MANILA, Philippines — Actress Iza Calzado, who celebrated her 36th birthday last August 12, shares her story of healing and self-love. 

It all started with her body insecurities brought about by unrealistic beauty standards, framed by media and society. Many women today, like her in her youth, are confronted with issues concerning body weight and body size. They equate thinness to beauty, healthiness, and acceptance in society. 

Like many women, it took a while before Iza finally realized that body positivity, the appreciation and being comfortable in oneself, topples everything else. What is seen outside does not always reflect what is really inside. 

In 2011, Iza went on a beauty journey to try to heal a broken heart. “I have heard about The Farm at San Benito since I was new in show business… The first time was very emotional.  My three days of stay really helped me at that time. The place became my utopia… Every time I go there, it never loses its effect on me. I am instantly centered and happy,” Iza shared. 

During her much-needed “me” time, “countless realizations and learning” came upon Iza.

“But if there is one thing that I will remember – having a healthy body is significant in living a life filled with joy… being healthy should be the top priority. Getting thin is just a side effect. Your size doesn’t always equate to your overall health.”

For those also looking for beauty retreats for self-transformation and self-love, here are some novelties one could try. 

The Madonna glow

Camille Dizon Padilla, President of Sparkle and Glow (second from right) with actor Daniel Matsunaga and other guests. Photo release

Madonna’s favorite facial and partly, her anti-aging secret, is now in the Philippines.

Called the “Madonna Glow” by Oxylight, the facial incorporates six non-invasive beauty treatments into one, so one’s skin radiates from within, explained Camille Dizon Padilla, President of Sparkle and Glow, which operates Glow Skin Clinic that offers the Madonna Glow facial at the second floor of Uptown Place Mall in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

According to Padilla, the facial and the clinic’s other signature treatments, such as Contour Facial and Crystal Carbon Peel, incorporates the clinic’s trademark massage technique, which aims to promote better blood circulation and help alleviate stress from the face and the rest of the body.

Everyone’s “#beautygoal” is to glow, said Padilla, so their mission at the clinic is to provide premium services using high-end machines at affordable rates. 

“Facials should not be a luxury, but a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” enthused Padilla, who recommended going on a facial at least twice a month to detox the skin, unblock pores, and prevent premature aging caused by pollution, stress, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and other bad elements that have become inevitable in modern living.  

Japanese skincare for Filipinos

Related video: Perk Me Up facial

Japanese beauty expert Chiharu Nagano has observed that Filipinos, in general, have “nice makeup” but when it comes to skincare, they only use soap.

“The Philippines is very hot, but not everyone is using sunscreen, even those who can afford it,” she told in an interview.

Related video: Skincare experts on Filipinos’ usual skincare problems

Filipinos’ usual skincare dilemmas, she said, are premature aging, pigmentation, and blackheads. To help Filipinos address these, Miss Esthe Facial Salon and Skin Care from Tokyo, Japan recently opened its first clinic in the Philippines at the second floor of Uptown Mall, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

What started out 30 years ago with seven staff members now has about 50 esthetic salons in Japan under direct management by the company and 100 franchised branches nationwide.

The clinic aims to offer scientifically advanced, non-invasive, customized, age-defying and radiance-enhancing products and services affordable even for young working professionals who need a quick perk-me-up with the salon’s 30-minute Japanese facial massage. There are also more complex treatments using advanced Japanese skincare machines and beauty techniques, said Chinky Gabas, the clinic’s director.

Gabas assured that the salon’s estheticians have been trained by experienced master trainers in Japan, making Japanese beauty regimens available to Filipinos who are discerning in their choices for self-care.

Anti-acne solutions

Alyssa Eugenio and Diana Stalder. Ranoa-Bismark

Acne is known as the scourge of young people.  At the time of their lives when they start getting conscious of how they look – and act – acne comes in and spoils the fun. The unsightly pimples, blackhead or whiteheads make hiding under a rock all day long the best thing to do.

But acne is not confined to teenagers. This skin problem affects even those who assume they are over the acne stage. These people, aged 40 and above, may suddenly notice their skin breaking out and causing them embarrassment. 

