Archive for the Health Category

Underarm care at Facial Care

Posted in Health on February 7, 2011 by hangingbridge

I visited Facial Care Quezon Ave. branch after almost year.  I still have remaining underarm treatments and almost forgot about it until two weeks ago when I was about to shave my underarm hair growth. (Ewe ba?!)

I have laser hair removal sessions and underarm whitening treatments that I stopped once I got pregnant last year.  Prior to my pregnancy, they have warned me that the procedure is contraindicated to pregnant women.  I have shrugged off that warning  a year ago not knowing that it is one piece of information I had to remember. 

The underarm whitening treatments were always a breeze.  I have to say otherwise about the laser hair removal procedure though because it reminds me of being in a dental chair.  There is no way to avoid the pain. 

While waiting for  the therapist(??) to get her supplies. I took self-portraits thru the mirror cabinets.

They apply a number of mixtures on your skin and then scrape it off to apply another one.  And then they leave the most sweet-smelling mixture for 30 to 40 minutes before wiping it off again.

I have “before treatment” pictures of my underarm but I wouldn’t want to subject my readers to more agony than they should.  I plan to compare the after treatment results at the end of all procedures.


Essensuals: Toni & Guy

Posted in Health on January 19, 2011 by hangingbridge

I had my first hair dye treatment last Monday. 

Mother has been insisting that I get a haircut because I have been putting my hair in a bun that, according to her, made me look older than her.  I’m not sure if she’s trying to insult me or she’s flattering herself.  LOL!

We passed by Essensuals in Megamall Atrium.  Honestly, I haven’t heard about Essensuals before so we were all in unfamiliar territory.  My mother wanted to try having her quarterly hair color treatment done in Essensuals just to try it out.  I asked if I could also get my hair a new color and she said yes.  Geez, I’m so bored with my life right now, I may start coloring my nails next.

I asked someone to take a picture of the three of us – Nanay (grandma), mommy and me.  It’s not often that there are three generations of Mago having their hair done at the same time and seated accordingly. 

Service is good.  I have no complaints.  There are two attending hair dressers for each customer.  They only have 6 available seats for customers hence, making an appointment is a must during peak days like the weekends.  Having new issues of international and local magazines is also a big plus.  (I wonder where they send the old ones.)

The only thing that I didn’t like was the snotty male receptionist.  I got the feeling that he only wanted to have customers who are willing to spend a humongous amount of money just for hair treatments.  He keeps mentioning that one customer they had before who spent around Php35K for hair treatment.  I wanted to ask if the customer was a bald woman getting hair implants in their salon.  But of course, I had to stop myself because he might do something to sabotage my first hair color experience.

They served drinks while we were getting our new hair color treatment.   I chose coffee from the list I was given.  I got brewed and freshly pressed coffee.

I couldn’t really tell if there was any change in my hair color afterwards.  I was told that the longer it stayed in my hair, the lighter it would get.  As of now, I need sun’s rays in order to see that change.

Baby Blues

Posted in Health, My Baby and Me on January 6, 2011 by hangingbridge

I don’t know how to take care of my baby.

I’ve seen other mothers who make it look so easy. 

We came from the hospital today for our follow-up with our respective doctors – Via with her pediatrician and I with my OB-Gynecologist.  I was there with my Via and was discussing the perfect health of my baby (thank you Lord).  And the doctor told me, after knowing how I take care of Via, that babies are more resilient than they seem so I don’t need to worry too much.

Dr. Palmero warned me about postpartum depression and how I am at risk if I keep doing what I do. 

I cried one time while taking care of my baby.  This happened one afternoon when I was so sleepy and so tired.  I suddenly started choking up with tears and then, I couldn’t contain it that I let myself cry.  I was so exhausted.  Note that my Via is relatively well behave and already has a routine.  The problem arises when I don’t let myself go to sleep without someone taking over my post.  I don’t want to go to sleep even if Via is already sleeping.  I was afraid that my daughter might wake up and cry and vomit her milk through her nose (which she does, now less frequently) without me noticing it.

Bottomline is I’m a neurotic mom already. 

It’s bad for me.  And if it’s bad for me, it’s also bad for my baby.  I truly hope I get out of this phase soon.  My body wouldn’t be able to take it for one whole year or two.

The doctor told me that I need to go out once in a while – away from my Via – for around an hour or two.  New moms tend to spend most of their time with their baby and no one else.  She’s not saying that it’s bad.  New moms may feel so confined and their world now only consist her and her baby.  For some, it is perfectly fine but for others, the set-up could feel so constrained.  These may pose a problem with the latter kind.  It predisposes anyone to depression. 

Honestly, I’d rather spend that hour or two in bed and get some very deep REM-filled sleep.

The change in lifestyle may be too overwhelming.

Dear Lord, I am so tired.  I’m going to bed at 5:30am which is a two hours from now when the nanny will take over my post.  (Poor nanny.  She’s being dragged into my neurotic baby care method.)  And then she will wake me up at 8am so that I can give my baby a bath.  Parang gusto ko tumawad ng 8:30am.

Lay Bare: My First Visit

Posted in Health on October 26, 2010 by hangingbridge


NOTE: I don’t want to gross anyone out but I feel I need to discuss something as natural as keratin outgrowths of our bodies. 

Waxing has been a known method of hair removal for years.  I had my first hand experience with this method two weeks ago and have discovered the most painful female practices there is in this side of the planet.

You may ask what is a pregnant woman doing in a waxing salon – especially someone who’s on her way in a couple of weeks. 

Of all the God-given parts of the human body, pubic hairs are the only ones I don’t get.  I’ve learned to appreciate each and every part of our bodies, even the microscopic parts, after my not-so-brief medical education.  Everything has its purpose except for the keratin outgrowths in our most intimate parts.  They do nothing but create an itch and it looks so unsanitary when it is poorly kept. 

Since I’m about to give birth in a couple of weeks, I’m not looking forward to what the midwife will do to the hairs in the IE room.  Since I have worked in the OB department before, I know that they are going to shave that part.  And hair growth after shaving is agonizing especially when it is growing into newly firm tufts. (It is embarrassing to admit but I have resorted to applying conditioner days after shaving.  It made the growth phase more bearable.  These days, I resort to trimming them instead.)

For someone who has her PH shaved to the skin and had NSD with an episiotomy, I could just imagine the discomfort she must be feeling during the few days after.  She couldn’t pee or poop as easily as she could, afraid that the newly sutured episiotomy wound would give way while dealing with the itch the hard tufts of hair growing in the those tender areas. 

I passed by a Lay Bare branch months ago and thought of having them waxed.  I have no idea how waxing really works.  Even scenes from movies don’t really show what really goes on with waxing.  I thought of Veet and how it made removing hair from legs easy (not that I’m shaving my legs).  It was foolish of me to think that it was the same as waxing in Lay Bare. 

The receptionist told me that they had pregnant women visit their salon before and had the PH removed when they were near term.  These women must have been worried that they’d be seen in a vulnerable state when their PH are poorly kept.  So I have been thinking for weeks to get rid of them too.  With waxing, hair removal involves the roots. Therefore, new growth won’t be as hard as those when you shaved. 

Two weeks ago, I had my first visit.  They told me that Brazilian will work for me because I want everything removed.  I entered one of their cubicles and laid down on one of their beds.  I failed to brace myself for the worse.  The staff was holding up this ball of gummy amber.  She started to roll it over the area and then pulled so rapidly.  The pain was unbearable and I have to ask the lady to stop and not to go further.  She asked me if I wanted a Bikini wax instead.  I wanted to say yes only if they are not going to use the same gummy ball of amber colored material. 

The pain was definitely gripping in it’s highest quality (if there was such a thing).  If there was enough time for me to form cold sweats, I would.  I was afraid I was going to go on labor soon if the lady keeps up with the waxing.  I asked her if the Bikini wax she was offering would make it easier for me and she said yes.  So I let her continue.  She had to do a couple more of the painful root-pulling before she told me it was over.

I don’t know if I’m going back there ever again.  In the meantime, I would have to deal with the idea that I will be shaved bald before I’m going to be sent to the labor room on the day that I’m going to deliver a baby.  And I will have to deal with the itchy aftermath of the shaving and the pain of an episiotomy.

Breast Cancer Screening Age

Posted in Health on October 4, 2010 by hangingbridge

Of all cancers in the world, I’m most anxious of breast cancers and malignant melanomas.  Breast cancers has been affecting even those with no positive family history and no apparent risk factors.  Malignant melanomas scare me too. I’m sure I’m not able to monitor all the moles in my body to see if there are sudden growth or change in color or irregularities that signals malignancy.  Early breast CA has better prognosis than early detection of malignant melanoma.  Once a mole becomes a malignancy, it easily forms metastases to other parts of the body, most frequently the brain.  It happens so fast; there’s almost no time to catch it.  On the other hand, there has been ongoing debates as to when does a woman (or man) need to subject herself to mammography in order to detect precancerous tumors of the breast. 

No one worries about cancer unless a family member or oneself becomes affected.  For breast cancers, we don’t need to wait for someone in the family to have it before we panic over our own health.  Previously, menopausal women who are in their fifties are advised to have annual mammography.  The lack of estrogen and the presence of a breast mass will require further work-ups for breast cancer detection.  Recent studies show that women has to have their screening mammography tests as early as forty years old. There is no scientific basis that we should wait for our menopause or the age of fifty to worry about breast cancers.  These days, women in their thirties have been affected by breast malignancy.  Hence, early detection has been mandated for women who have positive family history. 

Problem arises now that breast cancers are so rampant that known risk factors like a positive family history . intake of hormone replacement therapy or cigarette smoking may be absent to develop the cancer.  The recent studies has proved that early screening tests at the age of forty and done yearly until the age of forty-nine will reduce early mortality age and mortality rate.  Early detection means early administration of treatment.  The 29% reduction in mortality rate for those who had their screening at the age of 40 is significantly different from the 15% reduction in mortality rate for those who underwent mammography at the age of 50.

The age 50 has been upheld by government standards and probably by the insurance companies.  It is just my theory that they are saving up on health funds.  They are using the screening age of fifty to make the tests more cost-effective since by that age, there are more women detected having breast mass – cancerous or pre-cancerous.  But the medical field has persisted that an earlier age needs to be the standard in order to decrease mortality rate but not health expenses.  I don’t know how much of this is true, though.  This part is just my theory. 

The best thing is that available tests are within reach.  And women should take advantage of it.  It’s better to take good care of your body while you still can.  Earlier detection means your body can still cope with the disease since it’s not showing any signs or symptoms.  If your body can still cope, there are better chances to fight off the disease. 

Read the article at:

What Are Your Beauty Secrets?

Posted in Health on September 29, 2010 by hangingbridge
Blog Entry for The Great Asian Secrets Giveaway:

Contest Poster

 My Attempts For A Better Me 

There is always a good excuse for a woman to spend time and effort in caring for herself.  Women are thought to invest on their well-being by maintaining and improving it in any way they see fit.  Once a woman is composed in every aspect, she becomes dynamic and effective member of the society.  Hence, there’s nothing wrong in aspiring to be better each day.  The key is to find a way to balance everything.  The task is immensely hard to accomplish but women can always find a way to do it.  

The best way in improving oneself is working from the inside out.  First and foremost, we need to identify our problem areas.  Secondly, we need to determine the cause in order to avoid it.  Third, we find a solution for the existing problem.  

In regards to physical appearance, I find the following to be very helpful in maintaining, if not improving, my sense of beauty.  

My choice for the body cleansing part of my routine is any brand of Dead Sea mineral soap.  I discovered this product three years ago.  I’m using the Fouf brand but there are other brands of Dead Sea mineral soaps like Ahava or 747 found in department stores around the metro.  The minerals in this bar of soap came from the lowest part of the earth, Dead Sea, which is more than 400 feet below sea level.  It is located in between Jordan and Israel.  The minerals found in the mud and water are globally known to have both medicinal and aesthetic benefits.  I use this on my face and the rest of my body.  I don’t have to use another separate facial soap.  It’s not harsh therefore, I can use it in my face as much as I want to in a day.  After every shower, it leaves the skin hydrated, softer and somehow, smoother.  The downside about the Fouf brand is it’s not a scented soap.  So there’s no ongoing aromatherapy when you use it.  

Body Soap

For those aspiring for maintaining their young-looking skin, facial toners should be part of the regimen.  It reduces the risk of sagging of the skin in the face and neck.  I’ve used several toners.  I was prescribed to use the DermClinic facial toner before.  And now, I’m sharing a bottle of Ahava toner with my sister.  A couple of drops in a cotton ball will do.  This is wiped over the face and neck area.  

