All I want for Christmas: Holiday, New Year promos, deals for every Monito, Monita

MANILA, Philippines — Avoid the holiday rush!

To save you time and effort in thinking and looking for unique gifts this Christmas, here is a cheat sheet of picks for every personality:

For the beauty junkie

SM Beauty Holiday Soiree showcases unique brands, rare offerings

From perfumes to haircare and skincare items to makeup, the SM Beauty Holiday Soiree in Mall of Asia Atrium showcased that luxury gifts aren’t simply about high price tags. Instead, they reflect the recipient’s refined taste and appreciation for life’s finer things.

Finer things are meant to be enjoyed and at the SM Beauty Holiday Soiree, you could shop to spoil someone special with indulgences they wouldn’t buy for themselves such as a jar of luxurious face cream or a bottle of the perfume they’ve been eyeing for a while. Every gift you buy will make the recipient feel celebrated.

“We want to showcase so many holiday sets that we could offer,” Jared Ernest De Guzman, Watsons Philippines Customer Director, told the press including Philstar.com at the soiree’s opening.

“All we wanted is we want to have a distinct area (that highlights) what SM Beauty stands for… We’re showcasing a lot of premium skincare brands, fragrances, cosmetics, Korean brands, a lot of professional hair care brands. So you could see a lot of brands here that you won’t able to see when you go to Watsons store, for example. You can only find it here at SM Beauty Holiday Soiree.”

Among the brands featured in the SM Beauty Holiday Soiree are Jo Malone, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Carolina Herrera, Armani, Innisfree, NARS, Shiseido, Lancome, Kerastase, Laneige, Issey Miyake and Tory Burch Fragrances, and The Body Shop. While browsing and shopping, shoppers got to enjoy free gift wrapping and product engraving for their purchases.

The event launch featured entertainment—a live band, ballet performances, and appearances by drag queens—among other special treats. During the event, Lancome and Kerastase also presented their respective brands’ holiday gift sets. while Jo Malone also presented their Gingerbread Holiday Collection.

Shoppers can also enjoy Christmas shopping for their beauty products in SM Megamall until January 6 or visit any SM Beauty store nationwide for a wide selection of gift sets. For more information, follow SM Beauty on Facebook and Instagram.

For the health, fitness buff

Adidas Supernova Rise

Adidas recently revealed the reimagined Supernova franchise with the first of three new silhouettes – Supernova Rise. Launching in a women’s and men’s specific last, the new running shoe is designed to deliver maximum comfort and help everyday runners be distraction-free.

Throughout the development process, the Product and Design teams tapped into research conducted by Adidas with 1,300 female runners, which revealed comfort as one of the most important criteria for everyday runners when selecting a running shoe. 

Built from these insights and years of experience garnered through delivering performance running shoes for athletes of all levels, the brand’s Product team assessed cutting-edge technology within other of the brand’s Running franchises – and how those can be transferred to the new Supernova silhouettes. 

The result sees the introduction of Dreamstrike+, a new midsole foam which takes inspiration from Lightstrike Pro – the midsole material utilized across the record-breaking Adizero franchise – but with an updated formula to offer unparalleled comfort and cushioning. To provide runners with a tailored comfort offering suited to their own needs, the material forms the entirety of the midsole on Supernova Rise and Supernova Solution, whilst on the Supernova Stride model, it is positioned in the forefoot region alongside an EVA compound midsole.

JT Newcomb, Category Director, Adidas Running Footwear, said: “We are very excited to introduce a totally new chapter of the Supernova franchise – our everyday running shoes. The driving motivation behind revamping the Supernova was to enable more people to run, more of the time. When we listened to what was important to the everyday running community it was comfort that stood out and we’ve focused our efforts on creating a range of shoes that deliver that benefit in a way we are sure all runners will love.”

In the Supernova Rise and Supernova Solution models, the Dreamstrike+ midsole is complemented by a Support Rod System. Inspired by the physiology of the foot in motion, this new technology is embedded in the outsole to grant harmonized support and transition, as well as stability where it is needed. The Support Rod System in Supernova Solution slightly differs from that featured in the Supernova Rise, with the two middle rods splinted together to offer additional support for runners who seek it. With both technologies working in tandem, Dreamstrike+ and the Support Rod System provide runners with a comfortable, yet well-supported running experience. 

Other key product features include a Comfort Heel Fit, which uses a combination of cushioning foam and soft textile designed for maximum comfort and support. While the engineered sandwich mesh and expertly crafted details ensure that all runners’ needs are accommodated.  .

For the colorway of the Supernova Rise, priced at P7,500, the Adidas Design team – inspired by nature a d the energy of bioluminescence – selected a dark base of Black and Aurora with Semi-Green Spark detailing. 

