Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Green Insulation at Home, You Ask? Here Are Your Options

Whether you are planning to buy a house for sale in Cavite, Bacolod or just anywhere in the Philippines, chances are, you will eventually consider green installations. Why not, right? Aside from the savings, you get to enjoy a really comfortable home minus the guilt. Nonetheless, one of the most commonly overlooked areas is insulation.

If you have plans on installing green insulation, here are some practical tips on how to do so.

The majority of the Filipinos think that there are serious financial consequences of going green. Of course, you need to invest on materials, for instance. But the dramatic impacts that green insulation may have in your home and thereby your lives are more than enough return on the initial investment.

Experts say that savings are more pronounced when it comes to greening your home’s insulation. These are:
  • Creating a healthier home for you and your loved ones
  • Reducing energy consumption and increasing energy savings
  • Encouraging low maintenance
  • Using high-quality materials
  • Embracing more thorough installation approaches
  • Making the home soundproof
  • Experiencing consistent and even temperatures all year round

That’s why putting a price tag on the real value of having green insulation at home is impossible. In maximizing the benefits though, here are some things that you can do.

1) Conduct an energy audit.

Before doing any insulation installations, perform an energy audit of your home first. The audit can pinpoint exactly which parts of your home’s insulation are inefficient such as leaks. The audit can also determine which areas may still be improved.

2) Check the attic.

Most often than not, the attics are deliberately ignored. We tend to insulate the walls without realizing that attics and crawlspaces are sources of heat gain and loss. So, better check the attic and other discreet areas.

3) Check the doors and windows.

A drafty door or window will negate the overall energy efficiency potential of the installed insulation. Inspect the doors, windows and other components where heat loss may occur. Perform caulking, weather stripping and sealing, if needs be.

4) Build using SIPs.

SIP stands for structural insulated panel. SIPs can be used on walls, floors and ceilings.

5) Compare R-value.

Materials with a higher R-value used in installing insulation are more energy efficient. R-value can be improved through installing a thick layer of insulation materials. Examples of materials with high R-value are cellulose and cotton bat. Cellulose insulation, which is made from 80% recycled materials such as newspaper, contains borate that makes the material pest and fire retardant. Cellulose insulation is also efficient to produce.

6) Avoid fiberglass.

For one, the material releases glass fibers that may cause respiratory illnesses and skin irritation. There are also more serious health consequences such as cancer due to long-term exposure. Fiberglass contains a urea-formaldehyde binder, which is a health hazard. Your fiberglass option is installing formaldehyde-free fiberglass. This insulation material has 15 to 30% recycled glass contents. Specifically, choose the loose-blown fiberglass, so binders won’t be needed.

7) Consider mineral or rock wool.

Mineral and rock wool insulation are made using construction wastes (molten slag), rocks, or both. This insulation not only has a better R-value but also higher density that makes it highly fire resistant. It can also block sound better than any other insulation material such as fiberglass.

Going green is the smartest decision that you could ever make for your home and family’s sake. The good thing about going green is you can take one step at a time. Now, you can start with insulating your walls, attic, floors and ceiling with the options presented above. Then, you can proceed to other areas in your house.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Understanding the Garden Home Concept

Do you know what a garden home is? Have you seen some garden homes in Laguna? Perhaps, you have seen one, but you have no idea that it is actually called as such. The concept of garden homes is quickly creeping into the local real estate industry. And why not? A tropical country, the Philippines is a suitable place to develop garden homes.

Origin of the garden home concept

‘Garden home’ is another term for patio home, an American classification of a housing type. The term has a suburban setting with shared landscaped features (in exchange of a monthly association fee for maintenance). The typical target market is those people who want to slash garden maintenance cost in their monthly household expenses.

Originally, patio homes are small in terms of lot area, replacing the backyard as patio. These homes can be constructed in rows with or without shared walls.

Garden home concept in the Philippines

The garden homes, as we know, has almost the same concept as patio homes. However, instead of the backyard, homeowners are sharing their front yards and the rest of the gated community, for instance. They also share common facilities including in-village parks, pocket gardens, sidewalks, etc. The homeowners are also paying a monthly maintenance fee for such.  

Also, garden home homeowners can still have their backyard that they can style and maintain by themselves. That’s because ownership is not limited to specific lot area. House structures are usually detached. There is also an ample provision of area for backyard gardening.

Benefits of living in a garden home community

Everyone wants to own a home. However, not every one of us realizes the benefit of owning a garden home. To live in a place close to nature is very different from living in a place that makes full use of the available spaces and convert them into nature-like facilities.

Essentially, it is ecologically healthy. Living in a community that allows its owners to commune with nature provides instant access to clean and fresh air and water. In fact, garden home communities promote healthy outdoor living.

