Remembering Spring in Taiwan


April, indeed, is the best time to go to Taiwan and experience spring. Remembering last year’s travel to North of Taiwan – nice and cool climate that envelope the beautiful foliage of Taipei all the way to the country’s northernmost coasts.

Apart from good food and friendly locals, Taiwan is also one of the cleanest places to go to.

P L A C E S   E X P L O R E D  //

Yonghe District
Lehua Night Market
Taipei 101
Shiding District
Shengkeng Old Street
Beitou Thermal Valley
Bagua Tea Plantation
Yangmingshan National Park
Shimen District
Guanyinshan North Coast
Baishawan Beach
Feng Zhi Men Bike Trail
Linshan Cape


*** Updating this post soon for more of this Taiwan travel story! ***



A lash paradise party of pinks and rose golds



Clumps, flakes, smudges – every eyelash mascara junkie hates which could typically destroy ones’ makeup. When out and about, sporting a long, noticeable and dark lashes makes a whole lot of difference to an overall look. Sometimes, it could be worth skipping eyeshadows or liners. Though the quest for volumized, long, and comfortable lashes could be complicated and can make navigating the beauty aisles a challenge. This time, ladies can finally try the one mascara that could solve the messy problems as the sought-after mascara in the US is brought to the Philippines!


Pinks and rose golds theme



Makeup station for guests


Ms Girlie Uy doing my makeup

On March 15, beauty bloggers, influencers, makeup artists and friends from the media in their pink kimono robes had a lovely afternoon filled with cheese and champagnes, poke bowls, cotton candies, pink desserts, spa treatments and most specially, makeup sessions while having their first dibs on the Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara.


Champagnes while waiting for the sunset


Luscious pink dessert bar


Unicorn of your palate’s dreams

L’Oréal Paris, the global leader in cosmetics, announces the arrival of Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, the best-selling mascara in USA that sold one in every eight seconds.

Famed for its easy to glide formula that gives women volumized, feathery soft and light lashes, this highly coveted mascara offers a sensorial experience with every swipe. It provides silky volume in one coat that won’t flake, clump, or smudge. Thanks to its 24HR long-wearing and waterproof features. After all, nothing enhances your look better than the classic long and volumized lashes! Apart from its amazingly innovative formula, Lash Paradise also comes with a feathery-soft wavy brush with 200+ bristles. The applicator is designed to hold maximum product and smoothly coat your lashes from root to end for a stunning lash effect.






Beauty bloggers, influencers, makeup artists and friends from the media being dolled up and having their first dibs on the new mascara



A vanity party with guests wearing pink kimono robes



Spa time after the makeup sessions

The mascara in a pretty millennial rose gold tube had underwent a consumer test in the USA, with 91% seeing an intense and volumized effect lashes, 98% lengthening effect, and 87% agreeing to having more beautiful lashes. With the arrival of Lash Paradise in the Philippines, women no longer need to worry about finding a quick perfect preen for their lashes.

It is available in the Blackest Black shade. Lash Paradise is definitely the ideal product for women who want it all – long, volumized, and feathery soft and light lashes that lasts all day. Ladies definitely won’t bat an eyelash with keeping one in their purse!


The new Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara


Available on Lazada starting March 19, and in L’Oréal counters in April for only P500 (P400 for promo price), you can #TakeYourLashesToParadise with L’Oréal Paris’ Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara.




Champion Bag & Columbia Year of Toughness 2018 Planner




  1. Follow this blog and our Instagram page
  2. Subscribe to Hoppiepolla’s Youtube channel
  3. Like our Facebook page
  4. Tag your friends in the main Facebook post of Rustan’s ActiveWear launch
  5. Share away!

The raffled winner will get:

  1. Champion Sweat Bag
  2. Columbia Year of Toughness Planner 2018

*** shipping to be shouldered by the winner (P60 within Metro Manila and P120 for outside Metro Manila)



Rustan’s ActiveWear Now Open: Fitness is the new lifestyle!

Wonder why your social media never skips a feed on celebrities doing cross-fit trainings, friends on 32km-runs and people discovering keto diets? A lot of new fitness centers and training grounds have also sprung lately in several areas in the metro. Being fit and healthy is not just a thing, it is now becoming a way of life.

At Rustan’s ActiveWear, the concept of wellness goes beyond being fit—it is also about feeling happy, pumping up the adrenaline, and enjoying experiences that promote good health and well-being.

Hoppiepolla-Features_180301_Rustans-ActiveWear_09Miss Universe Philippines 2017 Rachel Peters joining in the cardio workout dance

Rustan’s has just launched their own retail outlet for fitness enthusiasts, athletes and the activewear fashion buffs. Mizuno, Asics and New Balance are top brands tested for their workout shoes – designed for power, mobility and stability, while Adidas and Under Armour offer a wide range of sporty apparel and accessories.