At bedtime, I leave enough moisturizer on my face and neck after my night wash.  There are several brands that work for my face.  Currently, I’m using the Fouf brand.  Using facial moisturizer overnight will definitely leave the skin soft and supple.  I was born with dry skin and I benefit from facial moisturizers.  Since the consistency is thick and kind of sticky, there’s a need to air dry before actually lying down on your pillow.  

Face Moisturizer

 Sometimes, I use a separate sun block for my face.  I use Nivea sunblock when I know I’m going to spend quite some time under the sun.  The SPF 50 assures me that my facial cells are not going to age or produce unwanted pigments while I stay under the sun.  It’s not water-proof though.  Since I put my hair up in a ponytail, I don’t forget to wipe some on my nape too. 

Facial Sun Block

My favorite loose powder to put all over my body including the face is Johnson’s baby powder.  I don’t leave the house without putting some on my face.  It’s always better to put something in between my skin and the air pollutants outside our homes.  I prefer the fine talc powder of the imported Johnson’s brand because it fills up the crevices of my face.  It makes my face looks smoother than it really is.  I also keep a small bottle in my bag.  Anytime that I need to feel refreshed, all I have to do is splash some of it under my clothes or wipe some in my face.    

Baby Powder

 Another alternative for face powder is the Shu Uemura that provides a little color in my face when my face starts to look a little pale.  It is applied as easy as the baby powder.  Also, it has finer powder that’s really perfect for the face.  

Face Powder

 In certain occasions, when I really need to put on some make-up, I start with liquid foundation.  I tried foundation in powder form but somehow, I end up putting a lot more than necessary.  In this liquid form,  I can easily spread a thin-film all over my face and I get enough coverage.  Also, it provides SPF50 hence, I don’t need to put on a separate sun block.   It’s also good that it lasts for hours so that I only have to retouch on the make-up instead redoing the whole thing.  

Shu Eumura Face Architect

 I honestly believe that the greatest make-up invention is the lip and cheek tint.  The brand that I’ve been using is a product of  The Body Shop.  It gives just the right shade of pink for my skin tone.  It stays long enough before I need to add some more during the day.  It also mixes well with either loose powder or really bear skin.  It doesn’t itch like some other cheek tints in the market. 

Lip and Cheek Tint

Sun exposure is the main cause of aging or wrinkled skin.  I am adamant in using sunblock for everyday use even when you’re walking under the umbrella or riding a vehicle to work.  Sun’s rays bounce off from pavements  and more.  So, when you feel the heat or see light, it is possible that the ray is bouncing off to you.  

I would recommend any brand of sunblock that provides SPF50 that protects us from all types of UV rays.  I use Nivea Sunblock.  Its thick consistency may be uncomfortable but the idea that I’m being protected makes it less sticky to me. 

Sun Block

I was born with really rough hands.  People notice them whenever they had a chance to feel my hands.  The laundry lady at home have smoother hands than mine.  Therefore, I do whatever I can to improve it.  I have applied a couple of different brands on my hands but there are still roughness to work on.  Currently, I’m using the Ahava hand creme.  So far, it makes my hands smoother until I wash my hands again.  But I’m still hoping that my hands will end up smooth continuously.  To reinforce its effects, after rubbing some creme in my hands, I cover them with gloves and leave them overnight.  


Hand Lotion

 I have been using the Nivea brand for my deodorant because it promises underarm whitening and pore-minimizing effects.  So far, the deodorizing effects has never failed.  The whitening effects is hard to measure since I wasn’t able to document how dark my underarms before I started using this product.  I’m not a fan of antiperspirants because it’s not natural to stop perspiration.  Sweating cools the body so I welcome perspiration most of the time.  I’m just not open to body odor.  And this deodorant provides that kind of protection I need.    

