Talas Manileño Barbershop

What am I doing reviewing a barbershop? Well, since I accompanied M to get his hair cut and spent the better part of an hour staring at the flurry of activity that is three men getting groomed simultaneously, we decided it fitting to co-write about the experience.

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Talas Manilenyo Barbershop *Photo by M*

TALAS Manileño Barbershop was a curiosity to us, even before it opened its doors officially. As usual, we were hanging out at UVLA in Cubao X when we found out about a fancy, new barbershop in the works. Eva’s mom, “Mrs. Jackfruit”, excitedly announced that she had taken a pre-opening tour of the cozy, two-story shop owned by Pinoy actor, Jericho Rosales of HUNKS and Pangako Sa ‘Yo fame. M was particularly tickled by the idea of a full-service barbershop opening soon as he was due for a new look. (Can you tell that he’s practically more vain than I am? Tee hee hee.) Continue reading

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Australian College of Hair Design + Beauty Manila

There’s this new college in town, and it’s right up the alley of beauty-lovers who want to officially go pro and go international. Last week, I had the privilege of visiting Asian College of Hair Design + Beauty  with other bloggers at their newly-opened campus in Connecticut St., Greenhills. I wasn’t quite prepared for what they had in store, so the concept admittedly took me by surprise.

ACHDBManila

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The Landmark Mini Haul

Landmark Department Store is a little bit of a black hole for me. I don’t want to go unless I have the budget, because I know it’s a place that begs for a shopping spree. I may have spent a full hour just browsing the brush section, because I simply had to have a fluffy powder brush. The result:

Beauty Tools

There was some frenzied buying of acrylic cases, puffs, and the brush I came for. Everything in this modest haul amounted to around PHP 650. Oh, and I also got myself bedroom slippers. (Cheap, comfy ones are available for PHP 100 AND they have big sizes, so I do a lot of slipper hoarding there.) Here’s a closer look at some of the items I got:

This cosmetic organizer turned into an accessories case instead

A new home for cotton pads

I’m hoping to get a fan brush when I come back. It seems like a more economical tool for loose powder. As for the brush and the powder puff, I’ll be reviewing those in a separate post. 🙂

Lam Tin Food Fest

While I’m constantly trying to explore the vast array of food beyond what I’ve already tried, there will always be simple favorites that produce as much of an exhilarating effect as any Michelin-starred restaurant. Take my favorite Chinese restaurant, Lam Tin, for example. From the outside, it may look just a step above the average Chinese food canteen in Binondo with its uncomplicated signboard and sparse decor, but anyone passing by this part of Banawe will notice that this eatery is almost always full to capacity. Truly, it is one of those times where the food speaks for itself, and does it speak volumes!

Lam Tin Tea House

Last Call time: the only reason this place wasn’t crowded anymore

My family learned about Lam Tin through other relatives who would drop by just to order takeout. Delicious, authentic Chinese food with big servings yet doesn’t cost much? Yes, please! Just thinking about it is already making me crave my favorite dish…

…the Tausi Fish Fillet (PHP 200+)

I never used to care for tausi (black bean paste) before I tried their Tausi Fish Fillet. That first time I had a taste of this was back when I was suffering from a nasty stomach ulcer attack. My dad bought the rice topping version, and I gobbled it up to soothe my empty stomach. I thought, “Maybe I was just hungry?” But no, visiting the restaurant in person made me realize how consistently scrumptious the fish fillet dish is with its crispy breading and savory sauce.

Beef Ho Fan

Mom loves Beef Ho Fan (PHP 200+; available only on weekends) from anywhere, so she insists on ordering this too. The flat noodles are soggy yet chewy in the sauce, and the serving is big enough for three people if they’re ordering other dishes.

I don’t remember the name, but this is crispy breaded shrimp in sweet and sour sauce

The shrimp dish is totally worth the price, since you get a fair amount of shrimp that isn’t heavy on the breading.

Lam Tin Fried Chicken

Lam Tin Fried Chicken (PHP 400 for whole, but they also offer half) is the typical fried chicken with shrimp chicharon and Mang Tomas sauce. It’s good, but my favorite chicken dish is still their Butter Chicken.

Hot & Sour Soup

I’m not a fan of Hot & Sour Soup (PHP 100+) in general, and I much prefer Lam Tin’s Seafood Soup. The parentals, on the other hand, LOVE their Hot & Sour, and Lam Tin’s tastes exactly like how it’s supposed to taste. A big bowl can fill three smaller bowls.

Yang Chow Fried Rice

My mom RAVES about the Yang Chow Fried Rice (PHP 180) there. They don’t skimp out on the good stuff, I’ll tell you that. You get a generous helping of shrimp, egg, and meat. In fact, mom swears she can eat the rice alone. No need for viands.