Rustan’s ActiveWear first store at Ground Floor, Rustan’s Makati

Ladies who are into stretching and meditation exercises such as yoga, pilates, and alike, will now find plenty of options to move with ease and comfort while looking good and confident. Prana, Maaji and Atsui have also placed their racks of swoon-worthy active wear silhouettes, full of character and style. Pair these apparels with Certified Calm’s lines of back packs, yoga accessories, and exercise mats that are not only travel-friendly but sustainable, too.



Accessorize with Oakleys’s sports sunglasses and stay hydrated with S’well or Alladin’s water bottles, track your best time with Garmin and lift up moods with tunes while on a workout with in-ear headphones from Audio Technica, Skullcandy and Philips.

Champion, Quiksilver and Roxy are also some of the options for those who love training outdoors and go for swim-and-surf adventures. While Columbia and The North Face keep you protected and well covered with their apparel and accessories.




Games and activities headed by Bubbles Paraiso and Phoemela Baranda





Ruffa Gutierrez also sporting her cardio attire


Rustan’s ActiveWear partners with SaladStop! to promote a healthier lifestyle


Guilt-free snacks after the cardio dance workout



Rustan’s ActiveWear opens its first branch at Ground Level of Rustan’s Makati where they invite shoppers to enjoy special offers and discounts. There will also be door prizes during the event where everyone gets an ActiveWear Voucher valid from March 5 to June 30, 2018. The voucher entails holders to Php500.00 off for a one-time minimum purchase of Php5,000.00 from Rustan’s ActiveWear.




Just some of the items you can get at Rustan’s ActiveWear launch when you join in the easy games and activities

For the launch of Rustan’s ActiveWear, Rustan’s invites shoppers for a weekend of health and fitness on March 2 to 4 at the Ground Level of Rustan’s Makati. Enjoy special offers and discounts on brands like New Balance, Under Armour, Certified Calm, Skull Candy, and many others during the same weekend. Visit the brands’ areas and win special prizes with fun fitness games.

More than just a consumer trend, health and wellness should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle. Be active, energize, stretch and simply have fun being active!

For more information, visit





  1. Follow this blog and our Instagram page
  2. Subscribe to Hoppiepolla’s Youtube channel
  3. Like our Facebook page
  4. Tag your friends in the main Facebook post of Rustan’s ActiveWear launch
  5. Share away!

The raffled winner will get:

  1. Champion Sweat Bag
  2. Columbia Year of Toughness Planner 2018

*** shipping to be shouldered by the winner (P60 within Metro Manila and P120 for outside Metro Manila)



Pursuit of Best Cafes // Muntinlupa PH: Steamyard Coffee






Steam Yard Coffee and Community is an establishment in Muntinlupa City, owned and run by siblings JM Madla and Michelle Madla who both share a vision–to make specialty coffee in a place that’s honest, casual and above all, easy to be in. Living in the south, from malls to villages, there’s plenty of good coffee shops–shabby, cozy, delicious. But there’s nothing like Steam Yard which is true to its form in serving third wave coffee. They trust local brew; their coffee is 100% locally grown, sourcing out the finest beans from all over the country, supporting coffee farmers in Benguet, Mountain Province, and South Cotabato. The store also houses and promotes established and emerging online brands, thus collaborating with local online stores creating a concept store.

Their goal is to serve coffee with an ethical core. A cup of coffee deliciously brewed can be a real morning delight for all when paying for it contributes towards securing better returns to the farmers who grow it. By educating their customers and themselves, they connect their consumers directly to the communities and individuals who produce their coffee.


Michelle Madla, one of the owners of Steamyard Coffee

The Philippines is one of the few countries that produce the four main viable coffee varieties: Arabica, Liberica (Barako), Excelsa and Robusta, although 90% of the coffee produced in the country is Robusta. They have studied the country’s coffee industry by visiting coffee farms, building relationships with suppliers and farmers, understanding their needs, and appreciating the crop more.



They source their local coffees from Benguet, Mountain Province, and South Cotabato


Banana chips sourced locally

The Store

Modern industrial interiors of black and wooden, exposed beams and cables, with generous lighting from hanging edison bulbs. Unlike a usual busy wall of graffiti and artworks, the owners opted for plain white thus drawing attention to different merchandise as the design element.



