care not only of myself, but also of the environment.
Having been trying to avoid and minimize use of plastics for years already, I am aware that my beauty products are the bane in this cause. As we all know, plastics pollute our planet, from those brought to landfills to those that end up in our seas, and there to stay for eternity. (Plastics do degrade but for a very long time, and often, they just turn in microplastics that seep into the earth, or worse, fill the stomach of the fish we eat.)
Unfortunately, some of the world’s biggest plastic waste contributors are brands that we have on our bathroom shelves and racks. And this isn’t the only impact that they leave. Natural resources are being consumed, products are being tested cruelly on animals, communities are being ripped off, among others.
But while the beauty industry is among the most unsustainable, it doesn’t mean we can’t. We simply need to start somewhere, somehow. Yes, we can’t become zero-waste overnight but we can lessen our personal footprint.
We also need to be aware that there are already beauty brands that are revolutionizing the industry in ethical and eco-friendly ways. Best of all, their products also deliver the results we desire for our skin.
So began my journey in finding these brands—in a bit of a rush because I was already experiencing the dreaded maskne. If you haven’t heard of this yet, it is simply an acne breakout as a result of extended wearing of face masks. It sucks but we have to uphold this safety protocol.
Thanks to recommendations from my friend Coleen and countless YouTube reviews by Hyram, I started building a fortified skincare routine that makes me feel good inside and out.
Here are the brands that I started the shift with, plus the products I am already using:
K-beauty has already made waves in many parts of the world and Korean skincare is quickly catching up due to its plant-based ingredients and effective formulations, but with competitive price points vs. Western counterparts.
Coxrx, in particular, is one. I have already heard about this brand from my officemates since last year but it’s only now that I actually considered it.
Providing skin solutions globally only since 2015, Cosrx combines the concept of cosmetics + RX (prescription). It uses skin-friendly ingredients to alleviate various skin concerns, according to its website. On the clean beauty front, it has blacklisted all possible harmful ingredients, has promised to be against animal testing, and is hypoallergenic and tested in Korea.
I am now using the Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser and the AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner to wash away all the sebum and impurities on my skin derived from our humid weather and also, the extended wearing of mask. Salicylic acid also targets acne and I love how my face feels so clean after every wash.
2. Some By Mi
A pretty new kid in the K-skincare block, Some By Mi has gained traction already and is being reviewed all over YouTube by beauty vloggers, Hyram included. It’s most known for its AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle line, which from its name alone, promises to clear breakouts in 30 days. In fact, Some By Mi means Something By Miracle. And so far, it’s doing quite a good job in soothing my acne.
Aside from the AHA BHA PHA components (watch Hyram explain these ingredients here), the line also has the raved about Centella Asiatica, a medicinal herb that has wonderful benefits for skin, especially Asian skin.
I got the sample / travel kit with toner, the serum and the moisturizer (though I haven’t used the toner yet) for just P700. Its regular sizes is priced similar to Cosrx products.
Still on Korean wonders, another skincare brand that is getting a cult following for its sunscreen is Purito. Its Centella Green Level Safe Sun is all goodness in one: a refreshing and soft product that leaves no slimy feeling and no white cast by a combination over 70% of water base and three essential ingredients, Centella Asiatica extract, Hyaluronic Acid and Tocopherol. This makes it 100% vegan, aside from being cruelty-free, artificial-fragrance-free, compatible for combination skin, with UVA-UVB protection, at pH 6.5, and good for everyday use.
Purito applies this clean formulation on all its products. According to its website, Purito is derived from the words “purify,” meaning purifying natural ingredients to create safe and clean products, and “To,” a Chinese character symbolizing going back to basics to strengthen and repair collapsed skin barriers.
So the Centella Green Level sunscreen was one of the first products I knew I needed for my improved skincare routine because I also started drinking collagen supplement.
While I love how simple yet effective these three Korean skincare brands are, their products mostly still come in plastic packaging. A down side to competitively priced products.
The Korean skincare fascination is not yet over. Already on the way for delivery is my Krave Kale-Lalu-yAHA (read has hallelujah) Resurfacing AHA exfoliator.
Now Krave is one promising brand, currently with just five products on its arsenal meant to cleanse, moisturize and protect. It is founded by beauty vlogger Lia Yooh with the philosophy “press reset.” Its brand story from the website reads: “Skincare should be easy, a stress-free zone, a supplement to our lifestyle. And most of all, skincare basics should be, basic.
“And that’s what we, KraveBeauty, believe in. We believe in the power of simplicity by urging every women and men to step back, press reset, and listen to your skin’s true needs. And we’re born in this industry to offer truly Krave-able skincare essentials that respect the skin and restore it to health.”
What I even love all the more from this brand is its sustainability efforts on recycling and packaging, which you can read all about here.
Those are my recommended Korean skincare brands to look out for if you are also wanting to start a cleaner and greener skincare journey.
On Part 2, brands from the other side of the planet and one, our very own.
THE Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival has officially opened yesterday, albeit a digital edition in response to the ongoing global health crisis we are all facing. While we’ll be missing the sense of community we get from going to the Cultural Center of the Philippines, catching online screenings, on the hand, gives another good thing: accessibility.
Imagine, you can watch a set of films for only P75? This is for the Regular Bundle featuring Main Competition Shorts A and B (five films per program); Indie Nation full-length: Mindanao; Cinemalaya Retro full-length Jay and Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank (Double Feature A); and Cinemalaya Retro full-lengths Amok and Ekstra (Double Feature B).
BRIGHT lights everywhere. Above, three magnificent chandeliers hang, its dangling crystals illuminating the already grand hall with glamour. Spotlights bring the eyes to the exhibits along the wall. And at the second floor balcony, multi-colored light bulbs spell Cinemalaya.
This is the scene that has been engraved in my memory in the last decade of covering the country’s premiere and leading independent film festival, held annually at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
This is also the scene that I will surely miss this year, as the 16th edition of Cinemalaya will be officially be held virtually—the as a result of the pandemic that we all still grapple with in our own ways.
ACCORDING to HR Watch, the anti-terror bill, when passed as law, makes it criminal offense to incite individuals as committing acts of terrorism “by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations tending to the same end.”
The anti-terror bill poses threats to our rights as Filipinos, and to our rights to free speech and expression. And the moment we lose these rights is the moment we lose our freedom.
On the day declaring our independence as a people and as a nation, Traveling Journo Ph upholds our rights and our freedom, and joins the call to #JunkTerrorBill.
Metro Manila has officially transitioned to a modified enhanced community quarantine allowing us residents to regain parts of our normal lives, while still being mindful of physical distancing, proper handwashing at all times, and following strict community rules like curfew and limited movement.
We are seeing malls, commercial centers and restaurants reopening once again, as well as some offices and businesses as long as these observe MECQ guidelines.
The live music scene, however, is yet to recover since non-essential mass gatherings cannot be allowed still, and for all the good reasons. This entails countless job loss not just for the musical artists but also for managers, roadies, assistants and employees who all work for live gigs and venues.
I’M a writer. And it shows in a lot of ways. One that’s simple and as writer as it gets is collecting notebooks.
The three in the picture are my current constants: 1. A folio notebook, which is a gift from a friend who knows me so well. It has been used and abused for I guess about four years already. It’s refillable with pocket inserts so I can keep lots of stuff and trinkets inside it; 2. My 2020 CBTL planner, which also doubles as my bullet journal. It’s so functional for me because there is so much space for writing and planning. For the record, this is one and only café planner that I “collected” because it’s refillable and created by the same makers of my folio notebook; And 3. My notebook from work, which I use on the job and for other jobs particularly my volunteer work.