Peace panel chief: Bangsamoro ‘constitutional’

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #CebuBloggingCommunity

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (May 28, 2015) — Peace process chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer reiterates today here at the AFP Central Command in Lahug that the creation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law has no legal impediments.

Why is the Bangsamoro constitutional? Ferrer, through a presentation, pointed out that the creation of the Bangsamoro is provided for in the Philippine Constitution. She cited Article 10, Section 15 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution stating that “there shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.”

The creation of the Bangsamoro will follow a legislative process with the enactment of an organic act and its ratification in the core territory, this was the second point.

The third reason why Bangsamoro does not leap beyond legal parameters is that it follows the Constitution’s provision on legislative powers of an autonomous region while upholding national sovereignty of the Philippines.

“There is no substate. In fact, mahirap i-define kung ano talaga ang substate,” Ferrer stressed. “What Bangsamoro is is similar to the creation of ARMM only that we are granting to Moros their right to self-determination but still they are under one Philippines.

“Hindi naman buong Mindanao ‘to. The framework is actually for Central Mindanao. We recognize also the division among Moro groups, and that it takes two provinces to form an autonomous region. The salient points of the draft provide for a Bangsamoro government that is parliamentary and democratic. It will never be a separate state. It will remain under Philippine sovereignty.”

She cited Article 10 of Section 20 of the 1987 Constitution that “within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to provisions of this Constitution and national laws, the organic act of autonomous region shall provide for the legislative powers over: administrative organization; creation of sources of revenues; ancestral domain and natural resources; personal, family, and property relations; regional urban and rural planning development; economic, social, and tourism development; educational policies; preservation and development of the cultural heritage; and such other matters as may be authorizd by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region.”

Further, a ministerial form of government in the Bangsamoro is allowed under the Philippine Constitution. Based on Art. 10 of Sec. 15 “the organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units.”

“The Bangsamoro is a secular government, not an Islamic state,” Ferrer added. “We should give peace a chance. We should allow Bangsamoro to demonstrate its sincerity, more than a process of decommissioning of arms; allow them to prove they have respect for the basic rights of all.”###

Advertisements

Serenitea unveils ‘more moments’

caption: BLOGGERS sample tea goodness and new products for snacks in Serenitea’s second anniversary.

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (May 28, 2015) — Serenitea Cebu marks its second anniversary by launching new drinks, merchandise, and snacks plus the annual “Jumbo Cup” Promo through a lovely tea party today here at Calyx Centre in IT Park.

Snacks include chicken chops, French fries, hash browns, peppered corn, potato rounds, shrimp balls, squid balls, and squid rolls. Merchandising items feature Hokkaido and Okinawa tea goodness injected in candies and chocolate bars with Matcha Marble, white chocolate with taro, Hokkaido milk chocolate, milk chocolate with Assam flavors or black tea.

All of these will be available to the market on June 8, this year.

The Jumbo Cup Promo will have been first served by May 29. Customers who order their favorite Serenitea drink in a large cup will get a special treat because their drinks will be converted to a jumbo cup, says marketing officer Tara Merced.

Says Innoland Retail consultant Bruce Cortes Bollozos that the rebranding of Serenitea on its second year in the market means “immaculate white and apple green” interiors. Frames hung on the walls take a transition in content – from just the tea-related quotes to inspirational quotes.

Some of these interesting quotes are on travel, on being creative, on life’s challenges to take a stand, decide, and take the risk.

For Serenitea’s second birthday, Innoland staff hosted a tea party so guests can sample great snack items and drinks highlighting Cebu’s very own mango. The drinks take on a twist such as Mango slush with matcha tea, Mango overload with ice cream, aside from the bestselling mango tango.###

Check a halo-halo, rice bowl @ Kublai Khan

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #CebuBloggingCommunity

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — Do you remove lettuce from your burger? Or has the habit of picking out of your sandwich the cheese wedge?