Modern industrial/rustic interiors


Interesting for-the-love-of-coffee items


Brew bar


Minimalist menu


A selection of dairy and caffeinated drinks and juices for perfect pairings


Their cakes and pastries complement your choice of coffee, tea or juices



For those who need a slap on the face, it’s best to order their signature drinks. Their Red Eye Cold Brew is an over-ice 12-hour brewed coffee with add-ons to customize your cold brew experience: espresso shot, milk, and sugar syrup. It is intense, refreshing, and definitely a pleasure to try. They also have Iced Shaken Black Tea (black tea, honey, espresso shot) for those who’d like to have double dose of caffeine of coffee and tea.


Red Eye Cold Brew

For milk lovers, they recommend cappuccino, latte, and flat white infused with dark chocolate syrup.



Steam Yard recommends anything from Brew Bar wherein your cuppa will be freshly brewed in front of you to complete the experience. Their brewing method includes Hario V60, Aeropress, Woodneck Dripper and French Press.


Brewing Method: Hario V60
Type of Beans: Arabica
Origin (Region): Mt. Matutum, South Cotabato
Tasting Notes: nutty, chocolatey


Baristas in Steam Yard are very knowledgeable about offerings. Coffee drinker or not, they also know what drink complements your choice of food or pastry.


Barako Muffin, Braso De Mercedes, Blueberry Cheesecake, Mango Cheesecake, Latte and Red Cold Brew


Their lattes are always served with double espresso shots


Mango Cheesecake, one of the best sellers

Main Course Meals

Their menu is not limited to handcrafted coffees and specialty pastries. They also have main course meals that are also a must-try.


Pandan Liempo. The dipping sauce is the key!


Beef Sirlion. Tender and savoury


Pasta Negra. Squid ink pasta with heaps of Parmesan cheese, toasted garlic and chicharon


Spicy Chicken Rendang. Chicken wings and noodles with sauce of mixed ground spices and coconut milk, sprinkled with ground chillies

Local Sellers

There’s an area where several merchandise from various local online sellers are displayed. They believe that most successful company efforts are collaborative by definition. By dedicating a space in their shop, online sellers can showcase their products and bring them closer to their target community. Combining an online store with a physical shop can be very effective. Brand partners can use the rich data e-commerce to encourage shoppers to visit their physical stores or pop-up shops.


Find interesting stuffs inside the store while waiting for your coffee to brew!


Steam Yard Coffee and Community is located at 49 National Rd. Brgy. Putatan, Muntinlupa City, Philippines

Steam Yard Coffee & Community provides a sanctuary for coffee enthusiasts and online shoppers where people can get together and figure out common interests and needs. Apart from serving good food and coffee, it is an honest and casual environment putting online shop partners, coffee roasters, local farmers and baristas at the frontline.
Instagram: @steamyardph


City Food Crawl // Your Local


Your Local Restaurant in Legaspi Village, Makati City


Your Local is a hardly noticeable small restaurant in Legaspi Village, Makati. While walking along Esteban St. from corner V.A. Rufino St. you cannot just depend on your Google or Waze locator to find the door to the restaurant. Though their humble signage can be seen if you look further up while walking.


During the day it is a serious industrial looking place. After working hours, it transforms into a cozy cocktails hub and speakeasy bar catering mostly yuppies in the area looking for a relaxation after a day’s work.




A great place to hold meetings, simple lunch or tête-à-têtes with colleagues.


The kitchen is exposed where one can watch how food is being cooked and prepared. A different perspective too for drinkers by the bar.


The restaurant’s unique branding shows off some pieces of industrial and retro elements.


Interiors of mostly blacks, whites, and few reds. Old-fashioned tiles, exposed beams and pipes and enamel porcelain cups that gave a retro look.


Repurposed old aluminum ladder transformed into a unique book shelf. Really industrial!


Steel bars never looked engaging until this restaurant made a wine cellar out of it.



A no-fuss menu offering mostly cocktails, beers, and wines. The resto has few food options but are delicately curated by Chef Denny Antonino and Nicco Santos to give their unique renditions of Asian flavors.


Steak Fried Rice  P740

150g Korean spiced Sher Wagyu, sunny side up eggs, fresh herbs on shiitake fried rice.


According to the waiter, this is by far their best-seller. I was enticed by the presentation and colors and quite surprised with how big the serving was. I love the flavor each ingredient brings, but my take is, the intensity of flavors altogether is just too much for the taste buds to handle. With a big serving like this, textures too need to play it’s role very well to avoid the “umay” factor. Less the oil from the egg and sauces and the too-soggy texture of the rice, this dish is excellent!


Chorizo Burger  P490

1/3 pound burnt onion and chorizo patty, pepperoncini cream cheese, fried egg, seasonal greens, on a squid ink bun (thus the black bun). with parmesan fries and truffled ketchup alongside.

