Saturday, February 2, 2019

The 24-Hour Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is Back This February

I believe in the saying that you simply cannot have enough books. Beyond broadening your vocabulary and exciting your mind, books can take you away to completely new universes, as well as help you improve in certain fields of your life.

I fell in love with books early in life and that love has never left my heart. Whenever I'm at a bookstore, I feel at ease and it just feels like everything is right in the world.

If you feel the same, imagine that feeling being amplified by a million. That's how I felt during last year's Big Bad Wolf Book Sale. Walking into a room filled with millions of books - with huge discounts, to boot - was pure heaven. And later this month, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale will be back!

In case you haven't heard of it, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is known to be the biggest book sale in the world. What's more, the sale is open for 24 hours (yes, all day!) from February 22 until March 4, 2019 with FREE entrance and around two million books of all genres available at 50 to 90% off!

According to Jacqueline Ng, Founder of the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, they had such an exciting time in Manila last year that they decided to come back. "We're happy to continue our long-term commitment to make books affordable and accessible," she says. And once again, they will be partnering with Gawad Kalinga to support their initiatives through the sale.

If you have kids like me, you will be delighted to hear that they are also bringing us augemented reality books for children. The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is actually Asia's exclusive seller of the Little Hippo AR books, so you can find your favorite stories as a kid and hand them down to the next generation in the most fun way possible.

These books 'come to life' as the characters speak, dance, and sing, truly revolutionizing reading for our kids. If you're having trouble getting your kids interested in reading, this might just be the magic bean to help you out.

Want to beat the crowd and visit the sale on VIP Day? I'm giving away tickets! Join here:

For more updates, like The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale on Facebook and follow them on Instagram: @bbwbooksph

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Should You Hire a Personal Trainer?

I've been working out on and off for the past 8 years. However, I had never shelled out money for a personal trainer within those 8 years because I always told myself that I could simply replicate what people do during their workouts and get the same results in the end.

This is not true.

I started working out with a personal trainer (coach Jarell Quindao at Prime Elite Fitness Club in BF Homes, Paranaque) just last month and in just two weeks, this is what I was able to achieve with his help:

After those two weeks, he then put me on a diet program for a week to see how effective it would be if ever I plan on going to beach this summer and need a quick fix to look better in bikinis. :p This is the result after just four days on that diet:

Those short-term results are in itself a good reason for me to push for you guys to hire a personal trainer if you are serious about your weight loss or fitness goals.

However, there is much more to it, as well:

A personal trainer can give you the motivation that you need.

They also make your workout life harder. :p

Whether you work out on your own or work out with a friend, having a personal trainer by your side can give you the extra push that you need to get your workouts done.

While working out alone, how many times have you told yourself, "I'm tired. I've done enough." and then gone home without actually finishing your entire routine? How many times have you taken a longer-than-necessary break between sets because no one was there to tell you off? How many times have you grabbed lighter weights than you could carry because you didn't wanna work yourself too hard? How many times did you not go to the gym at all because you're lazy, you're busy, or insert-whatever-other-excuse-here?

A personal trainer will ensure that you finish your workout, even when you're tired. They can spot you when you're feeling weak. They will tell you off when you're on your phone too much. They can tell if you can do better or lift heavier, and help you get stronger. They will call you and pester you to go to the gym if you haven't been going for a while. Besides, if you're paying for a personal trainer, you'll feel like your money will go to waste if you don't go. (Plus points nalang if your coach is a cutie!) :p

A personal trainer can come up with a personalized program to suit your fitness needs.

It ain't easy, but it's worth it.

Not all workouts are suitable for you. Ideally, during your first session with your personal trainer, they will ask you what your fitness goals are.

Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to get stronger? Are you planning on joining a competition or a run? Do you simply want to be healthier, in general?

Professional personal trainers will know exactly what workouts you should be doing to reach your personal goals the healthy way.

A personal trainer will help you improve through time.

Coach Jarell helped me get my split back!

The longer you work with your personal trainer, the more they'll get to know you, your body, your strengths, and your needs.

If you ever feel like you've reached a plateau, they can find ways to tweak your program to make it more effective in the long run. They can also help you set weekly or monthly goals and ensure that your goals are safe and realistic.

A personal trainer can teach you a lot of other things.

Never worked with these before.

Aside from helping you with your workouts, a personal trainer can teach you new tricks you might not know, like why lifting weights a certain way is better for your goals or why you shouldn't be doing certain exercises. They can also check on your form, remind you to breathe, and they will stretch you at the end of each workout (which is honestly the best thing in the world).

It would be especially helpful to get a personal trainer if you've never worked out before. As a beginner, you might have trouble getting into the fitness game, and a personal trainer can make the journey much easier and much more doable.

A personal trainer will ensure you never get bored.

Bagong hanash na naman!

Lifting weights and doing cardio on your own can easily become boring and repetitive. If you're the type of person who easily gets bored of workouts, getting a personal trainer can be a great help in terms of making things more fun.

