Beauty queen Imelda Schweighart clashes with Pinoy K-Pop fans, vows to bring bashers to jail

Hours after controversial beauty queen former Miss Philippines Earth Imelda Schweighart criticized Filipinos who idolize K-Pop stars, her Facebook has been disabled as she vowed to bring bashers to jail for alleged defamation, harassment, and invasion of privacy. On Instagram stories Nov. 24, Imelda said: “Disabled na ang Facebook ko. Marami …

Missed the 11.11 sale? Here are more holiday shopping events coming your way

Forgot to check your cart out on time, ran out of stocks, or maybe it was a conscious decision to miss the big 11.11 sale this year? Whatever your reason may be, here’s some good news for you.

Fashion and lifestyle brands are stretching out their promo events so you can go and finally get gifts you’ve been eyeing for the holidays. Get a chance to score the perfect gift for your loved ones and yourself (because self-care, right?) with these brands that are having sale promotions of up to 70 percent off their original price tags.

Fashion and quality at the best price, that’s what H&M’s merch is all about. From trendy streetwear to athleisure pieces, you’ll definitely cop stylish Christmas ensembles from this brand. H&M also offers more ways to pay, they are now accepting Grabpay, Gcash, Alipay, and WeChatpay.

If you’re looking for tailored yet casual clothing and chic accessories to pair, you should check out Mango’s promotions which run 40 percent off. These pieces are perfect for holiday parties whether it’s virtual or social-distanced gatherings.

For the sneaker heads and sports addict in your life, visit Nike’s website and checkout some items on sale whether you’re thinking of trendy or classic pieces for adults or even for the kids! There are currently more than 900 items on sale which starts at 20 percent off on each items.

Looking to invest on coats and knitwear for the incoming chilly weather? Zara offers a special price collection featuring trendy trousers, dresses, and tops to match.

For more stylish options, you can also checkout some brands carried by Zalora and enjoy 40 percent discount! From Hush Puppies, Converse, Puma, Vionic, and beauty brands, enjoy Zalora’s expansive array of choices.

If you’re on a budget, see awesome finds at Penshoppe with prices going below P199! From drawstring shorts, relaxed tees, jersey dresses, eyewear, sandals, and face masks, teens will truly enjoy these awesome finds!

Minimalist style savants, we also found some items you will be interested to shop! There are hundreds of items to choose from on Uniqlo’s sale promotion which ranges from outerwear, maternity wear, activewear, heattech and U pieces, plus their collaborations with international brands.

Featured image: Unsplash.com

More reasons why it’s practical to live in McKinley Hill

The pandemic has changed our views on home ownership. Now, more than ever, people realize the importance of being near “essential” destinations—supermarkets and convenience stores, hospitals and wellness centers, laundry shops to hardware outlets.

All over Metro Manila, there are communities presented as “complete” since everything you need is just a walk away. Pandemic or not, this is an ideal proposition for smart home seekers.

McKinley Hill in Taguig City, the 50-hectare township by Megaworld, is now shaping up to be that complete community. Inside it, home seekers can check out the 23-story residential building called St. Mark Residences.

Here are some reasons why considering St. Mark Residences your new home may not only be a practical decision but will also be the one to give you peace of mind.  

View at night of St. Mark’s Residences Tower

First, it has flexible payment terms. If you’re looking for a home that’s all set and ready for you to live in and offers payment terms that will make it easier for you to say yes, then St. Mark Residences might be just the home you are looking for. Pay as low as five percent in downpayment (payable in two months) and get started with the township lifestyle at McKinley Hill.

Second, live in a “smart” home. With full RFID access in every unit and elevators, a home at St. Mark Residences offers the kind of lifestyle you need in a post-pandemic world.

Each unit comes with updated finishes and fixtures, including air-conditioning units, water heaters, a designer kitchen cabinet, keycard elevator access and lockset, smart light switches, and a smart hub.

