Total Fitness: Improve Your Personality, Pronto!

Which type are YOU?

Note: Published in this month’s issue of TOTAL FITNESS. Grab a copy TODAY!


WANTED: With pleasing personality. Look at job ads with mirth or disdain all you want, but there is a reason why nearly all frontliner jobs make ‘pleasing personality’ a non-negotiable requirement. Nobody wants to be around someone who is considered difficult or unmanageable. While some of us seem to be born with a knockout personality that people automatically get drawn to them, there are those who need some work to get there.

At the end of the day, we all secretly or overtly desire to improve ourselves and our personality.  Some do it by first focusing on what is seen on the surface – things such as: changing the whole wardrobe to accomplish a certain look or style; cutting one’s hair or changing the color completely; getting contact lenses or spectacles. Others take speech and personality development  courses or religiously go through a stack of self-help books. But no matter what methods you choose to employ, it would be good to understand that there is a lot more to personality than meets the eye. Combine beauty, impeccable diction, and other outward qualities with grace, kindness, charm, and other essential traits and you just might run off with this year’s Best in Personality award.

So how does one improve her personality?

1.  Don’t be all about YOURSELF. Be interested in people and show it! Spend time learning other people’s likes, dislikes, interests, and beliefs. By doing this, people will warm up to you quickly and think of you as someone who can be trusted.

2.  Be approachable. Don’t walk around with a huge chip on your shoulder. Smiling won’t cost you a fortune so wear that big smile on your face and don’t discourage people from approaching you with that scowl on your face.

3.  Just like everyone else, you have your own weaknesses. Own up to it and don’t go around acting self-righteous and infallible. You can be perfectly likeable in your imperfections.

4.  Appreciate your friends and don’t be shy to compliment them in front of others. By talking about your friends’ good qualities, you are essentially showing the world your appreciative nature. But make sure that you speak the truth when talking about other people’s attributes. Otherwise, you are just another liar.

5.  Surround yourself with people who are successful and happy. Associate yourself with those who can influence you in the positive way and learn from their points of view. Identify your mentor and always seek advice and guidance on matters you are not so confident about.

6. Be visible. Attend social gatherings and expand your circle of friends and widen your sphere of influence.  Listen to conversations and contribute ideas on topics you have some knowledge on. This will greatly improve your communication skills and add to your stock knowledge as well.

7. Introduce changes in your environment. Avoid getting stuck in your routine. Go on vacation to recharge and whatever you do, make sure  you learn something new and different that you can apply to your  daily life.

Personality development and improvement does not happen overnight. It takes a great deal of desire to improve and focus on the steps that you need to take in order to achieve this goal. Also, don’t get discouraged when, in the process, you encounter one or two people who do not take instantly to you. There will always be stumbling blocks but do not let them stop you from becoming a better you.


GREAT MALAYSIA FINDS. So you know I have been here in Kuala Lumpur for the past two weeks already and because we’ve been so busy preparing for V-Malaysia; staging it for 5 full days and having the most amazing time doing it; and now that it’s finally over, making sure necessary reports are filed and post-event deliverables are executed – I was only really able to check out the mall once to see what junk I can bring back home. I remember back when I used to spend all my money each time I’m in Malaysia buying shoes, clothes, body moisturisers, chocolates and what-not. But during my last few trips abroad, I have actually been keeping the dough safe and only visiting the two stores I cannot imagine living without: ALDO and La Senza.

On our last day of V-Con, my team and Davoud’s went out to dinner (much love to our darling Venu who gave us food money!) and while waiting for everyone to arrive at the mall, Claire, Andy, Jerlen and I decided to do some window shopping. Except that we ended up actually shopping!

VComm and VBox: Only the GREATEST teams everrrr!

I told you I got LUMI the Lumix, right? She’s adorable, that Lumi!

I also got me some delectable stuff from La Senza which I can’t show you, obviously.

And these two things I got on super bargain price!


These periwinkle beauties I got for only RM30! It was originally priced RM60 but because Claire got one pair for herself, we got the second pair at half the price. Now you know I’m a ‘heels’ fan — have always been. But on some days, I must admit, nothing beats strutting around in a pair of Reebok or a cutesy flats. The comfort it gives my feet is just plain orgasmic. Pardonne my French.

My pepperoni handbag

'Bird's Nest' handbag

This gold-sequined handbag and the bird’s nest handbag (it reminds me of the Olympic structure in Beijing!) were another steal at RM99, which, again, is something I simply couldn’t turn a blind eye on. I mean, seriously, two handbags for RM99?!? No wonder my Boss now calls me the ukay-ukay queen – what with my great fondness for cheap, brand-less stuff. Unless of course, we’re talking about underthings here which I am definitely not scrimping on. But no, we are not talking about my underthings.


And of course, the man (or woman?) himself, ALDO. An absolute non-negotiable for me. I already have close to 15 pairs at home and the boyfriend is now going bonkers thinking how he can accommodate all my shoes – which now totals to about 60 pairs, on my last count. And the number just keeps going up – especially with REEBOK showing me so much love these days!

Isn’t it fun being a girly-girl? I know I’m having the absolute BEST time being one!

Silverbox Treasures

Looking for a perfect gift for a dear friend, girlfriend, sister, Mom…or for yourself? Well, today just might be your lucky day! If you’re sitting in front of your laptop, I suggest you quit cyber-stalking your Ex and check out this online site called Silverbox Treasures. It’s a trove of fashion accessories made of semi-precious stones, handcrafted with such elegant creativity and love, that you would feel and look instantly beautiful – no matter how plain your shirt or dress may be! A fashion pick-me-up, is how I would sum it up in a phrase!

These beauties are Ms. Suzette Montalban’s handiwork. Ms. Montalban is my dear friend Mark’s Mom who says she does this only as a hobby and I’m like now-this-is-extremely-embarrassing-for-me-because-the-only-creative-thing-I-can-pull-off-as-a-hobby-is-fold-my-tongue-in-the-middle-like-a-quesadilla. A non-skill, pretty much, as I’m sure half the people in town can do the same – if not better. Who knows what freakier things people out there can do with their tongues! Eeeeek.

The other night, my good friend and up-and-coming photographer to the stars, Noel (Have you seen his work? Well, tickle me good Elmo but you just gotta!) , took photos of me wearing the accessories we had selected from the heap the Mark brought last Saturday after we watched Zaturnnah (Hi Rocky, You’re so hot! *giggles*) A few weeks before that, Mark asked me to model the accessories and for Noel to take photos. The photoshoot happened in my apartment Monday night and because he didn’t need to do major editing on my face and skin (Oh dear Vicky, you are really getting quite adept at carrying your own couch now, are ‘ya?), he finished all sets in a day! I’m telling you, this single, accomplished, well-groomed, good-looking and very disease-free friend of mine is just brimming with talent I just might quit work one day and be his assistant! Did I mention he’s single and looking for love?

So where were we? Ahhh, yes, Silverbox Treasures. I ran my mouth quite a bit long back there and so I assume you have had a chance to take a peek at the site. Well, have you? If you can’t make up your mind on which accessory to get and believe you me, I totally understand the dilemma because I wanted all of them for myself as well, perhaps these photos below will help.

The Intrepid Ambassador of Sorts.

It’s only the first quarter of 2011 and already, I am overwhelmed by a LOT of great things. So great, in fact, that I feel somewhat guilty for wanting a little bit more. Like perhaps having an erstwhile friend back in the friend zone. But then again, I have always fancied a little bit of drama in my life and so I am quite okay occasionally sleeping with the enemy. So to speak. Oh never mind, I don’t think I am able to communicate my thoughts properly anyway. I’ve been absolutely mad-busy at work and extra curricular activities lately that the only time I ever get to sit still and be quiet is when I have to go and pee. Isn’t that crazy?!? But it is true. At this point, I think, Supergirl has nothing on me and the crazy schedule I keep. Not that there’s any reason to complain because there really isn’t. I am blessed in so many ways. Let’s count, shall we?

One of the exciting things that happened to me this month, for which I have Kassy Pajarillo and Blas Ople Tiangco to thank for, is being selected as one of Reebok’s brand ambassadors for running. As I have furtively intimated in my previous post, we had our Team photo shoot over the weekend wearing some of Reebok’s new line of running apparel and boy did we rock it out that day! I have been using  ZigNano/Zig Glam for a few days now – both for running and my Insanity workout – and so far, I have no complaints. I am now having a very passionate love affair with my black Zig Glams, and not to sound biased or anything, but I’m liking it even more than I did my other pairs. Bruno, as I fondly call it, is proving to be a lot more fierce a vertical exercise partner than some of my former partners. He takes care of my feet as though they’re his own! And I’m sorry I’m gushing but yes, I’m unfaithful like that.  I will do a proper review in the next few days, possibly, after the first race I’m joining wearing it – so watch out for that.  Earlier today, Blas sent us some low-res file copies of the photos taken by Jar Concengo and these are some of the ones I heart.


Zig while everyone zags

Bend it like Vicky

Meet Bruno (photo taken using my beat-up Sony digicam)

Glammin' it up with my new Zig Glam!


