Tuesday, March 24
This is it!
We're finally gonna show the world wide web the product of our blood, sweat, and tears! This dream of ours have been a vision for so long, and now it's officially a reality. We're so happy to share this with you, as we strive to include ALL bodies in the spotlight, because diversity is beautiful
(and we know that the statement "one size fits all" is a big, fat lie).
We made sure to release our first collection during women's month, because we want to change how ladies view their bodies in line with the summer season. With this, we chose to name our designs after four of the bravest, most passionate, and beautiful women that have influenced our lives positively.
We hope our line empowers you to embrace that body and show the world that it is possible to be comfortable in your skin NOW—not after getting that "bikini body"—this summer. After all, we truly believe that the only way to have a bikini body is to put a damn good-looking bikini on that body! ;)
Now keep scrolling to see the first-ever swimwear line of PLUMP (by Danah & Stacy).
Edgy, bold, and flirty;
This mesh cut-out two-piece instantly exudes glamorous bad-assery at its sexiest
Sporty, cool, and secure;
This two-piece bustier and skirtini combo will add chic to the strong spirit in you.
Sweet, feminine, and fun;
The Isabel semi-swimdress monokini is sure to make you feel like the curvy mermaid you've always dreamed to be.
Fierce, confident and sexy;
The Angela triangle monokini will hug your curves perfectly and make your voluptuous silhouette show.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
ARE YOU READY TO SHOP? CLICK HERE.
Sunday, March 22
written by Isa Garcia
“In the end, it is our defiance that redeems us.” - Mark Rowlands
I’m not quite sure when I started hating my body.
They say that hate is a very strong word. But if you cringe every time you look in a mirror, if your heart breaks then sinks to the bottom at the sight of your own reflection, if your very nakedness scares you, then I think ‘hate’ might not be too far off.
I’m not quite sure when I started hating my body but I know one thing: I’m trying really hard to quit.
When I was 10-years-old, I tugged at my love handles, stared at the mirror and shook my head. I do not know who had taught me that all this excess was wrong but I believed it. I believed it because nobody had ever taught me otherwise.
When I was 13, my classmates swooned about boyfriends — or even just the dream of one — and I listened in the background, secretly swooning too. In the middle of the wistful talk on romance, a popular girl would then flip her hair or sigh angrily. “I need to lose weight,” she’d lament. “Guys don’t like fat girls.” And the crowd around her, her obedient apostles, would nod their heads in agreement, taking her words in as the gospel truth.
When I was 18, I decided that I would never be happy until I was thin. I had been a chubby girl my whole life and I blamed all of my discontent on the fact that I didn’t measure up to my own idea of beautiful.
When I was 21, I lost twenty pounds and discovered something of vast importance: that none of it mattered. Because I was still pretty damn unhappy.
We could go through the entire story, walk through every single victory and failure that has come as a result of having a relationship with my body, but I’m sure you’ve lived through these moments yourself. I’m sure you’ve been unhappy, that you’ve struggled with discontent and you’ve wondered, too, in the quietness of your own soul, whether or not you are beautiful.
We hear a lot of feel-good messages but that’s not what I want to write today. I happen to think you are better than that.
I want to be honest and tell you that there are some days when ugly just slaps you in the face. There are days when ugly wins. There are a lot of bloody dark scary days when our fears and insecurities singlehandedly conquer us.
But the thing about these days is that they always pass. And when a better day arrives, when your heart feels stronger and more ready, you get to decide what’s real, what’s good and what matters. You get to create an anchor for yourself that you can always go back to when ugly comes knocking at the door of your self-esteem again.
I wish someone had told me this when I was growing up. I wish someone had told that little 10-year-old girl that beauty is a fluid concept, that it could mean whatever I wanted it to mean. Instead I’m carrying the war of a 26-year-old who doesn’t fully love herself as much as she is meant to.
But the slow process that comes with rehabilitating myself into believing healthier truths is wonderful. Ten years ago a pastor, my Values Ed teacher, pointed a finger at me and asked: “Isa, do you think you’re beautiful?” The class looked at me in intrigued silence. I shrugged awkwardly. I couldn’t say yes.