TLC for your loved ones (from left): Efficascent Boost Pain Relief Massage Roll-On; Procter & Gamble (P&G) Philippines, the multinational consumer goods company with a diverse range of superior health care, home care, beauty, and grooming products, through its partnership with the Manila Water Foundation (MWF) and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) donated Safeguard products to 12 public hospitals in Metro Manila. The donation is part of the “Maging Ligtas, Mag-Safe Wash” program which aims to raise awareness of the importance of sanitation and the healthy habits of proper tooth brushing and proper hand washing.

Photo release

For the fashionista

‘Tis the season to be sparkling with Marks & Spencer’s Holiday Clothing Collection

This season, Marks & Spencer introduces its latest collection with standout party wear that’s perfect for all the upcoming holiday festivities and events beyond the season, fun knitwear for those travels and getaways in colder climates, adorable matching sleepwear for that perfect Christmas photo and so much more! With metallics and sequins to shimmer and shine in, to rich velvets that embody elegance, the exceptional women’s and men’s occasion wear range embodies sophistication, offering an array of timeless and chic options to make any special event truly memorable.

Expect to see elevated designs with attention to detail and a keen sense of style. This collection showcases stunning pieces that fit flawlessly, ensuring you feel confident and look beautiful. From women’s exquisite evening dresses that exude glamor, coordinating sequinned pieces that command attention to men’s sleek tuxedo jackets, suits, and blazers that make a statement. Match with the little ones as a sequined dress is available for events even beyond the holidays. This range caters to every occasion – be it date night, Christmas party or New Year’s Day. Each piece is thoughtfully designed to offer versatility and can be dressed up or down, ensuring a seamless transition from day to night.

Enhance your winter attire with a curated selection of jumpers, coats and jackets. See women’s cozy textured knitted jumpers adorned with intricate sequin embellishments and a bag to match. Fun and funny holiday jumpers and novelty accessories are available for the gents. Both the womenswear and menswear range carry coats to enhance your winter attire, puffer and quilted jackets with a unique Thermowarmth technology to keep you warm without the added bulk. 

Marks and Spencer continues to spread warmth, togetherness, and festive cheer with a range of matching pajama sets for the entire family. The Family Pyjamas collection features a variety of charming designs, from classic plaid patterns to whimsical holiday motifs, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Crafted with comfort and quality in mind, these pyjama sets are made from 100% soft, breathable responsibly sourced cotton that are perfect for snuggling and lounging.Also available this Christmas is the Snuggle range, featuring oversized hoodies and hooded blankets for the entire family. Designed to trap body heat for ultimate warmth and coziness on chilly winter days.

For the travel enthusiast

Celebrate the Festive Season at F1 Hotel Manila

As the holiday season approaches, F1 Hotel Manila is inviting guests to experience the epitome of comfort and luxury with our Home for the Holidays at the Fort Suite for P7,800 net per night with complimentary in-room massage for two persons. This limited-time offer is available from December 1 to 30, providing a perfect retreat for those seeking a memorable holiday getaway.

Partake in an exquisite culinary celebration with our exclusive Festive Flavors Dinner Buffet priced at P2,899 net per person. Available only on December 24, 25, 31 and January 1, 2024, this dining experience promises to elevate your festivities and create lasting memories with your loved ones. Satisfy your sweet cravings with our Holiday Christmas Cake in the classic Red Velvet flavor for Php 2,200 net. This cake, available for redemption daily until January 5, 2024, is a delightful addition to your festive celebrations.

Prepare to bid farewell to the year gone by and embrace the dawn of a new beginning at The Canary’s exclusive New Year Countdown Soiree on December 3, from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., offering an enchanting experience at P3,088 net per person. The highlights of the soiree include unlimited drinks, a grazing table, and live acoustic music.

Experience the utmost relaxation and extravagance with our New Year Treat package. For P9,900 net per night, enjoy a relaxing overnight stay in our Fort Suite, inclusive of breakfast for two persons. Additionally, avail a 30% discount on the ‘New Year Countdown Soiree’ ticket, late check-out until 4 PM (subject to availability), access to our facilities including the swimming pool and gym, and unlimited in-room Wi-Fi usage.

For reservations, ticket purchases, or inquiries, please contact 8928-9888 or visit our website at www.f1hotelmanila.com. F1 Hotel Manila is dedicated to providing exceptional hospitality experiences, ensuring comfort, luxury, and personalized service. Located at the heart of Bonifacio Global City, our establishment aims to create memorable stays for every guest, ensuring unparalleled satisfaction and relaxation.

Red Planet opens BGC hotel

Red Planet Philippines has secured the rights of the highly-anticipated property in Bonifacio Global City – Taguig, Red Planet BGC The Fort. The feat is a milestone for Red Planet Philippines, being “The First Real Budget Hotel” within the district. The acquisition of its parent company, Red Planet Hotels Manila Corp. came into full circle through the recent ownership of Red Planet Hotels by the Polaris Holdings Co., a JPX listed company based in Tokyo, Japan.

