My Mantangale Postcards

April 15, 2021

My recent trip to Mantangale in Balingoan, Misamis Oriental is a great breather, not just for me but for my friend, Paolette. It also came with a realization that we have a paradise somewhere near and I can still appreciate travel, though if it is not in other major Philippine islands or even abroad. I can be even proud about the place I call home with both its unique features and humble flaws.   We stayed at Mantangale Alibuag Dive Resort, a resort known for its pristine, blue-green waters, white sand beach and cool, cheek-kissing breeze. For me, what I appreciate about the place aside from its rich offering to beach-lovers is its vast display of green trees of different sorts surrounding the resort. It made me feel like I am also at the mid of the forest or somewhere in the mountain area or at the heart of a laid-back village where no one knows me. Having limited visitors allowed to stay is a bonus because it means no crowd at all. It kept us from noise, and instead, let us hear specifically the splash of waves and cheerful laughter and soft squeaks of kids playing while swimming in the pool.   I have been through so much challenges for the past few weeks, plus the requirements before the semester-end and it felt like I need this mini day out. Thanks to Pao for her itchy feet of needing to travel, I was able to ride along.   During the night we arrived in the Mantangale, we enjoyed night swimming. The hotel staff was kind enough to extend the pool hours a little bit for us since we entered near closing time. Prior to that, we planned to take sunset photos but to no avail we started the roadtrip at late afternoon and it also rained while on the road. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the activity we had. I was also able to do my long-planned “me time” before I went to bed. Pao was so annoyed, but I don’t care. She had no choice but to eat that baked sushi she ordered before the trip. (LOL.) The baked sushi was delicious! I took a long hot shower, listened to my relaxing mindfulness music and went to have Korean mask over my stressful face. It also rained overnight. Though it interrupted my sleep and made me feel nostalgic, it was a great overnight in entirety.   In the morning, I tried to chase sunset by the beach but it was cloudy. Paolette was anxious I woke her up so, so early, only to know there was no sun!   Being in the beach so early made the view be all ourselves. We took picture because I told her, “no picture, it never happened.” Just kidding. I felt it is also an opportunity to come up an article piece after so long. Mantangale also gives beautiful view and ideal backdrop for picture-taking having both Sipaka Heights and Island of Camiguin as background. It feels surreal!   We then took our breakfast by the pool. It was so nice seeing people even strangers once again, and even talking to them, mostly resort staff. I realized we took this communication for granted pre-pandemic not realizing our social being need such.   Thereafter, we went back to the pool for our picnic spread. Ha! Reading a book by the beach was first in Paolette’s bucketlist when she returned from work abroad and it turned out to be my photoshoot, she nearly charged me professional fee. Seriously, Pao brought a very nice book, I intend to read that when I visit her house once again.   We left the resort for another destination. I also discovered a lot of plants displayed along the resort’s pathway. It could be a great destination for all plantitas and plantitos out there for those beautiful greens are for sale.   “Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” — Michael Palin