There will be relaxing views everywhere when you go outside. Walking around the neighborhood will never a worrisome activity especially when you have your kids with you. This means you get to enjoy the indoors as well as the outdoors, that is, to immerse oneself with the natural wonders around him.

Most probably, this is the very reason property developers choose to construct garden homes that are within the natural setting. Homeowners can thereby maximize their natural surroundings at their disposal. Such a new living concept that does not degrade the homeowners of the conveniences while savoring the serenity of living closer to nature.

In the Philippines, there are wide options for gated communities. These communities offer the would-be homeowners the opportunity of enjoying the indoors and outdoors whether it’d be looking out the window, taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood or even jogging at night. Good thing, these developments are either in-city or near-city.  

Further, there are communities within a community wherein the goal is to cultivate community integration and build people-friendly structures that endow dwellers with a neighborhood that is full of interactions regardless of the lifestyles of the community members. The sub-communities are specifically built with providing a heightened sense of well-being in mind through the green spaces.

With all these, the concept of garden homes is one concept that is not very difficult to embrace. Nowadays, everyone’s into eco-living. This is one reason the concept is well-accepted in the Philippines. Again, why not? If it encourages vibrancy, diversity and a healthier living option for the Filipinos, then let’s embrace the concept tighter. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

3 Famous Bike Trails Near Manila

Mountain biking Philippines is common nowadays especially during weekends. Unsurprisingly, bike trails within the metro started to sprout. Within the metro, La Mesa Nature Reserve and UP Diliman are among the bikers’ favorites. However, if you been riding for a while and looking for more challenging trails and yet you don’t want to go far, then biking near Manila is the next best thing. Here are some of the famous bike trails just a few pedals away from the metropolis.

1) Timberland in San Mateo, Rizal

Timberland has SWIMBA-type bike trails. Some bikers call it the Maarat trail which was categorized into Timberland Basic, Timberland Blue, Timberland Green and Pestano. Of the four, Blue is the most famous. Timberland Blue is not the easiest trail to ride because of its flows, techs and bamboo bridges. For more experienced bikers, you can try the Wall, Antenna and Patiis trails. Biking up the Wall is a brutally fun ride, climbing up about 2 kilometers until you reach Timberland Clubhouse. 

Going there is easy. Turn to Commonwealth Avenue. Along the avenue are signs instructing you on how to go to Timberland Heights. Upon reaching the Sandiganbayan building, turn right. Turn right once more upon reaching Batasan. Go straight ahead to Timberland Heights.

2) Marilaque

Marilaque stands for Manila, Rizal, Laguna and Quezon. This expansive track is for those bikers who are itching to put on the miles. The best part is, after passing through Cogeo in lower Antipolo, you will enjoy the scenery especially from Boso-Boso to Tanay to Laguna.

There are many trails along the way a biker may get confused as to which one to take. Nonetheless, the best one is Sta. Ines. Part of Sta. Ines is in Antipolo, and another part is in Tanay. If you are riding from Antipolo, you need to ride along Marcos Highway and then, turn left at Sta. Ines Road. If you are coming from Tanay, you may bike along Boso-Boso Road and just turn right at Sta. Ines Road.

The trail ends at a waterfall. It will take about 20 kilometers from the main road to the falls. Along the way, you will need to cross shallow watercourses at least twelve times before you get there. Don’t ride if heavy rains are expected as flashfloods may occur.

3) Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna

Nuvali is a mixed-used development just 1 to 1.5 hours away from Metro Manila. Nuvali offers off-road and leisure biking. The first one is a 50-kilometer course intended for the pro. Nonetheless, for the beginners who enjoy the scenic view while biking, the second one is more appropriate. The leisure bike trail is only 30 kilometers in length.

Nuvali encourages bikers to bring their own bike especially for off-road biking. However, gears and bikes are available for rent (Php60/hour) within the premises. Leisure bikers will pass along the other attractions at Nuvali such as a man-made lake where you can feed kois and the sanctuary where you can do bird watching. You will also see lush greeneries and feel the cool air on your face while biking.

The environment is biker-friendly, and the trails are 100% newbie-friendly. You can go solo although bike tours can be arranged at the Fields Clubhouse. Registration is required at the Clubhouse.  

If you are seriously into mountain biking, why don’t you join local bikers’ groups. These groups organize both formal and informal rides. Some groups require a small membership fee, but that’s all worth it because you get to ride in different places within and outside Metro Manila. Anyhow, if you frequent Heroes Trail (Taguig), La Mesa, UP Diliman and Camp Aguinaldo trails, the three trails mentioned above will surely give you a boost to ride outside the metro.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

More Reasons Why You Should Join Running Events

Participating in running events has immense and long-term benefits. Even those who constantly join these events do not sure for sure what are the specific benefits of participating on such activities. Well, they join fun runs, for instance, because their friends ask them to join. At times, a club or association forces them to participate in the said activity. Would it be nice to know what you are running for exactly? Here are some of the reasons for joining these events.