With an impressive 245 rooms on inventory, it boasts the most rooms a Red Planet Hotel has ever had yet. “We are confident that this acquisition will open new opportunities and help us further solidify our position as a leader in the budget hotel scene in the Philippines and beyond. We have exciting new features brought to our new flagship like hotel Wi-Fi 6, Google Chromecast and our online Express Check-in,” said Red Planet’s new Chief Executive Officer Florent Humeau.

Now in its final stages of development, the new flagship hotel is slated to open in the coming months, right in the heart of Bonifacio Global City’s thriving Uptown District. 

Director of Revenue Management, Bernice Santos shared, “Our vision for this hotel is to be a game changer in BGC’s limited pool of budget hotels.” With a flagship Red Planet hotel opening in one of the country’s most prime locations, this places the brand as one of the trendsetters in the industry’s niche. The current roster also saw major improvements in the last few months, and will continue to do so. Guests can expect a feeling of “Affordable Luxury” in each hotel, bringing all new features from Red Planet BGC The Fort to these properties as well. 

“The hotel is very much anticipated and the online buzz never! We are unfazed that as a household name, Red Planet BGC The Fort will be part of our new tagline, ‘Your Favorite Budget Hotels,’ moving forward. Our innovations are sure to draw attention since these are things our competition does not have,” said Caezar Gawaran, Red Planet’s Group Marketing Director.

Red Planet Hotels is a privately-owned regional hotel group, with properties in key locations in the Philippines (10 hotels in Metro Manila, four in select destinations) and Thailand (two in Bangkok, three in prime destinations), operating a total of 19 hotels with 3,266 rooms. These hotels operate with innovative technology platform, providing an advanced, efficient booking system, strong loyalty program and the latest Wi-Fi technology.

Explora Ahora: personal, deeper, sustainable way to explore the Philippines  

The Philippines holds diverse meanings for different individuals — just like the 7,000-plus islands it embraces. For foreigners visiting the country for the first time or locals who want a more unique way of exploring the islands, there can be a deeper, personal, and more sustainable way to uncover the beauty of the Philippines — courtesy of Explora Ahora. 

Recently launched, Explora Ahora is a travel company with a mission to introduce to the world genuine Philippine adventures emphasizing community tourism. Ahora (which means “now” in Spanish) invites everyone to experience the country’s mesmerizing landscapes, seascapes, and renowned Filipino hospitality, promising travelers a genuine connection with the Philippines and its people.

Founded by young entrepreneur Angely Dub, who also established the successful Access Travel, Explora Ahora returns to its roots. 

“While Access Travel connects our clients globally, Explora Ahora brings them closer to the heart of our home,” said Angely, who was born and raised in the Philippines. “I want them to see our beautiful country with new eyes — we are more than our beaches and sunsets; we are beyond a typical backpackers’ destination.” 

Drawing on 12 years of travel expertise from Access Travel, Explora Ahora charts a new path — offering curated local experiences. This includes activities such as diving with a local diver in the pristine islands of Palawan and Bohol or exploring rich heritage sites with a history scholar in provinces such as Ifugao, Bulacan, or Iloilo. For food, the culinary experience is heightened with stories from the chefs and cooks, even letting guests embark on a “soil-to-soul” journey of the produce they consume.

Since Explora Ahora’s tour experiences are crafted in collaboration with local communities, these not only promote cultural immersion but also emphasize sustainable tourism, benefiting local economies and preserving the environment in the process. With groups kept to a minimum, each journey becomes more intimate, going beyond merely hopping from one place to another.

“Explora Ahora’s goal is to be the foremost choice for travelers seeking the Philippines’ true essence,” said Angely. “Therefore, we made sure that we do not offer the usual touristy itinerary, as we aim to elevate the travelers’ experience to something more personal and experiential.”  

Explora Ahora’s young and dynamic team has a deep knowledge of the Philippines, and complemented with partnerships with those from the local communities, they can tailor itineraries that cater to individual traveler interests. The offering includes assured quality in accommodations, transportation, unparalleled customer service, and a seamless cashless booking system. All itineraries are guaranteed to be tested first by the Explora Ahora team, including Angely herself, ensuring clients embark on a journey that’s been well-vetted.

Discover the extraordinary now with Explora Ahora —whether it’s island hopping, historical explorations, cultural immersions, culinary adventures, and more — as it guarantees seamless and safe travel, where you worry only about your next IG story.  More details can be found at www.exploraahora.com.

For young learners

Unlock the joys of learning with Rex Early Childhood Education 

For your peppy young ones, Rex Education has prepared a delightful array of surprises, especially for this holiday season.