Would you rather have red mung beans over boiled corn grains on your halo-halo (refreshment using ice shavings, milk, and a cocktail of colorful ingredients), a dessert item that is so much a part of the Filipino food culture. Or are you fond of setting aside julienned carrots of a veggie-based dish?

Kublai Khan Restaurant on the Ayala Center Cebu Terraces has developed a system to make it convenient for clients to enjoy their rice bowls and halo-halo. So diners won’t end up tossing the bean sprouts out of the bowl. Through the “Check a Bowl” and “Check a Halo” services, clients are given a list of ingredients divided into four sections – meat and sauces, condiments, vegetables, and base which is either rice or rice noodles (bihon or canton). Customers choose the items according to preference. That way they can enjoy their meals more, preventing further wastage of food, and paying only for what’s necessary.

This blogger, for example, is not so much into Schezuan but can tolerate native chili for hot and spicy Warrior Bowl. Doesn’t really pay attention to gizzard but adores liver (chicken and pork). And as tofu is a very healthy stuff, it is on top of the “ticking job.”

For the halo-halo, tahore or red mung beans is a favorite along with the natural sweetness of nata de coco, the pretty colors of kaong, the softness of coco strings.

According to Juditha Batino, store manager, they make sure that ice is shaved only the very moment the order comes in to maintain safety in food handling. “There’s no pre-shaving. We want ice to be pure as it should be, so preparation comes only after real-time orders are taken.”

She takes pride in “specially formulated milk that doesn’t need further granulated sugar.” Ingredients such as green gulaman, monggo, sweetened banana and sweet potato, jackfruit and leche flan, among others, are said to be homemade.

Rice bowl costs P140 while halo-halo is pegged at P79 but one can add P20 to get all 12 ingredients or the “7-5” formula (base and toppings).

Expect congee at its Cybergate outlet on midtown Cebu next month featuring chicken congee, seafood congee, and black congee or with squid ink.

Of the four outlets in Cebu, the one in Ayala Terraces is the biggest with 128 seats. Kublai Khan is also at the Parkmall, Robinsons Galleria at Fuente Rotunda, and at SM Foodcourt. One is in Bacolod. Two more outlets will be opened soon here.###

Sheena to inspire more aestheticians

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #newmedia specialist

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES – Despite a lack in professional licensure for aestheticians in the country, Sheena Em of Sheena Beaute Skin and Body Wellness Clinic, opening on March 9 at the Visayas Community Hospital, believes that more and more clients will be seeking their services for the wellness component, and because when one needs to improve a selfie, measures really don’t have to be skin deep.

“We are touching on the epidermis of the skin, so we work differently from dermatologists although we still observe strictly the sanitary measures and hygiene in our implements and services. We don’t perform invasive procedures. Ours is more on improving areas of concern like fine lines, pigmentation, slimming,” Sheena who is herself the endorser of her own brand and products disclosed weeks prior to the grand opening.

The clinic at the second floor  of the newly renovated Visayas Community Hospital along Osmena Boulevard, this city, is very Asian in its theme, employing bas reliefs that espouse femininity. However, services are not gender-specific. “We are expecting though that more women will avail of our services because generally women are more concerned about their looks.”

Sheena is keen on inspiring others interested in aesthetics. “It would be very nice for government agency concerned to include aesthetics in the list of vocational courses because this is a very lucrative career. It is easier to study and you promote wellbeing. It’s about people getting happy about their looks. That gives them good reason to be happy about their outlook in life,” she mused as she facilitated a tour of Cebu media people to her facility, and a consultation on skin type, offering skin care tips.###

DSWD-7 orients trafficking survivors on STI, HIV

Caption: Boel Espinas of DoH-7 talks about Gender, Sex, Sexuality and Reproductive Health during DSWD-7’s orientation on STI/AIDS prevention for survivors of human trafficking.