1) Running events are for a good cause.

Many a times the activities are organized to support a great cause or advocacy. In some instances, the beneficiaries are the most vulnerable groups in our society. These are often the people, groups and communities who badly need seed funds, reinforcements and awareness. When you join, you are not only improving your physicality, but also are also contributing to a worthy cause.

2) Running events are great for bonding.

These events are fun because you get to do it with family, friends, co-workers, etc. Some events are even categorized into tandem and relay categories. Evidently, the fun part is not solely because of running together, but more in strategizing together to finish the race. Remember? Running is not all about winning, but finishing. READ SOMEWHERE: The family that runs together, stays together. Indeed.

3) Running events are complete with perks and freebies.

Upon paying the registration fee, you will be entitled to the custom-designed shirt and other running paraphernalia that the organizers prepare to come with the fee. That’s not all, however, because on race day itself, runners will be handed lots of freebies from water jugs to towels to slippers.

4) Running events are good for your health.

This should be the first, but for obvious reasons, it was put last. Running helps in building stronger bones and strengthening muscles. Aside from helping in maintaining a healthy weight, running also improves the person’s cardiovascular fitness. It raises the levels of good cholesterol and decreases that of the bad cholesterol. Running thereby improves the overall health.

Further, there are those who prefer to run alone since running is their ultimate ‘me’ time. Let me say that joining the events could be the best thing that a runner can do. Running along with co-runners instigate an overall improvement in one’s performance. Not to mention, running with others provide enduring companionship that running alone cannot necessarily provide. The motivation to run will not be there always. But knowing that others will be there to run with you, you’ll surely get yourself out the door quick.

Running activities are complete with a plethora of sub-events that can get the competitive juices continuously flowing. The moral support of your family and friends alone can be the unyielding difference that separates a great run from a good run despite competing with higher level runners than you are. The opportunity of running itself with the big wigs in the running community is a pride in itself. What more when you win the race? Even when you are not running to compete, the freedom of doing it whenever and wherever you want is enough motivation.

Each participant’s reason for running is diverse. Whatever your reason may be in wearing that trainers and hitting the trails, there are compelling reasons why running in group helps in making the running experience itself much better. Running is encouraged to improve one’s physical health. Nonetheless, it is one way of supporting an advocacy. The best part is you get to do it with your loved ones and each one of you will not go home empty handed.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

4 Most Common Eco-Friendly Wedding Themes

Sometimes, it is easier to choose a provider of catering in Manila, reception venue and wedding date than choosing your wedding theme. Don’t get me wrong, but the choices of wedding themes are endless. This cannot be said, however, when it comes to eco-friendly weddings. Forget about the headaches – here comes some of the most common green wedding themes.

1) Rustic

Rustic weddings tend to be very sentimental. These weddings are usually heartwarming, sweet and diverse. Rustic weddings are filled with character from textures to patterns to other intricate details. One common aspect of this wedding theme is natural organics such as twigs, dried leaves, barks and trees. There are also handmade wooden materials as well as lace, linen, plaid, burlap, checks and wool.

Some say that rustic weddings are not a trend or fad, but a style that every couple can pull off. Shabby chic is the most common yet less dominant theme.

2) Vintage

Vintage weddings are like out-of-this-modern-world wedding. These weddings take inspiration from the past century from the Victorian era to the 70’s and 80’s. The style depends on which era you choose. For instance, if you opt for a funky and retro style wedding of the 1950’s, make sure you have rock and roll, big skirts, ginger beers, lemonades, alcopops and of course, an Audrey Hepburn-inspired wedding gown.

These weddings are also nostalgic. Tulles and full skirts are frequently used. Candlesticks, tea cups and candelabras and bunting are also commonly used as décors. With all these, making a wedding more vintage is a matter of personal preferences.

Vintage weddings tend to be very glamorous and sophisticated that’s why some people mistaken vintage wedding as an expensive wedding. This is not always the case. In fact, there are many choices of vintage wedding at a fraction of the price. For these weddings, the flea markets are surely a go-to place.

3) Beach

Beach weddings are straightforward. Nonetheless, a beach wedding needs not be conducted on the shores. Anywhere in the resort property is okay. Beach weddings are for couples who do not want as much fuss and special issues that go with wedding preparations.

Beach weddings can be whimsical or goofy if you want. It can be also large or small and romantic. Beach weddings can be extremely private with just a few of your family and friends. Beach weddings are perfect for those couples who are looking to cut back on spending.

4) Garden

Garden weddings are typically held outdoors and on flower gardens. Like beach weddings, the goal is emphasizing the great outdoor setting, taking advantage of the sun, wind and anything natural and the particular playfulness that comes with them. Garden weddings are very versatile as well since they can be thrifty or opulent.

