Happy 2nd Anniversary, my love!

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Its been two years since I married the love of my life. It doesn’t feel like two years, but longer, only because we’ve been together for so long. It has been 11 years since we fell in love, and so much has happened! I guess for me two years only seems like a moment, considering we’ve been through so much in more than a decade. We’ve seen each other through ups and downs, and for some time there have been more downs than ups. But I have to say that life’s difficulties only made our relationship stronger, which is why right now, at this moment, we are happy and blessed to wake up next to each other. He is everything to me–my source of strength, my biggest cheerleader and my best friend (I can only hope I am the same to him).

The past 24 months has been blissful, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve made a conscious decision to make our home our sanctuary. A place of peace where we could both be ourselves. This is so important for us, and I’m glad we’ve decided on this. I can’t tell you how important it is to have peace in the home, to have the space to be yourself and be creative, and to not worry about the petty things. Of course, I am not saying things have been perfect, because nothing is really. But since we’ve agreed to act like a team, things have been smooth sailing for us. Its funny, we used to fight more when we were still boyfriend-girlfriend, but now we hardly do.

At this point, we are still fixing our house. We have everything we need, but home improvements are still underway. I’m glad we took our time with this, because in the beginning I was all about having it all and more. What I’ve realized is that it is better to buy things slowly, so that you love every little thing that goes into your house as opposed to just buying it for the sake of it (and having to replace it later on). We are concentrating on furnishing and redecorating each room, which I think are fun “projects” for us to get into. I can’t express enough how happy I am to have my husband on board with these things. He has been involved with our home from day one, which makes such a huge difference.

Being married really is quite the journey, and while I am only in the beginning stages, I can only hope that we will continue to be happy and blessed in the years to come. And since it’s our anniversary, I’ve decided to write down the things I’ve been grateful for in the past year. This way, I can look back and see the progress. I think this is good practice, because most of us tend to focus on the negative things that happen in our lives instead of the things that make us happy every day. I need to remind myself about this constantly, that I should always concentrate on the positive and show appreciation for the little things.

I am grateful for our home. We stayed in an old apartment for about a year after we got married. It wasn’t so bad, it’s just that the elevator kept breaking down and we had to climb eight flights of stairs every single day (sometimes we had to go down two or three times in a day, and it was painful). We were comfortable because we had so much space, but the trade off was we had to take the stairs most of the time. We were definitely more fit back then, but I am so happy to live in our three bedroom house. No more climbing stairs, so yes, I am grateful!

I am grateful for our improved cooking skills. Before I got married I never set foot in a kitchen. We’ve always had a cook in my parents’ house which is why I never really needed to cook. I thought it would be the same in our household, but since we wanted our privacy and to make the most of our little space, we didn’t hire any help. And so I cooked. We ate breakfast food A LOT in the beginning. It was always bacon and eggs, Spam and eggs, oatmeal, cereal, and sometimes pasta (not a breakfast food) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was fine for a few months, but now I cannot stand the sight of eggs hahaha. I since attended cooking classes and learned how to plan the weekly menu, do the grocery and cook. It isn’t always superb, but we are both getting better. There are still days though when we only have cereal for dinner. Of course, when this happens I order take out.

I am grateful for Lily. Lily is our sharpei mix dog. She is our baby, and when we want to make each other smile we talk about her. Lily is the daughter of Carlos’s sister’s dog Coco (a sharpei). Coco ran away one day and came home pregnant. She had a litter of five, Lily being the alpha dog. No one wanted her so I decided to adopt her. She was definitely a handful when she was growing up; she liked tearing up t-shirts and socks so she was always in trouble in my house. I didn’t know how to train a dog so I just let her do her thing. When she moved to our house though, things changed. Thanks to my husband, she now follows a routine that she knows very well, and she now knows how to ride a car so we take her with us to our beach trips. She is so smart, sweet and obedient (most of the time). And she is fiercely loyal, which is what we love about her.

I am grateful for our new refrigerator. When we got married we bought a medium size refrigerator that fit well in our old apartment. Our groceries never could fit in there though, but we always found a way to stuff everything inside. It was always so cluttered and full, but we decided to stick with it until we moved to our house. We still had it a few months ago until I won a new refrigerator about twice the size of the old one (thank you, Samsung). Now we have SO MUCH SPACE, it makes me happy! I always smile whenever I need to get something in the refrigerator. Everything has its place, and it looks neat and organized. I love our new ref!!!