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (January 23, 2015/for ‪#‎newmedia‬) — The increasing number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) positive cases has pushed for the intensified education of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) or Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office VII for its part conducted an orientation on STI/AIDS for survivors of trafficking.
“We are doing this kind of activity to prevent possible epidemic,” Rosemarie S. Salazar, DSWD-7 focal person on family welfare, said.
She added that the activity is also in support of the Republic Act 8504 also known as the “Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998.”
Close to 40 human trafficking survivors from Metro Cebu attended the said orientation that took place at Hotel Asia, Cebu City on January 16,2015.
Among the topics discussed during the whole day event are the rationale of STI,HIV and AIDS education by Cynthia Baldado; Gender, Sex, Sexuality and Reproductive Health by Boel Espinas and the Impact of HIV and AIDS by RV (true name withheld).
The presentation of RV, a registered nurse and the program manager of Cebu Plus, highlighted the activity.
During his presentation he first asked the participants to present a “situationer” on how they would react if they will meet people living with HIV; he then shared a story about “Arvie”. After the story telling RV revealed that he is actually Arvie and is also among those PLHIV or people living with HIV (the politically correct term, not “victims” as is used by most media practitioners untrained on this particular topic).
He then appealed to the participants to help his group address stigma and discrimination because like trafficked victims they also suffer from such dilemma despite the existence of RA 8504. Cebu Plus is a Philippine nongovernmental organization that provides HIV and community support services for key populations including men who have sex with men.
Recent study’s revealed that the number of HIV new cases is steeply rising. From an average of 16 new cases reported every month in 2001 to 2005, it has now reached to five to six cases every day.
Mary Francis Yap, a social work student of Saint Theresa’s College who attended the orientation expressed that her greatest learning was the clarification on the mode of HIV transmission. “I find it most important because it answers the myths and unnecessary paranoia about HIV.” (Phoebe Jen Indino-PantawidPamilya Information Officer/linear editing by MEEV)

Sinug or Sinulog? (N case u would still want to know…)

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, newmedia specialist

Note: Abridged form

Source: Dr. Erlinda K. Alburo, former director of the Cebuano Studies Center – University of San Carlos

The Linguistic Issue. Old dictionaries that Dr. Alburo consulted for her own “Dictionary of Bisayan Arts” have no entries on the term Sinug, only Sinulog, as referring to the dance. She cited that Professor Jose Eleazar “Jobers” Bersales, Capitol consultant on heritage affairs, has called attention to a photograph in a book by Felix Laureano, “Recuerdos de Filipinas,” reprinted in a 2001 translation. That photo which shows two men in what looks like a fencing exhibition is labeled in the 2001 book as “Sinulog or Moro-Moro.” However, Alburo said, the original photo may have been labeled only as “Moro-moro.” The term “sinulog” was probably taken by the translator Felice Noelle Rodriguez as a synonym for “moro-moro.” This is because outside of Cebu, “sinulog” refers to a war dance. Here the “moro-moro,” a play where Christians win over the Moros, is called “linambay.” She, however, shared that she doubts if the photo was taken in Cebu at all. “As I said, the term Sinulog has been used elsewhere to describe a war dance, not the prayer dance we know today.”

Other dictionary entries. An entry on “sinulog” in a Waray dictionary refers it as merely a “folk dance,” and nothing more. While another book on “Philippine Dances and Games” by Francisca Aquino and Petrona Ramos (1927) refers to “sinulog” only as a ceremonial dance. From a Hiligaynon dictionary by John Kauffman (1935) reads: “war dance with very swift movements.” Alburo is quick to point out that she couldn’t find any Cebuano dictionary earlier than the 20th century that includes “sinulog” though.

* The dance. One book on music and dance by Francisca Aquino (1948), notes the “sinulog” movement as a “forward leaping movement of either the left or right foot, while the hind or rear foot slightly flexed as the front foot lands on the floor simultaneously and with slight forward bending of the body.” This leaping is also how Estelita “Nang Titang” Diola, keeper of the “sinug” dance and beat, describes the “kinampilan” dance steps of the Sinug, in contrast with the more simplified two steps forward and one step backward that are now followed in the grand parade. The late Nang Titang and her troupe from Barangay Mabolo showed that the dance is “more a mime of war between Christians and Muslims rather than the gentle feminine swaying of the tinderas (vendors) at the Basilica or Cathedral, which is the natural style.”