Buy any “Little Explorers” and “Hello Animals” regular-priced items worth P350.00 and up and receive a pencil case for free. Immerse your little ones in vibrant fun with Little Explorers Color Crafts Bundle. When you purchase any two Little Explorers coloring books worth at least P500, receive a set of colored pencils for free. This bundle guarantees hours of creative exploration, making it the perfect gift to unleash your child’s artistry and imagination.

With the Creative Scribbles Bundles, each bundle now comes with a 15% discount, with four books designed to inspire your little artists to express themselves freely. With four different sets to choose from, these bundles are the perfect spark for their creativity. Embark on a thrilling adventure with Hello Animals Science Wonder Bundles, each book is now at 20% off. Uncover the wonders of the animal kingdom and learn interesting facts alongside your child. These bundles are educational and quite fun to read. Keep your little explorers curious and fuel their sense of wonderment with these bundles. 

Give the ultimate gift of knowledge with comprehensive learning bundles. With four sets and a deal of 20% discount each, these bundles cover a wide range of subjects—from the fundamentals of math and language arts to the wonders of science. Each bundle is thoughtfully curated to make learning a joyous and engaging experience, setting the stage for a bright future. Visit your nearest Rex Book Store branch or explore its online platforms: https://www.lazada.com.ph/shop/rex-book-store/, https://shopee.ph/rexbookstore.

Lego sets go on sale for Christmas

This Christmas, give something thoughtful and practical but at the same time enjoyable and educational. With the Lego Group, the world of gifting is vast and filled with endless possibilities for both kids and adults.

A timeless favorite, the Duplo Brick Box is a fun-filled treasure chest offering endless possibilities for beginners to master creators, making it a great gift even for toddlers this Christmas. From P2,299, it now comes in a discounted price of P1,700 until December 31.

Set sail for adventure with the Friends Sea Rescue Center. Perfect for kids aged seven and up, this set lets them become heroes of the high seas, embarking on marine rescue missions. It has everything from life vests to an X-ray machine, making it a perfect combination between fun and learning. From P3,999, it comes at discounted price of P3,000 until December 31.

For Marvel fans, the Super Heroes The Hulkbuster: The Battle of Wakanda is an action-packed gift that recreates the legendary battle in all its glory. It comes with four mini-figures, including Bruce Banner who turns green, adding an extra dash of excitement to your kid’s Christmas morning. From P3,799, the set is now at P3,000 until December 31.

For the budding florist, the Icons Wildflower Bouquet is a masterpiece that combines the art of florals with the creativity of bricks. Whether decorating a room or gracing a dinner table, this bouquet exudes a sense of timeless beauty and serves as a thoughtful gift for those who appreciate the art of delicate craftsmanship. Until December 31, the set comes at P3,359.20, from its original price of P4,199.

For the die-hard Star Wars fan, the Star Wars Executor Super Star Destroyer is a dream come true for huge fan collectors of the galaxy. With over 3,000 pieces, this meticulously designed set accurately replicates Darth Vader’s flagship, the Executor. Once assembled, it stands as a captivating display piece proudly showcasing one’s passion for the Star Wars universe. Its original price is P5,499, but is now on sale at P4,399.20 until December 31.

For big Transformers fans, the Icons Optimus Prime evokes nostalgia, letting enthusiasts relive cherished memories and display admiration for the Autobots. It’s also a limited edition, which makes it a valuable addition to any collection. From P12,799, it is now at P10,239.00 until December 31.

In the spirit of giving, shoppers can look forward to promos on some of these sets and score discounts of up to 29% off at Lego Certified Stores (Alabang Town Center, BGC, TriNoma, Shangri-La Plaza, UP Town Center) or stores online such as bankeebricks.ph, Lazada, and Shopee.

For the coffee lover

2024 Starbucks Traditions Collection

As the holiday season approaches, Starbucks Philippines continues its cherished tradition of bringing people together through the Starbucks Traditions Collection. This year’s campaign theme, “Connection Starts Here,” invite customers to explore the world of human connections.

The collection is a wonderful addition to the annual tradition that has been running for over two decades. Earn a sticker for every purchase of a Tall, Grande, or Venti handcrafted beverage. Simplify sticker tracking by opting in through the Starbucks App with an e-Promo Card, and then redeem any one of these iconic rewards once you’ve collected 19 stickers.

The 2024 Traditions Planner with Organizer is the perfect companion for jotting down ideas and journaling your everyday connections. This set pays tribute to the Siren, intricately displaying dotted details of its tail in its design. Measuring 9x7x1.3 inches in size, it comes in two modern colors to choose from: Rose Gold and Abalone Gray. To add an extra touch, it includes a pen, cardholders, a sticker pad, and a few postcards.