Third, experience McKinley Hill’s “Live-Work-Play-Learn” vibe. With a direct connection to the Venice Grand Canal Mall, you are near everything you need—grocery stores, restaurants, clinics, pharmacies, banks, and more.

St. Mark Residences is located in a township, which is also home to 35 other residential developments, 18 office buildings, four embassies, and six educational institutions—creating an expansive yet inclusive space for you and your family.

McKinley Hill also features the world-class Emperador Stadium, international universities and colleges like Enderun Colleges, Korean International School, and the Chinese International School.

There’s also a dining strip in McKinley Hill, along Upper McKinley Road, that’s ideal for a quiet walk with soothing colors in the backdrop, coffee shops, and pockets of greens where would-be residents of St. Mark Residences can take a deep breath and relax without any worries.

Facing the iconic St. Mark Bell Tower, residents can also wake up to views of the township, including the mall and a picturesque stretch of the Upper McKinley Road.

More important, one can feel the perks of living in a low-density community. There’s ample space for everyone as floors will only be limited to as much as 12 to 14 units. Soon-to-be residents at St. Mark Residences also have their own drop-off area and lobby, while also enjoying the closest access to the Venice Grand Canal.

Facade of St. Mark’s Residences

All units come with balconies so there will be opportunities to see the rest of the township. This residential tower offers 235 spacious units ranging from studio (up to 41 square meters), one bedroom (up to 66 square meters), two-bedroom (up to 102 square meters), three-bedroom (up to 120 square meters), and bi-level penthouse (up to 162 square meters).

Among the exclusive amenities future residents can look forward to include landscape gardens, a clubhouse pavilion, swimming pool, children’s playground, fitness station, mini-theatre, function halls, library, gym with sauna, massage area, badminton courts, and a tennis court.

Pool at the amenities deck; below: play area

St. Mark Residences is part of a township that features unparalleled security and excitement. As one of the last residential properties rising in McKinley Hill, it opens the right opportunity to be part of a dynamic community.

Here’s where you can get half-baked, or shall we say ‘medium rare’ cookies

They are crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside

In life, we always for search that “just right” state of things. It’s always about the perfect balance. Think of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The tale plays with the same philosophy of “not too this, not too that.” It even applies to our place in the cosmos where it is not too hot, and not too cold.

While we may cheat on that philosophy once in a while, we can at least achieve it in our favorite treat, which are cookies. Spearheaded by Alexis Hess and Martin Jordana, Las Piñas-based food brand Cookie Dude specializes in bringing oven-fresh half-baked cookies.

CEO Alexis Hess and CMO Martin Jordana in Buku-Buku Kafe

“We started informally in August of 2019, when we collaborated with our first ever partner, Buku-Buku Kafe (SM Southmall, Las Pinas.) We started supplying their shop with our cookies (and still currently do),” says Alexis, president and CEO of the brand. “At the time, we were both still at our previous jobs, Martin being in marketing, and me being in the food and beverage industry. We both left our jobs in September that year and decided to officially launch our business online in the beginning of October.”

In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, Alexis shares why they chose to hit the brakes on their business during the peak of the pandemic and why we could never go wrong with serving cookies, particularly the chocolate chip variety.

For those who don’t know, what is a half-baked cookie?

Cookie Dude’s Half-Baked Cookies are your favorite classic chocolate chip cookie on a whole other level. Not quite soft-baked or crispy, but a hybrid of the two; they are baked at just the right time and temperature to achieve a toasty, crispy exterior while the inside stays perfectly velvety soft and ooey-gooey. A medium rare cookie, if you will. 

Where do you source your ingredients?

We try to use only the highest quality ingredients for all our cookies, so we make sure to purchase only from reliable baking supply stores. We use pure chocolate chunks for all our cookies and not chocolate chips, because chunks have a gooey, melts-in-your-mouth quality that chocolate chips simply do not have. The most satisfying thing about eating a warm chocolate chip cookie is that chocolatey ooze, so we wanted to make sure to maximize that experience in our product.