Nicole Cabanlet Designs - interiors that reflect your style

June 2, 2020

Interview by MARK FRANCISCO Lifestyle Editor   1) Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, what inspired you to take up Interior Design?   Looking back, I remember falling in love with interior design at a young age. And just like how every passion starts, influence, mine was my mother, Lolita B. Cabanlet. I fondly remember her introducing it to me indirectly. I would watch HGTV and home improvement shows with her as our bonding. I recall being fascinated by the said shows. I would be amazed by the creativity that the team would exhibit as evidenced by the design solutions they would provide in their projects. This fascination progressed, when in the year 1998, I became my mother’s protégé. Her wisdom in product design became one of my solid foundations in my passion for my profession. Together we designed stationery and packaging items for export across the globe.   Being involved in the family business at a young age gave me the leanings to pursue something related to arts and design. Early on in high school, I was already researching about courses related to designing, and that is when I discovered about interior design. I thought to myself then, Interior design is such a profound course, overarching even, in relation to the concepts that I will be studying. I was then imagining the things that I will be learning, and the thought, I remember got me feeling thrilled and excited. Senior year came and together with this, college admission tests, and unlike other students who were still undecided, it was already a no brainer for me. I already knew what I want, and with this, the school that I needed to get into.    2) When did you establish Nicole Cabanlet Designs? Without delving into the privacy of your client names, can you mention some of your most successful and more prominent projects?   I began working as an independent Interior Designer in the year 2012 but Nicole Cabanlet Designs was established formally on the year 2018. The realization to formally launch my business name came as a need to express the identity of my craft and passion. Nicole Cabanlet Designs is operating for 2 years now, praise God. Together with my team, the recent and prominent projects that we have had includes the following: model units of a prominent uptown subdivision project, an Italian inspired café/resto, a Korean themed café/fast food  and, a fast food and residential unit (both in Bacoor, Cavite) among others.    3) Can you mention here the services and products you offer? How do you maintain the quality of your work? Like do you do home installations of the products that your customers purchase or is it just the products that people purchase and they'll just DIY them back home? In terms of quality, where do your products come from? Imported or homemade? Do you have offer warranty or after-sales technical advice?    NICOLE CABANLET DESIGNS offer Interior Design and Fit-Out Services. This means that our offerings allows us to go through all the important stages or phases in Interior Design and Construction, starting with Preliminary Meetings, Schematic Design Phase, Design Development Phase, Contract Document & Coordination Phase, and Construction Phase.   We maintain the quality of work through collaboration, proper communication and establishment of good working relationship with our Industry Partners, Contractors and of course, our Clients. We also make sure that we only accept projects we can manage per quarter. And with clients being the heart of our every project, we make sure to follow through the Design Brief of the Client, knowing their design preferences, requirements, and their lifestyle.   When we do Interior Design and Fit-Out projects, we plan, design and construct from start to finish. Others would call it a Turn-Key project, where the Client would come in the reveal day seeing everything carefully laid out  and installed into their liking (according to the approved plan and design).   We get our items from all over the country. And as much as possible we consider injecting Filipino aesthetic and sensibility to be relatable and to have a sense of place, there are times we get them overseas. We also embrace up cycling and re-purposing of items that seemed to have lost its original function but has the potential to have a new purpose. Like the drop light that we did for the Italian inspired resto/café at the bar area. It was made from repurposed empty wine bottles that the owner collected over the years.   We encourage Clients to always communicate with us their concerns even when the project has been turned over for a year to carefully assess the situation of the project concerns, and from there, we give necessary advises for the upkeep of the project.     4) Prior to COVID, the realty sector in CDO is booming. How many projects do you do in a year on average? As a practitioner in the industry, which part of CDO do you recommend settling in? Uptown? Eastern part? Western part? Why? Which do you prefer, in a gated subdivision or in a standalone property?   We do an average of 4-12 projects in a year, though ultimately, it will still depend on the magnitude of the project. The figure given can still go higher or lower. Aside from Turn-Key projects, we at Nicole Cabanlet Designs has also ventured into product design. In-fact we product design on an average of 30-40 collections bi-annually, and this is just for the family business alone, CDO Handmade Paper.   There are developments wherever in Cagayan de Oro City. As for my recommendation, meeting a lot of clients made me realize it was never about location, exclusivity, and others, it is more of personal preference and the feeling of safety and comfort the property brings to the owner(s).   5) Do you also do commercial and industrial spaces work too? Can you mention some of your successful projects in commercial space?   We do not limit to Residential projects, we accept commercial and hospitality projects as well. Aside from the projects mentioned earlier, we also have done design/construction work for Cabanlet & Cabanlet Law Office and Villa Salina Beach Resort in General Luna, Siargao Island to add to the list.     6) Do you also have clients outside CDO? Can you mention places e.g. Bukidnon, Butuan etc.   Yes we have had projects outside Cagayan de Oro. These are mostly Residential Projects in Camiguin, Malaybalay Bukidnon, Makati City and Bacoor Cavite.   7) How is COVID becoming a challenge in your business? How is COVID becoming a challenge in the local realty sector in general? How do you respond to these challenges to maintain the business?   No one could have anticipated this COVID19 pandemic and I know that most of us (if not all) are having difficulties adjusting in this trying time. At the start of this pandemic, several projects were at a halt, but now, a few has already resumed. Though very challenging, I believe that we have to embrace the new normal and find efficient ways and innovations to up or maintain the business.   In my observation, I think the realty development is slowly moving forward. Properties are high investment, depending on the type, but most don’t depreciate and investing on  one especially when in its pre-development stage is still best. Nowadays, people are encouraged to work at home, and I think this is something the realty sector can work around with.       All in all, I must say that in our current state, I have observed that there is more togetherness and collaboration amongst colleagues and even with potential clients.    8) I understand that you have other businesses as well. Have you tried incorporating your other products into your designs?   Yes, I do and have, many times over. I use products from many local brands which carries stationery items, home décor, lamps and lighting. I get these items from CDO Handmade Paper, Tinabuan Crafts, and Tagolwanen Women Weavers in Malaybalay Bukidnon to name a few.   If noticed, (as much as possible) we infuse or inject Filipino aesthetic into every project to give a sense of place and relatability, but still it will be ultimately the clients decision. I for one am an advocate for Filipino arts and crafts.   9) Contact address/fb page/number for inquiries. Ah by the way, do you have a showroom for clients to drop by?   Our Office is at CDO Handmade Paper Showroom, Zone 1 Barra Opol, Misamis Occidental    For Product Design,Interior Design and Renovation inquiries you may contact us via our facebook account- and and at these numbers 0916-751-8778.

