Wedding Wednesday: ETC Handmade Goodness

For our wedding flowers, we will be working closely with the creative folks of Vatel Manila. I fell in love with their bouquets while doing a shoot for Wedding Essentials and booked them the following day.. obviously excited noh?! Hahaha! Dylan and I have been exchanging emails since then and it's been such a fun collaboration with the Vatel Team. We will be working with fresh flowers for our wedding but if I could get hitched twice (to the same man of course! I'm sure Patrick's thinking --ops,ops!teka lang! One time big time na 'to!) I would love to also try their non-traditional pieces by their DIY arm, ETC Handmade Goodness. Aside from it being one of kind, you will be able to preserve your bouquets and boutonnieres for many, many, many years. The ETC Handmade Goodness team is comprised of former brides, each armed with an eye for detail and a passion for creativity. You can send them your pegs and wedding themes via email and they can help you come up with cute and unique pieces for you and your entourage! Here are some of my favorites :)
Photo by Mark Cantalejo
Photo by J Lucas Reyes
Photo by Joannie Candi
Photo by Mango Red

Visit them on Facebook or Email them at

Travel Tuesday: Dahican Beach

Back to life, back to reality!!! Just thinking about the long work week ahead and my endless to-do-list is making me miss the crashing waves and powdery soft sand of Dahican Beach even more! Just a few hours ago I was in paradise--and now, I'm back in the chaotic city. But that's the beauty about vacations--it's nice to be able to work, feel productive, contribute to society, pay the bills--then give yourself a few days to just zone out. It's a balancing act. 

So where is Dahican Beach located, you ask. Well, It's a secret surf hideaway in Mindanao. A place we've been visiting ever since we were kids. Dahican is located in Mati, Davao Oriental--just two hours away from Davao City. Mati is my mom's hometown, all my cousins grew up in this beautiful and picturesque province. Daniela and I would spend our summers and Christmas vacations in this beach, but as we grew older it became more difficult for us to make time to come to Mati because of our hectic work schedules. Luckily, my mom was able to find promo fares to Davao a few months back so we made arrangements to visit Mati just in time for my grandma's birthday celebration. Our calendars were blocked off just for this special weekend to celebrate with our beloved Lola Inday. 
My relatives, Leo and Queenie Sibala, own a sweet and simple beachfront resort called KANAKBAI (which means Our Home). They have spacious and immaculately clean rooms, big enough to fit an entire family or a barkada of 5-6. For bookings, you can find them on Facebook. Just a few steps away, you'll find the Dahican Surf Resort, which offers cozy cabanas for rugged surfers and beach lovers just looking for a place to chill and crash for the day. Here you can do some surfing, skim boarding, and you can even enjoy a cool barbecue cookout under the stars. Patrick went surfing with my boy cousins and came home all red (too adorable, he never ever gets tan!!!) and with frozen arms from all the paddling. Don't worry kiddo, next time you'll be ready to be a super surfer!
I was actually hesitant to share our "family secret" through this blog because the biggest pro about this beach is that it's completely isolated and tucked away in sleepy and quiet Mati. It's a virgin and pristine beach that has yet to be discovered by tourists. It's a quiet sanctuary for locals and hard core surfers..and I'm hoping it stays beautifully preserved in the coming years! I would love to bring our kids here someday so hopefully the locals keep it clean and in its natural state. 
Every time we're in Mati, I always come home with excess baggage---in my TUMMY!!! I eat a lot--but damn, these people eat A LOT. LIKE A LOT. LIKE ALL DAY. NON STOP. It's eat, sleep, kain, kwentuhan, kain, surf, kain, picture-picture, kain ulit! Even while eating they're already planning the next meal. My titas and titos prepared grand feasts for us all weekend, we had fresh seafoods and juicy fruits as well!
The highlight of course of this trip was spending time with my cousins. I don't get to see them as often as I would like but it's always great coming home to Mati to reconnect with them. This was also Patrick's first introduction to my Davao clan (and first time in Mindanao!), so it was certainly a My Big Fat Greek Wedding moment for him since our family is a very loud and animated bunch! Hahaha :) Now you know where I get my kalog genes! 

We also saw dozens of dolphins twirling and dancing at the crack of dawn!!! Too bad I didn't get to catch them on video! 
I've been staring at these photos for a good 3 minutes and I'm sorry, I will not even attempt to come up with captions for these next two images. They're just too awesome for words. Ladies and Gentlemen, MY FATHER...the surfer. NAKS. Kinulit pa niya ako to put this on my blog so that my readers will see his "cool side" daw! Yes, my genius lawyer dad knows how to "hang loose". Hahahahaha!!! I. AM. DYING. OF. LAUGHTER!!!