Garden weddings can be anywhere that the couples choose which may include a nicely groomed backyard. The premise is that the setting itself becomes the picturesque backdrop of the wedding. The trees, the flower, the grass… everything!

What is good about these wedding themes is the opportunity of combining any of the two to come up with your dream wedding theme. For instance, you can have a garden rustic style shabby chic wedding. Bear in mind that weddings are highly subjective and personalized which means you can integrate as many relevant and related elements if you want.

No matter which environmentally-friendly wedding theme you choose, don’t forget to reflect your personalities. Your wedding should be an extension of who you truly are. After all, a wedding is all about the two of you who are tying the knot to become one. With this, your wedding will surely be remembered!

Sources: | | |

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Health Benefits of Riding a Hot Air Balloon

Yes, you read it right. Just when you thought that riding a hot air balloon is for pure fun only, think again. Perhaps, you are having seconds thoughts of going to the 2015 Hot Air Balloon Festival Pampanga. But after reading this, those second thoughts of yours will surely disappear.

Hot air ballooning is an immersive experience wherein the riders can get themselves involved in the entire experience. Some of the activities that any rider can join in are the inflating and deflating of the balloons. Blowing a hot air balloon is not easy, and what more when it comes to sending it skywards? Any help will be much appreciated by the administrator. In fact, by just helping out with these activities, you may burn up to 391 calories. Not bad, right?

Inflating the hot air balloon

Before the balloon soars up into the sky, lots of work should be done first. For instance, unpacking the balloon from its case is no easy task as well as rolling it out to the ground to its full length. Balloon passengers may help by unfolding the balloon envelope for it to form its full shape. Depending on the shape and weight of the balloon, about two to three people might be needed. They will hold open the balloon’s neck to position it to fill the balloon with air. Afterwards, the pilot will turn the burner on and heat up the air. The balloon will begin inflating.

Deflating the hot air balloon

Upon landing, the excess air must be squeezed out to get it ready for packing. Passengers are encouraged to roll on top of the balloon while letting it lay on the ground to let the excess air out. Importantly, all the air must be squeezed out so that the balloon will fold neatly inside the storing bag. These bags are usually small you might think that the balloon will never fit inside it. Folding it properly is the key. The truth is, it is so easy to underestimate how big a hot air balloon is especially if you only get to see them from afar. 

These two activities – inflating and deflating – require lots of energy. Participating in them is not a requirement, but highly encouraged. Ask any hot air balloon pilot, and he or she would certainly prefer the passengers to experience them so that they’d get a real feel of this mode of aviation.

While in the air

There are not much energy to use while up in the sky. This does not mean, however, that you are not getting any health benefits while adrift. Not true. The fresh air alone has immense benefits. For one, it improves any individual’s state of mind, leaving that individual less lethargic yet more energetic. The feeling of getting closer to the sky will also make you happier especially knowing that not all has the privilege of riding a hot air balloon and going that far.

Did you know that the amount of your happy hormone (scientifically known as serotonin) in the body is directly affected by the amount and quality of oxygen you inhale? Air quality is high in the sky, and such quality improves as you soar higher skywards. This is perhaps the reason those patients suffering from high blood pressure are encouraged to ride a hot air balloon every once in a while. In inhaling cleaner air, this means that your body need not work as hard for it to get the oxygen it actually needs.

A hot air balloon ride is not only an amazing experience waiting to happen. Aside from the magnificent view, it endows you with a gentle exercise and the fresh air that your body badly needs. So, a hot air balloon ride… anyone?

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding an Eco-Friendly Office Space for Rent in the Philippines

In establishing and projecting a professional image, a professional environment is required more so for frequent meetings with prospective clients. Regrettably, there are pitfalls to finding and renting office spaces that you should avoid as much as possible. Consider the following factors when choosing eco-friendly office space for rent Philippines.

Logically, finding the most appropriate office space is not without difficulties. What more if your office is an active figure in the green movement? There are not as many choices when it comes to finding environmentally-friendly offices. Here’s a simple SPACE test to guide you in the finding the right office.

S – Savings

Savings on the rental costs is possible. For instance, you may start by negotiating the upfront deposit especially if you are going to pay a year’s lease in advance. You can save further by opting for office spaces with ready-to-work workstations equipped with the required furnishing and equipment. The best office space is the one that takes care of the maintenance services.

Nonetheless, you can save more if the office rental business prioritizes energy-efficient systems. For example, there are not many elevators in the office building since it promotes the use of stairs. Some eco-friendly office has stairs logistically facing the open spaces or overlooking greeneries.

P – Productivity

Traditional offices help in bolstering staff’s motivation, drive and productivity. Telecommute is an ideal way to save on overhead costs. However, if you prefer to have your staff in-house, then might as well choose an office that can contribute greatly to the staff productivity.

