Organic dengue busters

2011 posted in Household products by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.

Everyone’s been quite paranoid about the ongoing dengue epidemic in the Philippines, and with reason, as cases have been reaching the thousands and dozens of dengue-related deaths, the least we can do is try to keep ourselves and our loved ones from getting mosquito bites. The commercial mosquito repellents are effective, but most are laden with DEET or harmful pesticides—not something you’d want to slather on your kids! So we’ve tested some organic mosquito repellants (a warning: many so-called “organic” repellants out there don’t work!) and here are three that really work:







1. Domicillo Lemongrass Spray. Cool, eclectic home store Domicillo carries an amazing line of organic personal care products. I’ve tried a lot of citronella/lemongrass sprays, and found most watery/having too much alcohol, hence lessening its effectivity. This one has a high concentration of lemongrass oil; I’ve sprayed it on my legs during my outdoor walks in Cavite and did not have one mosquito bite! I got mine at Ugu Bigyan’s pottery store, but you can get it at Domicillo’s LRI Plaza branch at Nicanor Reyes, Makati. The most pricey of the three (around P300, as I can recall), but worth it.











2. Bugzoff Citronella Outdoor Spray. This has a subtle scent, has no sting when sprayed on, and is also very effective. It isn’t sold individually, but comes in an “outdoor kit” containing wipes, a hand disinfectant, and a toilet disinfectant—something worth getting, since the entire kit only costs P100!!! Available at Watsons.












3. Moskishields Mosquito Patches. The cutest of the bunch! With whimsical animal designs made specially for kids, these citronella-laden cloth patches have adhesives at the back so that you can stick them onto your children’s clothing. The citronella oil’s vapors ooze out of the patch throughout the day, repelling mosquitoes. I use these for my baby, but as advised by friends, I stick them on spots where my baby can’t reach them, or on the crib instead. P50 a sheet, available at National Bookstore, Watsons, select 7-11 stores, Robinsons Supermarket, Handyman.

Well, I’m still praning! For more dengue-busting tips, please, please click here.


Make way for the Ultimate!

2011 posted in Real Makeovers, What's In The Mag by kathleen.

Dear readers, I have a little secret to spill. I’m in love with our Makeover section, too! I get all giddy combing through the entries, going on oculars and meeting the potential (lucky!) winners, and presenting the photos to my editor and the interior designer of the month for their approval. It’s a pretty long process. We don’t just whip out the tambiolo and randomly pick a winner, or worse, cook it lutong Macau style (pardon the politically incorrect term) as some people might probably think.

Ultimate Makeovers are something else. You bet it’s much more nerve-wracking in terms of budget and time constraints, and a hundred and one other concerns. This year’s Ultimate Makeover was no different. Good thing we had superheroes on our side: Interior designers Hannah Acab-Faustino of IDeal Design Services, Jean Paul dela Rosa of iiideas, and contractor Nikki Bustos of Formo Homes Development.

Without them, we won’t be able to turn the Mangcucangs’ decrepit twenty-something-year-old house from this:


a not-so-appetizing dining area with a dilapidated ceiling and sad walls


to this:


a bright, clean space with lots of dainty silhouettes and a charming nook. The divider-turned-wall accent is from Crossings, while the wrought iron dining set was an existing piece Jean Paul delightfully updated.


Want more?

from a drab, cluttered master bedroom... an enviably fresh, chic space by ingenious Hannah! I'm loving the Live/Love inscription and the striped details of the bedside tables :)

Want more? Go grab a copy of our September issue!

Terrific trio (from L to R): contractor Nikki Bustos, and interior designers Jean Paul de la Rosa and Hannah Acab-Faustino


Ready for your own makeover? Get in touch with Hannah at tel. (02) 681-4251, mobile 0917-897-1363, check out

Jean Paul at tel. (02) 920-0683 and mobile 0917-874-7184; and Nikki at tel. (02) 861-1649, mobile 0918-991-7002

This Ultimate Makeover wouldn’t have been a success without our generous sponsors: Crossings Department Store, Hanwha, Homeaid, Homestore, Nviro, Design Gold, and  Uratex



SB Furniture: Beauty and Safety

2011 posted in Home Finds, Shopping by Katherine.
1 comment.