I'm giving away BEACH MUST HAVES for each winner!
Each lucky reader will take home a pair of JELLY NELLY sandals 
and a pack of PARA'KITO products!
I love using these stylish (and waterproof) sandals in the beach! 
I always make sure I have a Para Kito clipped onto my beach bag/backpack. 
It's an effective mosquito repellant that keeps you bite free for hours! 

1. Click the LIKE and TWEET buttons below.
2. Follow @EcoJellyNelly and @ParaKito_PH on Twitter.
3. Share your dream summer destination via Twitter and tag us all!
"Hi @pattylaurel! I would love to visit Coron someday! Pls let me win these summer treats from @EcoJellyNelly @ParaKito_PH"
Contest ends on June 1.

Silly Song of the Week

Pointless but BAYUTIPUL. 
Here's a song I invented while we were chilling at the beach yesterday. Pat has begged me to stop singing this song because his ears have been bleeding since yesterday...but I CAN'T!!! The world must hear my beautiful voice, it's my gift to all mankind! I'm sure Jessica Sanchez can totally relate, gets niya ako! The inspiration for this song is the island, and it's chicken and trees, and me (OF COURSE!!! Hello, I am sooooo inspiring!!!) :) 

The Martins, The Bharwanis, and The Pats at THE SPA

Last week, I received an invitation from THE SPA to try out their new services at the Acropolis branch. So I decided to make it a triple date with our two couple friends: The Martins and The Bharwanis. After attending our service at Church Simplified, we grabbed a quick bite at Bon Chon (my favorite Korean fast food joint!!!) then headed straight to The Spa. 

It's no secret that Pat and I can't wait to get married!!! I remember when we were trying to secure a wedding date, the idea of having it next summer came up and Patrick was shaking his head and said, "Nooooo!!! That's too far away!!!". Of course he was serious but I found it so endearing it made me giggle! To feel that your man WANTS to marry you because he just wants to (as opposed to just marrying you out of convenience, obligation or expectation) brings so much peace to a girl's heart. More than the wedding itself, we're more excited about MARRIAGE. It feels like the thrill of graduating from high school and picking which course to take for college---times ten! It's something completely foreign, something you are so inexperienced for, yet so enthusiastic about! Marriage can be only two things: 1)It could be the start of a grand adventure or 2)It could be the end of the world---so picking your life partner will definitely make a difference, so pray about your spouse early on and promise yourself that you marry for the right reasons. If you're still single--take your time and choose wisely. Enjoy your own adventures first so when the right partner comes, you'll be ready to give up your solo adventures and create new ones with that special someone. 