Schools help students transition to online classes

May 18, 2020

When the coronavirus disease was declared a global pandemic, Ateneo de Davao University immediately responded by preparing to hold classes online.     For several weeks, university officials, professors, and programmers met online to discuss and develop tools that would be needed by both students and teachers so that learning could continue while schools were closed. Teachers prepared instructional content in digital and video format, while student government officials helped in the dissemination of details to their schoolmates.     The university’s experience since 2013 of using the digital platform as one of its learning modes also helped students and teachers readily shift to online instruction for their summer classes on April 22, following the implementation of enhanced community quarantine in the region.     The students and their teachers met via Google Classroom and Moodle, and used social media, videoconferencing, and chat apps to communicate with each other. At home, their laptops, tablets, and mobile devices were connected to a reliable internet source.      “With the Covid-19 pandemic, people have to get used to a different way of interacting with one another. Through the internet, students have more freedom to think deeply about the learning material and do the tasks needed to accomplish their learning goals,” said AdDU executive vice president Jeremy S. Eliab.     Davao Christian High School encountered the same difficulty when it had to stop its classes six weeks before the end of its academic year. Like Ateneo, DCHS had also planned ahead.     Teachers were trained on the use of Google Classroom, and accounts for students were set up. The school had also been using the Dynamic Learning Program, where students answer questions on worksheets based on discussed lessons, helping them continue their classes even with minimal teacher intervention.     “Our online classes are far from perfect but I am very much encouraged with the discipline, hard work, and understanding our students and teachers have shown. The parents have also been very helpful in supporting the kids’ learning from home,” said Desi Dario Magnaye, junior high school principal of DCHS V. Mapa Campus.     To further support learning, AdDU provided their students and teachers with PLDT Home Prepaid Wi-Fi units, which could help them connect online and ensure uninterrupted learning. Ateneo also distributed 155 tablets and digital pencils to its scholars and financially challenged students.     With classes being accessed at home, studying has become easier for their children, according to Dr. Francis Ho and Phany Castillo-Ho. Their brood of three is all enrolled at DCHS.     Despite the lockdown, the couple remain busy at work, with Dr. Ho specializing in internal medicine and endocrinology and his wife running a hospice, palliative care and nursing home, and a small hotel. The hotel is being rented by a private firm as housing for its employees during the ECQ.     While the couple oversee the homeschooling of their children, they appreciate online learning. “Becoming our kids’ teachers and making sure they accomplish schoolwork on time and correctly can be quite a challenge. We have to relearn lessons we took more than 30 years ago. But it’s an opportunity to be more involved in their daily lives,” said Dr. Ho.     “The children are frustrated that they’re not allowed to leave the house and don’t have regular interactions with their classmates and teachers, but being able to spend more time together as a family helps,” added Ms Ho.     In a statement, AdDU president Fr. Joel E. Tabora SJ said staying at home was an opportunity for genuine academic growth. “In a dialogue with our students, in collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Education, we firmly believe that if we must stay at home to help preserve life, we must use the time at home productively,” Tabora said.

Tagum City starts 3rd round of food relief distribution

May 15, 2020

DAVAO CITY – Residents of Tagum City in Davao del Norte will be receiving additional food packs as the local government started its third round of relief operation Wednesday.     In a statement, the city government said food relief assistance distribution will benefit 58,000 families who did not receive the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) cash aid of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).     Food packs and hygiene kits consisting of 10 kilos of rice, 15 canned goods, face masks, two soaps and alcohol are subsidized by city and provincial funds.     Wednesday's house-to-house distribution was spearheaded by the officials and employees of the city government, ensuring that the protocols set in place to contain the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) were observed.     Meanwhile, Mayor Allan Rellon said that the local Covid-19 Task Force, is reviewing the policies and guidelines for the city's transition from enhanced to general community quarantine.     “The shift from ECQ to GCQ does not mean that Tagumenyos should relax their guard against the continued threats of Covid-19 considering that there is no available vaccine to cure the virus,” he said.     As of May 12, Tagum City has 10 confirmed Covid-19 cases, one recovery and one death. (PNA)