According to University of Cape Town professor and dermatologist Dr. Rannakoe Lehloenya, acne may stem from internal (endogenous) of external (exogenous) causes.  He said that persistent acne may stem from hormones, and it is the women   who are  more at risk than men  for adult acne. Genes also play a big role. Lehloenya said those whose parents have adult acne are likely to have them as well.

Skin experts also point to stress as another culprit. It causes acne by triggering the release of the cortisol hormone, which leads to the increase of pore-clogging oil in the skin.

People whose skin is sensitive are also more prone to acne. Their skin easily blocks pores, thus causing acne, when they use  products that are too heavy  for them. Hormonal imbalance, which enlarges the oil glands, is another reason. 

So is diet. Diana Stalder, whose skin clinics are located at Gateway Mall, SM Megamall, SM Calamba and SM Bacolod, lists the following foods that clear the skin and help fight acne: almonds, apples, asparagus, barley, beans (dried and fresh), bean sprouts, berries (blueberries, strawberries and blackberries), bok choy, Brazil nuts, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, celery, cherries, chickpeas, Chinese cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, endive, escarole, fish and shellfish, flaxseed, green bell pepper, hazelnuts, honeydew melon, kale, kidney beans, lentils, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, oatmeal (regular, not instant), oats, olive oil, olives, oysters, pears, pecans, pinto beans, pomegranate, pumpkin seeds, red bell peppers, romaine lettuce, salmon, snow peas, soya products, spinach, sunflower seeds, tofu, tomatoes, turkey, turnips, and yogurt.

Alyssa Eugenio has been through acne hell and has survived to tell her story. “I had severe acne last October,” she began. “I’ve been to other well-known clinics. But the problem returned after a short time.”

Then, Alyssa’s mother met Dina, Diana’s mom, in an event at the SMX Convention Center.  Alyssa was skeptical about the treatment at first. So she told herself she will try it if it solved her younger sister’s skin breakout.  

It did. So Alyssa took the anti-acne antibiotic the dermatologist prescribed and tried a special mask that cleared up her skin.  She also took pills, which the dermatologist prescribed, to correct her hormonal imbalance. “I’ve been taking the pills for over six months now,” she said, excited to go back to the DS clinic for her anti-scar treatment.

Alyssa’s glowing skin proves others can beat acne, even if they have had it for years the way she did. Now she can enjoy her youth the way other people her age do, and should.

Tea time with Miho Nishida

Actress Miho Nishida Photo release

As a Filipino-Japanese beauty, healthy lifestyle by drinking tea has become a part of model-actress Miho Nishida’s life. 

According to Miho, to stay healthy and looking young, she takes green tea such as Real Green, which she enjoys not only as a drink, but a base for soups and food. 

Using Japan technology, the supplement powder comes in portable sachets and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Available in all leading drugstores and Watsons outlets nationwide, the brand comes with three key ingredients: barley, a fiber source that helps lower cholesterol and lessens food cravings; kale, a superfood that fights cancer cell formation; and matcha green tea, which helps burn fat and enable one to exercise longer as it increases one’s metabolism.

Miho explained that matcha is very known in Japan, so instead of drinking water, they replace it with this wonder drink to enjoy all its healthy benefits.

Nature is king for Bianca King

Actress Bianca King (second from left) with other guests and officials at Burt’s Bees Capitol Commons store opening. Photo release

In today’s society, it’s easy to be swept away by society’s expectations and to fall pressure to achieving the “perfect life” as seen on other’s Facebook pages and Instagram feeds. And this is why Bianca King, after almost 14 years in showbiz, has decided to take a step back from limelight, and find her “center” again.


At the recent Burt’s Bees “Be a True Force of Nature” event at Capitol Commons, King shared her learnings after working in the industry for over a decade: “The way things are in traditional entertainment, they can be very stressful on your wellness. Although I have no regrets, it’s definitely time for me to pay more attention to what makes me truly happy.”


Showbiz life, she admitted, had taken a toll on her emotionally, mentally and physically. With shooting schedules that had her up 24-hours a day at a time, it soon affected her health as well. “You do that four to five times a week and then you’re like ‘Where did my life go’?” she said.


At 33-years-old, King is undoubtedly older, wiser and more empowered to make the tough decisions for herself. Today, she has chosen live by the beach and lead a more thoughtful and purposeful life.