* Association of Sinulog with the Moro war dance. The Tausugs of Sulu, according to Alburo, assert that Sinulog comes from the name Sulu. “In their language, sulog also refers to current. It seems that the Tausug, like the Cebuano folk, also shorten a word by omitting the sound L. An article suggests that while the Sinulog dance was labeled as “Moro-moro” by the Spanish, the name Sinulog itself was taken from the name Sulu. Thus, the conflict between the Spanish and the Moros came to be known by a term taken from the Moros of Sulu. However, it was also pointed out in the same article that the Sinulog or Sinug dance was performed by the Sugbuanon even during pre-Spanish times when the Sulu diplomats used to come to Sugbu, so the term couldn’t have been used first by the Spaniards. “It was probably the tribal wars then that were mimicked by the sinulog dance. The Spanish simply substituted themselves for one side of the war and introduced the Santo Nino to reconcile the warring groups,” Alburo further explained.

* According to Sir Dodong. The term Sinug as the authentic prayer dance is claimed by educator Dr. Jose “Dodong” Gullas of the University of the Visayas, in an article he wrote in 2007 entitled “Sinug, dili Sinulog.” The article recalls Sir Dodong’s childhood experiences together with his brother, former Cebu First District Rep. Eduardo “Eddie” Gullas. Both of them were acolytes during the war and were witnesses to the Santo Nino’s help in protecting the church from harm. Dodong also recalls the many stories about the Santo Nino told them by their grandmother, Lola Andrea. According to him, the Sinug is the traditional ritual. “Mao kini ang Sugbuanong pamaagi pagpasalamat [ngadto kang] Senyor Santo Nino sa mga pabor ug maayong panglawas sa pamilya, o pagpangayo og tabang gikan Kaniya. Kon mag-Sinug, maggunit og kandila unya ikindangkindang ang hawak, moabante og kausa unya atras og kaduha dungan ang pagbatbat sa pagpasalamat, pag-ampo ug pagdayeg…midagan ang katuigan nga gihimo ang sayop nga sayaw bitbit ang Imahen ug paturagas lang og alsa niini pataas ug paubos, sa wala ngadto sa tuo, ug ipatuyoktuyok atubangan sa Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral…si Senyor dili angayang bitbiton sa mga kamot apan ibutang sa altar aron adto kita mag-atubang kaniya paghalad sa atong Sinug.”

* Object of reverence. The excerpt from Sir Dodong’s article corroborates the description of Nang Titang Diola of the Santo Nino image during the Sinug ritual as an object of reverence placed on the altar before which the dancers pray. This writer in fact learned of the ritual from Nang Titang at the Casa Gorordo yearly event wherein the image takes a Paso (entrance/antiphony), pangilaba (petition in prayer form), Kinampilan (the old dance form  with original beat), before the panamilit (farewell prayer) or the Alabasyon.

*Predilection for simplification. The term sinulog is associated with the war dance outside of Cebu. The surviving practitioners of the war dance steps or kinampilan sinulog suggest that their steps are the original, which makes sense, according to Alburo, knowing the Cebuano’s predilection for simplification, to include simplification in the basic dance steps. “But there is an error in saying that the sinulog is derived from the sinug, because logically the longer term would come before its abbreviated form,” she emphasized. “We should have had it in reverse: the earlier war dance with its more complicated steps should have been called sinulog, while the later prayer dance would be called the sinug.”

* Another linguistic element involved. According to Nang Titang, the term Sinulog is derived from the word “Sinuog,” which means hadla (coo a child) in Cebuano. “If indeed the term Sinug is synonymous to hadla or to play with a child in Cebuano, we may conclude that the term sinulog referring to river current, specifically the wave-like movement then of a bigger Pahina river, was of later vintage to describe the later dance style.