But if he came at me today, righteous finger in my face, I wouldn’t hesitate. “Yes,” I’d tell him. I’d say it confidently, with little hesitation. Because even though I have moments when I resent who I am and how I look, I know better now than I did at 16. I know that love handles are normal, that even the girls we label as ‘sexy’ can work a muffin top like it’s nobody’s business. I know that the gospel of attraction isn’t hinged on weight, that a man can like you — love you, even — for reasons far better than the size of your waist. And I know now, perhaps a tad bit too late, that my personal happiness can’t be hinged on what the weighing scale tells me because the numbers will always change and life is too short to be spent on something fickle.
This is not a success story, it is the short history of a woman in progress. I have not yet fully embraced every single inch of me but I’m getting better at saying yes, getting better at spotting the world’s illusions and weeding out the lies from the truths. I am defying my preconceived notions, my fears and my insecurities. It is happening very slowly but it is happening nonetheless. This, I think, will be my redemption.
Today is one of those better days, a day that self-loathing just isn’t going to win. Before writing this, I looked in the mirror, afraid that I would feel that familiar sense of dread. But when I looked, I relaxed. I stared. I beheld the strange and incredible wonder that is me. The love handles stuck out and my belly bulged and my stretch marks ran like white rivers across my hips. I smiled. “You know what?” I thought to myself, “You’re alright.”
It isn’t always going to be like this but it’s what I want to leave you with. May it be an anchor, a prayer you can whisper when you’re tempted to forget, when every inch of your soul begs to believe otherwise:
You’re alright. You are, you really really really really really REALLY are.
Saturday, March 21
We were invited by the students of De La Salle University to do a round two of our media literacy talk last Thursday, and of course we said yes! It's always a privilege to share our knowledge about how women are being represented in society today. Plus, LaSallians are always a fun bunch, so that adds to our excitement as speakers.
Walking inside their campus is nostalgic--it reminded me of my college days! Nakakamiss rin talaga maging estudyante.
I saw this left shark dancing along the school hall. I just had to take a picture!
with Gem Ausa and Pam Bama (who likes like our triplet!) of Fast 2012, University Student Government
The room wasn't as full as we had anticipated, because we were told that our audience will be bigger this time compared to our first media literacy talk. My sister and I were not disappointed, but we weren't happy with the circumstance either. I guess we were fine about it because this wasn't the first time the event organizers overestimated the number of students we'll be having as keynote speakers. We prayed before we commenced the talk, and told each other we'll give it our best.
Audience of One.
And, as the clichè goes, quality is better than quantity. This statement couldn't be more real to me during the Q&A portion of our talk.
We always encourage our audience to share their minds every time after we speak, and our discussion with this bunch just validated why we do what we do even more.
As one girl aired out her concerns about a relative struggling with bulimia, another one mustered enough courage to share her struggles on her own parents body shaming her. Boys started raising their hands and talked about personal experiences on their difficult days with body image and women objectification too. It was unbelievable. The room started to feel safer and safer as students poured out their aches, pains, and hopes when it comes to loving themselves more—one by one. Tears were shed, hugs were given, and encouragements were passed around as Stacy and I thoughtfully gave a piece of our lives and words to live by to these students, with hope that they will try their best to carefully ingest and consider our solicited advice.
More than the students, it is I who really gained so much from this talk. It only goes to show that young people are hungry for the body love gospel, and we have a long way to go. This empowers us even more, knowing that we have a receptive and seeking crowd out there, especially among the youth.
In this generation where the "perfect-body-obsession" is glamorized and presented as the norm, it's quite difficult to love one's self, flaws and all. This fuels us and gives us passion to keep doing what we do. It's about time we celebrate ourselves. As we always say, diversity is beautiful.
#selfie with 'em cool kids
with our triplet, Pam
Gem gave me this polaroid of us! So sweet. So grateful we get to have new friends too!