Introducing the 2024 Traditions Warm Gray Mug and Polka Tote Set, a new collection designed to elevate your coffee runs in style. This thoughtfully crafted combination features a tote bag with a convenient compartment, snugly holding the 12 oz. mug, ensuring that your coffee adventures are not only fashionable but also practical.

The 2024 Pearl Cold Cup boasts a star-adorned straw stopper, adding an extra touch of charm to your coffee runs. This 22 oz. Cold Cup is also the ideal drinkware for those who are always on the go.

The 2024 Ebony Stainless Steel Tumbler is a sleek and minimalistic masterpiece adorned with a captivating, dotted Siren design. This 18 oz. tumbler goes beyond aesthetics. It is designed to keep your favorite beverages warm or cooler for longer.

For years, the brand has artfully blended the richness of coffee and the magic of music, creating an atmosphere where conversations come alive, friendships deepen, and communities are nurtured.

This holiday season, the brand is collaborating with local artists to curate a coffeehouse playlist on Spotify. These carefully selected tracks curated by DJ Nix and DJ Rammy Bitong transcend genres and generations and reaffirm the impact of music and coffee in building human connections. 

“Connection has always been at the heart of Starbucks. The visual representation of connections through dots in this year’s campaign is not just creative; it’s a testament to the relationships we build within our communities,” highlighted Jamie Silva, Senior Manager for Marketing, Digital Customer Experience and Loyalty. The 2024 Traditions collection is available until January 2, 2024. 

For the bookworm

‘Things You Wanted to Say But Never Did’ by Geloy Concepcion

Geloy Concepcion hopes to bring healing and connection through his new book, “Things You Wanted to Say But Never Did” by Fully Booked. 

What are the things you wanted to say but never did? When Geloy Concepcion posted the question on Instagram that would ultimately change his life (and touch a million lives along the way), he himself was struggling. 

In 2019, Geloy, his wife, and his daughter moved to the United States. “I couldn’t work due to some delays in my immigration papers, and I was a new father who couldn’t seem to find a way to provide for his family,” Geloy shared in an online interview with Fully Booked. “I was feeling lost and I was about to quit photography, and had all these concerns swirling in my head.”

As one last hurrah, and as a way to find solace in the words of strangers, Geloy posted that question on Instagram. To his surprise, the confessions flooded in. From 30 submissions in 2019, Geloy has received, as of this count, 120,000 anonymous letters from all over the world. Geloy’s promise? That he reads each and every one of them, keeps the senders anonymous, and that the collective project will keep on going until the last note is opened.

Geloy describes the book as a photographic journal for processing feelings. “It provides space for people to unearth and work through the harder thoughts that we all face as humans. This book is a guided journal of sorts, with admissions sent by my Instagram followers, photos, and writing prompts to remind the reader they are not alone.”

“Things You Wanted to Say But Never Did” is now available in Fully Booked. Readers can order online and get free shipping for a minimum order of P799, or pick up their copies in a Fully Booked store nearest to them.

‘Hurricane Wars’ by Thea Guanzon

This novel marks Thea’s debut in the literary world being her first published novel. About the book: The heart is a battlefield. All Talasyn has ever known is the Hurricane Wars. Growing up an orphan in a nation under siege by the ruthless Night Emperor, she found her family among the soldiers who fight for freedom. But she is hiding a deadly secret: light magic courses through her veins, a blazing power believed to have been wiped out years ago. Prince Alaric, the emperor’s only son and heir, has been tasked with obliterating any threats to the Night Empire’s rule. And the greatest threat yet is Talasyn. When Talasyn and Alaric cross paths, they will need to decide. Are they fated to join hands, or destroy each other?

“Hurricane Wars” is now available in Fully Booked.

‘Moments Like This’ by Anna Gomez 

Filipino-American author Anna Gomez has captured the hearts of readers around the world with her unique take on love. Her books have not only been flying off the shelves of bookstores and filling up online carts, but she is also poised to win over TV audiences as she prepares to transform her book, “Moments Like This,” which she co-authored with actor Kristoffer Polaha, into a Hallmark Movie.

Filipinos have an enduring penchant for love stories, whether they be real or fictional. This is why loveteams from Rogelio dela Rosa-Carmen Rosales to Gabby Concepcion-Sharon Cuneta and, most recently, Daniel Padilla-Kathryn Bernardo have reigned supreme in Philippine showbiz. We relish that “kilig” feeling we get from watching love stories unfold in the pages of Pinoy komiks, on TV and movie screens, and within the world of romance novels.

This universal adoration for romance finds resonance across the globe. Romantic comedies, or rom-coms, have undoubtedly secured their place as one of the most successful film genres worldwide. We, as audiences, perpetually root for our cherished couples on TV shows to end up together—characters like Derek and Meredith, Ross and Rachel, and even Desi and Lucy.