Apart from the top three chocolate flavors, what are the other flavors to try? Are you also producing holiday-themed products?

So far, we only have our classic flavors (the Original, the White, the Dark Chocolate Cinnamon), but by the time you’re reading this, our holiday flavor might already be out! We have lots of plans to release some fun and unique flavors in the new year as well, so keep an eye out for that. 

What makes Cookie Dude a stand out from other cookie brands out there?

When we were doing our research on the online cookie market, we noticed it was mostly soft-baked cookies, and while there is certainly nothing wrong with a good soft-baked chocolate chip cookie, we wanted to bring something a little more unique to the market. We wanted to keep the nostalgia of the classic chocolate chip cookie, but bring it to a whole new level. We don’t claim to have invented the half-baked cookie by any means, but we noticed it was something that definitely was lacking in the market, especially one in the lower to middle price range. We spent several months developing what we thought was the perfect half-baked chocolate chip cookie recipe, from scratch. With Cookie Dude, we wanted to introduce to the market a premium-quality half-baked cookie for a mid-range price. We wanted people to be able to treat themselves with the ultimate indulgence without having to break the bank. 

How was it operating during the pandemic? What were the challenges and how did you cope with them?

We actually had to go on hiatus during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). We stopped last March and relaunched in October. Other than the logistical issues (baking store supplies were closed, I was quarantined in Laguna, and our business was in Las Piñas), we were faced with the moral qualm of selling non-essential items during a time when the whole country was facing new challenges and hardships every day because of the pandemic. So ultimately we thought it would be for the best to halt production and not take away focus from the more pressing current events.

What do you think it is with cookies that people love so much?

I think the chocolate chip cookie is a classic, quintessential favorite because of its simplicity. When we think of our childhood food favorites, we don’t love them because they’re fancy and complex, we love them because they’re straightforward, simple, and comforting. That’s why it was important for us in our relaunch to perfect a collection of classic flavors; we wanted the perfect, warm, ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie to be our flagship product and the foundation of our brand. At the end of the day, the nostalgia of a classic chocolate chip cookie is what will keep people coming back for more.

Visit @cookiedudeph on Instagram or click here to order. A box of six is priced at P300.

Senators weigh in on inclusion of representatives in the ballot for overseas voting

Senators on Thursday weighed in on the inclusion of congressmen in overseas voting to encourage Filipinos abroad to participate in Philippine elections.

During the Senate’s plenary deliberations on the P14.8-billion proposed budget of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for 2021, Senator Francis Tolentino said overseas Filipino voters should also be allowed to elect congressmen in their hometowns to improve their participation in the country’s polls.

“Why is it that we can’t, to really expand the coverage of overseas voting, why don’t we include the congressmen in the ballot? Similar to what the US is doing? It will generate the participation of our kababayans (countrymen) who are clustered culturally…if they will vote for their congressmen,” Tolentino raised.

Before this, Senator Risa Hontiveros, budget sponsor, said that only about 326,000 of the total 1,822,173 registered overseas absentee voters actually voted in the 2019 elections.

The Comelec also expects the number of registered voters overseas to drop at 1,657,750 in the 2022 elections.

Despite this, she said the poll body projects an increase in overseas voter participation to some 580,000 in two years.

Tolentino noted that the Constitution does not prohibit the inclusion of congressmen in the overseas voting. “It does not say that you can only vote for senators, President and the Vice President,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the Comelec could consider the proposal as this could generate more participation from Filipino voters abroad.

“Who said that congressmen are local candidates? They are elected to a legislative body. Why should a congressman be considered as a local official? I do not know whether that is a correct interpretation, but, what is important, I don’t see any program to encourage participation. Yes, we encourage registration, pero kung ‘yong nagre-register hindi naman bumoboto, ganon pa din ang kalalabasan non (but if those registered still do not vote, then the effect is the same),” Drilon said.