The Finisher: a sago’t gulaman dessert

If you’re a fan of Chinese food and you haven’t tried this, what on earth are you waiting for??

 

LAM TIN TEAHOUSE =  #30-U Banawe St. Cor Cuenco St. Brgy Sto. Domingo, Quezon City, Philippines

 

P.S. You can also get a reasonably-priced Noodle Feast there.

Instant Glow Morroco [sic] Argan Oil Review

Morrocan argan oil is now officially a “thing” in Manila. Three months ago, I couldn’t find a bottle for sale in the malls. It was quite frustrating. Now, there’s argan inserted into every other sentence.

My discovery of a product stemmed from my own research on beauty products. I saw Josie Maran’s argan oil line in Sephora and thought to myself, “Wow, premium oil.” Then I went home and read that it was Jenna Dewan’s must-have product and, let’s face it, the girl has insanely gorgeous skin.

Unfortunately, weeks passed and my quest for argan oil in Manila’s big beauty stores were in vain. I eventually found small health/natural beauty boutiques peddling the miracle product for an arm and a leg. But to shell out almost PHP 1,000 for something that would possibly last me 2 weeks?… I don’t think so.

Luckily, I was shopping in Watson’s SM Megamall when a pleasant sales person approached me and got straight to the point. At the mention of PURE argan oil, I knew I wanted to hear the sales pitch.

The lady led me to the Instant display. –Yes, the brand name is “Instant”. It was pretty much the first time I took interest in their products, since the ladies there are usually busy peddling slimming solutions, which I’m terribly skeptical about. She took out  a tester bottle of said oil and dispensed a few drops to the back of my hand.

100mL of “Liquid Gold”

My first reaction was that of apprehension. I’ve tested my fair share of beauty oils intended for either body or face. Most are just greasy, and I end up worrying that they’ll only stain my clothes. This product seemed no different. The second thing I noticed was the pleasant scent. I read reviews  about how natural oils tend to smell nutty and raw, but that wasn’t the case here. Third, and to my surprise, the oil ended up getting absorbed into the skin with minimal greasiness. After a couple of minutes, I was amazed to find that it simply looked and felt like I applied a thin layer of lotion.

For a girl on a budget, PHP1,199 for a 100 mL bottle of Instant Glow Morroco [sic] Argan Oil (or PHP599 for a 30 mL bottle) isn’t an easy decision to make, especially considering that this is just oil we’re talking about. I gave myself 2 weeks to mull it over and canvas for anything more affordable out there.

Well, after much research and comparison to brands like Josie Maran or The Souq, on a per mL basis, the best deal so far was Instant’s 100 mL bottle. (It costs PHP 11.99 per mL, to be exact.) It’s even cheaper than the same brand’s 30 mL bottle, so I finally gave in and bought 100 mL.

I’ve been using it for about 2 months now, and my praise goes to its moisturizing properties. I’ve been hooked on moisturizers since I was 12 (no exaggeration!), and this was the first time I used a product that was not at all greasy! —To think that this is a non-greasy OIL. About 2 weeks in, my mother and aunt started making remarks about my face getting lighter. (Note: Initially, I never told them that I bought and used this product.) When I did happen to mention that I had this oil in my possession, they went to SM and checked out the display.

My beauty-conscious grandma got it as an impulse buy. She used it for a week or two and agreed that her skin did feel much softer after religiously applying it twice a day. My mom and aunt came next, buying 30mL bottles marked 10%-off when Watson’s had a beauty blowout sale.

We’re all on board about the wonders of its moisturizing effects. Jury’s still out on its supposedly miraculous anti-aging properties, but we did notice that some fine lines softened. As for scar lightening, the oil does help fade pimple scars faster, but I’m also big on exfoliation, so that probably had a hand in it as well. If you’re in it to get rid of freckles, then you may be disappointed. Finally, don’t forget to layer sun block on top of this when you leave the house.

Another find would be Body & Face Thairapy (PHP 1,450 for 100 mL) at Rustan’s Department Store, which has the same scent and thickness as Instant Glow.

Overall Rating: Instant Glow Morroco Argan Oil

Moisturization = 9/10

Anti-aging = 7/10

Lightening = 8/10

Eliminating Dark Spots and Freckles = 5/10

Value for Money = 9/10 = At the very least, it’s a damn good moisturizer and a simple, straightforward product.

Update: I got to try the new Naturelle d’Argan Pure Argan Oil Elixir (at around PHP 1,400 for 50mL) at Beauty Bar. Their oil is much more liquid than that of Instant’s and the scent is more raw and comparable to that of cooking olive oil. I’m guessing Instant’s and Body & Face Thairapy’s oils have gone through some sort of deodorization process, while Naturelle d’Argan may be more natural.