Learn all about holistic wellness from Nikki Torres

Learn all about holistic wellness from Nikki Torres

“Holistic wellness is more than food and exercise. It’s when you connect emotional and mental health to your diet and exercise.”

I found a magazine back in college with a couple of yoga poses, and I started to copy those at home. I enrolled for classes at Bikram Yoga in 2010. This was the time when I realized I really liked yoga. I would set aside a part of my entry-level salary for it, skipping shopping, eating out, and hanging out with my friends. After four years in advertising, I left my job and pursued teaching yoga full-time.

Holistic wellness is more than just food and exercise. It’s when you start to involve the connection between your emotional health, mental health, and your environment to your diet and exercise. It’s being able to decide if you’re still going to go to a CrossFit class or have a gentle massage after a long tiring day.

Before you try a trend on wellness and fitness, research—it’s what most people don’t do. Before you enrol in a class, you have to find out if it works for you. Find out what it’s about and if the coaches in that class you’re taking are qualified to safely guide you through the workout. Feel it out when you try it.

NT Sweat is a fusion of bodyweight circuit training, mobility and cardio dance. It’s a 60 minute workout rooted in all my movement practices, the pace set to Hiphop R&B and Dance music. I always have a DJ with me when I lead mass workouts and events to add to the party vibe.

I train on my own using a program I designed for myself. I also like to join group classes so I get to learn from other coaches in my field as well.

Those may not be bone conduction earphones on Nikki, but if you’re looking to workout they’ll do just fine.

My workout essentials are… Aftershokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction wireless earphones, my iPhone, and a water bottle. I make sure I bring a pair of white Adidas sneakers.

I became a vegetarian first in 2011. I’ve always been sensitive when it comes to animals. It’s not for health.

Lifestyle brands I support: DermAid from Healthy Options for personal care. I support local vegan brands like Zero Basics (@zerobasicsph on IG). For food, there’s Go Vegan in BGC and Green Bar in Makati. There’s also the Good Food Market at the Mandala Park Sunday Market where all of the merchants serve all-vegan food.

I’m a big fan of salads; SaladStop is a favorite. SaladStop can customize your food and they are aware of vegans. In BGC, it’s Go Vegan at The Fort Strip. It’s fairly new and they serve vegan comfort food like burgers and palabok made with chickpeas.

Nikki in La Union.

US-based Filipina who runs ASTIG Vegan (Astigvegan.com) is one of the OGs in vegan cooking. She is religious in posting recipes. She would have the Filipinos in mind and come up with a vegan version of Filipino dishes like adobo. Another one I follow is BOSH! (Bosh.tv).

Among my favorite vegan chefs is Lakapati Basa of The Real Happy Cow (@TheRealHappyCowPH), which you’ll catch at Mandala Park on Sundays. She comes up with everything on the menu, including a vegan version of chicken nuggets.

I love a good lymphatic drainage massage. It’s not the usual massage for muscle soreness that I love but the detoxification. It’s light strokes all over your body that passes through your lymphatic system, boosting your immunity and detoxifying your body. I also like Swedish massage, hilot or deep tissue massage, and Abhyanga, an ancient Indian oil massage where the therapist pours two buckets of chosen herbal oils on you, massages the oil until it’s absorbed, and then you rinse.

My go to spa salons: Massage MNL mobile spa or Zennya app for the lymphatic drainage massage, Swedish, and hilot; Arogya Manila for Abhyanga.

My travel essentials: Adidas activewear, my Adidas UB19 running shoes, and my Macbook Pro not because I want to work while I’m on vacation but because it’s the best place for inspiration to strike.

The best mindfully-operated tour I know of is MAD Travel (Madtravel.org). I appreciate their travel-for-a-cause concept.

Nikki in Siargao

My most memorable holiday has to be my first visit to Siargao in 2015. There wasn’t much happening there yet and there weren’t a lot of vegan food options available. I loved how free I was to ride my bike around. The small community of locals were very warm and welcoming and it felt like home to me.

My favorite beach is anything with white sand, is exclusive or away from the crowds. It’s pretty old school, but San Juan before La Union was developed is one of them. Baler was one I used to go to a lot before it was developed. We would stay at a friend’s farm, about five- to 10-minutes’ drive away from the beach. I still like Boracay because of its beauty and accessibility to restaurants and shops. I also like islands like Siargao’s Naked Island.

