Saturday, February 26, 2011

One Fabulous Evening in India

Last Friday, we held Travelife India Night at the Dusit Thani Manila, a wonderful evening designed to showcase the best of Indian culture via a five-course degustation dinner accompanied by the best of Indian wines, and a world-class performance of classical dance and also sitar and sarod music. It was an incredible success, attended by 240 guests including many VIPs, ambassadors and top businessmen; as well as our valued supporters, friends, and media contacts, and our dear readers. We closed reservations on Thursday night; but still, on Friday morning, there were many more on the waitlist who called up at the last minute seeking tickets, but who we could not accommodate since we could not compromise the quality of the food by adding more guests.


It's taken me over 24 hours to sit down and type out an entry regarding Travelife India Night, because the reality of the success of this evening took that long to sink in. This event began as one minute of inspiration one evening over dinner at the home of the ambassador of India in Forbes Park. As we sat around the ambassador's living room having coffee, I was admiring Madame Kumar's beautiful Indian artifacts and reminiscing with them about my last trip to India in March last year, when I journeyed to South India with over a dozen girlfriends. Then the idea came to me: The magic of India is an experience to be shared, and Travelife Magazine -- as the Philippines' leading travel & lifestyle publication, and as the travel magazine that truly brings the world to its readers instead of merely just writing about it-- should find a way to bring this experience of travel closer to home, for the benefit of those who are not able to travel to India right now.

"Why don't we organize a cultural evening for India sometime?" I suggested to Ambassador Kumar. We then verbally agreed to come up with ideas for this cultural evening. One day, I got a call from Ambassador Kumar's office just before Christmas regarding a visit by some of India's top sitar and sarod artists in February; this was exactly the opportunity I was waiting for.


With this event in mind, I met up with Dusit General Manager Prateek Kumar in his home on the afternoon of the 31st, just as he and the entire hotel were preparing for the New Year's Eve celebrations in a couple of hours, to discuss my plans. It was a pretty busy time but it was the only common opportunity we had. GM Kumar was very enthusiastic and supportive, and very quickly we agreed on the basic framework for the event, to be worked out by our respective staff members after the Christmas break.

Interestingly, our first idea was an intimate concert of about 30 persons in one of Dusit's restaurant venues. However, due to the enthusiastic response from the public, the event simply snowballed at an amazing rate. Before we knew it, we had 240 persons filling the grand ballroom of the Dusit to maximum capacity.


Friday morning, I was at my computer at 3 AM still working out final seating plans. With so many VIPs and also people from all walks of life attending, seating was quite complicated and it was imperative that we get the table seating as perfectly as possible. And even at 5 am, I was getting texts and emails from people seeking tickets to India Night at the last-minute. Unfortunately we had to say no to many people as we simply had no more space.


At noon, I headed over to the residence of Indian Embassy First Secretary Gyan Singh, who was hosting a lunch for the musicians. There were a million and one things to do before Travelife India Night officially began, but I just had to meet the musicians and impress upon them just how enthusiastically everyone was looking forward to their performances. The other incentive was Mrs Singh's wonderful cooking. The Singhs often host dinners at their home, and Mrs. Singh always prepares the most elaborate Indian buffet spreads with vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices. I think I had two helpings of everything.

"This is probably my last meal for the day," I joked. But it was true. I almost never ate at my own events because I'm always too busy. At the Gawad Kalinga Ball at the Peninsula Manila in October last year, for instance, I was on stage half the time for the auction and running around greeting guests the rest of the time, so dinner was the last thing on my mind. After the requisite first course, I just asked the Peninsula to hold my dinner and serve it in my suite after the ball. I finally got to eat dinner at 130 am.

So, keeping my past experiences in mind, I already knew I'd better go to my own event on a full stomach. After lunch, I passed by the Dusit to do a last-minute check. The venue was practically set up and the ballroom really looked so beautiful that I just had to text Prateek and Dusit PR Danelle Palang right there and then: "Everything looks so beautiful. I'm speechless."