* Court jester. Turning now to sinug as hadla, Alburo said she knows only the term sulogsulog, which connotes the abuse on naivete with the telling or mention of probable stories, in a way related to hadla, because of the intent to amuse. “Did the sinug originate as a form of amusement rather than as a form of prayer dance? Well, at least one legend of the origin of the dance says so,” she pointed out, as she told of a legend which tells of Baladjay, the court jester, who got sick and was placed by Queen Juana in a room where the image of the Santo Nino was kept. Some time after he was moved there, he felt something flicking at his face and discovered a child who was playing with a stick (which would be the hadla here), so Baladjay rose from his bed and exchange blows with the child using his own weapon, probably a kampilan. “Although, it’s a mystery why a court jester would carry a bladed weapon while he lies sick,” Alburo underlined this thought. On with the legend: The others, disturbed by the noise the two made, came in and saw that the child was the image made flesh. The legend would end with the healing of the sick Baladjay as witnessed by the others. “I suppose then that the mock battle would have started what is now the kinampilan style. And the worship came after the healing, as in many other stories of healing by the Santo Nino. The explanation, then, for the claim that the shorter term is an older one, is that the two terms are differently sourced. The more complicated sinug ritual is related to sulogsulog or hadla, while the later sinulog came about to describe the gentle bobbing of a river current to which the simpler stepping is compared,” she emphasized.

*The Cultural Issue. Unlike the linguistic terminology then, Alburo also pointed out that there is no confusion with the cultural authenticity of the sinulog. Historians can cite the dancing that accompanied the giving of Santo Nino to Queen Juana. “The sinulog dance is thus considered as a significant link between paganism and Christianity in Cebu when it served as a miraculous pagan icon after Magellan’s men left and before Legazpi came. Ancient Cebuanos must have danced to the tempo of the Sinulog beat every time they felt, expressing affection, respect and admiration for their revered anitos, their sultans and others who they felt deserved the honor. Aside from the more aggressive leaps, they must have done the kawaykaway or gentle hand gesture that speaks of a gentle yet deep love for the Holy Child, today repeated by the candle vendors.”

In conclusion, Dr. Alburo proposed that authenticity be seen in the “context of culture as a dynamic everyday project, a project that is now something to be handled, modeled, even simulated in the light of adapting to the environment and current needs of survival.”

Another conclusion is on performing heritage. “First, the true function of cultural performance in the country today is not educational or conservationist but that of providing a lure for consumers. The Sinulog dance is exceptional in that it serves both educational function, especially in the involvement of students, as well as the consumerist function.” (first published in The FREEMAN, 2014)

Horizons 101 tops off

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, newmedia specialist

Photo from nsi-architects.com

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (January 13, 2015) — Hard hats on for the top off!

Cebu’s latest tallest building, Horizons 101, places its final beam of of Tower One to mark completion. Built at a staggering cost of P1.9 billion, Tower One is said to be 98-percent sold out already and up for turnover in September of this year, according to Taft Properties project development head Lydwena Eco.

“This day is an important milestone for Horizons 101 and Taft, as we mark the realization of Taft’s commitment to deliver the tallest tower in the city. Wit its superior design, world-class facilities and services, and comfort by design innovations, Horizons 101 will no doubt change Cebu’s skyline,” Eco said in a press briefing.

Tower One has about 800 units, or a total of 1,573 for the two towers. Residential space starts at the ninth floor, since ground floor is dedicated to a retail component geared at supporting the needs of its immediate community like grocery store, laundromat, etc.

Total investment for two towers costs P3.5 billion, this is disclosed today during the topping-off ceremony here at the Horizons Office along Mango Avenue a.k.a. General Maxilom Avenue (across Saint Theresa’s College).

How tall the condo development is? Tower 1 is 55 storeys high, while Tower 2 is 46 floors high. Seventy-five percent of units for Tower 2 are said to be sold out and are to be turned over in the third quarter of 2017. Horizons 101 began construction in 2011.