Nikki at Atmosphere Resort.

Atmosphere Resort in Dauin, Dumaguete is a boutique resort that I really like going back to. They have a spa called The Sanctuary with a massage area that’s like a secret garden. They built their own weather-proof outdoor gym, have a pro athlete as a guide for a 20-kilometer bike tour, a restaurant with plenty of vegan options, and diving operated by certified diving instructors. They even have a tree-top yoga deck that looks out into the ocean!

Who is Nikki Torres?

Nikki created NT sweat, a choreographed toning + cardio fitness class that focuses on muscle toning and building cardiovascular endurance while moving to the beat of the hottest HipHop-R&B and dance tracks. She’s also a yoga teacher, an ambassador for Adidas Philippines, and the blogger behind Pretty Darn Fit (prettydarnfit.com), one of the top Health & Fitness blogs in the country.

All photos courtesy of Nikki Torrres

Dashing Spot: Darigayos Cove in Luna, La Union

Dashing Spot: Darigayos Cove in Luna, La Union

La Union isn’t just for surfers. Case in point: Darigayos Cove.

You can surf in San Juan or simply enjoy this view in Luna. Photo by Jerico San Andres for Tupang Gala

Everyone knows that La Union is to the North what Siargao is to the South. It has surf spots for days, with locals that would drop everything once the swells are up.

What most people don’t know is that La Union offers so much more than surf spots. A perfect example of this is Darigayos Cove, a scenic, 800-meter beach in the small town of Luna. Known mostly for its pebble beaches, the town of Luna is best known for the Baluarte Watchtower, a Spanish-era fort that sits in the middle of the town, and this diamond amongst its pebbly beaches.

The beach has fine to coarse white sand and is a great place for sunsets. Most of the resorts in Luna are located here, so expect a small crowd midday. It becomes a surf spot during the months of September to November, with waves higher than those in San Juan.

Things to do

  • Visit the USAFIP NL Military Shrine and Camp Spencer (free)
  • Swimming
  • Snorkeling and Diving (guides needed, check with local resorts for the spots)
  • Beach bumming

Stay
While there are resorts in the area, it’s best to rent one of the cottages on the beach for the day, which can go for as much as Php500 (USD10) each.

Get there
Take a Partas Bus bound for Vigan and get off at Bacnotan, La Union. You can then ride a jeep from Bacnotan to Luna and get off at Darigayos.

A month of street parties: Events in January 2020

A month of street parties: Events in January 2020

Don’t think for a second that parties are going to stop just because January 1 has passed.

There are festivals left, right, and center, a visit from “Josep,” and a celebration that comes in a bit earlier than expected.

Sinulog Festival

January 10 to 19

Photo by Pradeep Swaminathan

Hit the streets of Cebu City and scream “Pit Señor” as you dive headfirst into the biggest street party in the Queen City of the South: the annual Sinulog Festival. See streets are filled with dancers in their most colorful costumes and vibrant parades, all done in the name of The Child Jesus.

Ati-Atihan Festival

January 10 to 19

The colorful costumes seen during the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan play well with how the locals paint their faces in black and white. Photo by Edgar Allan Zeta-Yap

Kalibo, Aklan is your alternative in celebrating The Child Jesus in an extraordinarily colorful way at the annual Ati-Atihan Festival. Held every second and third week of January, the festival held in honor of the Santo Niño has the people of Kalibo dressing up in yellow-and-red costumes dancing and chanting “Hala Bira” on the streets. It’s a lively festival that pays homage to both pre-colonial and Spanish era customs.

Jo Koy: Just Kidding World Tour

January 14 to 15

Poster from mmilive.com/jokoy2020

He’s known and loved by many as Josep, the “unfortunate” man who spent his formative years living with his Filipino mom in Seattle, Washington. He’s brought joy to thousands with his viral clips on Facebook. This time around, Jo Koy returns with his Just Kidding World Tour, sure to fill us with more “insight” into Filipino culture, his mom, and possibly his son.