Chorizo “Black” Burger is for me a biggest hit.  The patty is perfectly spiced and herbed which compliments the unique squid ink flavor of the bread. While the fries brings an extra gentle break on the palate from all the rumble of flavors in the mouth. An extraordinary treat I’d say!

On top of the unique fusion of Asian flavors, Your Local serves interesting drinks. A sure way balancer!


Strawberry Lemonade P190

Strawberry puree, homemade lemonade, Sprite.


Sea Salt Lemonade P160

Fresh homemade lemonade, sea salt, Sprite.

Wanting to check out what else Your Local has to offer?

Here’s their menu.

Find Your Local here:

Address: Universal LMS Bldg. 106 Esteban St. Corner VA Rufino St., Legaspi Village, Brgy. San Lorenzo, Makati


Lola Porfiria

Few months ago, me and my sister drove together a couple of times in the south. She was always looking for an old lady who use to sell rags in a common area in Alabang. She narrates seeing her several times on that road and makes it a point to always give her money without the need of the rags. Last week, my sister offered me to buy some Nutella cookies which she will give 100% of the proceeds to an elderly woman. She is a new kid in baking, and I’m always interested with what new she’s able to come up to, moreover, glad that it’s going to be for a cause. She asked for some old clothes for a large sized but unfortunately what I can only give is either medium (me) or an extra large (husband’s).

Lola Porfiria_02

Cookie-For-A-Cause. P90 per cookie, 100% of proceeds will be donated.

     It turned out that the proceeds would be for the elderly woman she used to talk about. My sister, Marianne Ballesteros, always has tenderness for elderly people especially those who work hard for a living. She shares, she could not bear the thought of seeing our mother doing the same, and wishes that no elderly parent would suffer the same fate.


Lola Porfiria Ramos

Early March, she went to find the woman in Commerce Avenue in Alabang and interviewed her. Her name is Porfiria Ramos or “Peryang” as they call her. She is 85 and has two sons and one daughter. Both her two sons already have eyesight problems. When asked how many grandchildren she has, she could hardly count. After a quick chat, she gave her donations in a paper bag, meticulously packed. In a desire to share the elderly’s situation, she posts it in her Facebook account along with lola’s story and photos. She started a campaign for the elderly through selling her baked cookies with 100% of proceeds to serve as donations for Lola Porfiria. Since then, her post went viral not just because lola’s story is heartbreaking, but because a lot of people, mostly southerners, already knew her long before. They were all happy to see Lola Peryang given the attention that she deserves.


My husband who also does charity works was able to collect some goods from friends. This is the first batch of donations Lola Peryang received. 

Lola Porfiria_01

More cookies for fund-raising for Lola Peryang

Lola Porfiria has been selling rags for 5 years to support her whole family. She’s seldom seen in an island along Commerce Avenue between Daang Hari Road and Acacia Drive just outside Ayala Alabang Village and sometimes takes some rest under an Acacia tree. Out of P100 worth of rags, she earns P20. Just by typing this… it makes me shed tears. What can a 20-peso earning do? Even if she sells 5 or 10 packs in a day, it is not close enough to giving her and her family a decent life. Her skin is burnt to everyday’s sun exposure, and her eyes are starting to cloud due to perhaps, cataract. Her job in selling rags in her favorite location in between a main intersection and stoplight is risky due to fast cars passing by.


Lola Porfiria in Daang Hari, adjacent to Commerce Avenue where she’s always found working.

Last mid-March 2015, my family went out of the country and we had this Thailand trip booked late last year. My sister never missed to go with us on our travels. But this time, she was not able to book and go with us but relates that she can go some other time.

While me, my husband and our daughter are having a good time in Thailand, I learned through Facebook that my sister is going to be interviewed by a local channel (GMA 7) and so does Lola Peryang. Through this media coverage, it is going to help Lola Peryang and her family a lot, as well as substantiate all the donations that were collected through the viral post from social media.

Lola Porfiria 03

Front Row coverage of Lola Porfiria aired last March 16, 2015

Lola Porfiria 05

See Lola Porfiria’s story in Youtube.

I was glad that she was able to accompany the elderly during the media interview and have her go through a health checkup. I told her that maybe, that’s the reason why she was not able to go with us. Suggesting that it’s probably a time for her to continue on what has been started, she created a page in Facebook named Elderlies Of The South where she will be posting the updates on Lola Porfiria’s journey to a better life.

She has also kicked off a donation program through Bayanihan Project for Lola Peryang’s dream sari-sari store to help her continue earn for their living without the dangers of having to work on the streets.

After the advocacy on making Lola Peryang and her family’s life much better, Marianne is considering to help other elderlies in the south which will also be posted in her Facebook page, Elderlies Of The South.

– End –