Are you afraid that you and your family can be sniffing harmful particles in your home? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where they are coming from; it can be from the air, or from low-quality furniture you might have bought. Fret not, because SB Furniture, which recently opened a branch in Market! Market!, offers stylish, formaldehyde-free pieces for your home. They also launched their new collection, the Spazio Collection, which consists of smart systems and storage solutions which are perfect for small space dwellers. Check out these photos, which I took in their Market! Market! branch:

A bedroom setup in their Spazio Collection

Gipsy One-seater Sofa, P14,998, Gipsy Three-seater Sofa, P25,998,
Rimbo-C Center Table, P15,998

They also offer package deals, like this one: Axor Living Room Set, P50,000
(includes Axor Corner Sofa, Art120 Sideboard Wenge, and Spawn Center Table)

My favorite so far. So cute! Joyful Accent Chair, P11,998

Visit SB Furniture at 3/L Market! Market!, Taguig City (tel. [02] 552-3913), Makati (tel.[02] 889-4223), Ortigas (tel. [02] 632-9101), and San Fernando, Pampanga (tel. [045] 435-0015).


It’s here! Real Living’s 30 Beautiful Homes

2011 posted in Others by Katherine.
1 comment.

Been wondering what makes a home beautiful? Real Living‘s latest book, 30 Beautiful Homes, shows you that whatever the style of your home is, you have the power to make it beautiful.

It features the homes of different homeowners with different personalities and decorating tastes. So whether you’re partial to a tropical Filipino home, or an eclectic one that is a charming mix of your travel finds and knick-knacks, you’re sure to find an inspiration in the book. It’s also easy to translate the different styles to your own homes with the book’s Get the Look pages.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a copy now for P250. It’s available in bookstores nationwide. :)


Healthy Fried Food

2011 posted in Home appliances by Katherine.

Wait wait wait. Did I just read that right? Healthy fried food? Is that even possible?

With the new Philips AirFryer, it is. Instead of using cooking oil, Philips AirFryer uses Rapid Air Technology, meaning it uses hot air that circulates inside the equipment to cook your food. The food’s natural oil also drips from the strainer inside the AirFryer, leaving you with something grease-free and healthy to eat.

The Philips AirFryer

It is easy to use. You just put the food inside, turn the dial and set the right temperature (a user manual guides you on the temperature settings for different kinds of food), and just leave it to cook. Just like in frying the conventional way, you would also have the flip the meat for the other side to be cooked. But unlike the conventional way, you don’t have to guard yourself from the talsik commonly feared. There’s none when you use the Philips AirFryer. It also doesn’t emit smoke or any smell when you’re cooking your food, so it’s ideal for condo dwellers.

Because Philips AirFryer is new, I’m sure you have some questions about it. Call their Consumer Care hotline at (02) 667-9000, or visit for more information about their products.




Sweet Home Alabama

2011 posted in What's In The Mag by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
1 comment.

Something to do this weekend—go to an offbeat arts fair in an offbeat area in the Metro. My fave repurposed furniture store Resurrection (featured in October 2010) Has relocated here…

Thank you, fashpack for the lead. :)


Animal Magic

2011 posted in Events by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
no comments.

Check out cool furniture store Space Encounter’s new collection: Hunting Season—mostly animal-themed, leathery, primal pieces. I love the furry Polar Lamp, which seems like it could come to life anytime…

…and the “Good Sheep” (there’s a black version, called “Bad Sheep”), a stool/sculpural piece. Mary Had a Little Lamb it’s not!

Hunting Season will be launched today at Space Encounters, mezzanine level, Padilla Bldg., Emerald Ave., Ortigas Center Pasig City.


F.A.M.E. sneak peek

2011 posted in Design, Events by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
no comments.

I swung by the ongoing Manila FAME at SMX over the weekend, and this is what I saw…a retrospective of all the “classic” chairs featured in FAME over the years, done by the likes of Betty Cobonpue (mom of Kenneth Cobonpue, shown here is one of her classic 80s “ribbon” chairs. Kenneth’s Yoda Chair is featured as well), super-sweet designer Carlo Tanseco, the Genie-esque cocoon-like lounger by Locsin Int’l, among many other diyosas. Also, a sneak peek of the furniture showcases on the first level…

…and the fashion Special Setting on the upper level.

Oh, and don’t forget to drop by the Real Living booth behind the special setting on the upper level—we’re selling our books and magazines there tomorrow. Isn’t it fab? :) This one’s designed by Gwyn Guanzon. Makes you want to pose in front of the letters! (Furniture from Haute Design)

Manila FAME is open to the public today (April 18) and tomorrow (April 19), at SMX, Mall of Asia grounds, Pasay City with a small entrance fee. Selected booths will be selling their wares, so don’t miss out this opportunity to check out export-worthy items! For more info, click here.