“That could be a way in which we can increase the participation of overseas voters, which to date, is very dismal. And no amount of programs, I think, will encourage… I do not know, but, you know, our overseas Filipinos sometimes have lost interest in it, but maybe if we include the local, there’s no harm in doing it,” he added.

Hontiveros said the Comelec was only following the Overseas Absentee Voting Act, which states that Filipino citizens “may vote for President, Vice-President, Senators and Party-List Representatives, as well as in all national referenda and plebiscites.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto recalled that lawmakers then did not include congressmen and local candidates in consideration of how votes are being counted in the Philippine election system.

“We have a different overseas voting. The ballots are counted overseas and sent back to Manila. Unlike in the US, overseas voting or absentee voting, it goes to the states. Ang bilangan sa local mismo (Their canvassing happens at the local level). Sa atin national level lang (But for us, it’s only at the national level),” he said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said they also considered then the possible difficulties that the Comelec would face in printing separate, specific ballots for the voters.

“Hindi nila alam kanino ka boboto eh, kung saan ka sa abroad (They do not know which district will you vote in, where you live abroad). So that is the difficulty that we encountered then,” Sotto said.

“But if we could come up with some way, to be able to do that, then perhaps, pwede, but at the moment, I cannot see the possibility,” he added.

“The ballot packet will have to be customized to each overseas Filipino hometowns, so medyo logistical nightmare sa ngayon (so it will be a logistical nightmare). But it’s good na makita natin (to see) what it would entail kung iyan ang gagawin ng ating Kongreso (if Congress decides to pursue it),” Hontiveros also said.

Missing old man found dead, typhoon death toll in Rizal now 15

The death toll in Typhoon Ulysses in Rizal province reached 15 after the cadaver of a 64-year- old man who was earlier reported missing was found in this city late Wednesday afternoon, November 18.

A residence in Cardona side on Talim Island was among the structures heavily damaged by Typhoon Ulysses (Photo from Cardona MDRRMO)

Rizal Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head, Loel Malonzo, told the Manila Bulletin that as of Thursday noon, there were 15 fatalities.  The latest victim was Francisco Vicente, 64, of Upper Kilingan, Barangay San Jose, Antipolo City.

Vicente was presumably carried away by rampaging floodwaters into a bamboo grove in Lower Kilingan, where his decomposing body was found by members of the San Jose rescue team.  Jocelyn Corado, the victim’s niece, identified her uncle.

The older Vicente and his grandson Alvin, 10, had been reported missing after the typhoon hit Antipolo on Nov. 12 and their house was swept by flood.  The boy’s body was later found in a river.

The wake for Francisco and Alvin is at the covered court of Purok Langhaya, in Barangay Dela Paz.

Also in Antipolo, two residents of Calawis died as a result of a landslide following the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses. Their fate was only reported to authorities on November 17, according to the PDRRMO.  

Malonzo said the infrastructures damaged during the typhoon amounted to P583,908,000 while the damage on the agriculture sector reached more than P251,000,000.

The devastation has brought out the generosity among local government units to help their fellowmen in distress.  The local  government of Ibajay in Aklan Province has an on-going donation drive for the benefit of the typhoon victims in Tanay, Rizal and Tuguegarao, Cagayan.

Dubbed as ‘Pag IBAJAYanihan’, the in-kind donation drive was launched to encourage Ibajay residents including those who are in Manila, to donate goods without having to worry about how to transport their donations to the typhoon victims as the local government will bring their donations to Manila, then to Tanay and Tuguegarao.

Donors may coordinate with Ellen Masangcay at Mobile Number 0920-442-0742 for inquiries on how to transport the donations from LGU Ibajay to Manila.

On November 18, Senator Manny Pacquiao visited some areas in Antipolo, San Mateo and Rodriguez, to donate cash, vitamins and other basic goods to residents.