For those unacquainted with its charm, Hallmark is not solely known for crafting our favorite greeting cards; it’s also a network that artfully showcases themes of love, romance, and those cherished happy endings—the very elements that resonate deeply with Filipinos.

Yet, Gomez’s journey into the world of romance literature is an unexpected tale. Her professional life bore no resemblance to the realm of writing, let alone romance writing. She was born and raised in the Philippines, attended Assumption in her early years and completed her Economics degree, with a minor in Humanities, at the De La Salle University before moving to Chicago. 

She ascended through the ranks from a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to become the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Leo Burnett Chicago, where she skillfully managed financial strategies across multiple agencies and spearheaded the integration of various Publicis Groupe acquisitions in North America. Anna’s leadership made her an industry thought leader, gracing conferences, talks, and functions as a speaker. She was even recognized in the 2020 HERoes Top 100 Women Executives Role Models.

Today, Anna serves as the Global Chief Financial Officer of New York/Toronto-based advertising agency No Fixed Address, where she has not only streamlined financial processes but also oversees global accounting, HR, and operations. Her LinkedIn profile might defy expectations for a multi-awarded, bestselling romance novelist.

In between crunching numbers and balancing spreadsheets, Anna ventured into the world of writing. In 2013, she took the bold step of publishing her debut book, “The Light in the Wound,” under the pen name Christine Brae. This book, inspired by her relationship with her mother, was initially an exercise in self-expression. However, to her astonishment, it resonated with a growing audience of loyal followers who became addicted to her unique storytelling and the undeniable “kilig” it evoked.

Anna reflected on those early days, saying, “I had expected to find a few readers, mainly friends. But to my surprise, people identified with my story, and it marked the beginning of a new, unforeseen career for me.”

Since her debut, Anna has authored six books under her pen name and three under her real name. She collaborated with actor Kristoffer Polaha, a Hallmark mainstay leading man, on a series of novels called “From Kona with Love.” Her latest masterpiece, “My Goodbye Girl,” narrates the love story of half-Filipina Tessa and British scientist Simon, even offering readers a glimpse of the picturesque Boracay.

“I aspire for my characters to mirror people like me—multifaceted and multicultural. Smart independent women smitten, fallible, crazy in love,” Anna quipped. “They are half-Filipino, with deep connections not only to the Philippines but to the values we hold most dear—family.”

Notably, her book “Moments Like This” secured first place at the 7th Annual Pencraft Book Awards in the Fiction-Women category, while “My Goodbye Girl” triumphed as the Fall 2023 winner in the Romance-Multicultural Fiction category at The Book Fest, a testament to her ability to craft compelling narratives that resonate with readers.

Anna acknowledges the historical bias against romance novels, with some viewing them as shallow or, in extreme cases, as mere smut. However, she remains resolute in her mission to challenge these misconceptions through her work.

Anna’s novels are not just love stories for the sake of happy endings. They are narratives imbued with depth, featuring resolute characters who confront challenges with intelligence and wisdom. They take readers on an emotional journey filled with peaks, valleys, and unexpected twists. Ultimately, they touch the heart, warm the soul, and, yes, make you “kilig.”

Anna Gomez’s books are available at Fullybooked, National Bookstore, and on Amazon and Kindle.

For the techie

Oppo Find N3 Flip

Oppo’s newest foldable smartphone boasts industry innovations such as the first triple camera system on a flip, enhanced functionality of the vertical cover screen, and a more premium aesthetic. Since the launch of the groundbreaking Find N2 Flip earlier this year, the brand continued to create technologies that disrupt the industry and inspire creativity among its users.

The Find N2 Flip set the standard of what flip phones should be in terms of desgn, performance, and overall user experience. It featured the brand’s renowned Flexion Hinge which significantly decreased the appearance of a crease on the inner display, making it more seamless without compromising quality. The large vertical cover screen changed the game in terms of accessibility while the industry-leading charging and long-lasting battery reinforced the brand’s dedication to produce exceptional products in the market. The brand has once again elevated the game with the introduction of its highly anticipated, next generation flip phone, the Find N3 Flip.

“Oppo made an undeniable impact in the foldable smartphone market with the OPPO Find N2 Flip. Now, the successor is here–the OPPO Find N3 Flip,” said Joanarc Sales, Head of Public Relations and CRM of Oppo Philippines. “The new Find N3 Flip takes things a step further in design, imaging, and technological innovations, making it truly the gold standard of flagship flip phones.”

Major improvements of the Find N3 Flip include a revamped triple camera system, still co-created with Hasselblad technology and significant upgrades to the vertical cover screen’s app compatibility and interactivity. It also comes in a more elegant build and stylish color options, boats flagship performance and the brand’s signature long-lasting battery capacity and fast-charging features.

