Saturday, 22 December 2012

A Manos Christmas

It was a fun-filled morning at Manos when we got together for our Christmas party last Friday. Dressed to the nines and with spirits even higher than usual, the Manos ladies danced, exchanged gifts, played games and shared a sumptuous meal to celebrate this joyous season.

Our gracious MC, Dhang!

The Manos ladies all dressed up
Mamu leading the opening prayer

Together we reminded each other of our mission as an organization. 2012 has been filled with so much opportunity, and for that we are very grateful. We look to the coming year with excitement and hope to grow as a family and find even more ways to make an impact.

The ladies would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to all clients for finding time to visit Manos during the busy Christmas season (some of you even surprised them with presents!). Thank you too to our friends and relatives who helped make the Christmas party a success by giving prizes, food, and simply being there.

With Christmas in a few days, we would like to wish all you wonderful celebrations with your loved ones. May you be blessed, and continue to be blessings to others, as you have been to us.

Maligayang Pasko!

Felice, Carissa, Ynez

PS: Please note our holiday schedule for the rest of December. Also, our Christmas campaign to help Mano Amiga Philippines is still on-going :)

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Sparty 101

Sparties (spa + party) have become extremely popular for showers, birthday parties, and corporate events. A sparty is unique versus the usual party or shower because it gives you the perfect time to sit down and bond with family and friends. It's a celebration that's more personal, more intimate, and best of all, your guests go home all pampered and polished!

We love having sparties at Manos because it gives us a chance to be part of your special events. For those that have yet to experience a Manos sparty, here's what you can expect:

Exclusive use of venue. Yes, we close down the venue exclusively for your sparty. That way your sparty is more intimate so you and your friends can let loose and have fun!

The full Manos experience. Our sparty packages incorporate our premium mani/pedi services. For customized packages, you can choose from the full range of Manos services. As an added treat, you can also order drinks like our famous Manos iced tea, or cocktails like margarita, coco lychee, amaretto sour, and mojito.

Sparties can be loads of fun, but sparty planning is a different ball game; from deciding on a theme, to choosing a date, to the decor, to food, and everything else in between. We try to make it as stress-free as possible with our sparty packages. Our packages are designed so that all you need to do is to round up the troops and leave the rest to us!

While we do most of the legwork, sparty planning can be tedious (especially if you're OC like us!) -- we'd like to share some tips to make sparty planning at Manos as easy as 1-2-3:

1 - Book at least two weeks in advance
We want to accommodate your sparty as much as possible, but we also have regular clients who book appointments in advance. Given that our slots tend to fill up quickly, it would be ideal to book at least two weeks before your chosen sparty date. Booking ahead also gives us time to better prepare the different sparty elements like decor, food and giveaways. It is still possible to book less than two weeks in advance, but it would be subject to the availability of your desired date and time. 

2 - Choose a sparty package
You can choose from any of our sparty packages, but we can also customize a package for you (eg. Sparty Like a Rockstar). When choosing a package, consider the expected number of guests and the format of your sparty (like if you plan to have games or other activities after the treatments are done). Our standard sparty packages are good for three (3) hours, but for larger groups (10 or more) we would recommend a longer duration.

3 - Finalize details at least three days before the sparty
We understand that plans change, so it helps to finalize details (number of guests, time, food orders, decor, etc) with us at least three days before your sparty. This is so we have ample time to adjust and make everything as smooth as possible on the day itself.  

So there you have it! We hope you will consider having your next sparty at Manos :) For bookings or further inquiries, please call 478-4057 or 0917-3156627 and leave your email address and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. You can also email us directly at



Friday, 7 December 2012

Lessons from Typhoon Pablo

One of the values that built Manos is the value of building a just society. We aim to make sustainable contributions to our society by bringing together a community of suppliers, clients, and employees in a place where each decision positively impacts our fellow brothers and sisters. By consciously supporting each other in this endeavor, we are taking concrete steps to live out this value.

As a volunteer currently assigned in the farms of Bukidnon, I had a first-hand experience of the calamitous typhoon Pablo. We were all appropriately forewarned about the typhoon that was about to hit: they were announcing early on that it was already signal no.3 all over the province, and that the winds would be stronger than that of last year’s Sendong.

The electricity in our sitio was shut down around 10am of December 4, and the heavy rains came an hour later. This went on nearly the whole day -- the wind was so strong and constantly changing directions that the rain was falling sideways and entering  through the small cracks of our windows. It was practically useless that we were indoors because the water would somehow find its way inside. 

Sometime in the late afternoon, the rain stopped but the wind continued to destroy the crops in the fields and tear down some trees and cottages in the area. I stepped out and saw that everyone had already been discussing the different losses that Pablo had caused them in that short span of time. Some families had already brought their mats and blankets to their neighbor’s because their homes were already damaged.