Anyhow, working in a green office and environment alone can boost the productivity levels of the staff. A research showed that employees working in an eco-friendly company are 16% more productive than those working in a conventional firm.   

A – Address

Office address in locations like Makati establishes prestige. However, setting up the corporate office in this location may be cost-prohibitive. Alternatively, you can choose cheaper locations but bring the same level of prestige. Just make sure that the location is still accessible to your prospects and clients, so they too can shrink their carbon footprint. On the other hand, make sure that the services that your business needs and will need in the future are also close to your location.

A great example is Evotech in Nuvali Laguna. Nuvali is an eco-community with mixed-use purposes. Laguna is known for its techno-parks and Evotech is not an exemption. Thus, Evotech is an ideal place for business process outsourcing and information technology/information technology-enabled services (IT/ITES) companies.

C – Clauses

Office rental businesses have their respective stipulations. As always, when renting, read the fine print before signing the lease contract. Make sure that you understand each and every clause in the contract.
Going back to the previous example, Nuvali, specifically Lakeside Evozone, is a PEZA zone. PEZA stands for Philippine Economic Zone Authority. There are certain design restrictions that must be followed diligently if you want to be eligible for tax exemptions. Yes, that’s more savings for you!

E – Expansion

In the future, you might need to expand the office space. Determine if this is allowed or not. Make sure that there are provisions for expansion otherwise you might need to transfer to a new location. Oppositely, if you need to downsize, make sure that the office rental management allows sub-leasing the excess spaces.

Renting an eco-friendly office space not only raises your business profile. Instead, it lets other stakeholders know of your business advocacies early on. It highlights the fact that you mean business and yet without causing too much strain on Mother Earth. Nonetheless, it should be a genuine commitment on your part; not just for show off!

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Creative Ideas to Perk Up Your Wedding

Traditions are fine until they get boring. Weddings can be generic and predictable. But why would you want your wedding to be ‘typical’ when it can be extravagant altogether – from the theme to wedding catering – ? ‘Extravagant’ doesn’t mean pricey in this context, but rather and exceptional and inimitable that makes your guests rave about your wedding days after it occurred.

Here are some fascinating, almost-quirky ideas to make your wedding the next talk of the town. And hey, some of the ideas are really eco-friendly! Of course, you don’t want your carbon footprints to add up, right?

1) Have your guests write their wishes and remarks on plates or tablecloths and used them during special occasions in the future like your first anniversary instead of the usual guest book.

2) Pick a particularly special start time of the wedding ceremony like 4:37 which is the exact time you said yes to his proposal.

3) Have your bridesmaids carry a special bouquet made from their most favorite native flowers and then combine all their favorite flowers into your own bouquet.

4) Mass transport your guests from the church to the reception such as through a hot air balloon ride or horse-drawn carriage, if logistically possible.

5) Create a custom ‘Welcome Bag’ stuffed with a guest’s favorites from mini bottles of bubbly or gift certificates to a local spa or shop.

6) Ask your florist to set up a DIY station with all the needed supplies like blooms, ribbons and pins and have your guests create their own corsage and boutonniere. Local blooms only.

7) Arrange a room for the kids complete with snacks, drinks, pillows, blankets, toys, etc., and of course a babysitter or two.

8) Set up a bubbly bar full of in-season fruit purees, citrus twists and even flavored ice cubes where your guests can customize their champagne before the toast.

9) Set up a video booth instead of a photo booth where the guests can record their messages and wishes to both of you.

10)  Revolutionize the reception with creative up-lighting such as falling snow or leaves, geometric patterns or pictures of you together to transform the plain walls into something worth-staring at.

11) Create a wedding website, regularly update the site including details of the planning and integrate some social media widgets on it so visitors can share, like or tweet the updates. What a great way to save papers and trees!

12) Organize a pre-wedding camp or field day for the entourage so they’d get acquainted with one another before the big day.

13)  Put a line that read ‘Wanna Dance? What Song?’ on the RSVP card and let them pick up to three songs.

14) Have your grandmothers as your flower girls or you may even have your grandfathers escort them.

15) Imitate your love story on the aisle runner where every guest can have a glimpse on how you two started dating.

16) Decorate the comfort rooms with your childhood photos and remember the wackier, the better.

17) Have your guests dive face-first on a foot-long ice cream parade in various flavors or banana split.

18) Have the guests leave a message for both of you and let them put it into your anniversary piñata.

19) Create countdown signs and post them on your official Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page daily. Again, cut down on paper usage!

20) Style the aisle runner with photos, texts, flowers or any objects that reflect both of your personalities instead of plain white or red carpet. DIY is great.

21) Imprint table numbers on jars or boxes containing your favorite snacks that can hold the guests until the arrival of the main course.

22) Provide the guests with markers and stamps and ask them to encircle a word in the dictionary that best describes you as newlyweds.

23) Give reception tables their own nicknames such as places you’ve visited together when you became a couple.