Nivea Deodorant

 If there was a lotion addiction, I think I had it at least once in my life.  I have known myself to finish a big bottle of Jergens body lotion in two weeks.  It happened while I was still in school.  Whenever I was studying in the dorm, I have a body lotion beside me which I continuously apply on my dry legs.  Currently, I’m using the Aveeno brand which proves to be a better skin moisturizer than any brand so far.  It is free of any scent hence, you can use it during the day when you’re planning to use your favorite cologne or perfume.  

body lotion

Hair conditioners is something we don’t want to do without.  In taking care of our mane, not everyone can afford a weekly visit to our favorite hair salons.  I rely on my conditioner to maintain and improve the moisture in my hair.  The current brand that I use is the pink SunSilk.  I can attest that it really works in providing shine and moisture to my shoulder-length hair.  Also, I use the Pantene 3-minute Miracle hair treatment weekly – less than it is  prescribed.    

Choice of Hair Goop

 Whenever I lack sleep, I note blotches all over my skin.  A least 8 straight hours of sleep will do our body a lot more good than any beauty product.  Not only does it makes our skin glow but it does gives us the rest we need.  For some who can’t get enough sleep because of work or preference, metabolism slows down.  Hence, we don’t just have blotchy skin but also a bloated, light-headed, sluggish feeling.   

Beauty sleep

Of course, we cannot do without the exercise.  For someone as lazy as me, it’s very hard to find the time.  But I learned that I can do so many workouts in upon waking up in the morning.  I can address different muscles with my version of bed workouts.  That’s how lazy people are –  we need to improvise.  Beauty can’t do without a healthy body so it is important that we need to be fit.  

 We can’t get more rustic with milk and water.  These two are the most accessible and most effective beauty products around.  Peasants and aristocrats resort to these natural products for their regimen.  People even pay good money to in order to get the benefits of these two in various ways.  Some apply it on the skin. I, on the other hand, drink them and let them work from the inside out.   


 If we really want to be beautiful inside and out, we need to take our daily dose of Vitamin C.  Since the body can’t form its own vitamin C, we need to provide ourselves from external sources.  Vitamin C is essential for the repair of our tissues which includes the skin.  I don’t have to worry about wound repair at all.  

My daily dose of Vitamin C

 There might be a new addition to my regimen.  I’ve used exfoliating scrub products made of different types of mineral salts before but I had to discontinue because they turn out to be very harsh on the skin.  There’s a new product in the market made out of Indonesian lulur.  I don’t know much about lulur but since it’s been around ancient times, it must have done something good for women.  The brand that is locally available is Asian Secrets.  As prescribed, it is applied and lightly scrubbed on dry or highly pigmented areas of the body three times a week.  I can use it during my nightly showers.  Hopefully, it will address my extra dry skin.  It could also provide extra aromatherapy since it is scented with jasmine and green tea.  It will be a luxurious way to end my day without spending too much.  For all the things that women has to worry about, Asian Secrets may lift the burden of dry and dark skin off that list.  This is an indulgence that works at the same time. 

And with that, I’ve given away my not-so-secret beauty secrets.  


Contest mechanics 

1. Simply write an answer to this question! 

For the brides: The big day draws near and you have to look perfect. How do you plan to look your best? Youʼre encouraged to talk about your gown, makeup artist, desired look, motif, beauty rituals, and how Asian Secrets can help you on your big day. 

For the general readers: What are your beauty secrets? Youʼre encouraged to talk about the beauty products, tips, tricks that you swear by, plus how Asian Secrets can be incorporated in your routine. 

2. Once you have it, blog your answer (+1 entry) and/or post it as a note on Facebook (+1 entry). Donʼt forget to include four things: your answer to the question, the contest poster, mechanics, and link to the contest page. You can also promote this contest on Twitter (+1 entry), and Plurk (+1 entry) for more chances of winning. For Twitter and Plurk entries, include the hashtag #asiansecrets. 

3. Post all the direct links of your entries in the comments page (click link below). Donʼt forget this step, because without it, we wonʼt know you joined! Also include a valid email address. 

Weʼll be picking the grand winners based on the quality of your answer and how well you promote your entry online. The contest will run from September 8 to October 1, 12 noon. We will be announcing the winner on 6pm. Good luck! 

Visit for more details. 


  •  This contest is open only to those who live or can travel to Metro Manila. Transportation will not be reimbursed.
  • The winner who wins the bridal package should be personally available on the whole day of October 2, Saturday, for the makeover and turnover of products, which I will cover for my blog. Date is tentative and may be moved.
  • The winner of the iPod + makeup should be available on October 2 to personally claim the products from me. No shipping. Date is tentative and may be moved.

69,000 and Counting

Posted in Current Affairs, Health with tags , , , , , , on September 11, 2010 by hangingbridge

Southeast Asia which includes the Philippines has been noted to be hyperendemic of the Dengue virus.  It is more common in the urban than in the rural areas.  This is probably because of the head count and the dirty surroundings which becomes appropriate for vectors which are active during the day to live and multiply.

Currently, most hospitals are crowded with febrile patients and almost all are getting screened for Dengue infection.  In the news today, children are occupying hospital beds at least two at a time.  And hospitals cannot anymore accommodate patients.  Only the urgent cases gets to share a bed with the rest of those already confined.

The local and national government hasn’t done anything drastic to address such problems despite the number of those affected.  The Department of Health is the only institution working on a national level.  The growing number of those affected and the hospital conditions people are experiencing right now (i.e. shared beds already situated in the hospital corridors) can make someone wonder if they are doing enough.

Dengue virus has been known to exist in the country since the 1950’s brought about by the mosquito species, Aedes.  A person can get Dengue virus four times and creates immunity to each one after each infection.  Infection of any of the four types of Dengue virus may manifest as Dengue fever, Dengue shock syndrome or Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever or may not manifest any signs or symptoms at all.  The manifestations worsens as you get infected by more than one type of Dengue virus.

Fever with chills and flushing is a significant set of symptoms for Dengue virus infection.  The virus affects dendritic cells, reticuloendothelial cells and hepatocytes therefore, it is affects almost all of the systems in the body.  As the infection progresses, we may see other signs such as bleeding tendencies or leaking of fluid out of the vascular system.  This may be seen as pleural effusion (fluid in the thorax which is also seen in pneumonia), ascites (fluid in the abdominal cavity which is also seen in those with beer bellies), menorrhagia (increased menstrual flow), melena (black stools due to blood in the gastrointestinal tract), hematemesis (vomiting of blood), purpuras and petechiae (rash-like because of leaking of blood vessels in the skin) and many others. 

Since there is loss of body fluids, body circulation needs to compensate.  Heart is trying to pump more blood hence there is tachycardia.  There is fast and weak pulse.  The body organs are compromised because it is not supplied by enough body fluids.  There is hypotension in severe cases. 

Laboratory findings will include high hematocrit levels but low platelet count.  Liver problems are also reflected by the low albumin levels, high AST and ALT levels and coagulopathies (deranged PT and PTT). 

The best thing to do before someone gets infected is make the environment less susceptible to further infect individuals.  Aedes doesn’t reside in cool environment.  Unfortunately, this is a tropical country and a damp, warm climate is perfect for the mosquito species.  Mosquito spray and lotions outweigh the harsh chemicals it may contain and may affect man’s health in these scenarios.  Mosquito nets at night time may have no use at all. 

Trying to minimize the clutter in the surroundings is also helpful – less eye sore in the environment, less likely mosquitos will live in that area.  The problem with most (of my fellow) Filipinos is they don’t want to throw anything away.  As much as possible, they keep what isn’t useful to them, hence, homes are more like a storage space.  If people are not able to throw things away, they have to make sure it’s inside a closed cabinet. 

Taking in Vitamin C may (or may not) also help prevent deadly manifestations of the infection.  Since Vitamin C is good for healing connective tissues, the effects of the virus in the body may be somewhat hindered by the vitamin C stored in the body. (Note: The body cannot create vitamin C hence, it should be taken daily.)  It is good to remember that vitamin C doesn’t cure or prevent infection. 

When someone gets infected, it is important to have visited the doctor to have the specific tests done to monitor someone’s level of infection.  There is no cure for the infection.  Once infected, the person will have to undergo the progression of the illness.  Physicians can only monitor and provide ways in which the manifestations may be addressed immediately before it permanently destroys organs in the body.

Proper types of fluids are given in the hospital.  IV fluids and blood components is administered in some cases.  There will be a lot of instances hospitals need to draw blood daily to monitor a patient’s progress.

It is no excuse that this is a tropical country that is why there is hyperendemic periods during the year.  The rural areas are also more tropical than Manila.  The difference lies in the overpopulation and the clutter each citizen makes.  Local government needs to address these problems or else, funds will be spent only for this single type of infection when there are still more problems in the country that also needs spending.