Healthy home-works from SM home

May 2, 2020

With most of us homebound these days, it's the best time to start good health habits by preparing nutritious meals for the family, and creating a wellness based lifestyle whose benefits we will enjoy beyond the quarantine. It's also the best time to rediscover the simple joys of life and of doing things together.       SM Home, the one-stop shop for all of your home essentials, shares with us some healthy home-works from UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization in maintaining a healthy lifestyle:     1. Prepare a Weekly Meal Plan and make a shopping list of items you need before you go to the store for your routine shopping. Create the list from the meal plan and include back up ingredients on your list in case your first choice is out of stock. Limit the list on buying the essentials.     2. Stock up on nutrition-packed food such as whole grains, breads, and fresh fruits and vegetables; and staples like sauces, milk, eggs, spices and condiments. Fresh products should be consumed first. Frozen fruits and vegetables as well as canned vegetables and fruits are good alternatives as these have a longer shelf life.     3. Build up a stock of healthy snacks for your children - yogurt, nuts, cheese, chopped or dried fruits, boiled eggs and more. Stock them up in a stackable glass container to seal freshness and label them.     4. Continue to practice Food Hygiene and Safety. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water and dry it with vegetable spinner; use separate chopping boards for meat and seafood as you prepare the meal; and don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after preparing your meal.     5. Drink water regularly and stay hydrated by drinking 6-8 glasses a day to boost your immune system.     6. Make cooking and eating together a family habit. Kids can help wash and sort the ingredients and set the table before the meal. This creates a healthy routine and fun bonding with the whole family. Also practice mindful eating and stay away from processed food.        Enjoy healthy home-works and memorable meals together with home essentials from SM Home. These are available at the and shoppers can now place their order online through the and ShopSM app. For more info and updates, follow them at SM Home at the SM Store in Instagram or visit website.     Please see below the photo captions:     1.       Prepare hearty meals with this bake dish known for its oven to table convenience.     2.       Make your kitchen workspace clutter-free and maximize the area by putting commonly-used utensils within your reach.     3.       Stay home and create a new dining experience in the living room with your favorite family dish.

Catriona finds ways to reach greater heights

January 7, 2020

It's been months since Catriona Gray gloriously walked away with the Miss Universe title, but her road to success was very different from the other winners from the Philippines.      According to Catriona, she was aiming for the pageant's crown for reasons beyond mere personal ambition. Rather, she wanted the Miss Universe title so she could use it as a platform to boost her advocacies and causes, to give back to the community.      Throughout her journey, she showed how different she was, starting with signing up as an independent candidate for Binibining Pilipinas. She also formed her own pageant team, handpicking her own designers, mentors and stylists.      Along the way, Catriona had her share of naysayers and haters. She faced the grueling physical challenges of perfecting her walk and dealing with psychological pressure of carrying the hopes of over 100 million Filipinos during the pageant. This is the reason why it was such sweet triumph when she finally won the Miss Universe 2018 title.      Many Filipinos, especially millennials, draw inspiration from Catriona's story of never giving up and finding new ways to reach her ultimate goal of being a beauty queen. Like her, they strive hard and seek innovation to achieve their goals and aspirations. "Many felt so 'personally invested' in my journey because they saw themselves in me, as I put myself out there," Catriona shared.      "I wanted to share my journey, including the trials, the risk of joining the pageant, the motivation (which is my charity work), the people who helped me along the way, along with the failures, too," she continued.      In chasing her own dreams, whether for a modelling career or for furthering her advocacies, Catriona looked for people, teams and organizations that could help her do just that.      "I choose my partners very carefully. For instance in the case of money matters, I chose to go with my most trusted bank, BDO. Their recent 'Find Your Way' campaign is deeply personal for me, and I am so honored that BDO saw my journey as a way of inspiring other people," she shared.      "I've had several financial conversations with BDO officers and I am so impressed by their depth of knowledge and am using that to help me achieve my unique goals," Catriona said.      "My dreams will continue to evolve! I would love to see myself pursuing music as a performer and recording artist with the goal of having my own songs and doing benefit tours. Also, I plan on pursuing business that has a community contribution," the beauty queen added.      "I want to be known as a purposeful queen – to represent a person that not only strives for success, but realizes the responsibility of helping others achieve it also."


Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Business Week.