I won't lie--I have those moments when I'm antsy about the big life change. Marriage takes a lot of guts and a lot of work, and is definitely not for the faint hearted. But God has put us in a very good position. We're surrounded by a lot of young and happily married couples, pairs that still know how to have fun even after putting a ring on it. It helps us so much to witness all these lovebirds do their thing, because of their example we're inspired to give it a go! Our couple friends have taught us to really invest in our friendship to be better "LOVAHHHS" in the future. Speaking of inspiration, I decided to grill the two couples and ask them about their love stories! Kiliiiggg!
Kirby and Shavonne
Canadians working for an NGO based in Manila
This young and adventurous pair met when they were still kids. Their parents were part of the same "barkada" from their teen years so their families have been extremely close for years. Their first date was at a drive in movie when they were only 16! The expression "FIRST LOVE NEVER DIES" rings true for these two--as they are each other's first and last! Shavonne shared a sweet anecdote, "After I was done a shift at work I came out to my car and Kirby left a bouquet of flowers with an empty water bottle beside it. In the water bottle was a rolled up piece of paper with a poem that he had written. It was a cute silly poem that had lots of rhymes in it. haha! It was so sweet and it made me feel so special. " 
Bebo and Nikki
Bebo is in full time church ministry while Nikki is the Green Grocer.
Patrick and I are so inspired by these two. For many years, Patrick was their "third wheel" for X amount of dinners and movie dates. I'm glad though that Patrick spent a lot of time with Nikki and Bebo and picked up a lot of relationship tips from them. They make such a good team together yet still manage to grow individually and flourish in their own careers. Nikki shared a cute story about Bebo, "He wrote me a song! He was so shy about it too. He picked me up at work and when we got home, he was stalling to get in the house. He muttered something, told me go ahead, and asked me to check out the laptop. When I went in, the laptop was propped up with a note beside it that said, "Hey babe, I love you. I'm sorry it took me this long to tell you that you can have me anytime you want. Please put on headphones and press the spacebar."Aww. I pressed the spacebar and the song he had made for me played. The line in his note "you can have me anytime you want" was the chorus. "
The Soon to be Filarts (nakkkkkkksssss)
Patrick is a commercial editor and businessman while Patty is a professional dork.
Our love story: Patrick spotted me in the hallway playing chinese garter with my friends and said "6 year old Patty---someday I will marry you!" Hahahaha! :) Of course this is just my imaginary scenario, truth is we spent all our lives together but not together--living, breathing, and moving so closely to each other but completely oblivious to each other's cuteness potential--which we only discovered when we were in our late twenties already! 
Shavonne had a Crystalline Skin Body Treatmenta total-body pampering that begins with a sublime body scrub treatment by Pevonica Botanica and is capped off with a deeply relaxing massage. Shavonne raved about it right after, "The Crystalline Treatment was awesome! I loved the body scrub, it makes your skin feel so soft afterwards. The massage felt amazing as well. I would definitly go back!". Her hubby Kirby tried something more Asian-inspired, the Toning Bamboo Revival Treatment. According to The Spa, "Bamboo canes are ideal for obtaining a state of total relaxation and helping to dispel accumulated tension. The bamboo massage helps us to drift into deep physical and mental relaxation, assuaging the stress that we carry in our bodies. As the canes come in different lengths and diameters, they are able to perfectly adapt to the body’s contours, remodelling the body figure. Bamboo canes work by stimulating the circulatory and lymphatic systems, aiding in the elimination."
Nikki and Bebo got a Combination Massage at the romantic couple's room. "The Spa is THE BEST PLACE for a good massage with your loved one. I always enjoy the treatments here! On special occasions, we make a whole day out of it. Leisurely use the wet floor, lounge in the couch for a bit and read a magazine while drinking THE BEST Ginger Brew. And then get a massage. Super perfect way to de-stress and bond as a couple!"
Pat and I tried the newest and coolest treatment available in their Acropolis branch, THE SPA Reflexology! It is a combination of three Asian techniques: Japanese Shiatsu, Thai Massage and Chinese Reflexology. The Spa explains, "It focuses on particular “pressure points” of the soles of the feet, where sensory nerves of the internal organs that spread throughout the body are mainly gathered. A different massage experience awaits clients as hands, fingers and a wood stick with cream and oil are used unlike other massages that use thumbs, palms and elbows." My favorite part about this treatment, the lazy boy couches and your own LCD TV! Patrick and I watched "How I Met Your Mother" and laughed our way throughout our massage. If you don't have a whole day at your disposal and just need to get a quick but satisfying massage, I recommend trying this treatment since you don't have to get wet/undressed for this. You could have it during your lunch break and head back to the office feeling completely refreshed!
The Spa Acropolis is giving away a 
1. Click the LIKE and TWEET buttons below.
2. Tweet @pattylaurel and @TheSpa1996 and tell us why YOU and YOUR SWEETHEART deserve a pampering treatment at The Spa Acropolis. Contest ends on May 30, 2012.

"Hi @pattylaurel! My boyfriend works at odd hours as a call center agent. I'd love to help him destress at @TheSpa1996!"

Dining with my BLUE: Cafe' Republiq

I love to dance..I'm not saying I'm good at it (though I was once in a dance group in the fourth grade and I was the SHIZZZ with my sago moves!) it's just one of those things I enjoy doing with friends. So a good night out is always something I welcome. As long as it doesn't coincide with a good movie on Cable!!! Remember, Movie+Aircon+Comforter+Ruffles Sour Cream always trumps dressing up and wearing sky high heels! I've been known to cancel the last minute because CLUELESS was on HBO. Oh, the glory days of Alicia Silverstone!

In Manila, the word REPUBLIQ is synonymous to PARTY. And not just any party, but partying IT GIRL style. To see and to be seen in the scene which is a sea of scene stealers! (see what I did there?? That's what you call word play.) I don't even have to write about REPUBLIQ! It's so cool that if I even attempt to level up to it..the club will just spit some vodka right at my baby face. Thankfully, they have a more sedate brother in the form of the CAFE' REPUBLIQ , which is also conveniently located in (insert loud heavy breathing whisper here) *Resorts World Manila*. I've been on a little mission lately, trying to get restaurant discounts and freebies to maximize my American Express Card :) Luckily, Cafe Republiq is one of the partner restaurants of American Express and offers quite a substantial discount for American Express Cardmembers. And you know me, I'm the Queen of Good Deals!
The Republiq Cafe is a perfect after-party wind down spot. You'll definitely sober up with their good grub!  But it's also a nice place to dine during the day with it's plush interiors and extensive menu. Patrick and I decided to have an early dinner here a few days ago. We had the Truffle Soup which was divine, Spinach and Cheese Dip,and Molten Chocolate Cake with a Dollop of Ice Cream to top it all off. 
This is a sponsored post.
Meet my new buddy Blue from American Express, the first transparent credit card in the Philippines! Just by looking at it alone, you know it's a sure attention it comes with a long list of perks too. You could dine in the swankiest restos and hang with the celebs in the coolest nightspots without going broke with the help of this cool, clear card. The BLUE credit card comes with a full range of superior and exclusive benefits, privileges, and web-based features tailored to meet the dynamic lifestyle of the young, wild, and free..including ME! You get Express Access to hotspots such as clubs, bars and events, instant rewards and savings at restaurants and retail outlets through the Blue Partners program, and score some online shopping deals :)

