Our Baguio trip: tips + experience

This past weekend was 4 days long for us Manila folk. We took this time to relax, recharge, and free ourselves from the stresses of work.

My husband and I drove up north last Friday, and spent our long weekend in Baguio City.  The city is known for its cooler climate, and has been dubbed the City of Pines and the Summer Capital of the Philippines.

Some tips for the Baguio-bound traveller:

  1. Leave early. Baguio is a 3-4 hour drive from Manila via the NLEX-SCTEX-TPLEX route. However, since it is a popular destination during summer, long weekends, and holidays, it is advisable to leave Metro Manila early in the morning to avoid traffic. Leaving early also ensures that you get to spend the big chunk of your first day in Baguio City enjoying the sights, the food, and the cool air.
  2. Book your preferred accommodations in advance. There are a lot of hotels and lodges within the city to fit each and every budget. Find one that suits your tastes and needs, and book early to avoid hassles. There are quite a number of listings on AirBnB, as well. My husband and I booked a small house thru AirBnB for our trip, and we couldn’t be happier.
  3. Plan your itinerary. The City of Pines has a lot of tourist spots! There’s Wright Park for horseback riding; Burnham Park for its numerous Strawberry Taho and Strawberry dirty ice cream vendors, rowboats, expansive gardens, and playgrounds; Camp John Hay for golf, picnics, food tripping, and other fun family activities; the BenCab museum for art appreciation. There’s so much more to do in Baguio that it pays to plan out your itinerary in advance in order to maximize your stay.
  4. Eat your heart out. Baguio is known for its fresh vegetables and fruits, and this is evident in the dishes they serve. There are a lot of restaurants around the city to cater to every palate. On our first day, we ate at the Ketchup Food Community, which is a compound containing 5 different restaurants (Rancho Norte, Canto, Happy Tummy, Green Pepper, and Rumah Sate). Each restaurant in the “community” serves different cuisine. The best part about this place is that you can sit at one restaurant, and then cross-order from any other restaurant in the compound. Our favorite was the sisig bagnet from Rancho Norte. Yum! Another restaurant worth trying is Cafe by the Ruins, which we believe serves the best longanisang Baguio in town! There are also a lot more restaurants along Session Road and in other parts of the city that we would love to try in the future.
  5. Relax and have fun! Our trip to Baguio was a welcome respite from the intense heat in Metro Manila, and also from the daily stresses of work. We found that we truly enjoyed ourselves on this trip because we let go, let loose, relaxed, and just savored each and every experience. Breathing in that cool, fresh air left us recharged for the week to come.

Makeup travel essentials

Aside from it being Labor Day weekend in the Philippines, the ASEAN Summit is also in town, so we officially have a 4-day weekend! While a lot of people are headed over to Boracay Beach to enjoy the soft white sand, the sparkling sea, and the endless parties, my husband and I decided to drive up north to seek respite from the sweltering summer heat. We’re going to Baguio City!

Baguio City is also known as the summer capital of the Philippines. The climate there is much cooler than in Manila and in other parts of the country, which is why Filipinos tend to flock over there during the summer to cool down. Hence the moniker, summer capital. I’ll do a blog post on our itinerary when we get back. 🙂

Just like any makeup junkie, it’s difficult for me to just choose just certain specific items to bring when travelling. I have such separation anxiety from my home makeup station each time, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. So here’s what’s in my makeup bag for this trip:

Primer

Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray in Oil-Control. I love how tacky this primer becomes, making sure your makeup just sticks to your face the whole day. Major points also for keeping my oils at bay.

Foundation

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD in Y365. I CANNOT live without this foundation. A pump and half for my entire face and neck, and I’m good for the rest of the day.

Concealer

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla is great at concealing and brightening. It’s also good enough to use alone, whenever I feel like going out sans foundation.

IMG_9449

 

Setting Powder

COTY Airspun Loose Powder in Translucent Extra Coverage to set my undereyes and the rest of my face.

Bronzer/Blush/Highlight

Benefit Cheekathon Blush Set because it contains everything I need: Hoola Bronzer, and my favorite Dallas blush. Coralista, Dandelion, and Rockateur are also there if I ever need variety.

Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette because of the handy, travel-size packaging and the variety available.

IMG_9448.JPG

 

Eyes/Brows

Anastasia Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette because it’s my favorite eyeshadow palette ever!! I love how looks can easily go from day to night with this.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Smoky Extravagant Mascara because it gives me the length and volume I need. Plus it’s extremely waterproof.

Anastasia Brow Definer in Medium Brown because I need my brows to be on-point every single day!

IMG_9447.PNG

 

Lips

NARS Liptensity in Smoked Almond: Love this lipstick not just because of the color, but also because the formula is non-drying.