I have never had a dull day with my personal trainer. In fact, every day that I go to the gym, I get surprised by the things that my coach makes me do. There is always something new to do, a new challenge to overcome, and a new piece of equipment to fall in love with.

A personal trainer can also give a new perspective to certain exercises and help give you the confidence to eventually create your own workout plans should you ever change gyms or decide to start working out on your own.

A personal trainer can work with specific injuries or conditions.

I have anemia, but this has never been a problem with my coach. Knowing that I have anemia, he knows what I can do or can't do. Since I get dizzy pretty quickly when doing cardio, he knows how to spot for signs when I'm too weak to go on while at the same time still pushing me to try cardio workouts that I hate because he believes I can bring up the stamina needed for it - albeit at a very slow pace.

You will see results in no time.

As seen above, a personal trainer can help you see results in almost no time at all. I had expected to see changes within two months; but in just two weeks, I was surprised to see my collarbones peeking out again. I could also fit into clothes I thought would take ages for me to fit into again.

Some people say personal trainers are a waste of money, but that definitely isn't the case. If you're serious about your fitness journey, I would highly recommend getting a personal trainer.

And if you happen to live in the South, I'd highly recommend enrolling to Prime Elite Fitness Club in BF Homes. (Check them out on Facebook here.) They've got complete equipment, group classes, and some of the best personal trainers I've had the pleasure to meet. (Look for Coach Jarell Quindao if you want results like mine!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Kingdom on Netflix is Breathtakingly Beautiful... Even with All of the Zombies.

I first watched 'Kingdom' a few months ago, the same time I met the stars and showrunners of the show. We watched the first two episodes in a theater in Singapore, getting a completely one-of-a-kind experience because how many people get to watch the amazing show on the big screen? Since then, I haven't been able to shut up about it (as my friends will attest). I got even more hooked after I watched the entire season before heading to Korea for a Netflix press junket where I once again got to meet the brilliant minds and talents behind the show.

Director Kim Seong-hun and writer Kim Eun-hee, who are often dubbed a master of genre-driven stories in film and drama respectively, collaborated to create this new story, and it comes together so beautifully.

I found myself in awe not just of the unique storyline of how the zombies came about in the first place, but how they handled the entire situation and built up the relationships in the series. What I most in awe of, however, was by how much beauty they were able to incorporate into the show despite it being primarily about a zombie outbreak. This might sound strange, but there was so much beauty in 'Kingdom', seen even when people were being eaten by zombies in some scenes. 

Director Kim explains that they brought together zombies, which are horrific and dynamic creatures, and Joseon’s world of static beauty. "One of the show’s aesthetic strengths is the tension between the two contrasting aspects," he says.

When I asked them if all of the beauty seen in the show was intentional or if it came about naturally, director Kim admits that it was definitely something that they wanted to portray.

According to director Kim, regardless of which era you travel to, there's a certain class that belongs to that particular era. "When it comes to us, I believe we had a calm beauty," says director Kim. "And so, with that element, combined with the horrific beings, there was a certain level of cruel aesthetics that I wanted to portray."

The transformation of the people into monsters also carries an emotional weight. Unlike in other zombie shows or movies, where there are some moments that may be sad, most of what is felt throughout watching is fear and worry. In 'Kingdom', writer Kim really wanted to convey sorrow as the biggest emotion in the process of the poor people turning into zombies.

In line with this intention, 'Kingdom' portrays people who become infected after they approach the monsters thinking that they are still their family members and neighbors, which provokes other deep emotions that are different from fear. The monsters in 'Kingdom', therefore, are not simply an object of curiosity and fear, but creatures that evoke sorrow and pity, which gives more layers to the story and differentiates the show from others, somehow also showcasing just how different Western culture and Asian culture can be in tackling a subject of pop culture.

Of course, it helps that 'Kingdom' has an amazing cast at the helm. Before anything else, they knew they needed amazing actors who fit each character, and that is exactly the reason why they chose the three main characters: Ju Ji-hoon as Crown Prince Chang, Bae Doona as Seo-bi, and Seung-ryong Ryu as Magistrate Cho. "We were very lucky that all of them said yes. We are two very lucky people," says director Kim, ecstatically.

More than the three main characters, though, the supporting cast also does an amazing job in character development and bringing some humor and fear into the vibe of the series. More than the main characters, I found myself super attached to some of the supporting characters, so much so that I found myself shouting, "Eat anyone but him!!!" more than once. :p

The keyword that writer Kim first came up with when conceptualizing 'Kingdom' was 'hunger'. That entails a lot of different ideas. First, there is the physical hunger that is experienced by the commoners in the story, and there's the hunger for greed. all of that actually gave birth to the so-called zombies, or what the showrunners call the patients of the plague. "I hope that we can provide some food for thought in that sense. I hope that we can think about these issues together."

This is a story that writer Kim has always wanted to tell, and I, for one, am so happy that she has finally been able to.

'Kingdom' is now showing on Netflix. Click here to start watching now or message me if you've already seen it, so we can geek out with me! :D You may also win a 'Kingdom' gift pack here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway