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In the Beginning…

Considered to be would-be major force to be reckoned with, the Philippine wellness and spa industries interestingly remain as among those that do not have its own media. And so Zest Magazine came into being.

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As of November 15, 2006, the number of wellness and spa facilities in Metro Manila alone grew to 87, with most of the growth (74%) occurring since 2003, according to the Spa Industry Profile Philippines 2003-2007. This, says Julie Garrow, managing director of Intelligent Spas, an independent research company that specializes in the spa industry and which did the survey, proves that there is a growing recognition of the relevance of focusing on caring for oneself before one is able to care for others. Truly, the time when paying attention to oneself was considered vain, which is not necessarily a good thing, are long gone, as more and more people are recognizing the relevance of learning to look after oneself to be always on tip-top shape, thus be able to put one’s best foot forward, as the cliché goes.

Amazingly, the Philippine wellness and spa industries remain as among those that do not have its own media. Instead, the industries have to contend with being considered as supplements, thereby delimiting the focus on their beneficial practices, developments that continually upgrade industry practices, and tips for healthy living, among others.

This is why Zest came into being. We aim to be the main source of information on everything about the Philippine wellness and spa industries, by, among others, providing updates on the current industry practices; listings of the best – and worst – spa practitioners, as well as practices that are worth supporting, or avoiding; information on better living, from tips on caring for oneself to suggestions on staying fit even when time doesn’t seem to allow it; provide a listing of practices that can be done sans the need of experts (e.g. home-made remedies); and listings of who offers what, and where these can be found.

For things (whatever they may be) to happen (however that may be, too), the first thing to be done is to take a move.

Zest is ours.

And, hopefully, it will be yours, too.

M.D. dela Cruz Tan is the founder of Zest Magazine. And no, the initials (i.e. M.D.) do not make him a "medical doctor" (as many have erroneously thought in the past); he is actually a graduate of Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) of the University of Newcastle in New South Wales Australia (just don't ask when, he says). He can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (of course), shoot flicks, community-organize, facilitate, lecture, research (with pioneering studies under his belt)... this one's a multi-tasker, who is even conversant in Filipino Sign Language. Cross his path is the dare (read: It won't be boring).

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8 Ways to save on holiday expenses

Consider these tips from the money-saving experts at Slickdeals and Head of Deals Vitaly Pecharsky to avoid overspending without sacrificing your festive spirit.

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While often regarded as the most wonderful time of year, the holiday season is also an expensive spot on the calendar. Even as many families feel the squeeze of inflation and rising costs, there is hope for your budget when it comes to gatherings, gifts, food and beyond.

Consider these tips from the money-saving experts at Slickdeals and Head of Deals Vitaly Pecharsky to avoid overspending without sacrificing your festive spirit.

Stick to a budget. Beyond gifts and stocking stuffers, holiday costs can add up quickly once you factor in travel, decor, pet care, special events and more. Create an all-encompassing budget for the season then break it into segments for each type of expense, including hidden expenses like wrapping paper or extra toiletries for guests, so you don’t end up with an unexpected credit card bill.

Split up food costs. Instead of putting yourself under the pressure of full-time holiday chef (and taking on all the expenses that come with it), consider hosting a potluck-style gathering. Providing the main course and encouraging guests to bring an appetizer, side or dessert is an easy way to avoid a hefty hosting bill. Send an e-vite with a list of must-haves that allows loved ones to sign up for specific dishes to ensure everything is covered without doubling up.

Search for the best deals. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift from toys to technology or trying to save on travel costs and home decor, make sure you find the best price. Consider sites where a community of millions of people work together to save money so you can be confident you’re getting the best deal. With 12 million shoppers assisting others by vetting and voting up the top deals from renowned retailers, your holiday needs are covered without sacrificing quality. You can also set Deal Alerts that send notifications directly to your inbox when a deal that matches your criteria is posted to the site.

Share experiences, not just “things.” Gadgets and gizmos may come to mind when brainstorming holiday gift ideas but remember some family members and friends just want more time together. If you’re considering a special experience for – and with – that special someone, think about their favorite hobbies and activities. Animal lovers may be overjoyed with a day at the local zoo and gearheads would cherish tickets to the next auto show. Integrating experiences into your gifting repertoire often makes for a more memorable (and cheaper) solution.

Take advantage of gift cards. A quick internet search can lead you to discounted gift cards, allowing you to save cash on holiday purchases. Or, for the one on your list who has everything, simply give the card as a gift so he or she can pick out what’s truly needed. As an added bonus, discounted gift cards are typically available even at the last minute so procrastinators can still save.