IMG_9446.JPG

 

Setting Spray

Skindinavia The Makeup Finishing Spray in Oil-Control just does a great job at bringing all the makeup together, and making it look like skin. Makes my make-up last all-day, and keeps me virtually oil-free.

Makeup Remover

PureDerm Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are handy makeup wipes I can bring with me everywhere to remove my makeup, and to also provide hydration to the skin.

Okay so………………. looks like I ended up packing a lot of makeup items for our trip. Just because I am so extra, I’m also going to be bringing my portable lighted mirror with me — in case our AirBnB has poor lighting. 😉

What items are in your makeup bag this weekend?

 

 

Cloud Paints by Glossier

Cream blushes remind me of highschool.

I went to a private, Catholic, all-girls highschool where we weren’t allowed to wear makeup, so the only thing we could apply to our faces was cream blush or lip/cheek tints, because they looked very natural.

These Cloud Paints by the brand Glossier are exactly that: Natural. And I don’t mean that in a bad way.

IMG_9439.JPG

These blushes are so light, and blend so well into the skin that you look as if you were flushed and glowing from within.

I got myself two tubes of this product, in Puff and Dusk. There are two more available: Haze (a deep berry shade), and Beam (a warm coral). After swatching these on my hand, I immediately regretted not buying all four shades. 😦

IMG_9440.JPG

Puff is a soft, cotton candy pink, while Dusk is a brownish nude that looks like a rosy beige on the face. It is my absolute favorite of the two. Both shades make you look very fresh. There is a tiny bit of shimmer mixed in there, but it does not translate that much onto the skin when applied.

Application is easy, and you only need just a tiny little bit of product. These babies are very pigmented! I just use my fingers to blend into the apples of my cheeks. The formula on these is great, because they go on smoothly, blend very easily, and do not go on streaky.

I think these Cloud Paints are great products because it gives you that natural-looking flush and a healthy glow. Not to mention, these are perfect for those of us who are on the go all the time, and who need something that they can just easily slap on and be out the door.

Verdict: 10/10 ❤

 

 

Butter Bronzer by Physicians Formula

It’s summer here in Manila! The heat is unbelievable; today it’s 34 degrees Celsius outside. While a lot of people are out enjoying the sun at the beach, some of us (ie. Me) prefer to keep it cool indoors with the airconditioning on full blast. When I do go out, however, I prefer to look bronzed and sun-kissed, as if I’d been out at the beach getting the perfect tan.

Like many of the great beauty products from the US and abroad, Physicians Formula isn’t readily available here in the Philippines. Makeup junkies like me have to order online thru Sephora, or buy from different resellers. Luckily enough, my sister went on a trip to the States a couple of weeks back, and brought me home a Butter Bronzer!

The packaging is okay, made of sturdy plastic with a little tropical vibe going on. The compact itself is pretty bulky because underneath the bronzer is a compartment for the sponge applicator (which I have not tried; I use a brush with this), and a nice mirror.

IMG_9431.JPG    IMG_9429.JPG

IMG_9430.JPG

This Butter Bronzer, according to the Physicians Formula website, is infused with Murumuru Butter, Cupuacu Butter, and Tucuma Butter. It is an ultra-rich bronzer designed to moisturize and condition the skin while giving you that “radiant Brazilian goddess glow” at the same time. Pretty bold claims, huh?

I’ve been using this product for the past two weeks, and I love it! I think it truly delivers on its promise of giving you that radiant glow.

IMG_9432.JPG

The pigmentation on this bronzer is a little bit lighter than Benefit‘s Hoola, but is enough to give you that sun-kissed look, and enough to warm up the complexion. I have a fair to medium skin tone, and this shade delivers a perfect glow to the skin, and is able to provide that oomph to my everyday makeup look. On darker skin tones, though, I don’t think this color would show up that much, if at all.

This bronzer does have a slightly creamy consistency when swiped with a finger, but there is a little bit of powder kick-up when you dip your brush in.

The only thing I’d say I don’t like about this is its scent. I know a lot of people have been raving about the smell of this product, saying that it smells like the beach, but for me, it is a little bit overpowering. The scent is certainly somewhat tropical, but it reminds me more of the smell of Hawaiian Tropic sunblock and after-sun lotion. The scent also lingers on the face for quite a while.

Verdict: 9/10

I love how this product gives me that radiant, beachy glow, but I just dislike the smell. That being said, I would still use this over and over again.

Clio Kill Cover Conceal Cushion

I’ve been wanting to try this cushion compact by Korean makeup brand Clio ever since I heard about it, so I was very excited to get this in the mail after having ordered it online.

The Kill Cover Conceal Cushion is said to be a full-coverage cushion foundation formulated with concealer to hide all those blemishes and bumps. Like most Korean cushion foundations, the shade range was very limited. It only came in 3 shades: 2-BP (Lingerie), 2-BY (Linen), and 4-BO (Ginger). The swatches from beautyboxkorea.com will show you that even the darkest shade, Ginger, isn’t dark at all.