As the day drew to a close, the chattering died down, and we all had to brace ourselves for the deafening sound of the howling winds. The next day, everything was calm as if nothing had happened just 24 hours before; the only difference was that all of the corn that were ready for harvest in the next weeks or so were already lying down. The farmers would be seen shaking their heads and trying to compute how much in losses this crop failure had brought them. All their investments over the last 4 months had been blown away overnight.

Visiting other areas struck by the typhoon in the days to come gave me a much better perspective of what had happened. Admittedly, no one was taken by surprise by the timing of the typhoon, but what they had not been briefed about was what a typhoon actually was. Last year, they experienced the winds of Sendong; but that was the first time in three decades that the people of Mindanao had experienced a typhoon of that degree (and that time it hadn’t brought so much rainfall in Bukidnon). 

Some farmers were saying that they knew it was signal no.3, but were clueless about what it meant: Did it mean they should already stay out of the streets? Did it mean they were to expect heavy rainfall or just heavy winds? Did they have to make reinforcements on the foundations of their homes? Other farmers were simply surprised that this is the second time they had experienced something that devastating.

One general consensus I got was that it’s about time that the environment is taken care of, because it affects the lives of so many people, especially in the long run. The provinces of Mindanao are robbed of yet another jolly Christmas holiday this year, as all their efforts and focus will be turned to rebuilding their homes and moving on from the tragedy that Pablo left behind.

We invite everyone to join Manos in extending what help we can give to the communities affected by Pablo. From December 7-9, we will donate 100% of sales from all of our threading services to the affected farmer communities I am assigned to, and to the Gawad Kalinga relief ops in Mindanao. Moreover, we re-commit to our mission of promoting and supporting environmental consciousness in order to make an even bigger impact for the generations to come.

We at Manos are glad that we are able to do our part in nation-building together with you!


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Discovering local flavors with Theo and Philo

One of our best-selling products at Manos is Theo and PhiloTheo and Philo chocolates are completely made in the Philippines from bean to bar: the cacao is grown in Davao, the sugar is sourced from Bacolod, and the different varieties creatively incorporate local flavors such as siling labuyo, pinipig and calamansi.

The social entrepreneur behind it is Philo Chua. I met Philo in the remote (but very picturesque) island of Bantayan at the Gawad Kalinga Bayani Challenge in 2011, where we built homes together with other volunteers for 1 week. It was serendipitous because when Carissa, Ynez and I were planning Manos, we already knew that in addition to mani/pedi services, we also wanted to showcase world-class products that are proudly Filipino. 

At Manos, we carry the full range of Theo and Philo chocolate flavors. My favorites are dark chocolate with green mango and sea salt, milk chocolate with barako, the limited edition Pinagsugbo and the special holiday flavor. These are always a hit, and I love giving them as gifts to friends and relatives from abroad. We only order in limited amounts to ensure freshness, so we would suggest to place an order through us ahead of time for larger quantities, especially if you plan to order a bunch for Christmas. 

Here's to empowering our farmers, supporting our social entrepreneurs, and being proud of our local flavors. Be sure to try one (or two, or more!) Theo and Philo bars the next time you visit Manos.  :)



Sunday, 25 November 2012

Hand in Hand: Manos + Mano Amiga

We absolutely love Christmas! The parols, decor, reunions with loved ones, food, music and gifts add to the already cheerful nature of the Filipinos. This holiday is the perfect cap to each year because it reminds us that in so many wonderful, beautiful ways, we are truly truly blessed. It is also a chance for us to be blessings to others.

This 2012, Manos Nail Lounge is partnering with Mano Amiga Philippines, an organization that provides high-quality education to children from low-income families. But more than just providing education, Mano Amiga is a complete development center with the objective of transforming the lives of families and individuals. The organization helps students become good citizens who are involved in their communities and responsible for their own future.**

Mano Amiga is close to our hearts because we've volunteered in their community in the past, and the daughter of one of our nail technicians is currently a grade school scholar. We share their belief that every Filipino child can shine like gold given the right opportunities, and that if we offer the best to the least in our society, we can realize the true potential of our country.

The Mano Amiga Academy currently caters to 97 students from Nursery to 3rd grade, with plans of growing one level every year.  The school plans to eventually have at least 1,050 students from Kindergarten to 12th grade. For school year 2013, they've expressed the need for assistance to upgrade their IT facilities, which includes purchasing new LCD projectors and laptops. 

With YOUR help, we hope to raise enough funds to provide them with such. From 25 November to 30 December 2012, a portion of sales from any massage service you avail of at Manos Nail Lounge will go to the Mano Amiga community.

Tis the season! We'd love to give you more pampering so that we as one Manos family, can give others more hope. :)

With all the holiday cheer,
Felice, Carissa, Ynez

**For more info, visit

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Road-testing Orly GelFX

Manos is now proud to offer the newest trend in nail polish -- Orly Gel FX. Gel polish is different from the usual nail lacquer because it lasts for more than 2 weeks without chipping, yet still maintains the luster and shine of a fresh manicure.

