Thursday, March 29, 2018

Postcards from North Batan

In continuation of my post from last December here from a trip made last June đŸ˜… are the breathtaking sights to behold in North Batan. I didn't even know that it's possible to squeeze both in a day!!! It was only around 2PM and Kuya Dale just casually brought up the idea since he knew I only have a day left. Thankfully, always girl scout ready, I brought a big bag for all my outfit changes. Ahaha!!!

To back up a bit, my South Batan post actually just covered the town of Mahatao. I haven't covered yet Ivana and Uyugan and some few stops here and there of this wonderful place called Batanes. So to continue...

Alapad Hills and Rock Formation

From the moment I learned about this place being the shoot location of Hihintayin Kita sa Langit - a Richard/ Dawn movie in 1991, I've been itching to go back with a lover to do that i-Dawn Zulueta mo ako pose get myself a copy of the movie. It's been 8 months which reflects how very resourceful I am, lol! In this tourist spot in Uyugan, try not to be impressed by the view of a road cutting through two towering cliffs nor be tempted to swim in the ocean.

House of Dakay 

Here below is one of the oldest stone houses of Ivana with its signature thatched cogon roof. This house is popular for being one of the houses that survived a magnitude 8.3 earthquake in 1918. Also, let's not forget that Batanes being the northernmost province, is a typhoon path which makes this functioning house a very fine example of a stone house. The cogon roof is not exactly rainproof but it's one of their most readily available resources and is also durable.

Honesty Coffee Shop

There was a thought-provoking meme I found out about this place that says, "Has honestly become so rare that we turn it into a tourist attraction?" This shop located in the Port of Ivana doesn't have a storekeeper in it and it's a good stopover for coffee during your tour. You simply log whatever you ate/ took with its price and drop the payment in a box, anything excess is considered a tip. Hehe. I noticed that it's the same business concept they apply in my lodge. Also, to my initial shock our gates weren't also locked at night but Batanes boasts of zero crime rate so I knew I'm safe.đŸ˜…

Oh, I just had to ask Kuya Dale to stop and pose in this pretty structure I found along the way. 


Radar Station/ PAG-ASA

The station itself was long destroyed by a strong typhoon but of course it's not what you wanna see from there but rather this spectacular view. You can still see the hedgerows of Mahatao (close up pic in my previous post here) from this place and Mt. Matarem.

Valugan Boulder Beach

At the back of Mt. Iraya is this beach. It is said that these boulders were spewed by the said mountain when it was geologically active.  I can't believe how such aggregate of rocks could be so picturesque but here they are, looking like a masterpiece. 

Vayang Rolling Hills

By the time we reached this place, I'd lost count the number of times I muttered, "Ang ganda"  to myself. So, I allowed myself to say it out loud just like what the other visitors were doing then. Seriously, it was in this exact moment when I felt my heart swelling with joy and pride for my country as the others were shouting, "Pilipinas, ang ganda mo!" My, my! What an awe-inspiring view!  From this overlook you can see a dramatic landscape and seascape combination of the rolling hills, the view of Mt. Iraya and the west Philippine sea. How can I own a piece of land here? 

Basco Lighthouse and Naidi Hill

How lucky is it that I get to witness a sunset wedding while here in Basco lighthouse? Basco, being a small town capital where everybody knows everybody, Kuya Dale gave me a juicy scoop about the bride. Haha. Not that he once wooed her. Sssshh. Haha.

Basco lighthouse stands on Naidi Hill overlooking the town of Basco on the east and Basco bay on the west. It's best to come here about sunset and capped off my first day in Batanes. :)

If you haven't made any  plans yet for this year, I highly recommend Batanes. I would so so love to go back here in the future. That steep airfare that might cost you two tickets to another country, it's so so so worth it!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Long Time No Selfie: My Struggle with Hormonal Acne

If you notice, you barely see close-ups of my face over here at Cakes And Styles. I get nervous when my photog friends would take close-up shots of me and in general shy away from it partly because this should be all about styling and not my face. But back in say 2017 earlier, if you scroll down my Instagram feed, you’ll see about one or few confident selfies popping up here and there. So what happened? 