Dinner for 240, and it's perfect

Meanwhile, Travelife India Night itself turned out wonderfully. Everyone was enthralled by the lively dance performances of Madhu Saiini, who opened and closed the program. In between we had the much-touted world-class sitar and sarod recitals by famous classical music groups from India who had just come from a music competition overseas, where they represented India. Now sitar and sarod music take some time to appreciate if you've never heard these before; but many of the Indian music enthusiasts in the audience confirmed the excellent quality of the performances afterwards.

For that evening, I hosted several tables of associates and friends, but I sat at Table #3 together with the ambassadors of Austria, Switzerland and Italy, and their wives. My friend Freddy was kind enough to join me and help me entertain my guests, as I was away from my own table about half the time. He's spent lots of time among an illustrious crowd in Italy and elsewhere in Europe so I thought it would be perfect for him to sit next to the wife of the Italian ambassador and within conversing distance with the ambassadors of Switzerland and Austria. I didn't get to eat much of my dinner but everywhere I walked that evening, people were raving about the food.

I got stopped at one of the tables sometime after dinner as one guest was particularly insistent. "Where can I eat this food again?" He wanted to know. "I just have to eat this again somehow." I thought for a second about the labor of love that went into this meal and the countless taste tests and coordinations to get it right -- so I just had to tell him the truth: "Probably never again. Unless Travelife holds another India Night in the near future."

All in all, an amazing evening -- and most of it due to the hard work of all the entities involved, and especially Prateek Kumar and his staff at Dusit.

Text from the middle of nowhere

And, of course, right in the middle of everything, J sends a text from his trip to somewhere so exotic I can't find it easily on a world map. Maybe it's the time difference, but he always has great timing for catching me at fancy dinners, just when my Blackberry is supposed to stay out of sight. When I got off the stage and returned to my seat, I noticed my phone blinking. J's message read: "I'm in the middle of nowhere but I actually have signal. If I'm not mistaken, it's India Night right now. I wonder if you'll actually reply to me or are you too busy?"

Yes, this was probably the busiest night of the year for me so far, and I'm sure he wouldn't have gotten miffed if I didn't answer. I had the option of either eating or texting in my few spare moments, but not both. I looked at the delicious-looking lambchop in front of me, smeared with tamarind sauce and surrounded by fragrant basmati rice and a couple of tantalizing-looking dishes in little silver bowls. But, somehow, the smiley face at the end of J's text prompted me to put down my fork and text back: "You're in luck. I just sat down for a second to eat..." So I started texting instead; and, well, that was the end of dinner for me.

February 25, 2011
Dusit Thani Manila

We're sharing a few photos already posted by guests on Facebook. Our own official photographers' photos will be uploaded on the Travelife Facebook Fan Page tomorrow. Thank you to Ralph Suarez and Jun Reynales, and our own Bryan Arevalo, for sharing these photos below.

Elaborate table settings for 240 guests
courtesy of Prateek Kumar and the Dusit Thani Manila

Travelife Magazine publisher Christine Cunanan,
Madame Indira Kumar, Pinky Aquino-Abelleda,
Senator Loren Legarda, Ambassador Yogendra Kumar

James Go of JG Summit, Sanjiv Vohra of Citibank,
Ambassador Yogendra Kumar

Zenaida Tantoco of Rustan's and Anton Huang of SSI

The wine afficionados' table composed of Rene & Miren Fuentes,
Choy & Marissa Cojuangco,
Ralph & Gia Suarez (not in photo),
Sunny Garcia (not in photo).

Luigi Bernas, board member of Travelife, and Andy Bautista

Luli Arroyo-Bernas and friends.
Sri Lankan Ambassador in the background.