Beyond its physical structure, Horizons 101 aspires to be a top lifestyle haven, with commercial and retail spaces at the ground floor and sought-after amenities such as lap pool, fitness gym, kids’ playroom, game room, and mini theater on selected levels. To take advantage of the superior height, the project will have a sky garden which offer the best vantage point of the Cebu skyline while lounging and relaxing.

Other design and features include high-speed elevators, 100-percent power backup, sky gardens, porte cochere (coach gate or coach door in portico-like structures), elevator key card access, and CCTC in strategic areas.

Horizons 101 is the first condominium project in Cebu of Taft Properties, the real estate arm of Vicsal Development Corporation, the owner of Metro retail stores, which has built a formidable reputation for more than 30 years in Luzon and Visayas.

To know more, visit www.horizons101.com.ph or call 63.32.266-8101.###

than 30 years in Luzon and Visayas.

To know more, visit www.horizons101.com.ph or call 63.32.266-8101.###

Amandari is hybrid tourism investment

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, newmedia specialist

Photo from provest.ph

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (January 10, 2015) — Nexus Real Estate Corporation prides in its first high-rise project that also takes on a hybrid tourism investment in property development. This means two important sectors (real estate and tourism) intertwine to add more depth to clients’ experience, as well as to the company portfolio.

In a Sales Kick-off Party at the Rainforest Safari Land in Mabolo today, Ms. Shanna Lopez, president of Nexus, introduced sales force and the media to Amandari, dubbed “eco conscious residential living” in Talisay City, or just 10 minutes from South Road Properties believed to soon be the next commercial and IT hub of Cebu.

She mentioned that Amandari would be the first ecologically conscious recreational condominium in Talisay with an adventure park, a yoga and meditation pavilion, a kids jungle gym, camping grounds, picnic grove, jogging trail, mini fishing lagoon, organic farming plots, among other interesting amenities.

Units vary from studio, to two bedrooms, and one-bedroom with balcony. View offers a span of Mactan Channel meeting Bohol Sea, or 360 degrees, the site being on an elevated area estimated to be around 500 feet above sea level.

Lopez said Amandari seeks to become a tourist destination, not just a building housing lives. It seeks to offer green living, that would become “the envy of others,” as Nexus itself takes on the corporate values of a transnational company and revs up beyond the traditional business practices of Cebu.

Nexus is behind Kamalaya and Villagio housing projects. Check http://www.nexusproperties.net.###

Cruise, pilgrimage @ half-price via ‘Travel Catalogue’

Cruise, pilgrimage @ half-price via ‘Travel Catalogue

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — Drop jaw while drops of super dropped prices allow you to shop till you drop.

The “Cebu Travel Catalogue 2015,” a three-day affair gives travel enthusiasts the chance to avail of cruises, European pilgrimages, Asian and US tours at half the price.

The event at the Ayala Center Cebu from January 30 to February 1 will showcase an 80-booth spread for various travel agency, tourism offices, airlines, real estate and insurance firms. Booths will occupy the Terraces area and the connecting corridors.

According to the Cebu Travel and Tours Association, through its president Sheila A. Colmenares and event chairperson Aida L. Uy, that the event has garnered, so far, the support of the Malaysian Tourism Board, Citrineland Corporation, Innoland Retail Division (Serenitea, Hikay, Dong Juan, Sunburst).

Colmenares, in a recent media briefing, pointed out that the affair is in promotion of local and international travel. It “not only aims to kick off the trips to 2015’s hottest travel spots, but also goals itself in promoting new packages and promos offered by various airlines and travel companies worldwide.”

Cebu continues to be an “emerging powerhouse” in the national tourism country as it is only able to attract an average of two million international tourists annually. As implied by former resort and hospitality insider Bruce Bollozos of Innoland Retail Division that compared to Indonesia’s 60 million foreign tourists yearly, our share of the world tourism pie can be likened to getting only crumbs and morsel from a banquet table. Thus the need to invigorate more domestic and international travel by offering so-called shoestring packages.