I am grateful that my husband loves fish and plants. I’ve never been one to care for fish and plants. I think I had a pet fish once when I was a kid but I don’t recall what happened to it. It probably died and no one wanted to tell me. Anyway, Carlos loves fish–he got his old aquarium from storage and has put in fish in there. He spends a good hour watching his fish (he tells me its better than television) and he looks so happy and peaceful when he does it. He’s also added plants to our home, which I love. We now have waterlilies, succulents and herbs in our house!

I am grateful for our new shoe rack. We just had it made and we finally got it only today! It’s not your typical shoe rack (not like the ones you buy at the mall), but a giant one where I can store all my shoes. This is a huge deal because before this my shoes were everywhere. It was out of control, and we’ve been talking about building this shoe rank for awhile now. I love seeing all my shoes in one place, looking so organized. This is definitely something to be thankful for!

I am grateful for our memory foam mattress topper. I thought this one was excessive at first, but since it was on sale, we made the purchase. This is one of the best things we’ve bought, ever! We sleep so well on our bed that we decline overnight stays at other hotels and resorts because we’d rather sleep at home. Seriously, this is such a great investment and everyone should get one for their homes. You wake up so rested and happy every day, and really, we spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping so this is something that’s worth the money.

I am grateful for all the laughter in our home. My husband and I love spending time together at home. I think it is so great to spend time with your favorite person in the world. You would think we had exciting activities lined up every day, but nope, most of the time we don’t do anything. We like to watch movies and TV series together, we like to cook and eat, and sleep. Sometimes I catch us both checking out Instagram on our phones and not talking to each other, and its totally fine. It’s the every day things that make us happy. We don’t need extravagant trips abroad nor crazy shopping sprees to be happy, though of course, that would be a bonus. We genuinely like spending time with each other, which I think is essential to any relationship.

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Photography: Pat Dy

Tux / gown: Joey Samson

Church: St. Pancratius Church (Paco Park)

 

Different strokes

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In case you didn’t know, H&M is finally here in Manila! They opened their flagship store at Mega Fashion Hall in SM Megamall last October 17th, and all weekend long I saw photos and read updates about the grand opening. People literally arrived in droves, while some camped out and lined up outside the store the day before. I have to say, this is major for the Philippines! Finally we have access to one of the best high street brands in the world! I’m excited about the designer collaborations to come, and first on the list is: Alexander Wang! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. I’ve seen his collection and I absolutely love it. I will surely be one of the hundreds who will be lining up the night before haha.

So last Wednesday, H&M invited a couple of thousand VIPs, celebs and press people to a shopping party. From 7pm to 12 midnight the store was open to a limited number of guests to shop and it was insanely fun. Ill be blogging about the event soon. In the meantime, let me share with you what I wore to the event. The entire outfit is from H&M–the faux leather top, the printed skirt, the faux snakeskin booties and rings. These are all currently available at the store. If you haven’t gone to the store, seriously, get on it!

Tricks of the Trade: 3 effective mascara removers

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I hate using waterproof mascara because I have a hard time removing it. But I wear it almost everyday because I love how big it makes my eyes look. What cleanser can I use to remove mascara and the rest of my makeup without drying out my skin?

It has got to be the most difficult makeup to remove—waterproof mascara! The stuff really sticks to your eyelashes well into the next day, and creates unsightly under-eye smudges that resemble dark circles. It usually takes a lot of scrubbing (and crying, when your facial wash gets into your eyes) to successfully take out waterproof mascara—but not if you use the correct products.

I remember having to struggle with waterproof mascara when I was just starting out as a model. Most shoots and fashion shows required me to wear a thick layer of mascara, and having to remove it was such a pain. My eyes would feel dry and raw from trying to scrub off the product. And the more I did it, the more irritated the skin around my eyes got, until it eventually became dry and flaky. I can imagine how much damage this kind of cleansing can do to your skin, especially around the delicate eye area. Constantly pulling and tugging at the skin can cause premature wrinkles and sagginess around the area, which we know can make us look years older.