Sunny Garcia, Ed & Miren Fuentes,
Architect Jun Palafox
(president of Management Association of the Philippines)
and Mrs. Palafox, and Othmar Ober

Maurice Arcache and Dusit Thani Manila GM Prateek Kumar

Jonathan & Beliz Crook of the Peninsula Manila,
Prateek & Yvonne Kumar

Danelle Palang of Dusit, Johnny Litton,
Travelife Publisher Christine Cunanan, Dusit GM Prateek Kumar

Sarod artist performing
at Travelife India Night


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winners and losers

So there I was tonight at the Peninsula Manila's Salon de Ning for a party and some really great music, when my Blackberry pinged and a message from J halfway across the world, appeared on my screen: "I see you blogged about our latest BBM (Blackberry Messenger) exchange. Are you always saying you win?" There was a smiley face next to his message, so obviously he wasn't too upset.

He's quite fun to tease, so unless I'm in a serious meeting or some formal dinner, I usually shoot back a reply to his texts very quickly. In this sense, tonight at SDN was more conducive than usual for a text conversation. SDN was crowded and noisy, and it was just a little more pleasant to converse with J by text across the Pacific Ocean than to shout sentences at people around me and to only hear half of what they were saying back. I must have been quite focused on my phone because several people actually asked me what I was doing.


Unfortunately, making J "win" in my blog isn't as easy as J himself imagines or wishes. But the formula is pretty straightforward. "You've actually got to text me something witty if you want to "win" in my blog," I explained. "I can't really make stuff up. But when you finally upstage my texts, I'll make you sound wittier in the blog."

Then I added: "In the meantime, at least I'm making you sound like an ok guy who's pretty nice but who can't count his sunsets -- and who is just a little slow on BBM."

He hasn't sent me that witty text yet, but I imagine he's thinking pretty hard about it now as he never replied back. "I'm going to be J of unreliable texts pretty soon (instead of J of a thousand texts - which is what I used to call him) since I'm going somewhere with unreliable service," he told me. "But I'll surprise you every now and then, when there's BBM service..."

And while I'm patiently waiting to be bowled over by words, we've got Travelife India Night at the Dusit Thani Manila this Friday. This truly special event is a genuine labor of love from us at Travelife Magazine, the Philippines' leading travel and lifestyle publication, and from our hardworking partners at the Dusit Thani Manila and the Embassy of India. As with all Travelife projects, we've done time on all the minute details and made sure that this will be one spectacular event simply because we don't do ordinary. And we've put together a truly wonderful dinner and series of performances that highlight the best of Indian culture -- and all for the price of an average hotel buffet dinner, if not less.


So far, over 230 people have confirmed attendance -- which is quite a feat considering we initially planned this as a cultural evening for 50 persons at the most. The response to this Travelife event has been simply overwhelming, and I personally believe this is mainly because our dear readers and friends can feel the sincerity with which we planned this project and our sincerity in trying to bring the amazing experience of travel within the reach of more people. Travelife is not just any travel magazine, and this is most definitely not just another event to promote it.

And if J were in Manila and attending Travelife India Night, I'm sure even he would have found something wonderful, and perhaps even witty, to say by text about this event. Then he would've come out a winner in this blog.

And, yes, he probably would've texted me even if he was just across the ballroom. Some habits are just impossible to break.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hong Kong wines and dines in style

When the bosses at the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Hong Kong Trade and Economic Council, together with their key partner Cathay Pacific, decide to throw a party for their key contacts in major Asian cities, they really do so in style. All week, the top executives of these three entities have been traveling around Asia to host a Chinese New Year dinner in each city -- a "Spring Dinner" to usher in the Year of the Rabbit.


Last night was the fancy Spring Dinner in Manila, which included pretty amazing entertainment and a delicious eight-course lauriat, including Peking duck, steamed live garoupa and abalone. (Regular blog readers may remember that we were on Day 4 of our one-week Juju juice detox yesterday so, yes, we had only a tiny morsel of each course.) It made us feel like visiting Hong Kong again soon. We've flown to Hong Kong about half a dozen times in the past months, but unfortunately it's only been to transit at the airport onwards to another destination.

However, Travelife Magazine featured Jenny Rockett in Hong Kong in our recent Dec-Jan issue, and my staff spent a couple of fun days in Hong Kong shooting Jenny Rockett on location and gathering information for the pretty comprehensive guide to what's new and what's cool in this exciting city. I would've gone along except I was on my way to another part of the world at exactly that time; and so a Hong Kong trip is really long overdue.