Remember my name—F.A.M.E.!

2011 posted in Design, Events by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.
no comments.

I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist! But do visit this April’s Manila FAME, one of Asia’s premier design fairs, over the next few days. It’s current theme is  TM*(Traditional Materials)/New Directions, so we’re expecting new riffs and concepts on the usual furniture and accessory designs. I’m going to the opening tomorrow to check it out. And don’t forget to drop by the Real Living Booth at the second floor of SMX, right next to the Special Settings! You’ll be pleasantly surprised. :)

Manila FAME will run from April 16 to April 19, 2011, at the SMX Convention Hall, Mall of Asia grounds, Pasay City. The fair will be open to the public from April 18 to 19; and selected booths will be open to selling on the 19th. For more information on Manila FAME, click here.


An open letter to Real Makeover contestants :)

2011 posted in Real Makeovers, What's In The Mag by Rachelle, Real Living Editor-in-Chief.

Since it’s the Ultimate Makeover season for entries (read our March or April issue for the announcement), I decided to answer a few Frequently Asked Questions about entering out makeover contest:

1. Can we join even if you’ve already chosen a Ultimate Makeover Winner? Yes you can. Those who’ve entered the Ultimate Makeover contest but did not win for the Ultimate, still have a chance to be chosen for one of our monthly makeovers. Meanwhile, those who haven’t entered yet and want to join our minor (but still fab) monthly makeovers can send their entries to the addresses below.

2. In that case, where can we send our entries to? You can email it to either of both of these email addresses: [email protected] and/or [email protected] (in case the summitmedia email gets full). Or send it by snailmail or hand-carry it with this address on the envelope:

REAL LIVING MAKEOVER CONTEST, c/o Marketing 2, Summit Media, 7/F Cybergate Tower 3, Robinsons Pioneer Complex, Pioneer St., Mandaluyong City

3. Do we really need to send more than one photo? Yes, sending approximately 3 to 4 photos of your desired area helps us and the makeover designer in choosing a winner. Choose your desired room and shoot different areas of it. If it has any damages or furniture you don’t like, take pictures of those too, so we’ll know what to fix, in case you’re chosen. Cellphone photos are OK, as long as they’re colored, relatively clear, and not too fuzzy.

4. Why do you have to do oculars? Even if we’ve seen the photos, we need to assess the current state of your home, if we’ve chosen you for our shortlist, especially since some entries have been sent months ago. The RL team and/or the makeover designer need to assess if the renovation of your space will fit into the current allotted budget given to us that month, and if repairs can be done within the time frame and deadline given for the makeover.

We also take into consideration your living conditions, i.e. if you have infants and need to move out during the length of the renovation, if your space needs structural repair and it fits into our budget, and also if you are prepared emotionally to deal with an ongoing renovation even while living there. Actual construction happens, sometimes walls get torn down in the course of renovation, and you would have to deal with that.

5. Kung na-ocular na ako, ibig sabihin ba ay nanalo na ako? Having an ocular on your house done by the RL team and/or our makeover designer does not mean you have won. This only means you have been included in our shortlist for that month. You will only know you have won if you’ve received an official message/email from the RL team clearly stating that you have won. And you won’t miss the message, because the next thing we’d ask you is if you’d be free on a certain date to start the renovation works.

6. Kung sira-ulo ako na homeowner, pipiliin ninyo pa ba ako? Not necessarily, but you can bet that you’re not at the top of our list—yet another reason to do ocular visits, to actually meet you, the homeowner. Sorry for this last bit (it’s not an FAQ), but we have encountered more than one makeover winner run amok during the course of the renovation—like what happened a few years ago when an irate homeowner held the designer, then-managing ed Tisha and me in a room and threatened to end our lives because he didn’t like the makeover we did (the makeover was perfectly fine). Tinutulungan mo na nga, nanganib pa ang buhay namin. :(

Also, if your friend or neighbor has won a makeover, be happy for them—there’s a reason why they deserve it. We’ve received quite a number of scathing mail from jealous neighbors and friends saying the winners didn’t deserve it, and wishing them ill. C’mon guys, be decent citizens!

Well I hope this answers a lot of questions. Good luck, guys! :)