“It is the essence of the event to allow travelers to get packages at prices they can’t get at any other time of the year. Through Cebu Travel Catalogue, they get better deals that they can use during summer travel,” CTTA said in a statement.

The association even dangles a chance for consumers to enjoy a super markdown of up to 75 percent for certain packages especially among traveling families.

Through Bank of the Philippine Islands, a zero-percent interest rate is offered, up to three months, so more avid travelers would savor the experience lightly on the pocket.#

Studio eyes social enterprise thru yoga

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, newmedia specialist

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (January 8, 2015) — Yoga is not just poses. It is a life.

Former computer programmer Anne Dala formed September of last year Studio 108 along with fellow active yoga practitioner Nathan Archival to share life-changing choices that anchor on plant-based healthy eating, exercise and meditation. The duo hopes to develop Studio 108 Wellness and Fitness Center as a social enterprise that would support creation of urban community gardens as sources of organic fruits and vegetables, and the development of mud houses to promote indigenous architecture, ecologically sound and sustainable houses.

In a media orientation today at the studio on the second floor of Paseo Arcenas in Banawa, Dala and Archival along with Kenneth Materum of Bacolod (Negros Occidental) shared that a 340-square meter lot has already been identified for a community garden where a homestay program will help generate income for urban informal settlers. The lot is located near Good Shepherd, an upland community of Banawa.

Mud houses, inspired by the science of biomimicry, can be built for as low as P1,500 per square meter, one-storey bungalow type, since building skeleton will utilize bamboo. Soil content in the area will be assessed to study percentage of clay and loam. According to Materum, sand will be introduced depending on the density of clay.

Dala, as a sickly person, embraced vegetarianism after refusing to go under the knife. She pointed out she suffered from various ailments affecting her ovary. “I turned away from a toxic life. I later realized why God through the Bible directed us to eat leafy things, nuts, legumes. With fruits and vegetables you can never go wrong. You just have to observe eating these properly, like eating fruits as fruits and vegetables as is. You can’t mix pineapple with celery. You can’t mix celery with cucumber because of people’s certain reactions to their components,” she pointed out. “And you cannot just mix starchy vegetables with some fruits.”

“Bottom line is you have to respect the nature of the food. You have to understand why certain plants are given the color red, some yellow, some orange. Some are bitter, some pungent, some sour. There is a purpose to everything. It supports the balance in our systems,” Dala further disclosed.

The only setback among vegan wannabees is the lack of community, Archival, on the other hand, shared.

“Lifestyle change should be a culture. However, you have to create an environment for lifestyle change first. It would be hard to practice at home where you are surrounded by meat-eaters. You also have the tendency to consume what’s available on the table for lack of choice,” he explained.

So aside from social enterprise, Studio 108 is bent on creating a community where yoga enthusiasts can gather and practice soundly the principles and be able to encourage each other to sustain even after undertaking programs.

These are yoga classes: ashtanga, vinyasa, cardio, with weights, for flexibility, suspension. Fitness classes cover aikido, tai chi, belly dancing, hula hoop, and total body workout.

Studio 108 comes with a Detox Bar. Walk-ins are highly encouraged. A three-day detox package pure juicing program at P3,600 includes supply of six detox juices, colon cleanse, supplements for potassium, CoQ10 and probiotics; as well as wellness coaching. For inquiries: (32) 511.3642/513.4088.

The orientation was capped by a meal of interesting dishes like a Little Blue Boy-inspired “bloodless dinuguan.” The traditional pork entrails stew uses pork blood as thickening agent. However, in the vegan sense, coconut meat was used and black beans. Along with other spices, these were pureed in a blender. The sumptuous dish proved to have tasted closely to the native “dinuguan” or “dugu-dugo,” minus the guilt. Other menu items to look forward to: quinoa salad, honeyed sweet potato with muesli, red rice with peas and carrots, among other green, leafy stuff.#