Show off your DIY skills. Buying new holiday decorations and replacing worn out crafts are seasonal expenses you may not immediately factor into your budget. Rather than heading to the store for (likely overpriced) ornaments and tablescapes, put your creative cap on and repurpose goods from around the house. Reusing items like glass jars to make homemade snow globes, for example, can be a crafty way to save. Plus, it’s a fun activity for family members to enjoy together.

Seek out post-holiday sales. Once the holidays are over, it’s a perfect opportunity to get ahead of the game for next year. Stock up on gift wrap, decorative items and other nonperishables that are often heavily discounted in the new year.

Save throughout the year. A handy tip for holiday seasons to come, try creating a fund each year where you can save up for gifts, food, travel and other end-of-year expenses. Set up a special bank account specifically for holiday savings where you contribute a small amount each month to be financially prepared for the festivities.

Find more ways to save this holiday season by visiting Slickdeals.com.

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Ways to protect your family from tornadoes

Keep your loved ones safe with these tips to prepare for and shelter from tornadoes.

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When clouds loom overhead and winds pick up in your area, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the sky and an ear toward local news broadcasts. Capable of destroying buildings, uprooting trees and sending dangerous debris flying, tornadoes are rotating columns of air that extend from the base of thunderstorms to the ground.

With the potential to reach wind speeds of up to 300 miles per hour, these violent storms can wreak havoc on communities and put families in danger. Keep your loved ones safe with these tips to prepare for and shelter from tornadoes.

Pay Attention to Weather Forecasts

Staying weather alert is always a good idea, particularly as strong thunderstorms build and approach your location. Check the forecast regularly to understand the risk for severe weather and, if possible, sign up for smartphone alerts or notifications.

Put a Plan in Place

Each member of your family should understand what to do in an emergency situation. Create a plan that includes where to shelter in the event of a tornado warning. Typically, this is a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor of the home with no windows. If you have a safe room or storm shelter, which is a hardened structure designed to provide near-absolute protection in extreme weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes, this is the time to utilize it. Clearly define who is expected to gather emergency materials, such as flashlights, blankets, a first-aid kit and extra food and water.

Understand Watches vs. Warnings

Key phrases from sources like the National Weather Service include “tornado watch” and “tornado warning.” Make sure you understand the differences to react appropriately.

  • Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible in or near your location. Review emergency plans with loved ones and be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued.
  • Tornado Warning: A tornado is active according to sightings or weather radar. It’s time to take action and follow your family’s safety plan.

Build Your Home with Resistant Materials

If constructing a new home is on the horizon, consider the benefits of building with durable materials like insulated concrete forms (ICFs), which are a more resilient alternative to wood framing. For areas prone to natural disasters, ICF walls from Nudura provide superior strength to withstand extreme wind and impact damage from tornadoes and hurricanes. They also protect against wildfires due to a fire protection rating of up to four hours, compared to 45 minutes for wood framing, and provide greater comfort, durability and lower life cycle costs compared to wood structures.

Shelter Safely

When a tornado warning is in effect, acting quickly is crucial. If at home, head to the basement, safe room or interior room away from windows and, if possible, stay tuned to local news for updates. At school or the workplace, follow the guidelines in place from tornado drills and proceed calmly but quickly to the shelter location. If driving and unable to get to shelter, pull over and get down in your vehicle with your head covered or leave your car and seek shelter in a low-lying ditch or ravine.

Find more ways to protect your family from natural disasters HERE.

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Health tips can help Filipinos live their best life this 2023

If you are one of those looking to have an unstoppable year full of adventures, consider these four easy health tips.

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One in five Filipinos has already booked international trips this 2023. Not only that, but 44% of Filipinos are planning to travel two to four times this year.[1] At the same time, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is targeting to have 4.8 million tourist arrivals in the country this year, twice the number of visitors in 2022.[2]

This means a lot of people will be going in and out of the country. We can expect more crowds and busier streets, especially during summer, which is one of the best times to travel because of the holidays and school vacations. If you are one of those looking to have an unstoppable year full of adventures, consider these four easy health tips:

Drink vitamins

Taking vitamins regularly can supplement a healthy diet and lifestyle.[3] This is especially true for people going on vacation, who need to boost their immunity before and during their trip. Immune-boosting supplements like vitamins C and D, zinc, and probiotics can be taken three to five days before a trip and during[4] to help travelers stay in tip-top shape.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is important all year round. Getting enough water prevents infections, brings nutrients to cells, and ensures that organs are working optimally. Aside from these benefits, drinking the recommended amount of water each day is good for cognition, sleep quality, and mood.[5] The amount of water needed per day varies per individual, but for the healthy ones, the recommended amount of water that men should drink daily is 15.5 cups, and 11.5 cups for women.[6]

Drinking enough water before travel is recommended because flying can be dehydrating.[7] Airplanes are kept at 10 to 20% humidity, a lower rate compared to normal environments that range from 35 to 65%. Lower humidity leads to dehydration.[8]

Sleep well

Good sleep leads to improved health, mood, immune system, and brain performance.[9] Seven to nine hours of continuous sleep is needed to feel refreshed.[10] Maintain good sleep habits days before a flight to have enough energy for the trip.

Flying to countries with the same time zone or with just an hour or two difference is easy. When traveling across the world, it’s important to adjust to the day-night cycle at the destination.[11] Stay up with the locals when the arrival time is during the day and sleep at night.

Get vaccinated

Vacations expose travelers to diseases, so timely immunizations through vaccinations are crucial. The flu is one of the most common infectious diseases and it is contagious. Each infected person can spread the disease to one or two more people.[12]

Preventive healthcare is still the best protection since people can catch the flu at any time of the year.It’s also important to get a shot annually since flu vaccines change each year to match the current viruses.

Most of all, you wouldn’t want to miss all the fun you have planned for your trip if you get sick. Take it from GlaxoSmithKline Philippines’ (GSK) latest flu disease awareness jingle, “But I Got the Flu .” It’s a call to everyone to get your flu shots as soon as possible so you can be unstoppable – whether in having your best summer vacation yet, spending quality time with loved ones, or pursuing other passions in life – don’t let the flu stop you. All you need to do is consult your doctor to ensure that you’re in the right condition to do so.

“People are excited to make up for all the things that they missed at the height of the pandemic. Now that travel restrictions are looser and we can enjoy the best holiday destinations, it’s important to not let our guard down. We recommend that travelers take preventive measures so they can be unstoppable and enjoy their trips worry-free,” says Dr. Kevin Bautista, GSK Medical Affairs Manager.


[1] Revenge travel is real: 1 in 5 Filipinos have already booked an international holiday in 2023. (2022, Dec 20). Philstar Life, https://philstarlife.com/living/288666-2022-travel-trends-philippines. Accessed 08 Mar 2023.

[2] DOT raises 2023 target to 4.8 million visitors from abroad. Philippine Daily Inquirer. (2022, Dec 20). https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1707629/dot-targets-4-8-million-international-visitors-for-2023. Accessed 23 Jun 2023.

[3] The Truth About Supplements: 5 Things You Should Know. (2022, Mar 31). Penn Medicine, https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/february/the-truth-about-supplements. Accessed 08 Mar 2023.

[4] 5 Things You Should Do for Your Health Before Every Trip, According to a Doctor. (2022, Oct 13). Travel + Leisure, https://www.travelandleisure.com/health-tips-before-travel-according-to-a-doctor-6750420. Accessed 08 Mar 2023.

[5] The importance of hydration. (2017, Sep 28). Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH), https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/the-importance-of-hydration/. Accessed 07 Mar 2023.

[6] How Much Water Should You Drink? (2023, May 22). Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink. Accessed 23 Jun 2023.

[7] 5 Things You Should Do for Your Health Before Every Trip, According to a Doctor. (2022, Oct 13). Travel + Leisure, https://www.travelandleisure.com/health-tips-before-travel-according-to-a-doctor-6750420. Accessed 07 Mar 2023.

[8] Why Flying Makes You So Dehydrated. (2018, Dec 14). Center for Family Medicine, https://centerforfamilymedicine.com/general-health/why-flying-makes-you-so-dehydrated. Accessed 08 Mar 2023.

[9] Good Sleep for Good Health. (2021, Apr). National Institutes of Health, https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2021/04/good-sleep-good-health. Accessed 08 Mar 2023.

[10] What Is Healthy Sleep? (2022, Apr 29). Sleep Foundation, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/what-is-healthy-sleep. Accessed 08 Mar 2023.

[11] Jet Lag and Sleep. (2022, Nov 3). Sleep Foundation, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/travel-and-sleep/jet-lag. Accessed 08 Mar 2023.

[12] Flu (Influenza). (2022, Oct 11). Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4335-influenza-flu. Accessed 08 Mar 2023.

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