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Time to pitch in and lend a hand–even if the Pinoy is waterproof


PRETTY volunteers Cris Villonco and Chelo Bacarro

Water has once again showed its mighty force, and we have felt its wrath over the past weeks. It’s a good thing the Pinoy is waterproof and can weather any storm.

SEA PRINCESS passing by Cebu Daily News building. JUNJIE MENDOZA/CDN

As the nation recovers from the deadly floods, it’s heartening to see relief efforts from everywhere pouring in. The Philippine Daily Inquirer has teamed up with the Philippine Red Cross to rush aid to the more than two million people affected by this recent disaster.

Red Cross Governor Carissa Coscolluela has organized a relief center in White Space along Pasong Tamo Avenue. Together with Monique Villonco, several volunteers have packed canned goods, water and other donations over the weekend.

Through our Assumption HS ’81 Foundation and Friends of Hope, thousands of bottles of water have been sent to Assumption College and PRC in White Space for distribution. These special water bottles are called “Hope in a Bottle,” with proceeds going to building new public school classrooms.

Better education

Launched by Friends of Hope, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower students through better education, “Hope in a Bottle” contains 500 ml of purified drinking water and is priced like existing products in the market.

IRONMAN champs Jaimie Jacobs, Belinda Granger, Sea Princess and 1st Placer Pete Jacobs

Led by advocates Nanette Medved-Po and product endorser Boy Abunda, “Hope in a Bottle” was launched early this year at Kenny Rogers Roasters in Katipunan. Bottles are available in leading groceries and supermarkets.

Entertainment personalities Joey de Leon, Jericho Rosales, Winnie Monsod and Bea Alonzo have also joined the Hope’s “alumni campaign,” endorsed by celebrities who are products of public schools. They have volunteered their star power for free in order to help “Hope in a Bottle.”

There are so many other valiant relief efforts that it is impossible for me to name them all. One fun fashion fundraiser is the Monsoon Relief Fundraising Fashion Show, to be held Aug. 17 at The Tents in Alphaland Southgate Mall, the blue glass building along Chino Roces Avenue corner Edsa. My cousin Bianca Santos is organizing this fashionable event for a cause.

Monsoon’s designers include Veejay Floresca, John Paras, Pia Gladys Perey, Eric de los Santos, Tina Daniac, Jay Sustiguer, Linya Disenyo, Ulysees King and Envoy by Edmir Lagui Accessories. Their collections will be showcased and pieces sold to raise funds for affected families in Makati.

SALTIMBANCO fans RJ Ledesma, Liza and Elbert Cuenca, Athena Valdes, Philip Cu-Unjieng, Rima Ostwani, Sea Princess and Annika Valdes

All are encouraged to come in Philippine flag colors to show our patriotism. Bianca would like to thank her sponsors, Exile Lights & Audio, Travelife, Dine Asia, Cravings, Eventshaker Mobile Bar and Nicholas Catering.



It’s been a crazy week indeed. Thank God my Cebu Pacific flight home after the Cobra Ironman 70.3 in Cebu was not canceled.

I was amazed that Pete Jacobs completed a “three-Pete,” winning the event three straight times. His finishing time, just over four hours, is just a little over my time of 4:02. The only difference is that Pete’s time is for the entire swim, bike and run, while mine is only for the bike leg, which I did as part of Timex Team Valdes.

The 90K bike leg went from Shangri-La Mactan over the Marcelo Fernan Bridge to the South Reclamation of Cebu, and bikers were beset by headwinds throughout. It didn’t help that I had on my pink tutu. I realize now that a tutu doesn’t affect running, but is a huge drag while biking.

IRONMAN Philippines head Fred Uytengsu

Further affecting my aerodynamics was the glass bling that studded my bike frame, artistically added by Adworks’ Norman and Mye Cruz. I even put a small bell on my bike, similar to the ones we used to have on our “Easy Rider” bikes. Yes, my bike was all about form and not about function.

Timex Team Valdes was definitely best dressed, with our black-and-pink outfits, and my shades from Rudy Project. Hubby Dennis and I were emotional when our eldest, Bryan Prieto, finished the race and we all received our finishers’ medals designed by Kenneth Cobonpue. The family that tri’s together, bonds together.

For wonderful photos and details of a true Ironman champ, check the blog of 3rd placer Mathieu O’Halloran. Just google his name and you’ll find it. Great tips and pics.

One of my favorite Ironman champs is Belinda Granger from Australia, who placed third this year. She has so many races and wins, and inspires me to try to get back to doing the entire Ironman myself next year. Will it be goodbye to Timex Team Valdes? We shall see.


Training can be grueling but yoga is a wonderful “cross-training” activity. There are quite a number of yoga centers in the city and one of them is Bliss Yoga.

Bliss Workshops and Intensives are yoga sessions launched by Roland de la Cruz, Glenn Biscoe and Monique Borja to help one get better strength, focus and balance. On Aug. 22-23, world-renowned yoga instructor and Power Yoga founder Bryan Kest will conduct a two-day workshop at the Rockwell Center, Makati, for all yoga enthusiasts.

A well-rounded flowing asana practice will be conducted as well as lectures on basic philosophies and fundamentals of yoga. Call 0917-5942915, or e-mail inquiry@blissyogamanila.com for details.

Bliss Yoga founder Roland is also heading the My Global Mandala this coming Sept. 1. Check out his website www.myglobalmandala.com for more information about his journey. Smart Infinity is one of the sponsors of this project, part of the lifestyle programs it brings to its subscribers.

Must-see Cirque

Speaking of fun, the Cirque du Soleil is back in Manila with its signature production, “Saltimbanco.” The limited run is only until Aug. 19 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, and is a definite must-see.

My two girls, Annika and Athena, loved the circus clowns, music and fabulous stunts. It was a classic Cirque show, from the sublime contortionists to the heart-stopping trapeze acts. For tickets, visit www.hoopla.com.ph and www.smtickets.com.

Follow @tessavaldes on Twitter, or e-mail her at seaprincess@inquirer.com.ph

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Tags: Cirque du Soleil , Monique Villonco , Philippine Red Cross , Pinoy , Timex , waterproof

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