It took us quite sometime to decide on whether to get our own gel polish system, but due to popular demand, we did our research and decided to go with the Orly Gel FX system. We like Gel FX for a couple of things:

1) Orly is a trusted nail polish brand, and we love the formula and wear of their lacquers. They also have one of the best color collections out there, and the Gel FX shades are actually Orly's most popular colors like Naughty, Terracotta, and the classic French Manicure.

2) Among the brands we researched, it was one of the few that uses LED light to cure the gel (other brands use UV light). That means less curing time and less exposure to harmful UV rays that can damage your skin.

3) The Orly formula is also free of BHA and monoacrylates, which are harmful chemicals found in other brands. We understand from Orly that their formula is also fortified with Vitamin A and E to help promote healthy nails. (Source:

I road-tested Orly Gel FX to see what it was really all about. My day job involves mostly typing on the computer and usual office stuff, so you can imagine how much "work" my hands and fingers do on a daily basis. Typically, a mani with regular nail polish would last me one week tops before it starts chipping out. (Please excuse the low-quality photos.)

Day 1:

I chose Pink Nude because I'm partial to neutral shades for my mani. The entire process takes around 1-1.5hrs with cleaning. After the manicure, they prep the nail by buffing and applying the primer. Then the usual application takes place (base coat > 2 coats of polish > top coat), only that the polish is cured under the LED light for 30 seconds in between steps. The gel polish dries instantly after curing and you can walk out of the salon immediately without having to wait for your polish to dry (plus points for that!).

Day 10:

More than a week later, the gel polish is still shiny and looks like it was just applied yesterday. No chipping or peeling, although you can already see signs of nail growth in the cuticle area.

Day 14:

Now officially two weeks old, the polish is still shiny and looks like new! Again, you can see further nail growth in the base, but it's not too obvious because I chose a neutral color. The growth might be more obvious for darker shades. After two weeks I decided that it's finally time to remove the polish. I guess the only downside really is that you have to go back to the salon and have it removed. The removal process involves first buffing down the top coat to break the seal, soaking your fingers in the remover for about 15 mins, then scraping off the polish from the nail. Because the process can be quite tedious and abrasive to the skin and nails, we finish it off with a dose of Human Nature's Sunflower Oil.

The verdict:
Overall the Orly Gel FX system really lives up to its claim. The polish was still shiny and looked like new even after two weeks of wear. However, given that the removal process can be harmful to the nail, I wouldn't recommend it to those with naturally brittle nails. I would recommend it, however, for special occasions (weddings, proms, or debuts) or if you plan to go on a vacation (especially for beach trips!). Also based on personal experience, it would be advisable to let your nails "rest" after wearing gel polish (or even regular lacquer) to give your nails some time to breathe and recover :)


PS: Manos is not connected to Orly, nor has Orly sponsored this review. We have tried to make this review as objective and un-biased as possible.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Financial Stewardship Workshop

Mike Go, Human Nature's Head for Social Enterprise Development, spends his Sunday morning at Manos to conduct the talk!

More than just productivity and sustainable employment, we at Manos aspire to provide wholistic development and empowerment to our team. We believe in providing our staff fair wages and benefits, as well as instilling values such as work ethic, responsibility, and stewardship.

Last month we held a workshop for the Manos ladies on Financial Stewardship. Together with a special guest, we all shared insights on saving, budgeting and opportunities. It was clear that higher income received does not necessarily equate to being more forward thinking: "Bakit ganun- kapag maliit kinikita, kasyang kasya lang. Kapag malaki, parang kasyang kasya rin lang din?" That morning, the girls were able to reflect on and compute their monthly expenses, the different sources of income of the household, and how much money they are able to save. The talk was quite insightful, and I believe the Manos ladies learned to use the income more responsibly, especially in the upcoming Christmas season.

I'm excited about the other talks lined up! So grateful for team that's eager and open to learn about different things, and for friends and clients who become our partners in our mission. Ü

-- Felice

PS: Special thank you to Mike Go, Human Nature's Head for Social Enterprise Development, for spending Sunday morning with us to conduct the talk!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Manos turns 1

It has been quite an eventful year for Manos Nail Lounge. We'll admit that getting things off the ground was not easy, but we're very lucky to have a great team supporting us all throughout. To our staff, our partners, and you, our loyal clients, MARAMING SALAMAT for making this endeavor a success so far!

The journey is far from over and so we've decided to start a blog to share our Manos experience from our POV. We'll be posting updates on services, promos, offerings, latest finds, nail care tips, nail polish trends, and anything under the sun. For the latest news, you can also follow us on twitter (@ManosNailLounge) and Facebook (/ManosNailLounge). We also love hearing from you guys, so please feel free to send us your comments and feedback via

We look forward to many more meaningful years with everyone -- filled with happy moments bonding with friends, helping communities and providing world-class services.

Felice, Carissa, Ynez