The evening began with the requisite Lion Dance followed by a round of speeches. However, unlike the usual, these speeches provided a lot of interesting information. Ana Thompson, regional manager for Asia of Cathay Pacific, for instance, flew in from Hong Kong for this dinner and gave a speech at the very start. Cathay Pacific had an extremely good year in 2010, she said, and 2011 was looking to be along the same lines.


Cathay Pacific, too, is rolling out an entirely new business class in a few months -- something which should be of interest to many Travelife Magazine and Travelife blog readers. They currently have the individual fish-bone structure for Business Class on their long-haul flights, but this is going to change shortly into something much better. "Think of it as a mini First Class," said one of our Cathay Pacific friends last night.

That's certainly good news -- especially as Cathay Pacific is one of the airlines most convenient for travel from Manila, because of the Hong Kong hub (we also like Thai Airlines with its Royal Orchid service and its Bangkok connections) and one of the airlines of choice for travelers from Manila to the United States. Well, the first jets with the new business class will roll out for the Hong Kong-Sydney flights very soon, to be followed by flights to the United States. I think they're planning to use the new business class-configured jets for the inaugural flights to Chicago later this year.


Apart from meeting all our friends at these three key entities, who are also among Travelife Magazine's most valued business partners, we really enjoyed the performance of The Company last night. In keeping with the theme of travel and tourism, they performed a series of songs from around the world and of different eras, including some contemporary hits, a song from Brazil and a song in Cantonese.

The Company performed at the Gawad Kalinga Hope Ball last October, which was co-organized by Travelife Magazine together with the Peninsula Manila and Rustan's Corporation, and I really enjoyed listening to them then. Unfortunately, as vice chairman of the ball and the auctioneer as well, my mind was on a million and one things on the night of the GK Hope Ball, and I could only really enjoy one song in full. But last night, I was just one of the dinner guests, so I was able to take in The Company's performance and enjoy it immensely. I didn't have anything else to think about so I could focus completely on the music -- or at least, almost completely.


Midway, my phone pinged and it was J of a thousand texts (recently downgraded to J of a dozen texts), who was literally halfway around the world on the way to another airport on a freezing morning with snow on the road. We texted a couple of times and then finally I typed out: "The Company is performing now and I really like them. So my attention is divided and I'm only going to text you in between songs."

"Well, my attention is divided between you and the icy road over here," he replied, not one to resist a teasing challenge. And just then, The Company was singing a really nice song and I should've waited and texted him my reply when it was over, as I had earlier said, but I just had to shoot back: "What else is new? Your attention's always divided."


And then it was time to leave and to head on to Opus for the grand launch of its series of Tuesday Night parties. The party was in full swing when we arrived and they were actually playing music we loved but with a lot more edge interspersed into it. None of this techno-beat that's just so hard to relate to. It felt like college all over again -- and what a nice feeling that was.

To reserve a limited seat,
please call Rachel at 813-8400
or email
Tickets for the dinner and concert
cost PhP 1499 per person.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Jazz Night and Goodbyes at Salon de Ning

Last night at 10 PM, after a Juju juice dinner at home, we headed to the Peninsula's Salon de Ning to catch the show of Mishka Adams, a sultry British-Filipino singer who is visiting Manila from London for the ongoing jazz festival. She's one of the top billing acts at the festival, and last night she sang a repertoire of mostly French songs within the very intimate venue of Salon de Ning.

"There's something wrong with my voice these days," she apologized before the SRO crowd. "In fact, it's a bit better today than yesterday. Yesterday my voice was so low I sounded like a man."

So we listened to her first set with a lychee martini in hand. When my drink arrived, my friend Beliz said to me: "Aren't you on some juice detox?" I nodded. I'd been pretty good so far that evening but for some reason I was really in the mood for a lychee martini to accompany the music.