Prioritizing style should never come at the expense of comfort. The Find N3 Flip is wrapped in precision cut glass and metal, giving it a more premium look and feel. It maintains the same 6.8-inch Full HD+ AMOLED inner screen with an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120 Hz and an impressive brightness level of 1,200, peaking at 1,600 nits. With 1440Hz PWM dimming, it provides a vibrant, smooth, and comfortable usage experience.

Get the most out of your content with the Find N3 Flip’s expansive, uninterrupted, unfolded display. The brand’s innovative Flexion Hinge incorporated in the newest flip phone elegantly shapes the screen into a perfect water droplet when closed, resulting in a more subtle crease angle. It also makes the crease look shallower, narrower, and less conspicuous, appearing almost invisible from various angles. And with TUV Rheinland Reliable Folding certification, Find N3 Flip has been independently tested to withstand 600,000 folds, the equivalent of more than 16 years of use if you fold your phone 100 times a day.

One of the key design upgrades to also highlight is the Cosmos Ring and Starlight Track, which elevates the camera system’s visual appeal and functionality.The phone comes in captivating colors to match one’s personal style: Cream Gold and Sleek Black. The Find N3 Flip’s camera reinvents flip phone photography as it is the first to have a triple camera system, the first telephoto camera on a flip phone, and the first flip phone to feature larger camera sensors.

Powered by imaging expert Hasselblad, the remarkable 50MP Wide-Angle primary camera with Sony IMX890 sensor, 48MP Ultra-Wide Camera with Sony IMX581 sensor, and the 32MP Portrait Camera with Sony IMX709 sensor of the Find N3 Flip produces the most vibrant, lifelike images in great detail. It also features a 32MP Front Camera supported by Sony IMX709 RGBW with a 1/2.74-inch sensor that can capture subjects with impressive focal length.

With all these, the Find N3 Flip has the most powerful imaging systems with higher megapixel cameras, larger sensors, and superior photo capabilities compared toother flip phones in the market to-date. This year’s addition of Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) elevates its performance in challenging environments, ensuring excellent noise suppression and fine detail retention in photos. Experience this camera’s vibrant yet natural color rendering and extensive dynamic range, ensuring consistent performance across lighting scenarios.

Capture selfies effortlessly by previewing your shot on the cover screen and using a convenient palm gesture for hands-free, pro-level 2X zoom portraits when the phone rests on a surface. Folding the device partially switches to the FlexForm Mode on the main display, relocating the preview to the top half and camera controls to the bottom, making it perfect for stable tripod shots. The cover of the Find N3 Flip features an impressive 3.26-inch vertical cover screen which provides a convenient platform to view up to six notifications at once and facilitates seamless selfie-taking.

The device’s cover screen now extends its support to even more third-party apps, expanding beyond the mini apps introduced in the OPPO Find N2 Flip. With this expansion, popular social media apps like Reddit, Telegram, X (formerly Twitter), WeChat, and WhatsApp are harmoniously integrated into the user experience. Responding to messages and emails or scrolling through your favorite apps is made easier. A wider variety of options to access one’s most-used tools is also introduced in the screen. Evolving beyond the card-style interactions of its predecessor, the device now adopts a more familiar application tray. It lets users easily swipe, rearrange, and launch their preferred apps and widgets intuitively.

Equipped with the MediaTek Dimensity 9200 chipset, the Find N3 Flip guarantees superior performance that allows seamless switching between apps, indulging in top-tier gaming, and editing 4K videos without any lagging time. The new Flip from OPPO is crafted with IPX4 water-resistance and unique dual-friction plates to ensure smooth usage and durability for years to come. With its new aircraft- grade stainless steel core, the OPPO Find N3 Flip achieves exceptional durability, featuring a 25% improvement in load-bearing strength.

With a high-capacity 4300 mAh battery, the OPPO Find N3 Flip allows users to enjoy all-day use without the worry of charging so frequently. The 44W SUPERVOOC fast charging capabilities swiftly replenish its battery from 0 to 58% in just 30 minutes. The Find N3 Flip is now available for P64,999. More perks and benefits await you to ensure you hassle-free and smooth experience in the care and maintenance of your device.

Honor named no. 1 smartphone brand in China

According to the latest Canalys, IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, and Counterpoint’s Market Pulse Service studies for the third quarter of 2023, Honor is a clear landslide winner getting the first spot for all reports. 

“This success gives us more confidence here in the Philippines to do even better and achieve greater heights sooner than later. We are very young, but you know what they say, the youngest is the most aggressive so better watch out for HONOR Philippines especially in 2024,” said Honor Philippines Vice President Stephen Cheng. 