For the past two years, I’ve been struggling with persistent hormonal acne. It all started out as mild, normal breakouts around the lower chin area but later progressed into something cystic in nature particularly along the jawline. Much to the chagrin of my wallet, I went to skin treatment salons more often (availed several packages) and also tried the cheaper options from some friends but somehow I couldn’t get to the root of the problem.

It was only late last year (I know it took so long!) when I decided to up the game and FINALLY consult a derma about my dilemma who presented me with a detailed plan of attack to the problem. At the top of her list is another consultation with another doctor, I decided to skip it then since I was so eager to try one of their treatments, something that is highly-recommended to me by a good friend who has already tried it – the chemical peel.

Boy, I did raise my hopes on the blue peel procedure. When the peeling was over (1 week guys, ONE WEEK of tiis-ganda moments, lol!!!), I did see some improvements. BUT, it was obvious that it really didn’t get to the root cause of the problem. Skin tone got lighter, some acne were gone but there were some persistent scars and redness particularly on the left side of my face. So back we go to RC A.

Around January when I usually decide to do my regular health checks, I finally consulted my Gyne about a possible “condition” called PCOS. It’s a condition that’s extremely common among women my age. I was about to schedule for a laboratory procedure for diagnosis but I was shell-shocked when my OB pronounced right then and there that I was positive (She said she could just simply tell from my face). Though I was informed earlier that this isn’t exactly a “sickness”, I did hear some stories about acquaintances who had trouble getting pregnant because of this problem. Not that there’s a chance of me getting pregnant soon (*eyeroll*, lol). I was already feeling a bit relieved when I remembered my Derma telling me about pill treatment will clear the acnes when my Gyne suddenly dropped the bomb. She can’t risk me taking the pills for PCOS treatment because of the impact it will cause on my other “condition” - the cysts that are currently being monitored in my breasts. I briefly talked about it here. Her last words to me was to get back to her if ever I DO have some plans of getting pregnant in the near future coz that’s the only time we will take some course of action to address the issue (PCOS). WOW.

Since this post is strictly about my battle with hormonal acne, I’ll spare you all the drama one goes through upon finding out they have these “conditions” in their body. For now this is my CURSE. Lol. And I have to deal with it. Now on my third month of working with my Derma, she switched me up to a different kind of antibiotic to help lessen the flaring up of my “pets”. Lels. Of course, there are diet changes too (like less dairy, the occasional spot treatments and mild peeling sessions but ultimately, our last resort is another medication which has a success rate of 95% in treating the acnes but one that is yet to be carefully considered because of some risks that it entails. Obviously, there’s no winning yet in this battle so where am I going with all of this?

If there’s one thing my last treatment taught me though, that is to learn to be comfortable with my face without my trusty concealer/ BB creams and foundation. During the tiis-ganda days of facial shedding like a snake (lol!), I had to go out to work for a few days which meant risking my bare face to some of my co-workers (although most of them were in leave then due to the holidays, hehe). Once I got used to it, since January, you’ll barely see me with any foundation on. I simply leave the house with my face slathered on sunblock. Heck, I even went to a few dates without concealing my facial “scars”. 

While it’s true that some of them never showed up again (lol!), but atleast I was pretty clear with my message that acne or not, I am enough. And if you’ve ever reached down this utterly long post and are also going through the same thing, tell yourself that YOU ARE ENOUGH. Granted, it can definitely make your self-esteem plummet when your skin is out of whack but at the end of the day, we all should realize how very little these matter in the grand scheme of things. 

Since I stopped running Soooo Bloggin This!!! (my first ever blog), it just feels therapeutic to be writing some personal stuff again. Please wish me luck in dealing with this ordeal and would be eternally grateful if you could recommend some things that worked for you. Regular styling and outfit posts will be available soon. Thanks for reading. :) 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#TrioThursday: White Ankle Boots

Nancy Sinatra may be wearing brown tall boots in her 60’s sensational music video “These Boots are Made for Walking” but we all could deduce that she’s referring to white boots then. A brief check of history of white ankle boots revealed that it was actually introduced by designer AndrĂ© Courrège in his “Moon Girl” futuristic collection for Fall of 1964. The original ones were in white, low-heeled, mid-calf and were also called go-go boots.

This concept of fashion boots was said to be revolutionary then since prior to the 60’s, women’s boots were purely worn only for riding or walking/ protection from the rough weather. And as expected, the rise of Sinatra’s song to the Billboard charts only fuelled the purchase of these go-go boots and helped establish them as symbol of female power.