Monday, March 16
Written by Stephanie L. Tan
My aunt is getting married next week, on the same day she turns 37. Reactions have varied from “hope she can still have babies” to “is that her first marriage?” to “buti naman, she still made it”. Although I’m sure they mean well, these comments merely support the very destructive view on singlehood (and marriage).
The problem with singlehood is the term itself. Single is one, relationship is two, and two is always better than one. Single always connotes loneliness. Well, these are far, far from the truth! And the truth should always dictate our emotions, not the other way around.
Singlehood is not merely a temporary foothold towards the supposed "higher-level stage" called marriage. In fact, we should never really stop being single. How I wish society stops imposing an expiration date to single life, because even when in a relationship, it should be between two single people who are simply choosing to share their life together. It is not about half plus half equals one. Rather, it is one plus one becoming one pair. So that even when already married, you should never stop trying to be the best person you can be.
With this in mind, I realised that before anything else, I must work (very) hard to be the woman that I want to be. And realising all my flaws, I knew this was going to take a mighty long time. How long? I’m (still) not sure. But I figured, before I even start looking for a guy who deserves me, I better first work on being deserving of a great man—to not look for God’s best and instead focus on being God’s best. And if no man comes along, well I still become the woman that God wants me to be. Win-win situation. So just like in poker, I declared “all in!”
I shall now share my thoughts with you through the different adventures I have had on the pursuit of “meaningful single life”.
I’m at that age when my Facebook feed is mostly composed of wedding photos, baby showers, questions about different childbirth methods, invitation to play dates, and anti-wrinkle creams.
I remember that as early as high school, there were already hush-hush talks about pregnancy scares. These days, my friends complain at how having a baby can be difficult—I have a friend who has been trying for over five years. For those who already do have children, they rant about how preschool education costs are so high.
If you can’t even fix your own life and have basic stability, being in a relationship (or having kids) is a responsibility you should think twice—or three, or four, or five times—about. Being in a relationship is like having someone point a gun to your head, and hoping that he/she will never pull the trigger. Don’t desire to have the power of a relationship if you cannot accept the responsibility of taking care of someone else’s life—and heart—that goes along with it. People are always wanting to have that power, but as the infamous saying goes: with great power comes great responsibility. Don’t crave the power, then disregard the responsibility.
I’m at that age that when I get invited to an event, I have to make the extra effort to inform the host that I will be going alone.
Some even go as far as apologising, as if they forced me to reveal what should've been a secret. Then I assure them that is not a problem, and that I am very comfortable with my singleness. Which results to the pity-look: either they assume I am lonely, or they judge that I am simply in denial.
If you are single and feel lonely, do not be ignorant to conclude that being in a relationship will solve that ‘problem’. Loneliness is definitely not reserved for singles. In fact, loneliness is worse when felt while in a relationship. And yes, I’ve certainly felt it—all the pain and misery and indescribable anguish. I have, in fact, known it most of my life. I grew up witnessing my parents, who cannot stand each other, force themselves to live in the same house (just different rooms) for the sake of social merit. They were both lonely, and eventually made us kids feel helpless knowing there was nothing we could do to make them feel less lonely.
I’m at that age when relatives don’t only ask me why I still don’t have a boyfriend, but make the extra effort to introduce me to any single man they come across. Don’t be so picky, they advise me, because I’m losing precious time.
My grandma even pointed out when she was my mother’s age, she already had a granddaughter (me). At first, I would draw out my long list of witty retorts. As their faces grew more stern (from genuine, albeit misplaced, concern), I found myself having to explain lengthily, only to end up feeling exasperated because they could not seem to understand. I then finally realised that talking about freedom and being able to do what I wanted just showed them that I was being selfish. When I asked myself if that was the case, they were right. I was living in my own terms, even when I was in a relationship. As I read the Bible, I was made aware that I am part of a bigger body, that my God-given talents are to be used as service for the community.
As I have started sharing more about who I am—opinions, interests, what takes up my time—I find that people have stopped asking me if I have a boyfriend. And if they do, it is just like any other question and we simply don’t dwell on it.