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Kickin' it Old School, Grade school

Here's a quick post, folks! Just sharing some photos from a recent day trip to Sonya's Tagaytay with my 3 gradeschool buddies: Sheila, Stella, and Alissa. These girls have been my dearest friends through all my life phases--1) chubby phase, 2) chubby and awkward phase, 3) chubby and awkward with braces phase, 4) chubby and awkward with braces and buhaghag hair phase---and today, 5)my "mukha ka ng tao" phase!:) I love you girls so much and I hope we can make our "girly dates" a more regular thing! 
I will always be a fan of Sonya's food! I love Sonya's secret salad dressing, a forever favorite.
And our "acting-acting" in the garden began...Patty and Sheila in our most SEN-SHOO-WOOOS poses. May hawak pa ako sa dahon for extra sensuous-ness!!! While si Sheila mukhang Lolita!:)
Pssstttt... Bata! Bawal ka dito!!!! 
And out from the bushes, TADAHHHH!!! BULAGA!!! We were shocked to see a Quiet Zone sign that reminded us of our gradeschool Noisy and Standing days! We were always on that list! Hahaha!
Stella trying to be Queen Elizabeth and I her, faithful knight. 
Til our next date, girlies!!!:)

Wedding Wednesday: Braided Photography

Remember our engagement video by Nicollo Lopez which I posted a few weeks back? Well, we were not only blessed with a video but we were also lucky enough to have talented photographer and friend, Krissy Rodriguez, there to take still photographs as well. A lot of people keep telling us "Napakaswerte niyo naman, you have so many wonderful photos to show your grand kids in the future!" and I couldn't agree more. So to our dearest Krissy, thank you for this wonderful gift! Patrick and I will forever remember your kindness to us. Krissy just launched BRAIDED PHOTOGRAPHY a few days ago and of course, I wanted to make sure my readers get first dibs on this new line. Best of all, her services are reasonably priced--so you get quality and unique photographs without having to go broke. She's one of the sweetest and easiest photographers I've ever worked with--so if you're nervous about posing for a "love shoot", fear not because she will make it a very easy breezy experience for you and your lovey dovey! 

Here's the story of Krissy Rodriguez of Braided Photography:
"I started pursuing portrait / lifestyle photography in 2007. Since then, under the brand "Little People Lifestyle Photography", I've focused mainly on children and their families and I've been loving every minute of it.

This year, because the idea of marriage has grown more real to me in my own life, and also because of the fact that I've always been a "cheese ball" - that every time I watch a romantic movie, or hear someone's love story, and more so when I hear of proposal stories, I get giddy and tickled pink all over (or in tagalog, "Kinikilig ako!") - I decided to branch out and photograph not only "Little People" but engaged and married couples too.

Just as every artist takes inspiration from someone or something, I guess you can say that I've been inspired by what I've learned about marriage and what awaits me and Patrick as a couple... to see Jesus woven into every aspect of our marriage one day. Hence the name, "BRAIDED", inspired by Ecclesiastes 4:12 - "Three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."

"BRAIDED" offers lifestyle photography for couples, both engaged and married. I do hope to take photos of couples celebrating their anniversaries too... perhaps their 25th, or even their 50th! Oh what a testimony that would be! To see Christ in the center of it all! I look forward to capturing your love story through my lens! YES! All the "kilig" moments - the sparkle in your eyes kinda thing!"

Here are the beautiful pictures by Krissy from our photo shoot in Splendido. 

Photographs by Krissy Rodriguez of BRAIDED PHOTOGRAPHY
Mobile 0920 907 9241

Get a chance to win a 
LOVE SHOOT FOR TWO from Braided!!!
Open to married and engaged couples :)

1. Click the LIKE and TWEET buttons below.
2. Like the BRAIDED FACEBOOK PAGE and write your brief love story on the wall. 
3. Add the hashtags #dapattylaurelblog and your location to consider it an entry. Contest ends on May 30, 2012.

"Hi Krissy! My fiance Andrew and I have been together for 7 years. We met in college and he's been my best friend ever since. We're having a simple ceremony in the province in 6 months. We are both hard working OFWs so this wedding is something we've been saving up for years! We'd love to have a photo shoot by Braided! Please be a blessing to us! #dapattylaurelblog #pasay" | All Rights Reserved. 2011.