At this point, I only knew facial scrubs and astringent-like makeup removers, but eventually (after asking makeup artists and fellow models for a solution) I found the correct products for this problem. Try these effective mascara removers:

Cleansing oil

On my first encounter with cleansing oil, I wasn’t sure how to use it. It looked like it was bound to make matters worse, until I tried it. I was awestruck. It really, truly removed all of my eye makeup. And I was never able to do that before. So, I was hooked! I stocked on the stuff and use it practically every time to remove my makeup. Try: Shu Uemura Cleansing Beauty Oil, MAC Cleanse Off Oil.

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Eye makeup remover

 

Makeup removers have come a long way from their predecessors in the ’80s and ’90s—now gentler and more nourishing. Eye makeup removers are no longer painful or astringent-like, but are quite soothing as you wipe away all the makeup from your eyes. Try: L’Oréal Paris Gentle Eye Makeup Remover; Lancôme Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover, Dior Instant Eye Makeup Remover.

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Baby oil

When all else fails, you know what to pick up: good ol’ dependable baby oil! The idea here is the oil should be able to melt away gunky mascara and leave your skin baby-smooth as it doubles as a moisturizer. Though this may take a little more effort than my first two recommendations, it is nevertheless an effective makeup remover (though you may need to devote more time massaging out the makeup from your eyes).

Another option when you’re out of options: olive oil. I’ve found that the stuff is not only good for your food but for removing mascara as well. Try: Johnson’s Baby Oil.

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Travel Diary: Seoul

Here it is! My travel post on my trip to Seoul, Korea!!! This is a little late. I had to go through more than a thousand photos, which was a somewhat difficult because I had so many favorites. Funny, I was only there for 2.5 days but it seemed like I was there for a week, only because I was able to visit so many places and do so many things. Of course, I was there for work (I would never jam pack my schedule while on vacation); we shot an episode for Season 2 of Trending Now, which will be aired in a few weeks. It was loads of fun, but also tiring haha. I swear I ran on adrenalin the entire trip!

It was all worth it though. Seoul is such an dynamic, fast-paced metropolitan city. It’s a great balance of old and new, as you get both skyscrapers and hanok (Korean traditional houses), yummy Korean barbecue and a wide array of Western cuisine, and local retail brands side by side with high street and luxury brands. I love Korean food so this gave me plenty to be excited about. I ate Korean barbecue as often as I could, and I seriously looked forward to every meal because that meant I’d get to eat Korean BBQ to my heart’s content. Another thing I love about Seoul is the shopping. There are so many great stores to choose from–there are the retail brands we all know and love, and then there are the fashionable Korean brands that carry on-trend, quality clothing and accessories (my favorites are TopTen10 and 8 Seconds). I swear Koreans are so fashionable. While waiting for the crew to set up I people watched (it must’ve been a good 15 minutes) and saw so many well-dressed people. Most of the passersby were wearing super cute, trendy outfits, even the men! I also noticed that a lot of couples dressed alike, which I found adorable. I wonder if Carlos and I can pull that off?! Hahaha!

Of course, I posted photos like crazy in Instagram (you must’ve seen them). I had a blast documenting my trip, and I did it with Globe’s Unlimited Data Roaming for P599/day. Seriously this is worth mentioning because I had such an easy time posting on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook, calling and texting via iMessage/What’s App/Viber and using all kinds of apps while hopping from one place to the other (like Waze, Translator, Word Lens and even my Kardashian game haha). This is one service I’ll definitely be using in the next couple of months–Globe Unlimited Roaming for P599/day is now available in 35 countries! For more information, visit bit.ly/globeunliroam.

I hope you like my quick tour of Seoul! This is going to be a long scroll with lots of photos so brace yourselves.

IMG_8787Busy Myeongdong. If you’re looking to shop, this is the place to go! They have so many brands in this one area–you can spend the entire day exploring this place.

IMG_8782Another great thing about Myeongdong is the street food! This is the perfect place to grab a quick meal/snack in between shopping. The food is so yummy!!!

IMG_8795There are so many food stalls to choose from! Salty, sweet, spicy, and all of the above–they have it all!

IMG_8800Of course, I couldn’t help but notice the K-Pop posters. These beautiful men were everywhere!