I also want people to understand why I do not want to settle with just any man out there. This is not out of arrogance. This is respecting myself, and the other man. Should God lead me to enter into a romantic relationship with a man, I would like to be his most efficient helpmate. This means being able to use all my talents and abilities and experiences to complement him as we start working together to be blessings to others, all the while we are being blessed by each other, and those around us.
I’m at that age when I truly accept that age is but a number. So, instead, I’m at that point in life where single life has been so amazing… that I’m even quite reluctant to enter into a relationship.
I have not become anti-relationship, mind you. In fact I look forward to being married and having great sex at least five times a day. But whether or not the precious gift of sex is given to me (via marriage), I know that I will be content. Being single is not a preparatory course towards being in a relationship. Like me, you might simply realise that marriage isn’t for you at all. Singlehood is empowering because it can open up your eyes to options you never thought possible.
This is true freedom: to be able to remove any label and simply pursue the life you were created for. To be able to say No to the bad, and Yes to the good! Singlehood is empowering because it has allowed me to hinge my happiness on my life—my relationship with God, and everything and everyone that is a part of it—and not on someone else. Plus, it is quite unfair to put that all that pressure on another person! That is definitely a recipe for disaster.
Being single is not about having no relationship; instead, it is being able to spend more time focused on yourself. This is not selfishness or arrogance or self-love. It is getting to know yourself better, including your family and friends and what you like or do not like, so that you can give yourself to others. And how do you give yourself to others when you don’t even know what you have? The relentless pursuit must then be towards achieving your purpose, your full potential.
Does fullness mean perfection? That should the possibility of a relationship occur, we need to first be perfect? Absolutely not. It simply means hitting that optimal point of being a blessing. It is that point where you can bless more people by being with someone else. This point varies in terms of time: some at 22 years old, others at 37, still others at their deathbed. Have you ever met old(er), single people who are such blessings? The apostles were able to spread their ministry because they were single. In fact, the apostle Paul asserted that it is good to stay single like him, perhaps because he was able to focus himself wholly on his mission to spread the Good News regarding the free gift of salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross. One of my dearest aunts who, because she chose to remain single, is able to focus on caring for my grandparents as well as some cousins whose parents are OFWs, while serving our country as a full-time (long-term) government employee. Jesus promises that He came so that we may have an abundant life. He didn’t only promise that to people in relationships.
Does singlehood mean buffet time? To sleep around, either “just this one time” or “try every piece of candy out there”? NO. This still entails hinging your worth and happiness on the outcome of that encounter. In my experience, sex begs for intimacy, and intimacy begs for a relationship. Even the Bible says that “all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial”. So even without discussing the concept of “sin”, I will use the “it is simply not good for you” card. Now if you have calloused yourself and assert that sex is simply another act of pleasure (been in this mindset so I can relate), I lovingly want to discuss the issue of stealing something that isn’t yours (yet).
Insisting that we remain sexually pure is not just a killjoy aspect. Nor does it only refer to singles. It is the same expectation to those who are married! The Bible expresses this in the most logical and succinct manner: fornication is a sin. Meaning sex outside of marriage is an act that will only hurt you, and society. This means before, during, and after marriage. Let us seriously imagine a world where everyone has sex with only one other person. Boring, you say? Nope. We will end up making sure sex with that one person is the best that you will ever have! And no sexually transmitted diseases, rape, guilt, jealousy, murder… I could go on. And because the Bible views marriage as a covenant—a legally binding contract without an exit clause—this also puts premium to sex: you can only receive and enjoy it if you are willing to pay the price of committing to this one person, for better or for worse, no excuses! The instruction of not having sex before marriage is actually working on much needed self-discipline: should you be able to try sex once married, because it is such an orgasmic act (pun very much intended), you need to further strengthen that muscle of self-control to not explore sex with others.
|with Climate Change Comissioner Yeb Saño and Nitya Saulo during their 40-day walk to Tacloban|
|hosting the Bayanihan Jam event for DAKILA|
|Stephanie in flight school, 2007|
|with her college best friend from UP, Emil|
|SCUBA diving with her younger brother in Anilao|
Bottomline: make the most out of your single life! If you are currently single—whether it has been for just a few hours or already a few years—enjoy it! Make the most out of what you already have, instead of looking over at what others have. Of course it is alright to desire to be in a relationship; but don’t overlook what you already have. Just like with so many things in life, we always want what we do not have. I wish I had curly hair, while my curly-haired friends rave about how straight my mane is. People who are single are desperately close to selling themselves to be in a relationship, while rates of divorce are increasing at unprecedented rates in human history.
