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.  :)