IMG_8809I learned how to make kimchi! It’s actually pretty easy once you have all the ingredients. All you need to do is mix everything together and massage the spices, etc. onto the cabbage.

IMG_8805To my surprise, this fresh batch of kimchi can be eaten right away. I thought you needed to let it sit for a few days. This is extra good with sesame seeds on top!

IMG_8815Myeongdong at night.

IMG_8823Turning Korean.

IMG_8852Gyeongbokgung Palace. A must-visit when in Seoul. This is the grandest, most beautiful of all five palaces. Built in 1395, Gyeongbukgung translates as “Palace of Shining Happiness” (it is also called “Northern Palace”), and truly that is what you will feel when you get here.

IMG_8839The reenactment of the Changing of the Royal Guard and the Patrol Ritual are performed every day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in front of Heungnyemun (Gate). The guardsmen perform several ceremonies including the opening and closing the royal palace gate and the changing of the guard. The reenactment is followed by the Patrol Ritual in front of Heungnyemun.

IMG_8842Love the bright colors of their uniform.

IMG_8869From afar they look like mannequins. I was surprised to see actual people when I went up close.

IMG_8860A gate within a gate.

IMG_8866Passing through.

IMG_8871Looking up.

IMG_8848Gyeongbokgung Palace served as the main palace until the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598), when all of the palaces were severely damaged. It was not until about 1868 that the palace was reconstructed and expanded to a 410,000 square meter complex with over 500 buildings. Gyeongbokgung Palace flourished for several decades in this state until the Japanese once again demolished the palaces during their occupation of Korea (1910-1945). Most of the restored buildings were torn down, Gwanghwamun Gate was relocated and the Japanese General Government Building was constructed in front of the main area of the palace.

IMG_8877All that detail.

IMG_8858This is beautiful.

IMG_8872An effort by the Korean government has been ongoing since 1990 to rebuild and restore the buildings that were destroyed during the Japanese occupation. This 40-year restoration project aims to fully restore Gyeongbokgung Palace to its original form in the next twenty years.

IMG_8878Currently, the palace is open to the public and houses the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum of Korea. Although only about forty percent of the buildings have been restored, there are still many beautiful things to see at the palace, as you can see.

IMG_8875So grand.

IMG_8956Dongdaemun Design Plaza (also called DDP) is a major urban development landmark with a distinctively neofuturistic design. Known for its powerful, curving forms of elongated structures, this is considered to be the centrepiece of South Korea’s popular tourist destination.

IMG_8952Dongdaemun features a walkable park on its roofs, large global exhibition spaces, futuristic retails stores and restored parts of the Seoul fortress.

IMG_8943It looks like a giant U.F.O. The structure is amazing!

IMG_9139The Seoul Tower from afar.

IMG_8995Korea House is located in Jung-gu (central district), Seoul, near Chungmuro, the center of the Korean film industry, Namsan traditional Korean House Village and Myeongdong. It allows guests to learn about the Korean culture through the five senses.

IMG_8997At the courtyard.

IMG_8998Happy Koreans.

IMG_9013Korea House serves both Korean and foreign guests traditional court cuisine including Daejanggeum Table d’hote and Eojin Dinner that are cooked on the basis of the records contained in ancient literature. We went through 14 courses and it was amazing.

IMG_9003These are just our appetizers.

IMG_9015IMG_9019Each dish was delicious. There was so much to choose from but they were all equally good.

10646747_10152682291251168_1929494397290440933_nWhat an amazing meal. I had a little of everything and it was just a non-stop explosion of flavors. This comes highly recommended.

IMG_9038IMG_9039After our dinner, we headed to the Korea House Arts Performance theatre. It’s incredible that this has been staged for over 32 years and is the most time-honored show. It has run for over 16,000 performances and has been enjoyed by more than 1,600,000 people from all around the world.

IMG_9073This was so entertaining!

IMG_9090With the performers of Korea House and the crew of Trending Now.

IMG_9151Shopping at Insadong. Located in the Jongno-gu district of Seoul, Insadong is known to have the best souvenir and antique stores in town.

IMG_9152Best way to travel.

IMG_9164Found these giant calligraphy brushes in one of the shops.

IMG_9189This is perfect for arts and crafts.