“I grew up by the beach, so I see the value of establishing my life by the sea,” she said. “When the time comes that I have to raise a child, (I hope that he or she) can have the same childhood that I had – to play in the ocean, climb trees, have plenty of space for them to run around, and be with nature.”


Much has definitely changed for the actress. From a life complicated by production schedules and the like, she now finds peace and contentment in the slow hours out by the ocean. An environmental advocate and wellness guru, King is also invested in furthering the causes close to her heart.   


“Today, my definition of success is being able to sleep eight hours a day, eat good food, and be one with the home that you live in.”


To be a true force of nature, King shares: “is to be conscious of the things that you consume.” Whether that is the food you eat, the products you put on your skin, or the type of information you feed your mind, you are in control of your own health and happiness, she advised.

Bianca Gonzalez-Intal: No to filter, yes to natural

Related video: Bianca challenges moms to unmask their faces from makeup

Soon-to-be mom of two Bianca Gonzalez-Intal shares her story on dealing with insecurities, pressures, and how she has come to terms with the unfiltered beauty of motherhood.

“I always say that social media has really made a huge impact on my self-esteem and confidence as a new mom,” admitted the “Paano Ba To?” author. “I would often find myself scrolling through beautiful, perfect images of other moms with their babies and then feel sad and down about myself. I would think, ‘How can they still look so flawless when I haven’t even taken a bath??’ and then I’d wonder if I was being good enough to myself in this new journey.” 

Now that she’s about to welcome her and husband JC Intal’s second baby, Bianca wants to take a different mindset about motherhood as she aims to empower other moms to embrace all the aspects that this stage in life brings, including the not-so-glamorous, messy moments that still make it beautiful.

“It took me a while but I have learned to realize that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ mom, that motherhood is beautiful as it is with both the good and the not-so-good moments, and this beauty is best manifested in moments we naturally share with our babies.” 

Even in the littlest and simplest things, Bianca is proud to be sharing genuine bonding moments with Lucia and even shares Johnson’s Milk Range products with her. With the natural goodness of milk, rice and oats making it reportedly twice more nourishing versus regular bar soaps, both mommy and baby can share naturally baby-beautiful skin for that effortlessly natural beauty that does not need any filter.

Hollywood’s ‘Bee Sting’ facial 

Abeetoxin reportedly has gained a worldwide reputation as the natural alternative to botox. Photo release

Derived from bees’ toxins, Abeetoxin reportedly has gained a worldwide reputation as the “natural alternative to botulinum toxin,” better known as botox. The Bee Sting Facial is an intensive facial treatment, which uses actual bee venom to reduce sun damage, pigmentation and facial puffiness. 

British skincare line Heaven by Deborah Mitchell recently arrived in the Philippines, at the Shangri-La Mall’s East Wing, to introduce its signature Bee Venom Mask and Bee Sting Facial, a skin lifting and tightening treatment that uses the brand’s patented organic Abeetoxin, which is said to have transformed the complexions of royalties and celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, Kylie and Danni Minogue and Nicole Kidman.

Responsible for this development is Deborah Mitchell, British inventor of the Bee Venom Mask and said to be one of the world’s foremost leaders of organic skincare creation and therapies. 

New relaxation hub in the city

Wellness has now been tied to beauty. Photo release

The holiday season is just around the corner and with the way traffic is flowing in the metropolis this time, expect more congestion in the coming days and it means more stress to the people in urban centers. City living may take a toll in one’s well-being, so it is important to find time to recharge and pamper yourself.

Located at the Esplanade Seaside Terminal at Mall of Asia Complex, Marina Bay Spa and Lifestyle Club is a place to enjoy wellness activities. It has 20 private massage rooms for guests to enjoy therapeutic massages like Marina Signature Massage and the Crystal Chakra Healing Touch that uses oils and scrubs made from organic products. It also offers de-stressing treatments such as hot and cold baths, sauna and steam rooms, and a heated floor.

Guests can also hangout at the rooftop of the building to enjoy the world-class sunset of Manila Bay while sipping liquor. There is also a room that is exclusively for relaxation, a spacious and quiet area that resembles a mini-theater. For members, there is also a well-equipped fitness gym; a KTV Room for music lovers, and gaming room for poker and billiards. — Reports from Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo, Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza, Jan Milo Severo; Videos by Kat Leandicho, EC Toledo

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