24) Order a wedding cake in multiple tiers with different flavors on each tier and have your guests take a piece of their preferred tier. Alternatively, have a fruit-bowl-like wedding cake!

25) Held a trivia quiz about the two of you and present the persons that give the right answers with a unique gift like a gardening kit.

26) Create a wedding video that spans from the preparation to the reception and beyond.

Some weddings can get pretty boring and predictable, but not yours. You can pick any of these enthralling wedding ideas. Whichever you choose though, remember that a wedding is all about creativity and individuality – two ingredients that make any wedding truly standout. 

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Monday, September 15, 2014

And the Green Wedding of the Year Awards Goes to... Brangelina!

We can only envy Angie since she didn’t stress herself out in preparing her wedding. Unlike most of the brides-to-be here in the Philippines, we think A LOT whether to hire a catering service in Manila or a catering Alabang; whether to have the wedding rites at Our Lady of Remedies, San Agustin Church or Binondo Church; whether to have the reception at Palaciode Maynila, Kaisa Heritage Center or The Atrium at Bulwagang Recoletos and more.

Leave it to Brangelina (Brad Pitt + Angelina Jolie) for having such a small yet ‘grand’ wedding! Well, it is not the Hollywood ‘grand’ that we are talking about with A-listers on the guest list, but just the grandness of how everything was put together. Indeed, it deserves the ‘Green Wedding of the Year Award’ if there is such a thing. Everyone’s talking about it soon after everyone learned the two are dating, but the wedding is not your traditional wedding. In fact, it will never be ordinary. Below are the details.

The flowers

There were no floral arrangements although there were pink oleander bloom petals which the flower girls threw in just before Angie walk down the aisle.

Angelina carried an informal bouquet made from wild flowers freshly picked out of the garden. Her bouquet includes sweetly scented white valerian. The bouquet also has oleander leaves.

The gown

Created by Luigi Massi of Atelier Versace, Angie has a very distinctive concept in her mind. She wanted her wedding gown to be a reflection of her family that she had already built with Brad long before their special day. The hand-designed antique lace and silk gown and veil became a huge canvas that showcased the creativity of her kids. Pictures of zebras, drum kits and Eiffel tower were featured on the gown.

Her something borrowed was a small gold locket with her mom’s pic on it.

As for Brad, he wore a suit straight from his closet. Yes, it is not even new. He also borrowed a tie from one of his sons since he forgot to pack one for him.

As for the kids, the four boys donned cream linen black suits. Shiloh wore shorts and a hat. Zahara wore an Adama Kebe-designed outfit while Vivienne wore a little white dress she has been seen on a couple of times before the wedding day.

The party

The bridal party is rather small. Their eldest sons Maddox and Pax walked with Angeline side-by-side down the aisle. Zahara and Vivienne were the flower girls. Knox and Shiloh were the ring bearers. If you are asking, yes, it happened. One of the ring bearers accidentally dropped the wedding ring on the floor.

The ring

Jeweler Robert Procop, who designed the couple’s engagement ring, also designed the wedding bands. The 16-carat emerald-cut diamond ring worth $500,000 was created based on Brad’s designs with distinctive facets and elongated shapes complete with a galaxy of smaller graduated stones.

A long-time friend and collaborator, Procop only sources his gold, platinum and gemstones from conflict-free areas specifically from Kimberley Process Certification Scheme-compliant countries.

It took one year to finish the ring. The media dubbed the ring as the diamond ring that launched a thousand tabloid covers!

The church

Angie and Brad wed at a chapel at Chateau Miraval, an eco-friendly estate owned by the couple found in an ancient village in Correns, France. Correns is regarded as the very first organic village in the country.

Angie entered the chapel to the tune of Brad and their children’s and the guests humming of ‘Here Comes the Bride.’ The wedding march was played on the newlywed’s way out.

The vows

Their six children helped in writing their respective wedding vows. They enlisted their help to ensure that all the words are extra special and personal.

The reception

The 1,000-acre estate features a lake, lush forestry, olive trees and vineyards. It is also equipped with an indoor pool, gyms and a spa. This is the same house where Brad proposed to Angelina in March 2012.

The food

There were only a total of 23 people present at the über-intimate wedding. Angie had her actor brother, James Haven and the rest were from Brad’s side. The guests were served with home-cooked meals. The delicious menu used only the freshest, locally-grown ingredients such as sea bass. They drank wine prepared at Brad’s personal vineyard.

The cake

Pax baked the wedding cake with the help of some of his friends. It was baked on the premise itself.

Brangelina decided to tie the knot in what we call a categorically understated, super relaxed ceremony. This is not what everybody expects, but it only shows how committed the two to their advocacies. To sum it up: The global eco-village community will never forget August 23!