"Well, at least you got the lychee right," Beliz added. It had been a long day -- in fact, much longer than usual since we're at the countdown for Travelife Magazine's India Night at the Dusit Thani on Friday, and there are a thousand things to do...and because I'm so short on time, one of my Macs is set up in the car this week so that in traffic and on the way somewhere, I can put together the pretty elaborate seat plan for the 180 guests who include a phalanx of ambassadors and spouses, top government officials and senior corporate executives, plus lots of dear friends and our valued readers -- and all of us were visibly tired and just chilling out.

Interrupted momentum

I usually start my evenings at a cocktail party before heading to dinner or a second event, so I'm out of my house from morning or else dressed and ready for the evening by about 6 pm. This was one of the few times I actually went home first before going out again for the evening at 10 pm -- and all because of my current Juju juice detox plan. So until last night, I never realized what a challenge it is to be home at 9 pm with a comfy bed and the DVD player within view, and then to have to get dressed again for a late night out. The momentum of an entire day of activity is interrupted and has to be re-started again. I used to do this every weekend in college, but school was a pretty long time ago.

A thousand memories over a thousand texts

But these days, whenever there's a chance to be with my friends Jonathan and Beliz, I've been literally dropping everything and rearranging my life to spend more time with them. So sleeping early was not an option last night. They've just been posted to New York, you see, and we're now all so conscious of the fact that this is the home stretch to a big goodbye in less than a month, after over two years of weekly dinners and meeting up several times a week. This wasn't a text relationship (in reference to my previous blog entries from last week) but an honest-to-goodness interaction of a thousand memories rather than a thousand texts.

Since they broke the news a week ago, I've had a lump in my throat that I know is sadness bottled up. Of course, compared to many other people, we all live a great Travelife in the modern world, so the chances of meeting up again fairly soon and fairly often are pretty high in the scheme of things. And, we can always keep up via BBM and email. But, as I've written in this blog before, nothing compares to real people meeting up and sharing real experiences.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 3 of the Juju Juice Cleanse

Today is the third day of my 7-day Juju Juice Cleanse although I have to publicly admit that I haven't been very good. I've been drinking the juices religiously, and actually enjoying the variety. I also know they're doing their part to cleanse my system of toxins because I feel wonderfully light. However, I've had a bit of good stuff every now and then in the past two days, which is probably not ideal but not altogether bad as well. At the very least, the juices provide great nutrition even when they're not being used for a detox, I hope.

Same time, same juices

Everyday so far, the juices are the same six bottles on a fixed time schedule. After my initial encounter last week, I've grown used to the taste and actually really like it. Each juice has its own particular characteristic: one yellow juice called Salaba't Lemon is strong on ginger while another called Spicy Limonada reminds me of salty lemons; the green juice called Green Bomb is slightly alkaline so it has a kick, and the Red Giant red juice (which I'm assuming is full of beets) is tasty enough and I'm assuming it's incredibly good for me. Everything is pretty drinkable once you get used to the drill.

Out to dinner 360 nights of the year

Readers of this blog know that I'm probably dining out 350 to 360 out of 365 nights a year, and there's lots of lunches in between as well. So it's a pretty brave thing to be attempting a 7-day juice detox diet while maintaining a full work load because a full work load means a full evening schedule most of the time. In fact, I have a concert and a cocktail party every night this week, culminating with Travelife India Night at the Dusit Thani on February 25. But this cleansing ritual, started on a whim, was something I really felt I had to do for myself at this very point in time.

Day 1: Soft and easy

Day 1 on Saturday was pretty easy. It just meant drinking the juices on time and skipping lunch which was not a big deal as I was at the Travel Expo all day anyway. In the evening, I went to Art in the Park and had dinner with a friend afterwards. I very strongly, and successfully, resisted trying all sorts of food at Art in the Park, even when a wagyu shawarma was being devoured in front of me. At dinner I had a plate of bottarga pasta in front of me, but I basically picked at my food and had a tiny chocolate for dessert. So far so good, and on Sunday I woke up feeling I was 10 pounds lighter even if I'm sure this wasn't the case at all.

Day 2: Full of challenges and kare-kare

Day 2, Sunday, was harder. To complement my detox, I went to the Arogya Ayurvedic Center in Makatifor an ayurveda massage and ended this treatment feeling literally on top of the world. What a great feeling to have a complete detox! Unfortunately, as soon as I checked my phone after the treatment, there was a blinking message from my friend Beliz inviting to champagne brunch at the Peninsula Manila -- something not usually on the agenda of a person on detox. We were supposed to do something together that day but had not yet worked the schedules out. However, a leisurely Sunday brunch was exactly what I wanted -- ironically. So at 1 PM I met Beliz and her husband, and some other friends, for a four-hour brunch at Escolta. I began with champagne and my usual San Pelligrino, and then spent most of lunch eating salmon sashimi (the Peninsula has the best salmon sashimi at Escolta) and crushed ice. It wasn't hard at all to stick to salmon while everyone else was feasting on lamb and roast beef, and I was very happy that I did so.

Sunday dinner with cousins was a big challenge, though, as it involved a killer kare-kare with all the trimmings. Kare-kare is just about my favorite Philippine food so you can imagine how hard it is to say no to. But having come this far on a couple of juices had made me much stronger by then, and I stuck to about three tablespoons of rice and two pieces of meat. Interestingly, I'd lost all hunger for food by then as the juices were more than adequate. I was eating the kare-kare simply because I knew it was the best kare-kare in Manila, and not really because I was hungry.

Day 3: The biggest loser

Cleansing for me has happened on all levels this week. I feel that I've undergone a physical and emotional cleanse, which feels so good, and I'm sure the juices have had a lot to do with it. It's so much easier to think clearly and focus on finding out what's important to you, when your energies are not getting diverted to digesting stuff in your tummy.

So until this noon, I was in incredibly good form. Unfortunately I had lunch set today with a couple of wonderful ladies at the Last Chukker of the Polo Club. I'd drank my requisite bottle of juice on the way and was planning to order a soup while the ladies lunched. Unfortunately, the food at the Last Chukker is really good and my friends had ordered a feast even before I had arrived. There was nothing I could do but capitulate gracefully. Life is short, I remember saying to myself, as I tucked into a piece of roast chicken and a couple of slices of pizza. I even remembered to save space for the famous bread budding, which is really something worth breaking a juice fast for -- at least once in a while.

"You're terrible influences on me," I teased my friends, as they giggled away. I had a feeling they had enjoyed the challenge of making me temporarily break my juice fast. Of course, it wasn't that difficult either. I think I caved in long before the pizza had arrived. I even had second helpings of the bread pudding.

And tonight is another fun evening in our little town with a neverending party life. We're so excited to be watching an excellent jazz singer perform at the Salon de Ning. I had two invitations to dinner tonight, actually, and both so tempting to say yes to. But after my whopper of a lunch, I decided to meet my friends at 10 pm instead. And you know what I'll be having for dinner...

For more information,

To reserve a limited seat,
please call Rachel at 813-8400
or email
Tickets for the dinner and concert
cost PhP 1499 per person.


Detoxing with the Juju Cleanse

The idea for a major detox started a few weekends ago at the Mercato Centrale in Fort Bonifacio, when I met a nice girl named Kat who was manning a table set up with bottles of colorful juices in a pail and lots of literature about juice cleansing.

Chiva Som for perfect health

This encounter took place at the most perfect time, when I was thinking about my health (and my almost daily round of delicious lunches and dinners) and looking for something concrete and productive to do about it. In a perfect world with no magazine deadlines and commitments, I'd be on a plane immediately for Bangkok to spend a week or two at the Chiva Som Health Resort in Hua Hin --which is just about my favorite place in the world.

It's a holistic paradise not only for good health but also for de-stressing; and I can literally feel my stress melt away within minutes of stepping out of the car at Chiva-Som and getting into a golf cart for the main resort area. There was a time I used to go several times a year, but this was about ten years ago and way before a magazine got in the way.

The Farm at San Benito close by

In a pinch, my next option, usually, is to spend a weekend at The Farm at San Benito, which is another great detox place. It has an even more purist approach to good health compared to Chiva Som, since the food at The Farm is much more radical.