54 years later, we’re seeing incarnations of these go-go boots in cosmic/ galatic themed runway looks (see Chanel Fall of 2017) and certainly not to be missed in model's off-duty footwear. They’re versatile, easy to walk-in and an easy stand-out in a sea of black ankle boots. ;) In the fabulous style of the 60's, they're often worn with mini skirts. So here's how I styled them in three ways using mine :)

Dress: Zara; Bag/ Shoes: Mango

Skirt: H&M; Bag/ Shoes/ Belt: Mango

Dress/ Skirt: H&M; Bag/Shoes: Mango

Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Meghan Markle Moment

While I usually don’t fuss about royalties (I once whined about everybody's attention to the royal wedding of William and Kate last 2011), there’s just something charming about this prince-meets-commoner courtship of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that simply drew me to them. First of all, I don’t have time for TV series so I don’t follow Meghan’s acting career at all. Naturally after the news of engagement, I was initially shocked when I found out that she’s (up to this writing) a divorcee. I mean, I don’t dream of marrying into royalty at all (not that I have a chance, lol) but how realistic can this get? I MEAN, if there’s hope for true love for divorcees, then how much more for single ladies like us right? Lels.

It was also only through Facebook’s Memories or On This Day feature recently when I was reminded that she was the same woman who once impressed me with her powerful speech about sexist taglines when I once shared it in my page. I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now and I hope it did make you ask yourself what you were doing at age 11. Lol. I didn’t bother myself with her activities now as a grown woman on standing up for feminism or other things but I’m convinced that this kind of woman truly deserves a prince. <3

I’m sure that Meghan is so much more than what I talked about here (I’ve yet to see atleast an episode of her series maybe?) but can we just please talk about her minimalist style? Being a royal-to-be, I understand why people make a big deal out of her minimalistic outfits but maybe because although they’re anything but basic, they’re polished and fit for royalty. I quite like her penchant for nude shoes actually. :) At this point in my life, I’m actually considering having a minimalist wardrobe (but there’s just so much fear/ doubt in doing it, lol!) so for the sake of this post, here’s what I think one of my Meghan Markle moment inspired by her look last December for a Royal Christmas service. I mean, even the bag I once featured here looks similar to hers no? :P Do you also like the style of the soon Duchess of Sussex? :)

Hat: Aldo; Top: Zaful (here); Sunnies: Rosegal (here);
Skirt: Topshop; Bag: Rosegal (here)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

#TrioThursday: Red OTK Boots

Sometimes you have an occasion and you get a dress pair of shoes. Other times, a pair of shoe finds you first. Hehe. 

Ok, admittedly I stole that line from one of the bloggers I'm following. Lol. Coz I feel the same way about these over-the-knee pointed booties that I've been eyeing on since I saw them on Fendi's A/W 17 runway last year - those lipstick-red versions in super-slick leather that's also spotted on many street style stars and influencers. In my mind I have already rearranged my wardrobe around them so when I found them in Gamiss' gamut of shoe styles around late last year, I did not pass up on the chance to style it. And did you also know that they have size up to 43? So awesome! Lol!

The thing is, I was ready to wear them in my HK trip, but there were some logistics issues encountered so they arrived only a little over last week. :-/ It may be a bit hard pulling 'em off now that summer season is so on but I'm optimistic though that this will be trendy by end of this year so I'm safekeeping it. For the meantime, while here in Jakarta, these are the ways I would style it. What do you guys think?

Stiletto Heel Pointed Toe Over the Knee Boots

Beret: Zaful; Dress: H&M; Bag: Mango

Beret: Zaful; Dress: Dorothy Perkins; Blazer: H&M

Shirt: J Crew; Coat: Zalora; Earrings: Mango

P.S. All styling are by yours truly. This post was made in collaboration with Gamiss. You may use GamissChen to have additional 10%-20% off. :)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Heat Is On

2,784 km down from Manila, rest assured that the heat is also definitely on in this city I am in right now. Though sporadic rains are expected at this time of the year here in Jakarta, the weekend is still an excuse to go visit the islands or probably chillax by the pool (if you're unable to do so, like us. Boo!)