Although the smartphone market subsequently fell in China, it is still seen that HONOR had an outstanding annual growth with 1.8%, 1.1% and –1% in IDC, Counterpoint and Canalys respectively – the most impressive performance among other brands. In terms of market share, HONOR is without a doubt the No. 1 smartphone brand, getting 19.3% from IDC, 18.3% from Counterpoint, and 18% from Canalys with the second seed in both reports at 16-17%.  

This feat is led by Honor taking over the foldable market having Magic V2 as the No. 1 choice among all foldable models in China, as authorized by IDC and Counterpoint. For more announcements, visit www.hihonor.com.

For the big boss

Montblanc unveils NEO 3.0 Boutique in Greenbelt, Makati

Montblanc, renowned for its dedication to craftsmanship and design excellence, has recently inaugurated its second NEO 3.0 concept boutique in Makati City. This innovative concept provides an elevated retail experience for both new and existing Montblanc clients, situated in Greenbelt, the country’s fashion capital.

It offers a curated selection of modern, expertly crafted products that mirror the contemporary business lifestyle. The introduction of this boutique in Greenbelt underscores its global luxury brand status, highlighting the brand’s profound expertise in craftsmanship and commitment to delivering reliable and modern products. Notable personalities such as Michelle Dee, LA Aguinaldo, David Guison, Kerwin King, Angelique Manto, and Gabbie Mariano made an appearance at the launch event.

Strategically located at one of the main entrances of Greenbelt 5, the recently renovated boutique provides a refined shopping experience that seamlessly blends storytelling with savoir-faire. In crafting the boutique’s design, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance seamlessly wove key collections and products into unique design themes, drawing inspiration from the fluid, cursive handwriting reminiscent of the brand’s iconic fountain pen. Within this rich artistic ambiance, the boutique harmoniously integrates diverse elements, with the graceful lines evoking the iconic fountain pens and the pristine allure of an empty page shaping the core aesthetic, thereby enriching the narrative with distinctive features.

As clients navigate through this curated space, the Meisterstuck counter becomes a focal point, serving as a reverent homage to the label’s extensive heritage. Drawing inspiration from the Maison’s original store counters, it symbolizes the Meisterstuck collection and encapsulates both the essence of the brand’s DNA and the iconic writing instrument collection dating back to 1924. This counter, with its timeless design, invites clients to immerse themselves in the Maison’s rich legacy.

The boutique’s design narrative further unfolds with the captivating Facade Elegance. Its transparent and see-through design is more than an architectural choice; it's a window into the brand’s vision. Aligning seamlessly with the Maison’s ethos, it becomes a canvas that spotlights the signature snowcap emblem, subtly etching the brand’s identity into the very fabric of the boutique.

Adding to the visual spectacle is the Leather Wall Feature, an artful display that goes beyond functionality. Adorned with extensive leather displays, this feature wall serves as a gallery showcasing the Maison’s latest leather collections curated by Artistic Director, Marco Tomasetta. It transforms the boutique into a sensory experience, inviting clients to appreciate the craftsmanship and innovation behind each leather creation.

Additionally, in the Philippines, the Montblanc NEO 3.0 concept boutique is accessible in Solaire Resort. Montblanc is also available in Rustan’s Makati, Rustan’s Shangri-La, Rustan’s Cebu, Greenbelt 5, City of Dreams, and Resorts World.

For the cooking diva

Non-toxic home essentials for cozy holiday season

As the holiday season approaches, the joy of making lasting memories with loved ones right at home is truly significant. Consider gifting them items that not only enhance their daily lives at home but also prioritize their well-being with non-toxic features. Elevate their cooking experience with the Beka Mandala Wok Pan 28cm, a high-quality iron wok with a ceramic non-stick coating that is completely PFAS-free, ensuring their culinary adventures are not only delicious but safe. 

Encourage healthy cooking practices with the Tefal Cookware Cook Healthy 4-Piece Set, a non-stick cookware collection featuring an eco-friendly and non-toxic PFOA-free coating. For grilling enthusiasts, the Jata M Magic Griller features non-stick ceramic coating that provides equal heat distribution while being PFOA-free, making it a good addition to their kitchen.

Add a touch of elegance and sophistication to their dining experience with the Oneida Deauville 1929 20-Piece Flatware Set. This premium 18/10 stainless steel flatware collection ensures rust-resistance, allowing it to be a beloved part of their cherished table settings for years to come. Finally, keep your eco-conscious loved ones well-hydrated and equipped with the Noerden LIZ Smart Bottle. This clever bottle self-cleans with built-in UV sterilization and keeps beverages at the ideal temperature with its vacuum-insulated stainless-steel body. All these holiday offerings are exclusively distributed by Rustan Marketing Corporation, available in leading online shopping sites and department stores nationwide.

It’s all this and much more! See you for some serious Yuletide shopping!

RELATED: Christmas in our hearts and tummies: Holiday party food for sharing 

 

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