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!