Don’t think of it as a curse; or a time in between two relationships. In fact, as I look back in my life, I was able to do more when I was single! It is also when I pushed my personal boundaries—whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. I earned my private pilot’s license, learned how scuba dive, helped start and ran an NGO, started living on my own, bungee jumped, went skydiving, and finally started a weekly bible study at home! This is not to say that I lived a useless life while I had boyfriends. My point is just that single life can be an extremely fun and exciting time! So, embrace the opportunities of singlehood and continue being in relentless pursuit of your purpose.
#PLUSSIZEPLEASE is a global campaign started by Sarah Chiwaya, a 30-year old American lawyer who also happens to be a plus-size fashion blogger. The concept started when she found herself growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of fashionable clothes for women her size (size 16). There were so many outfits that she wanted to buy, but hardly any of them were ever in her size. She wanted to pressure retailers to pay attention to the needs of fashionable, plus size women, and our brand definitely took notice.
Divina does not want plus size women to be stuck wearing the same loose, stretchable, old-looking types of outfits that retailers have been forcing on them. We want every plus size woman to feel beautiful and confident with young, flattering and fashion-forward clothes that follow the trends of the fashion runway.
With this new thrust in mind, we would like to invite all plus size women (sizes 12 and above) to take photos of clothes which they would love to wear but are unavailable in their sizes and are yet unavailable in Divina stores.
You can tag us on our Facebook page and/or on our Instagram account (@divinaplussize). We will be choosing our top 5 choices for the quarter and will be producing the garment in our plus sizes, using our own Divina flair. We will be modifying the chosen styles based on Divina’s own brand identity and on the brand’s upcoming collection line-up.
The women whose pictures get chosen will get the reproduced garment in her size, free of charge.
What are you waiting for? Start tagging #plussizeplease!
I remember months ago, when my sister came home raving about a particular Korean restaurant that served, according to her, the unbelievably best, meat-falling-off-the-bone, perfectly-seasoned beef stew. Turns out it was one of our dear friend Isa's family-owned restaurant, so I had to try it myself (I trust Stacy's taste when it comes to food & music. Boys? Not so much, haha).
I'm not a big fan of Korean food, but ever since I got a taste of what Korea Garden offers during my sleepovers with Isa, I became more excited to dine there. When I finally got the chance to visit the restaurant when she treated us there for a birthday dinner a year ago, I knew it was going to be my go-to place for authentic, mouth-watering and reasonably-priced Korean food. Imagine my enthusiasm when tita Pam, Isa's mom, invited us to try out other dishes that are unfamiliar to us (which are a lot, since we only go there for their beef stew, octopus, & cucumber kimchi, seriously)!
Korea Garden has a very old school, feel to it, and the ambiance is very serene and relaxed. The servers wear white long-sleeved polos with a maroon vest over it, giving a bit of a formal vibe to the dining experience.
Fun fact: Some of KG's servers and staff have been with them for 30+ years! Some of them having filed leave of absences just a year ago, FOR THE FIRST TIME! Just goes to show that they love their work and who they're working for! ;)
The place is very clean and well-lit too, conducive for lunch meetings and family gatherings. The old feel of the place is legit too. Korea Garden is the first Korean restaurant to open in Manila back in 1974.
Now onto the glorious food!!!