Source: Ecouterre | Glamour Magazine UK | US Magazine Weekly | Global Cool

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Eco-Friendly Wedding Invitation Ideas

There’s a lot of things going in the mind of the bride – wedding date, wedding gown, wedding invites, wedding catering, etc. Of all these though, invitations should not be much of a problem. For any ethical wedding, an eco-friendly invitation is a must. Here are some of the eco-friendliest ideas for the invitation.

1) Recycled paper

This is a no-brainer. You can gather unused papers at home and work. You can even ask your friends to give you some of theirs if it is okay with them. Surely, it will be. That is, if you want to make your own invitations. Aside from the papers, you only need to buy embellishments and a calligraphy pen.

Alternatively, you can buy recycled papers on your local supplies store or even online. There are lots of choices online, and you can even match the colors to the overall theme of the wedding. Again, that is, if you are going to DIY.

If not, pre-made recycled invites are also available. You can customize the invitations to be uniquely yours for a small fee. Some vendors don’t even require a customization fee. Some even include the envelope for the price of $1 per invite for flat, single colored invitations.

If you don’t want a pre-made invitation, most vendors have in-house designers. They will create digital proofs based on your requirements for you to approve. If you are happy with the proof, then you can place your order. Final approval comes next prior to printing.

Of course, it will be printed on recycled papers as per your instruction using equally green ink. An example is soy-based ink. While the ink takes a while to dry, the benefits are all worth it. For instance, soy-based ink releases only about 2 to 4% of volatile compounds.

If you are buying from an ethical shop, chances are, the ink that they are using are also environmentally-friendly. Better ask the provider to make sure.

2) Plantable papers

Plantable papers are embedded with native seeds which, obviously, can be planted. This is the current trend when it comes to green wedding as it is a unique way to let others know of your advocacy. It can also be a great remembrance of your wedding day.

Online shops that offer plantable wedding invitations are continuously growing in numbers. Some vendors sell on a per piece basis (as low as $5 per invite) and in bulk ($250 per 50 pieces). The price is for premium seed papers. Most vendors also include a plain envelope for bulk orders.

3) Paperless

In reducing your wedding footprint, you might as well create a digital wedding invite. Facebook is a good place for a temporary web page, but you may want to consider a wedding website of your own – one that concentrates on the event itself.

Here’s the good news. Online is a myriad of free website building tools. It may be in the form of a blog where you can document and publish wedding details as they progress.

Apart from being free, there are other perks of creating your very own wedding website. The site allows the to-be-weds like you to put everything in one place – galleries, registry, map, etc. You can also create a page as your digital invite that you can send or share directly to your friends’ email inbox. In this way, your friends can simply an RSVP confirmation email back.

It is with great honor, pride, excitement and anticipation to receive a wedding invitation. What more when it comes to receiving chic, rustic invitation that speaks volume of what you truly care about as a person? Evidently, eco-invites need not be expensive. Sometimes, the meaning behind the invites itself is more than enough; it’s priceless!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Maximize Your Condo's Balcony For the Ultimate Green Experience

Whenever you see a sign saying ‘DMCI condo for sale,’ what comes to your mind first? Do you often think of a cramped place with nowhere to put your favorite plant in? Not so, because condominiums have terraces suitable for a mini vegetable garden. You never had to sacrifice a green experience with these simple tips.


Container gardening is the most popular terrace garden. Of course, you will need a container or two depending on how wide your balcony is. Wooden boxes, plastic buckets and clay pots are just some of your choices. You should only use high-quality containers with 8 inches depth and 6 inches diameter dimensions. Match the container size to the available space.

Any plant that can be easily transplanted is great. Optionally, germinating seed indoors like the way you would with backyard growing is possible. When the vegetable plants are ready, just transplant them to the container.


Almost all vegetable plants that can be planted on a backyard can be also planted on your condo’s terrace. Vegetables such as eggplant, tomato, parsley, green onion, lettuce, cucumber and herbs can thrive on containers given the right conditions.

If you are planning to plant beans, squash or tomato, you should use wooden tubs or bushel baskets. These are better gardening supplies for bigger plants.  


When planting on container gardens, you might as well use synthetic soils as growing mediums. They are the best for container plants as they are made of peat moss, sawdust, wood chips, perlite, vermiculite and other such planting media. The goal is having a lightweight, loose mixture of soil media so the roots of your vegetables will get the right water and air balance.

The rule of thumb is one part soil, one part gravel and one part moistened peat moss. If you are going to buy packaged soil from your local gardening centers, they usually contain more peat so you may only need to add coarse gravel or vermiculite. Compost may be also added for extra nutrients for the plants.


Container gardens need adequate drainage. Put drainage holes on the container, if they don’t have any. Before putting the soil though, you may fill the bottom with coarse gravel to improve drainage for your vegetable plants. Line the pot bottoms with newspaper.