I don't have any summer plans as of the moment but if you my dear reader, has already got it figured out then congratulations! May I recommend some swimwear from Rosegal? Be it Manila or Jakarta, they ship anywhere around the world with about 3000 styles to choose from here

Since I'm "positive" about yellow overshadowing lilac for this season/year, I opted for this cutout minimalist one piece. But some of my other picks are these slimming pieces (here and here) and more yellow, more fun here and here. As for this cutout piece, you can check it out in the link below and use the discount provided at the end of this post. :)

P.S. All styling are by yours truly. This post was made in collaboration with Rosegal. You may use RosegalChen code to have an additional 10%-20% discount. :)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Bodysuit and The Manila Project

Are you one of those traveler who ever googles "instagrammable places of" wherever your destination is? Haha. I'm guilty of that. This app has really changed the way we travel. It's helpful in a way though I think.

With quite a lengthy business trip this week that spills over to next week, I was left with nothing but search for pretty interesting places to visit here in Jakarta. It's quite tough though as I've always likened this city to Manila whose redeeming qualities of the country it belongs to lies in the outskirts or in their islands. I mean, Bali would be nice but it's not really an option as of the moment. Also, not that I haven't been here before on a holiday. But like I said, IG is changing things now which means some tourist spots may have changed from how they were like before? Hmm, we shall see about it.

Meanwhile, here's a feature of some of Manila's finest locations where I chose to shoot this bodysuit I got from Rosegal. It has a faux leather front panel and a deep neckline that's way too sexay. Yay! Lol! You can check it out in the link below. 

In the future, please expect more of Manila's finest features here in the blog where I choose to call it my Manila project. You can already check out the first one here. :)

P.S. All styling are by yours truly. This post was made in collaboration with Rosegal. You may use RosegalChen code to have an additional 10%-20% discount. :)

Monday, March 5, 2018

HK/ Macau: The IT

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? Disclaimer: this is not a how to travel in HK on a budget post but I guess touring with three elders (senior citizens, even) to one of the most expensive cities in the world allows you to be a bit creative in planning the itinerary since skipping some of the usual haunts is already given. The end result is a rather cheaper itinerary while still making the most out of the Fragrant Harbour. Did you know they offer discounts to foreign senior citizens? Amazing!

With two theme parks crammed in this city already chopped off the list and a little googling on IG-worthy spots in HK, here I present to you some of HK’s attractions that truly makes you say “the best things in life HK are free.” :)

Nan Lian Garden
Easily one of my fave public parks in HK. It's a classical garden amidst Diamond Hill's high-rise apartments that's beautifully landscaped. I like how rules are strictly implemented to keep the serenity of the place and that proper clothing should be observed. Hope my choice of clothing matched the elegance of this place.

Kowloon Park
Admittedly, came here just to see the HK Avenue of Comic Stars and were so overwhelmed that we didn't explore much what this park has to offer, haha! But apparently, it's a huge park that was once an army fortress. The seniors did get to enjoy their fitness facilities in preparation for activities later that day hehe.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed
My brother Lem and I almost gave up finding this place because of the wrong info we got from the web. Ugh. Good thing, even amidst the 10 degree cold, we managed to locate it right before its prettiest state. It really feels like one perfect hideout and also the best sunset viewing location in HK. If the photos below didn't reflect any sunset at all, it's because the brother took all the photos during that time. Lol.

High-Rise Apartments
Pretty common housing form to observe in this densely packed mega city, they're colorful, dizzying and of course a blogger's favorite. This one in Diamond Hill (close to Nan Lian Garden) gives off some LA vibes.

Choi Hung Estate

Quarry Bay's Montane Mansion
Of course, this place would just appeal so much to my brother simply for being a shoot location of Transformers movie. It's quite a trip going there from the central but it's cool seeing them up close. 

Some of the free admission attraction sites that we checked out are Central's Art District (try the Mid-level escalators being the longest outdoor escalator in the world?), of course the Symphony of Lights show at Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront (don't forget the yummy mobile softee and take the cruise before the show as it's free for senior citizens, hehe) and the night markets in Mongkok area. :)

In Macau, I took the family to Taipa Village because I've never been there (lol!). It's a colorful village with a blend of Portuguese and Chinese architecture that's a little similar to Senado Square with its shop and dine offerings but with lesser crowd. :)