IMG_9187Cafes and quaint restaurants everywhere. The trick is to look up.

IMG_9158These wooden massage things looked interesting.

IMG_9168Rubber stamp shop.

IMG_9175Cards and stationary.

IMG_9167Colorful paper and fans.

IMG_9156I found these everywhere!

IMG_9172IMG_9174Intricate rubber stamps.

IMG_9178Lunch! This restaurant looked good.

IMG_9182And we were right! This was delicious. Really spicy, but I swear I couldn’t stop eating.

IMG_9191Dessert!

IMG_9198The cone tasted like breakfast cereal (Honey Stars). I needed this after a super spicy lunch!

Suiteblanco opens in SM Makati

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Spanish retail brand Suiteblanco recently opened its third store in the Philippines (you can now also find them at the second floor of SM Makati), and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I love Suiteblanco! The brand carries such easy sophisticated pieces that instantly update your closet. I know this for a fact because I still wear the clothes/bags/shoes/accessories I got from their Spring/Summer 2013 collection. Their basics have turned out to be such hardworking pieces in my closet, which means I use them all the time.

I love when this happens because then I know I’ve gotten my money’s worth. Most of us tend to forget that the items in our closets are really investment pieces–we should be able to use them all the time and not just on special occasions. Otherwise, what a waste of money and closet space! If you want to compute the real price of an item in your closet, all you have to do is divide the retail price by the number of times you use the item. So if you think about it, it doesn’t matter if it’s an expensive handbag, a dress from a discount store, or a pair of moderately priced shoes, if you use the item all the time then you’ve actually saved money! And if you buy an item at a good price and use it all the time, that’s a WIN!

And so I shopped. I couldn’t help it, Suiteblanco carried the new Fall/Winter collection and offered a 20% discount just for the opening. I had no choice haha. The good news is their circle skirts, fit-and-flare dresses and monochrome styles were exactly the update I needed for the coming months. They were the perfect mix of modern feminine and sleek minimalism (so my style). I’ll surely be wearing them again and again in the coming weeks.

I’m pretty sure you will love the new collection as much as I did–check out the photos from the store opening.

IMG_0217IMG_0220Models getting ready for the fashion show.

IMG_0280I love that circle skirt! I got it as soon as I saw it.

IMG_0307With my shopping buddy, Patty Laurel-Filart.

IMG_0305Supermodel Ria Bolivar.

IMG_0325Another leggy lady, model Valerie de los Santos.

IMG_0336The Zombettes: Sanya Smith and Ornusa Cadness were there.

IMG_0328Vanessa Matsunaga.

IMG_0315Bianca Valerio.

IMG_0320Suiteblanco ambassador Kim Jones-Rosales. Don’t you just love her shoes?!

IMG_0311Divine Lee.

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Easy peasy

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I love effortless dressing. There is something so liberating about grabbing the first thing in your closet and building the outfit from there. It saves you so much time and energy; if only I could dress like this every single day (sadly, on most days I stare at a closet full of clothes and complain, “I have nothing to wear!”) In this case, I started out with these leather shorts from Suiteblanco and paired it with a white t-shirt from Thread365 and red booties from Guess. To accessorize, I wore statement earrings from Topshop and this black felt hat from my recent trip to Seoul. My bag is from Prada–I’ve had this forever yet it remains one of my favorites.

 

Tricks of the Trade: Six ways to treat open pores and oily skin

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Hello, my name is Anum Em from Pakistan. I just want to ask about effective treatments for open pores. My skin is oily and I have large open pores on my cheeks, nose, forehead and chin—in fact, my whole face. I never consulted any dermatologist. I pop pores with a pin and I often use mud mask on my face with no effective results. Please let me know of more effective treatments. Will chemical peels or laser be any good? – Anum

Large pores and oily skin usually go hand in hand. If you have oily skin, you are more likely to have pronounced pores. Overactive sebaceous glands (or simply, oil glands) cause oil to constantly pass through the pores, and in some cases, clog them. This may lead to skin’s loss of elasticity, which result in enlarged-looking pores. This condition varies from person to person, and can be triggered by hormonal changes like puberty, pregnancy and menopause. For some people, it can also be due to nutrition, stress or just plain genetics.