CLIO-Kill-Cover-Conceal-Cushion-13g-4.jpg

The product arrived in a big box containing the cushion compact and a refill. The cushion compact was made of plastic, with a decently-sized mirror inside, and a sponge puff to apply the product with.
IMG_9418.JPG

I noticed that the black plastic thing that holds the sponge puff, and which snaps closed to cover the cushion itself was a little bit flimsy on the hinge. For a moment I was scared that it would break off.

IMG_9417.JPG

This cushion foundation isn’t as full-coverage as advertised, but rather a buildable medium-coverage foundation with a dewy finish. A little product went a long way, as I didn’t need to dispense too much product from the cushion to apply on my face and neck. The only thing I noticed with this foundation was that it did NOT want to sit on my nose at all. No matter how many times I patted it onto my nose either using the sponge puff it came with, or using my Real Techniques Complexion Sponge, it just did not apply to my nose. I also found this to be the issue with my CC Long Lasting Cushion Foundation from The Face Shop, so maybe this is a thing among Korean cushions? Long story short, I ended up with a big patch on my nose where there was no foundation at all. I tried to cover it up with pressed powder, but it just did not look good. I wore this foundation to a dinner get-together with my friends, and noticed that by the time I got home 4 hours later, it had already broken up around the sides of my nose and on my upper lip. It stayed put on the rest of my face, though.

Verdict: 7/10 due to its limited shade range, somewhat flimsy packaging, and the fact that it just did not stay put on certain areas of the face.

Brow Intensity from Sleek Makeup

This will be the last post in my Sleek Makeup series (featuring the Matte Me lipsticks and the Solstice Highlighter Palette) this month. This one will be focusing on the relatively new Brow Intensity. According to the lady at the Sleek Makeup counter in Landmark Makati, this product has been out in the Philippine market for about a month now.

IMG_9406.JPG

Brow Intensity is double-ended, with a “brow sculptor” on one end, and a cream highlighter on the other. It’s a nice concept, because you get to do your entire eyebrow routine (define, fill-in, sculpt, highlight) with just one product.

IMG_9405.JPG

The “brow sculptor”, as seen in the photo, is a hybrid of a mascara wand and a sponge tip. The sponge tip is supposed to help you define and sculpt your brows into the desired shape, while the mascara wand is meant to comb the hairs into place, and at the same time brush the fibre-gel into your eyebrow hairs to make it look fuller.

The problem with this applicator is that the sponge tip, although tapered, is still too fat and chunky to be able to give me the sharp definition I want. You definitely will not be able to draw fine, hair-like strokes with this. It felt as if I was drawing my eyebrows on with a big fat marker! Yuck. It was also very difficult to maneuver the tool to use just the mascara wand portion without having the sponge tip touch the rest of my eyebrows and the skin around my brow area.

IMG_9404.JPG        IMG_9403.JPG

I thought that the highlighter on this product would be its saving grace, but I found it too chunky and glittery for my taste. Though it was creamy, it was still a bit hard to blend out.

I like Sleek, and it hurts my heart to say this, but overall, I would not recommend this brow product.

I believe there are tons of better brow products out in the market. The ones from K-Palette are better than this. As for me, I’m going to be sticking to my ultimate brow favorites: my Anastasia Brow Definer and my Benefit High Brow highlighter.

Solstice Highlighter Palette from Sleek Makeup

Okay. So I’m doing another blog post on a product from Sleek Makeup again. I did one on their Matte Me liquid lipsticks yesterday (click), and today, I’m doing one on their Solstice Highlighter Palette.

This palette comes with 3 powder highlighters (Hemisphere, Subsolar, and Equinox), and 1 cream highlighter (Ecliptic) housed in a shiny gold case with a decently sized mirror and a tiny little highlighter brush. Just like their liquid lipsticks, the price point of this palette isn’t bad. It’s actually pretty cheap, considering that it’s not a local, Philippine-made brand.

In the pan, these highlighters already look gorgeous. Just by eyeballing them, you can already tell that these babies will give such a fierce highlight to your face.

IMG_9386.JPG

Swatched lightly on the back of my hand, this is what they look like:

IMG_9387.JPG

Hemisphere has a pinky-purple sheen to it, while Equinox is a much more golden highlight similar to Becca’s Prosecco Pop, but a little more metallic. Subsolar is a silvery highlight. Ecliptic is the more subdued highlight among all four, being a bronzy pink.

I’d say that this palette gives you a variety of highlights you can use for different occasions. I’d wear Hemisphere on a night out. Subsolar you can even use as an inner corner highlight for your eyes. I’d say Equinox and Ecliptic are the more wearable, everyday highlights in this palette. All of them, though, look fantastic, and are all buildable to achieve the look and the pop you want.

Verdict: 10/10 for the price point, variety, and versatility