Another exciting thing is modeling some of the fashion accessories handcrafted by Mark’s mom  (all GORGEOUS, by the way!). I live for fashion accessories, as some of you would know, so I literally went nuts when Mark brought the samples last Saturday and asked me to choose the ones I’d like to be photographed in. Noel, Cris and Eric helped me choose from the lot and they all looked great on me. In fact, I have already chosen the ones I want to keep. Noel insists I get the ones made of rose quartz for love. I happen to have a great love but where’s the harm in topping it up a little with some stones for a good measure of luck, right? Cris suggested torquoise because it stands out against my naturally bronze skin. And I also happen to like the red one (my birth stone is Ruby, so anything red would be nice) but I’ll have to ask Mark first. I don’t want my dear friend to feel robbed! hahaha. So anyway, last night, Noel (my good friend for nearly six years now and one of my favorite people in the world) and I did the photoshoot for two things actually: (1)  the accessories, and (2) the breast cancer awareness photo exhibit he’s planning to launch soon to raise money for our friend who was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer late last year and is now undergoing (a series of) chemotherapy treatment. This is also something I am passionate about because my adoptive Mom died of breast cancer in 2003 and I have witnessed first-hand the pain she suffered… before finally succumbing to it.

So Noel took about 200 photos and they all came out beautifully. Some MORE beautiful than others and we already have some ideas on how I can mount them in my tiny (and very temporary) home. To show you that I am not simply talking falafel here, let me show you two of the photos he took last night. Oh, one more thing, I am proud to say that I did my own make-up and hair. Well, my hair is dry and ugly most of the time anyway, so there’s only very little that I can do about it!






I know, I know. I am breathtaking. I get that a lot and too often. I try not to get used to it though. *ROTFL* Totally kidding, you guys! Sense of humor much! Like I said, this is just one of the many photos Noel took last night. I will be posting more in the next few days. These photos will also appear on Silverbox’s online store where you can have a look-see and order whatever catches your fancy.

Oh, oh, oh…this I can’t possibly keep mum about! What was I thinking?!? So, you know I kind of starred in a music video that is currently being played on Pinoy MYX. The song is called Paglaya (’emancipation’ in English) and it was written by another dear friend, the brilliant Eric Cabahug. The song is actually an entry (and semifinalist) to the KBP Song of the Year competition. If you guys are on Facebook and you’re not on my blocked users list, you can view it here. But more than just viewing the video and lusting after my attributes, you can vote for the video by simply sending MYX VOTE PAGLAYA to 2366. Vote now and make us famous, why don’t you?

That’s all I have for you guys this week. I’ll be back in the next few days, most likely sporting a deep tan and looking more and more lovedrunk.


COCOTINI Beachwear Summer 2011 Collection



A few months ago, I got a call from a dear friend slash fitness goddess slash fashion maven Abby Jocson telling me that a friend of hers, who’s running a swim wear line, is looking for a morena to model some her latest designs. For someone who never passes up the chance to go on a beach holiday – not to swim, mind you, but to get baked – this could very well be the call that could align the planets in her own self-proclaimed Milky Way. A few hours after, I was already on sms with Mia, finalising the photoshoot schedule.

And that’s how I became one of Cocotini’s brand ambassador, at least for the Summer of 2011.


Bask in the sun in bright hues of blue, purple and pink. This year’s collection is all about optimism!

Get a preview of the latest Cocotini and Cocotini Luxe designs – with more designs coming soon!

And watch out for it’s newest line, Cocotini Active!

Models: Angelika Schmeing-Cruz and Vicky Ras
Photography by: Miguel Nacianceno
Make-up by: Chey Mayuga

Find COCOTINI on Facebook and place your orders here.

On Going Green.

As consumers, we inevitably contribute to global warming with the electronic gadgets we use at home and our workplace; the car that we drive around or the public transportations that we take to get us from one destination to another; the flights that we take for our business or personal trips; our manic retail therapy and our regular trips to the cinema or other forms of recreation.

The question is, how much are we impacting global warming? One way to find out is by calculating our carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, and in particular climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation etc.

When I took the online carbon footprint test sometime in February this year, this is the result I got:

Your footprint is 8.43 metric tons per year The average footprint for people in Philippines is 0.97 metric tons The worldwide target to combat climate change is 2 metric tons

Your Carbon Footprint:

0.03 metric tons of CO2
3.96 metric tons of CO2
0.00 metric tons of CO2
0.00 metric tons of CO2
0.02 metric tons of CO2
0.00 metric tons of CO2
4.42 metric tons of CO2

Total = 8.43 metric tons of CO2

To offset some or all of your carbon footprint, click the sections you would like to offset in the list above, and click the Offset Now button.

