Thursday, June 07, 2007

Vanity Works Salon, Day Spa open in Rosario Strip, Limketkai Center

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - (PR / June 7) - Salons and spas seem to be sprouting everywhere in the city like the proverbial mushrooms now the rainy season is creeping in, but there’s a new twist to this new one which just opened (bloomed?) last week at the Rosario Strip in Limketkai Center.

“It’s a salon and day spa rolled into one,” says budding entrepreneur and self-confessed kikay Roselle Paras, daughter of Oro Chamber President Elpie and the moving spirit behind Vanity Works Salon & Day Spa. “I wanted to put up a salon with the ambience of a spa where clients could be more relaxed and laid back while having their hair done or their feet scrubbed.”
True enough, the ambience when one comes through the door is more spa than salon, with the soft pink motif done in girlie-girlie kikay style by Roselle’s Ate Roxanne Paras-Uy, an interior design graduate of the College of the Holy Spirit. Roxanne is also the designer of the family’s other enterprises like Coffee Works (Roselle’s first business venture) and P.Joe’s Diner.

Vanity Works is also probably the only day spa or salon in the city where you can find Crocs, and imported cosmetics like Yardley, Color Workshop, Victoria’s Secret and Pierre Cardin, all outrageously priced low! This she says is possible because she sources them straight from the U.S.

To the uninitiated, a day spa is a spa sans the full menu of services one associates with the genre. It’s a “Day” spa because its schedule (1-10PM daily for Vanity Works) allows workers and clients go home at a decent hour.

But you still get the full menu of spa services like facials, waxing, glow bodyscrub, seaweed slimming body scrub, eyelash perm, bikini facial and luxurious footspa.

Waxing is done using the “roller head system” which is cleaner and guarantees no chances of getting “burned” as the temperature is regulated. All services are rendered by professionally trained cosmetologists who have also been selected and trained for their personal courtesy and decorum (no noisy, nosy and tsismosa attendants here, sorry!)

Check out the exclusives: probably the only place in town now where one can get a bikini facial (treatment includes removal of ingrown hair caused by shaving) for only P250, and a Sphinx/Totally Bare Down There Wax (a type of Brazilian wax) for P600. For the squeamish, there’s topical anesthetic available, but you’ll have to cover the P600 cost of the entire tube.

And check out the prices: facials use Babor (Germany) cosmetics, one of the world’s top 10 cosmetics, yet are only priced at one half or one third of virtually the same service in Manila’s top salons and spas. A Premier Facial, for instance, will only set you back P800, whereas the same service using Babor cosmetics in Manila would easily cost you P1,200.
A Babor Body Scrub in Vanity Works only costs P500 vs. P1,200 up in Manila while a Luxurious Footspa using seven (7) Babor cosmetics with the full soak, scrub and lotion routine with anti-callous, mask, lightening and some reflexology is only P380 vs a minimum of P500 in Manila (where it’s better known as a phyto pedic footspa).

The salon is open from 10AM-9:00PM and has a “semi-private” room in the spa area for clients having their nails done or maybe getting a footscrub. Some indicative prices for some services: haircut with shampoo and blow-dry (P110), manicure/pedicure P80/90, Express Footscrub P200, L’Oreal Hairspa w/ vial P550+, Powerdose P480 up, Hair Reborn P600 up, and L’Oreal Xtenso Rebonding P3,000++.

And consider the little extras that naturally come with the location: just a step away from Limketkai Mall and Big R Supercenter, right in the middle of Limketkai’s entertainment and food center, the Rosario Strip, free parking. All clients are entitled to free ice tea and coffee while those wanting to order something more can easily order from Coffee Works next door which is not only delivered free but with a discount pa! (sobra!)

Any more? Unbelievable, but yes! Very soon, Roselle promises a free Wi-Fi connection for clients who want to do their work or surf the net while having their hair done or getting a foot scrub…so, those guys and gals with the laptops can give now work while being pampered head to foot. Now that’s the totally celebrating vanity!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

WFP, Unilab, Kraft help keep Lanao children in school

CAGAYAN DE ORO JOURNAL (Danny C. Escabarte/June 6) - LIFE for Norbin and other children of Ilian, Piagapo, Lanao del Sur revolves around the simplicity of its environment and farming areas. The school and farm have somewhat molded their young outlook of how it is to live in this place, with the challenges of poverty as a daily reality.

Everyday, he sees his father wake up very early; with his farm tools on hand, proceeds to the farm while his mother takes care of the kids, and prepare them for school. Usually, children in the village bring cooked root crops and bananas as baon for recess time while those who have some money buy junk foods.

“Before… no breakfast, just a cup of coffee will do”, says Norbin when asked what’s their food at home. “We can’t even drink milk. When cropping season is bad, two of us will share and eat a single plate of rice with dried fish”, he added.
Oftentimes, children in Barangay Ilian skipped their classes to help their parents in the farm. Class attendance is very irregular during these times observes Ben- the community worker assigned in the area.

The recurring conflict sometimes also displaced families and damaged some crops in the process. Families who rely mostly from farming would be in difficult situation when conflict arises and when there is low production.

Timbang Padate, Norbin’s mother- was glad when in June 2006, the United Nations-World Food Programme (UN-WFP) has identified their village as one of the recipients of its food aid initiative. “Sukran” (thank you), was her words upon knowing of the good news.

“From spending more time in the farm, the children can now focus their attention in schooling”, she said. As part of the food for education (FFE) package, students who stay in school would receive twenty-five (25) kilograms of rice every two months. A school-based supplemental feeding program was also put in place.
The food aid program also has other component that addresses specific concerns in the target areas such as the mother and child nutrition (MCN) component.

Companies, NGOs, LGUs’ parallel response

The humanitarian endeavor for the children and families of Lanao del Sur got a boost when other groups supported the initiative. The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) mobilized and sought product donations from its member companies and corporate friends complimenting aid resources from WFP. With the assistance of the local government units in the province through their local health offices, donated goods were delivered to target beneficiaries.
Kraft Foods Phils donated more than PhP 2 Million worth of vitamin C-rich mango fruit juices as additional source of vitamins for children and mothers. The juices will compliment the on-site supplemental feeding being held in the school.
United Laboratories also provided more than PhP2 Million worth of medicines, Citrinets (vitamin C) and Femina Iron supplements for lactating mothers.
Meanwhile, local government units had their hands full every time goods and food commodities would arrive in the province. Using available vehicles and manpower, they will transport the commodities to hinterland barangays where children and families gladly awaited its arrival.
Community health volunteers who are the first to respond to community’s health calls and inquiries were elated to receive the 70 medical kits from the Elena Tan Foundation. Volunteers will be using them to render services particularly in hard to reach areas, bringing to the people other government-led health services.

Addressing lack of access to food while keeping children in school
Besides supporting the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the aid for Lanao’s children also addressed the most basic of all necessities, and that is the right and access to food and education.
With the food aid initiative, children now enjoy their time in school and with their family as well. They no longer have to skip classes to help their parents in the farm just to have a steady supply of food on the table.
Like the rest of the children in the village, Norbin now regularly participates in school activities, her mother said. “He is now very attentive in class and has gained weight”, her mother added. Norbin has only this to say; “Thanks to Allah for giving us this wonderful opportunity”.
Other children in Mindanao’s depressed areas are also on the same ground with similar predicament like Lanao’s children. In the other priority areas of Basilan, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi; some children go to school without breakfast, without shoes, no writing materials, some are without slippers or even decent clothes for school; and yet they continue to walk the unpaved roads and ride bancas just to reach their school.