Do not forget to water your vegetables once the container garden is settled on the balcony. Watering is the biggest concern when maintaining the container garden. Containers dry out pretty quickly. Watering once a day every day though is enough. Water thoroughly without disturbing surface roots. You may also add water-absorbing polymers, so you need not water more frequently especially if you have bigger vegetable plants.

When it rains, and your veranda has no roof, there is no need to water them. Even when your balcony has roof above, make sure that direct sunlight is abundant. You may move the container around the balcony if you have to. Porous containers such as wood or clay will need more water compared to metal and plastic.

You may also add water-soluble fertilizers. Don’t over-fertilize the plants, however. Nitrogen fertilizers are highly suitable for green, leafy vegetables. For fruits and flowering plants, phosphorous fertilizer is more suitable.


The balcony garden may eventually yield a good amount of veggies on condition that they are getting plenty of sunlight and water. Vegetables grow best when in full sunlight. Make sure that the plants receive at least 4 hours of direct sunlight. Fruiting vegetables need more, say 10 hours a day. You may just follow the sunlight path around.

You’d know the plants are ready for harvesting. However, harvest them when they at their peak of ripeness for the best tasting veggies.

Nowadays, more and more people are moving into condominiums. If you think condos lack the land for gardening, think again. Terraces, aside from rooftops, can be converted into a vegetable garden. Growing veggies on your balcony is not difficult at all. In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to green your condo. Simply follow the simple soil and container rules noted above for a flourishing balcony vegetable garden. 

C’mon and unleash the urban gardener in you!

Finding Eco-Friendly Wedding Gowns

If you are planning a green wedding in Manila, Philippines, the catering and venue are the very last thing that you should stress yourself with. There are hundreds of catering providers locally. Hizon’s Catering, which is the best wedding caterer in the Philippines, for instance, can match events with ideal venues whether it’d be a catering in Manila or nearby provinces and whether it will be an all-organic feast or not. Hizon’s is accredited to over 250 world-class venues.

What you should stress yourself about is your wedding gown. In the US, the choices of eco-friendly wedding gown designers are limited. What more in the Philippines?

The dilemma

We are talking about green weddings here, and one aspect of such is reducing the price and buying an item that can be recycled or reused. Regardless though, every bride wants to look ravishing on her wedding day. This means finding the best gown that fits your earth-friendly lifestyle.

There are many international designers, but again their costs may be too high for a green wedding. There are also local designers who cater to your requirements, but be reminded that they do not specialize in green wedding gowns. If you are going to have the gown made from scratch, be prepared financially since the cost may go up to $2,000 or even more.

Fundamentally, you can always buy online such as from Etsy although you must have a way to take a ‘good look’ at it somehow to establish the fit otherwise you have to return and have the wedding gown shipped in the Philippines again, a costly process definitely.

The solutions

All brides have their own styles, and some have their own eco-style to look for. If you are from another part of the world, the best way to ensure you can wear an eco-couture wedding gown is to buy abroad and hand-carry or have it shipped here.

There are eco-couture designers who consistently launch their collections of eco-friendly wedding gowns. Also, designers such as Chris Kole, Adele Wechsler, Justin Alexander, Katherine Feiel, Tara Lynn, Pure Magnolia and Wai Ching also accommodate custom wedding gown. Most of the designers also offer wedding gowns for as low as $100. Some even rent brand new wedding dresses.  

The wedding gowns are local and handmade. The environmentally-friendliest wedding gowns are made from organic hemp or silk, organic cotton, bamboo silk, vegetable dyed silks and with organic design elements. Some designers use vintage or remnant fabrics for their individually hand-cut gowns.

Some of the designers also offer alterations of used wedding gowns. If designer prices, which can go anywhere $500 to $3,000, are not in your scheme of things, you can start the search through prowling the local thrift stores or consignment shops. Just remember when buying vintage dresses, it is wise to go for bigger dresses than smaller ones if you want it altered. Alterations are usually around $40 to $60.

After the wedding, if you want to repurpose your wedding gown, you can donate it to Brides Against Breast Cancer or I Do Foundation. The foundation will sell or auction your gown, and the proceeds will go straight to the foundation’s advocacy funds.

Further, the search for your green wedding attire doesn’t stop at finding the perfect wedding gown. Of course, you also need to find the right pair of shoes to go with your dress. Some options for eco-worthy wedding shoes are Moshops, Beyond Skin and Olsen Haus. The shoes and sandals are perfect for any wedding. The best part is the shoes can be used over and over on various occasions.

Sometimes, weddings are not about where you want to marry, but more about how you want your wedding to be remembered. Not all couples-to-be are bold enough to have their weddings as earth-friendly as they want it to be. Unfortunately, you need to bring with you your organic wedding gown to the Philippines if you want to marry here since the choices of eco-designers are limited. Anyhow, bringing your gown or having it shipped here in the Philippines is easy-peasy.   

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