Total To Offset = 8.43 metric tons of CO2

Offset Now
The results of your carbon footprint calculation
  • Your footprint is 8.43 metric tons per year
  • The average footprint for people in Philippines is 0.97 metric tons
  • The average for the industrial nations is about 11 metric tons
  • The average worldwide carbon footprint is about 4 metric tons
  • The worldwide target to combat climate change is 2 metric tons

Although today we live in a technologically-advanced world and everyday discoveries seem endlessly exciting, it’s still the day-to-day actions and the habits you cultivate that matter most especially when it comes to doing Mother Earth good.  By changing your thinking, you are effectively changing your life. Adapting to a greener lifestyle is worth it for all kinds of reasons and you’ll be surprised that it’s not all about the planet. Green habits often save you money and improve your health and life, as well.

That is why from fit and healthy, I have decided I am now going green as well. And looking fabulous while at it.

I cannot build a green house like one of those multi-million solar paneled houses featured on TLC,  but I can certainly help make a difference by adapting to a lifestyle that does very little harm to the environment. I don’t own and drive a car, so that’s several points off my carbon footprint. I do, however, travel a lot and that’s where the bulk of my carbon footprint comes from.

At home, I hardly use airconditioning – unless I have someone over, which happens very rarely. Such is the life of a recluse. *cough, cough* Unless absolutely terrified of ghosts or bad dreams, I sleep with all the lights out. On workdays, I hardly ever watch the telly. Except for CNN or TLC in the morning while I get ready for work and again when I come home from work. And since half the time I’m not in town anyway, my electricity consumption is minimal. Very minimal, in fact, that I sometimes only pay a little over one hundred pesos a month. But no, I am not open to taking in board and lodgers. hahaha. Most of my clothes do not need ironing as they’re made of soft fabrics – just the sort that fabric conditioners can take care of.

That's my old favorite Tesco Green Bag for only RM7. Got it in 2009. I think they have new designs now.

When I do my weekly grocery shopping at the supermarket, I make it a habit to bring my own reusable, environment-friendly bag. Last year in Malaysia, I found this really nice recycled bag from Tesco for only RM7. I was so happy with the design, the size, and the overall usability of the bag that I used it not just for grocery shopping but for also for trips to the mall, cinema, or the beach. For months, I had been looking for something to replace my Tesco bag as it’s looking completely depreciated – what with the amount of stuff I put in it most of the time. The gods of environment-friendly bags must have heard my silent prayer because just the other day when I was at SM Megamall, I saw this orange reusable bag which had the word SPARK emblazoned across the front and it’s being sold for only P35!  And just when I thought it was all there was to it, I saw 3 other colors with words BREATHE, RENEW, and FLOW and I knew then – I have to have all four!

Later on I would find out that these are the SM Eco Bags made of recyclable material and can be durable enough to last up to two weeks of use. As for the size, it’s fairly large enough to hold my junk. I haven’t actually used to it to go grocery shopping but I have used it to carry some of my books and caboodles to work.  Like this morning, I used my SPARK and RENEW bags to carry my Grand Fiesta race kit which I picked up from ROX and my copy of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played With Fire and some organic chips (as healthy substitute for Lays and Cheetos!) and a bottle of Bragg ACV with honey which I picked up from Healthy Options today as well. And let me tell you, these Eco Bags can carry a load!

SPARK and RENEW with SM Eco Bags

The beauty of bringing your own recyclable bag to the supermarket is that you cut down on plastic bags. Now it may not be possible to eliminate plastics totally from our purchases because let’s face it, most of the products available everywhere are still packed and sold contained in plastics. But at least you lessen the use of plastic bags. That’s good enough a start. Not all of us have the means and resources to take drastic measures in saving the environment but we can start right at home. And if there’s some way that we can do this without losing sight of our unique fashion sense (and without paying incredible amount for it), then what’s keeping us girls from getting involved?

SPARK(LE) with me.

I say, let’s BREATHE, SPARK, RENEW and FLOW starting NOW!

Favorite Item no. 3: CARINA hand carry

I am truly, madly, profoundly in love with my blue CARINA bag! Got it last night and I totally went nuts when I took it out of the shopping bag. I’m not as crazy over hand carry as I am with shoes but the gorgeous Abby Jocson collection is certainly making me change my mind!

First, it was the leopard print bag which pretty much sums up my fashion quirks. I love everything leopard I might as well have one as pet!

One of the four uniquely crafted hand carry lines by Abby Jocson, the Carina hand carry can hold your wallet, sunglasses, a paperback novel, a laptop, your make up kit and your gym stuff! It has side exterior slip pockets; zipper detailing; brass colored hardware; snap closure; interior lining with two slip pockets and a whole lot of space.  And for someone who lugs around a lot of stuff in her hand carry, this is the bag for me!

Vibrant and Delicious, yep, that's me and my Carina!

Get this and more at Abby’s online shop. Happy shopping!