One thing you should know, though, is that you cannot will your pores to become smaller. You can minimize their appearance, but not actually affect their size. Let me explain. When you apply a pore-minimizing or anti-aging cream, it is not the pores that shrink but the dermis of the skin that tightens. This means the diameter of each pore remains the same, but it looks and feels like the pores got smaller because underneath the skin it actually did. It’s the same premise when using laser-resurfacing machines. The machine minimizes pores by destroying micro-columns of your dermis. The effect will be tightening of the skin and production of new collagen to make pores look smaller.

Try a a pore-minimizing or anti-aging cream. Look for one with ingredients like Vitamin A, tretinoin or retinoic acid. These are the most effective ingredients when it comes to firming and tightening skin.

Opt for a laser resurfacing treatment. Skin care machines really do wonders for our skin, especially this one. They change the structure of your skin from within in order for it to become tighter and firmer. In turn, pores look smaller as the skin underneath becomes tauter. But you need to consult a reputable dermatologist to know the best treatment for your condition.

Switch to a skin-care regimen for oily skin. Oily skin usually requires its own range of products. Most of these effectively reduce oil production within the day and keep pores clear of blockages that may lead to blackheads or pimples. Depending on the brand, the regimen may include a more powerful cleanser, a toner and oil-free moisturizer.

Blot away. Oil-control paper is your best friend. These oil-zapping sheets should kept be handy at all times, so you can quickly blot away the shine.

Powder your T-zone. Powder soaks up oil, so applying it on your face (especially your skin’s oiliest areas: forehead, nose and chin) will help lessen oiliness and shine. Just make sure you use the correct shade and look and a formula that’s non-comedogenic, or one that won’t clog your pores or cause pimples.

Apply a makeup primer or base. Though it may seem like another tedious step to add to your skincare/makeup routine, this is worth the extra minutes. It prepares your skin for makeup and creates a smooth, even surface for the makeup to adhere better. Most importantly, it keeps skin looking fresh and inhibits oil production, which in turn keeps makeup fresh for hours.

On my wishlist: Kate Spade Fall 2014

Untitled-1I saw Kate Spade’s Fall 2014 collection and couldn’t help falling in love. These are on my wish list–aren’t they beautiful?! (1) Tokyo Octavia Coat, (2) Songbird Drop Earrings, (3) Alice Street Adriana Handbag, (4) Hello Shanghai Cruz, (5) All Aboard Clock, (6) Laylee Heels, (7) Shanghai Virginia Lace, (8) Hello Tokyo Lucky Cat, (9) All Aboard Emanuelle, (10) Shanghai Zooey Skirt.

Kate Spade New York is located at The Power Plant Mall, Greenbelt 3, Rustan’s Makati, Newport Mall, Shangri-la Plaza Mall and Bonifacio High Street Central Square. 

 

 

Free Facebook with Globe

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YAY! Facebook is FREE when you’re subscribed to Globe Telecom!!! Free Facebook can be accessed on feature phones and smartphones across all Facebook mobile platforms whether via the Facebook app or Facebook’s mobile site m.facebook.com. There are no restrictions on the megabyte (MB) allocation per day to access the site and no maintaining balance is required for prepaid customers. This is great news for the lot of us who are so dependent on the site! Personally I love Facebook because I am able to stay connected to my family and friends in the Philippines and all over the world. It also helps me stay in touch with you guys, as my blog is linked to my Facebook page. And the good news is: customers need not purchase any data plan to avail of this promo, and will only be required to register once to enjoy Free Facebook all they want. Those who subscribed to Free Facebook previously and did not opt-out do not need to register to the offer.

“We are excited to announce another wonderful Globe surprise to our over 43 million mobile customers, the return of our much-anticipated Free Facebook offer. With our better and bigger Free Facebook, customers enjoy all-you-want access without any MB cap, no daily registration needed, and no maintaining balance. Globe users can enjoy sharing, liking & posting on Facebook for free. Only from Globe, the network that gives you a wonderful browsing experience and access to your digital lifestyle with no limitations and no strings attached,” says Globe Chief Operating Advisor Peter Bithos.

To register to the Free Facebook offer, customers can text FREEFB to 8888 for free information and they will receive a text message with a link to open to start accessing Facebook for free.