Chiva Som still has three-course meals that are comparable to restaurant food, albeit with far fewer calories and close to zero fat; while The Farm takes things one step further by serving low-calorie, zero-fat unheated food. Unfortunately, I've not even managed to secure three days to myself to escape to The Farm in the past months.

Juju juice detox as an alternative

So the idea of a juice detox -- the next best thing if you can't actually seclude yourself in a total detox place -- sounded very appealing; especially combined with an ayurveda semi-detox program at Arogya in Makati, which is Manila's most authentic ayurveda center.

JuJu's detox juice system is perfect for me because it's completely no-fuss and no-stress. The day before every detox day, JuJu delivers six large bottles of juices in a cooler pack which are numbered to correspond to a time schedule and which go straight into the fridge for the next day. This eliminates the hassles of buying your own vegetables and preparing the juices yourself, which is heaven-sent for people like me.

"What's the minimum time for your juice detox?" I asked Kat. She replied: "We usually recommend about three days, but one day is fine as well if you just want to recharge. And there are several reasons why cleansing is important, but it all boils down to one common point: Every once in a while we need to take out the trash. The toxins and other junk accumulate and these block the body's ability to absorb nutrients and expel waste."

Juicing before the main courses

That was a couple of weekends ago, on a Saturday. Kat and I were talking at Mercato Centrale and I really wanted to do the full-round; but when I looked at my Blackberry, there was one straight week of dinners beginning with a over-the-top wagyu dinner with J at his favorite Japanese restaurant on the following Tuesday. So I opted for a two-day cleanse just to try it out before my round of dinners began.

As Kat promised, the juices arrived and looked very attractive indeed. And the next day I began my two-day juice fast which was surprisingly easier than I expected. I thought I would be hungry and craving for food all day, but somehow the juices kept me going without any energy fluctuations and I actually didn't even have the urge to eat in those two days. Perhaps I was just lucky, but I was really busy in the two days that I did my fast, so that I actually, literally, didn't have time to eat. How convenient then it was to just take a juice out of my fridge or portable cooler and drink this up instead of a meal. It was perfect for my busy schedule at that particular time.

Eating with a vengeance

Last Friday, I actually had two large dinners in one evening. Talk about making up for lost time after a juice detox and eating with a vengeance! But as I slid into my seat at the second dinner -- a six-course gourmet meal at Enderun 101 -- my sister-in-law stared at me and said: "You look so much younger than the last time I saw you (which was about two weeks before). What did you to do yourself?"

I thought back at my week. It had really been a busy, slightly stressful but fun week of too much work, too many texts, too little sleep and a couple of truly memorable meals. But there had been my juice detox at the very beginning. This was the only answer I could think of.

"I went on a two-day juice detox," I told her, and explained the mechanics of it all. Her comment made my day, and that was all I needed to prompt me onto the next stage of juice detoxing. The very next morning I was on the phone to Kat at Juju, to book myself for the radical seven-day juice cleanse. I'm on Day 3 of that now (with a little bit of cheating yesterday, since I had champagne brunch at the Peninsula and a just a little bit of a kare-kare dinner) but I've never felt better. More on this in a future entry.



By giving your body time away from eating, you are freeing up energy and enzymes which would otherwise be spent on digesting and processing of food, and channeling these towards much needed absorption of nutrients and elimination of toxins instead. Think of it as a full body tune-up.


Each Juju Cleanse Kit contains a day's worth of freshly-pressed, nutrient-rich drinks to keep you nourished while you put aside your spoon and fork for the day and give your digestive system a much-needed break.

Benefits of juice cleansing:
1) Provides rest for the digestive organs
2) Boosts the immune system
3) Replenishes vitamins and mineral resources
4) Improves oxygenation of cells
5) Helps in the growth and repair of body tissues
6) Promotes regular bowel movements
7) Promotes pH balance
8) Flushes toxins out of the body
9) Promotes clearer skin
10) Reverses signs of aging
11) Encourages loss of excess weight
12) Increases energy

For more information, visit