Kimchi, my favorite among the many, assorted banchan (side dishes) they served us
I also love the cucumber with cuttlefish, dilis, steamed spinach, and cucumber kimchi, which obviously haven't been photographed separately because I was too excited to consume them. :D
Several slices of steamed pork which are individually wrapped in a leaf vegetable such as cabbage or lettuce, accompanied by a condiment known as ssamjang. The centerpiece is pork belly, boiled in spices and thinly sliced. The meat is served with side dishes including garlic, onion, ssamjang, saeujeot (pickled, fermented shrimp) and newly made kimchi. Upon eating, the meat and sides are often wrapped in vegetable leaves, hence the literal meaning of bossam: "wrapped" or "packaged." It is topped with raw garlic, onion and sweet kimchi.
The pork meat is very soft and delicious! I love the ssamjang too, salty and spicy. It reminds me of a more texturized and chunkier bagoong.
|Gujeolpan (The dish for royalty, only KG serves it in the country!)|
Gujeolpan is an elaborate Korean dish consisting of nine different food items assorted on a wooden plate with nine divided sections in an octagon shape. The name is composed of three hanja words:
gu (구, "nine" ), jeol (절, "section"), and pan (판, "plate") in Korean. Foods are separated by color and ingredients, and comprise various namul (seasoned leaf vegetables), meats, mushrooms, and seafood items. In the center of the tray is a stack of small jeon (Korean style pancakes) made with wheat flour, which are called miljeonbyeong (밀전병).
I love the combination of the fresh ingredients in this dish! The "pancake" wrap is very tender, and all the ingredients complimented each other very well. 5 stars!
Korean-style beef tartare made from the freshest raw beef, sliced 1/8" thin, accompanied with Korean pear, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic, ground black pepper, salt, sugar, roasted sesame seeds, and pine nuts.
I never expected raw beef to taste THIS good. I got so hooked! It's sweet, with the right amount of spices that blended so well with it, and it wasn't malansa at all! I highly recommend this dish. It's definitely a must-try.
Sliced, bite-sized pieces of fresh raw tuna & vegetables with red pepper paste dressing
I'm a sashimi lover, so this dish instantly became one of my favorites. The tangy taste of the dressing goes so perfectly with the rawness of the tuna. I heard it's a good match with sake!
Braised tofu with minced meat
This dish will make you love tofu, no bull. The tofu+pork combination is heavenly with that flavorful sauce!!!
|Korean Mixed Bulgogi|
A winning combination of Korean mixed barbecue medley of chicken, pork, beef, shrimp and squid. 'Nuff said. 5 stars for this humongous, protein-packed dish!!!
Steaming hotpot dish made with slices of tender beef, chicken, pork, minced meat, tofu, straw mushrooms, black mushrooms, carrots, leeks, onions and noodles.
This soup is an explosion of flavors indeed! I think it's better than sukiyaki because it has far more ingredients, and not too salty but still very yummy and palatable.
KG serves fresh pineapples at the end of your meal, or you can order really good Korean ice cream for dessert (Melona is a must)!
We got to chat with tita Pam, my new amiga, and I asked how her mom pioneered Korean cuisine in the country.
"It was in the early ‘70s when my mom made her mark in the annals of Manila’s restaurant history by opening Korea Garden. 41 years down the line, Korea Garden Restaurant is still capturing the Filipino heart and palate with authentic Korean cooking and homemade recipes. For my mom, the pioneer of Korean food in the country, it was all about passion. Besides the delectable food, the secrets behind the restaurant’s longevity reside in the outstanding service, warm atmosphere, and most importantly, the nurturing hand of a woman who treated each meal as if it were for her own family."
True enough, other than the quality of the food and the impressive taste of the dishes, Korea Garden's employees sure know how to make their customers feel at home. Just yesterday night, our family came back for dinner, and our server was very friendly and sincere, and his service translated so much respect and love for his job. It was like being served by your own lolo! My sister even commented that they're the type of people you'd open up your problems to, if only Korea Garden had a bar. Haha! (But they do serve alcoholic beverages!) Kidding aside, Korea Garden is definitely a restaurant you'll keep visiting again and again. I know we will.
Korea Garden is open Monday-Sunday:
11:30am - 2:30pm and 5:00pm - 10:00pm
128 Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati City