Saturday, April 30, 2011

Destination: Camarines Norte 2nd Travel Part 1

Canimog Hotel
I was once again invited to go back to Camarines Norte for the surfing season and Calaguas Island. I was referred by Benjamin Layug of Business Mirror and FYI blogs, to Joey Cuerdo, our host and organizer of the event. We left Manila that April 14 evening to arrive the following day. We settled at Canimog Hotel at Daet. Canimog Hotel is named after the island that can be seen from Bagasbas beach, where the surfing action usually happens.

Daet Heritage Center

The Canimog Hotel is renovated from an old house that makes you more at home and offers cheaper rates. I also got to see the Daet Heritage Center which was the old local municipality and the first Rizal Monument again. Coincidentally, it was also the 91st Founding Anniversary of Camarines Norte and 7th Bantayog Festival. I first came to Camarines Norte earlier this year during the start of the Quadricentennial Celebration of the three churches. According to Wikipedia, Camarines Norte was founded after the province was divided in two:  Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur.
First Rizal Monument

Bantayog(n) is Tagalog for monument. The 7th Bantayog Festival celebrates the first Rizal monument. Invited as guest of honor was Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who also is the only politician in the opposition I admire. 

Founding Anniversary and Bantayog Festival

To be continued in my next CamNorte post.

Governor Egay Tallado and Senator Chiz Escudero

Oral Care means OraCare

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT MOUTHWASH AND TOOTHPASTE? With so many products available on the supermarket shelves, it can be quite confusing.   Here are some basic facts about mouthwashes and toothpastes, to help you pick the best one for your personal use.

To know which mouthwash is best for you, you need to know why it is important to use it in the first place. Essentially, a mouthwash is an oral rinse that gives several benefits: 1) it removes food particles stuck between teeth and in hard-to-reach places of the mouth; 2) it kills the bacteria that cause plaque and create volatile sulfur compounds, which are the source of strong mouth odors; and 3) it gives a fresh, clean feeling in the mouth and makes the breath smell more pleasant.

 It must be made clear, however, that mouthwash is not meant to replace brushing, flossing and the use of toothpaste.  That said, using a mouthwash should be a part of your daily oral hygiene—something you definitely cannot afford to miss.

Toothpaste, on the other hand, is already known to many as an essential part of the oral hygiene regimen primarily because it helps scour away the food debris.  But more than just removing food debris, your toothpaste should be hardworking enough to get rid of plaque-causing bacteria while keeping your gums healthy.    

Marketing manager Ria Perez says that she never liked using her old mouthwash because of its medicinal taste and the stinging sensation caused by its alcohol content. It was a good thing that she discovered OraCare Mouthrinse which not only has a more pleasant taste, but is also alcohol-free.

 “I can never leave the house without having gargled with OraCare. I have no fear facing and talking to people up close, because I am assured of having real clean, fresh breath ,” says marketing manager Ria Perez,”

Ria used to work as a flight attendant in Qatar, where spicy dishes are a normal part of the cuisine. “As you know, eating spicy foods always leave strong odors in the mouth. As a flight attendant, my job is to ensure that our passengers are comfortable and have a pleasant experience during the flight. I not only have to speak in close range to passengers but also to our pilots as well. Strong mouth odors are a no-no in such a job,” she said.

No sting allowed
Some people think that the sting they feel when using an alcohol-based mouthwash is a sign that the product is “working” and is killing the bacteria in the mouth. This is not true. While the amount of alcohol in an alcohol-based mouthwash ranges from as low as 5.7 percent to as high as 26.9 percent per volume (that’s higher than the average alcohol content of wine or beer, by the way); or even 75.6 percent for a “concentrated” mouthwash formula that requires dilution with water (because such a concentrated amount is unbearably painful to gargle with) the alcohol is not meant to kill the odor-causing bacteria.

So if the alcohol in an alcohol-based mouthwash is not really the one killing the bacteria, why the need for alcohol, then? The reason is that alcohol acts as a solvent, so that the active ingredients of the mouthwash will dissolve and mix together. Without alcohol, the active ingredients, usually a blend of different types of essential oils, will not mix together and will not stick to plaque long enough to be effective.

But the bigger question is this: why endure the painful sting of alcohol-based mouthwashes when there’s a painless alternative?

Magazine editor and writer Nova Arias discovered this painless, yet effective, alternative when she began using Oracare. Unlike other mouthwash brands, OraCare does not contain alcohol—and as a result it does not cause a stinging sensation in the mouth.

“OraCare really helps because I can use it as often as I need to, without worrying that it will leave a stinging sensation in my mouth. I use OraCare to keep my breath fresh and pleasant during meetings with our publication staff and with clients,” she says.

Besides her publishing work, Nova is also a co-anchor at a program in Radio Veritas and a voice talent as well—she dubs foreign TV programs into Tagalog, a task that again involves a great deal of talking and conversing, making fresh and pleasant breath important for her success.

Oxygen power
There are several reasons behind strong mouth odors that can be a bane in one’s social life. One of these is eating foods with onion, garlic, and other spices that can leave strong odors in the mouth.

 Another cause is mouth dryness, which can happen when one drinks a substantial amount of liquor. When the mouth is dry, there is less saliva— which is a natural mouth cleanser. Less saliva means there will be an overgrowth of odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. Certain bacteria in the mouth—when allowed to thrive—produce a strong unpleasant odor along with volatile sulfur compounds. The bad bacteria feed on leftover food debris and dead cells, which in turn excrete volatile sulfur compounds—the real cause of strong mouth odors.

Celebrity and fashion stylist Joey Espiritu cringes when he recalls the smell of his breath after consuming alcohol the evening before. “One of the things I really hate is having to talk to my mother with alcohol breath,” he shares.
Joey didn’t know back then that his mouth went dry as a result of his drinking session, leading to a lot of odor-causing bacteria that produced the volatile sulfur compounds in his mouth. 

OraCare Mouthrinse can help eliminate the strong mouth odors caused by these bacteria because of its active ingredient Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide—a known powerful, yet non-toxic, oxidizing agent. OraCare’s Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide releases oxygen in the mouth which eliminates the source of odor in 2 ways: 1) It bonds with the sulfur thus neutralizing the volatile sulfur compounds—the primary source of odor, and 2) It kills odor-causing bacteria in the mouth through the process of oxidation. Odor-causing bacteria in the mouth are anaerobic, which means they cannot survive in the presence of oxygen.

“I no longer experienced unpleasant morning breath when I finally switched to OraCare. “I was amazed to learn that other mouthwashes merely masked mouth odor, but OraCare actually neutralizes the cause of the odor itself!” says Joey.

OraCare: Smarter Oral Hygiene
Complete oral hygiene means practicing proper brushing, flossing, using a mouthwash, and paying regular visits to the dentist.  Now, the smarter oral hygiene entails practicing good oral hygiene while using the combined power of OraCare Toothpaste and Mouthrinse.

Step 1: Brushing teeth using OraCare Toothpaste is the smarter choice because it contains Aloe Vera and Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide that effectively removes plaque- and tartar-causing bacteria, while keeping the gums moisturized.  

Step 2: Floss in-between teeth to remove food particles and plaque build-up.

Step 3: Gargle with OraCare Mouthrinse, the smarter choice when it comes to mouthwash because it has Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide that freshens and cleans the mouth by eliminating the source of strong mouth odors, without the sting caused by alcohol and strong flavors present in other mouthwashes.

Step 4: Visit your dentist every 6 months.

“I always carry OraCare toothpaste and mouthrinse with me wherever I go,” says Joey, “because these products give me an assurance that my mouth is totally clean. The cool, fresh and clean feeling I get afterwards encourages me to keep taking good care of my mouth and teeth.”

So make the smarter choice: use OraCare for fresh breath and keeping teeth and gums healthy. OraCare Mouthrinse (in Regular and Cool flavors) and OraCare Toothpaste are available in leading supermarkets and drugstores nationwide.

Friday, April 29, 2011

AboitizPower’s groundbreaking environmental Facebook game Alter Space goes online

With more than 500 million active users around the globe, what better way to spread the message of environmental awareness than through Facebook's massive and vibrant online community? This is why AboitizPower Corp., one of the country’s leading producers of cleaner and renewable energy, chose to develop its new environmentally-themed game called Alter Space specifically for Facebook.

The first-ever Filipino-made game with an environmental advocacy, AboitizPower formally launched Alter Space at a press conference held at the Le Bistro Vert restaurant in Makati City. Present at the launch were Erramon Aboitiz, President and CEO of AboitizPower, Miguel Aboitiz, AboitizPower’s SVP for Marketing & Trading, Sebastian Lacson, AbotizPower’s Chief Reputation Officer, Francene Gonzales, general manager of BBDO Proximity (AboitizPower's creative agency), James Lo, president of Indigo Entertainment and the game's developer, and Marina Mallare, Senior Associate of the Ateneo School of Government, AboitizPower's consultant for the game.

Also gracing the Alter Space launch were Alter Space game advocates Anton del Rosario of the Azkals football team and renowned international cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao.
 "Alter Space is the first-ever environmentally-themed Facebook application created by ingenious Filipinos for fellow Filipinos, as well as for all Facebook users in the world. It is also our chance as Filipinos to stand out globally with something that would demonstrate to the world that we are leaders in altering our lifestyle to a more sustainable one," Erramon Aboitiz announced.

The game also comes at a very opportune time as the Earth Hour is fast approaching. By playing Alter Space, the public can learn useful habits that can help them go beyond the hour when it comes to saving mother earth.

"It's really nice to be here and be part of this wonderful project. As a gamer I see this as an opportunity to speak to the youth, to tell them to be better citizens because the future of our planet is in our hands," Gosiengfiao said.

AboitizPower: Providing energy solutions for a cleaner future

AboitizPower's Alter Space game was developed in line with the company's Cleanergy brand, an energy solution harnessed from the company’s hydroelectric and geothermal generation assets that will encourage AboitizPower consumers towards a more responsible choice. Cleanergy communicates AboitizPower’s vision to offer an energy solution that leaves a lighter impact on Earth’s climate and its limited resources, and to promote the usage of clean & renewable energy from sources that are sustainable & cleaner than fossil fuels.

 "As you all know, AboitizPower is one of country's leading advocates of sustainable and environmentally-friendly energy sources. Today, close to 42% of our generating capacity, equivalent to 1200 megawatts, is renewable. While the company takes our commitment to clean energy seriously, we at AboitizPower have also realized that we can only do so much," Aboitiz said.
Meanwhile, Miguel Aboitiz justified the use of social media as a platform for the messaging. "With millions of Facebook users across the globe, imagine the number of people we could reach with something innovative like Alter Space. Imagine the number of people who will learn about alternative means by which we could lower our carbon footprint. Alter Space is a free game that can be accessed by anyone with a Facebook account."

 "Essentially, carbon footprint is the amount of emission generated by human activities. While we cannot stop ourselves from generating our carbon footprint completely, we can all find ways to reduce this to the point where emissions no longer pose a risk to our planet. By playing Alter Space, we hope that we can apply simple practices to protect our environment from the effects of too much carbon emissions," he further explained.

Playing the game

In Alter Space, players are tasked to take care of their own planet. Players progress by adding points to their Happiness, Current-cy, and Experience levels. The challenge for them is to accomplish this while keeping their carbon footprint in check, which is how things essentially function in the real world. And being the first Philippine-made Facebook game with an environmental advocacy, Alter Space is filled with elements that are distinctly Filipino.
"As we promote environmental awareness, we are also highlighting the Filipino culture. For example, in this proudly Philippine-made game, you will find many distinctive Filipino features like sungka and 'turo-turo' foods, among others," the AboitizPower SVP for Marketing & Trading further related. He also noted that Filipinos are the number one users of Facebook in the world, with 22 million registered users.

 Endorsers Gosiengfiao and Del Rosario share the pride that goes with the game being Filipino-made. "Alter Space is something we Filipinos can be very proud of. First of all, it’s made by Filipinos. And it is just as good as other foreign-made games,” Gosiengfiao said.

“It’s also very addictive, fun and challenging. Plus, it has the things that users have enjoyed doing with other widely popular online games,” she added.
 “I’m glad that a company like AboitizPower has found a way to communicate this kind of message to the public. This is the Filipinos' contribution to the environmental consciousness that’s spreading throughout the globe,” Del Rosario said.

At the launch, AboitizPower invited the members of the press to try out Alter Space for themselves. The company held a contest to see which participant can level up first in the game. An iPod Touch was handed out to the eventual winner, Stephanie Esguerra who writes for

Meanwhile, the game is earning accolades from various users. Melai Tolentino said “Tried this game. Let's support our very own FB game and let's help increase environmental awareness, the "First Filipino Environmental Awareness Facebook Game."
Others laud the fact that they learn from it.
May Espina said, “Ingenious nga ang larong ito! Education naman talaga ang purpose nito at walang ibang paraan para ituro sa mga tao kung paano ibaba ang carbon footprint kung hindi sa  media o social media. Ang importante ay yung long-term impact nito. Minsan mong laruin at habang buhay mo nang alam kung paano gawin ang mga naituturo nito.
"We firmly believe that the power of choice is yours, the consumers, and know that the general public plays the most important and most powerful role in saving our environment. More than providing a fast and fulfilling game experience, Alter Space is an innovative, powerful, and fun tool for teaching the public, for teaching our children, about specific practices, specific choices, we all can apply in our daily lives to protect our environment," Erramon Aboitiz stressed.  
"We hope that you would support this project and all the other efforts toward environmental awareness. And let us always remember that the future of our planet is our choice, not our fate," he concluded.
To get started, one may go to then click on the "Like" and "App" buttons to access the game.
AboitizPower is the holding company for the Aboitiz Group’s investments in power generation, distribution, retail and power services.  It is a major producer of Cleanergy, its brand for clean and renewable energy, in the Philippines with several hydroelectric and geothermal assets in its generation portfolio and also has non-renewable power plants located across the country. The company owns distribution utilities that operate in high-growth areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. (For more details, please visit: and

Destination: Pangasinan Last Part

The next stop for the DasoLand tour was the cactuses. I never seen different types of cactuses that you can only find in one place. Then we proceed to the zoo.  Before entering, we had our shoe soles submerged in water to remove the mud.

The first area of the zoo was the aviary, followed by the reptile cage, where different types of snakes are confined, then, the stable. The horses here where mostly foreign and they will be used to rent out while within the premises. The zoo animals surely taken care of unlike some public zoos and there’s a veterinarian that comes on timely basis. 

Leaving the zoo, there’s a souvenir shop that looks like a typical structure in the Ifugao region and sells handicrafts. I also came across their chapel that has a non-traditional structure and was very open. They also have a boating facility also for renting boats. DasoLand is also a resort and lodging facility. After leaving DasoLand, we passed something what Pangasinan was named from: salt. We took a quick tour of the salt farm and saw different areas for the stages of making salt. 

Salt (sodium chloride) as I saw it was undergoing a process of solar evaporation in the field drained. After drained, it will be cleaned by fresh water and drain again and the salt is ready. Leaving Pangasinan, we parted ways after having a hearty dinner at Joseph and Jaemark’s  grill when we got back in Metro Manila.
Dinner at Joseph and Jaemark's. Courtesy of Mrs. Neneng Arceo