January 14 at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel, bit.ly/2svo3PS | January 15 at SM Mall of Asia Arena, bit.ly/35ab4Ag

Chinese New Year 2020

Dragon Pose
A lion dancer poses for the camera. Photo by Ruth Joy Sta. Maria

January 25

Hit up the streets of the world’s oldest Chinatown and experience the closest thing you’ll get to celebrating Chinese New Year 2020 in China. Binondo will literally be painted red—and gold—with people watching fireworks displays, fanciful dragon dances, agile lions who will entertain both young and old; visiting temples for well wishes; and possibly capping the culture-ful day feasting on authentic Chinese food like noodles and dumplings. Make sure you bring a box of mooncakes home with you.

These are but a few of the festivities that will keep the party poppin’ this January. Got others we might’ve missed? Hit us up in the comments!

Fly through the air… on silk?!

Fly through the air… on silk?!

Get suspended from the ceiling and move with grace with nothing but a piece of cloth.

What is aerial silk?

A quick demo on what it is.

It’s a performance art where you move in mid-air using only your body and a piece of special fabric. You climb the fabric as if you’re using ropes and use it to wrap, suspend, swing, and spiral your body into and out of various positions.

Gear up. You need

You don’t need to go full-on diva with your clothes.

– Comfy workout clothes, with leggings that cover the back of your knees and any tight-fitting top
– Short nails
– Go barefoot, jewelry-free, and moisturizer-free
– Water bottle to stay highdrated
– Have a light snack at least an hour before your training
– Keep an open your mind and be ready to learn

Day 1 of class.

Everything will be taught on the ground first before taking it off the floor once you’re ready.

– Meet greet between teacher and students
– Do warm-up exercises such as dynamic stretching, core excercises, warm-up climbs with the fabric)
– You’ll be taught how to mount and dismount the fabric, do’s and dont’s, safety precautions, and other essential information
– First things first. You’ll be first be made familiar with the fabric along with how to develop strength and condition

Basic moves to learn

– Basic climb
– Simple knots (single foot lock)
– Beginner moves such as standing hip lean, sitting hip lean, and figurehead

Worry not. Can’t do a pull-up? Feel like you’re not flexible? Worry not for you’ll develop those as you train.

The basics
Where to go to learn aerial silk. Elite Aerial Arts143 Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village, Diliman, Quezon City.

All photos courtesy of Elite Aerial Arts

Festive events for December 2019

Festive events for December 2019

Here are shows, trade fairs and more to squeeze in in between countless get togethers in the merriest month of the year

Ayala Land’s Festival of Lights

Until January 12, 2020

A yearly highlight for the people of Makati, the Ayala Festival of Lights at the Ayala Triangle Gardens features the creativity of lighting director Voltaire De Jesus expressed in a lights and sounds show that will give you a smile after a long day of work.
Ayala Triangle Gardens, 6pm – 10pm

San Fernando Giant Lantern Festival

December 15 – Jan 1, 2020

Photo by Nestor Gonzales, taken from fb.com/GiantLantern

Loads of people will only see 12 gigantic Christmas lanterns or parol from the 12 baranggays of San Fernando, Pampanga at Robinsons Starmills Pampanga, but the people of San Fernando see more than just the lanterns. Join them as they celebrate their annual Giant Lantern Festival and see how the people of San Fernando both pay homage to tradition and innovate the humble parol.
Robinsons Starmills Pampanga, San Fernando, Pampanga | Giantlanterns.com

The Royal Affair at Solaire

December 31

They’ll be holding down the fort at Solaire this year. Poster taken from ticketworld.com.ph

Join Philippine concert royalty Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez, the Concert King and Queen, as they take to the stage at The Tent in Solaire and ring in the new year with a bang. It’s going to be a night of beautiful music, free-flowing wine and fine dining that you won’t soon forget.
The Tent, Solaire Resort and Casino | ticketworld.com.ph

We’ve also found a list of fairs and bazaars that you’ll surely love:

Green House Fair

December 14 – 15

It’s not exactly a Christmas bazaar, but it is something that people from the South should look into. The Green House Fair looks to be the go-to weekend market for sustainable clothing, plant-based grub, all-natural bathroom essentials, and even accessories for your pets!
Molito Lifestyle Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City | greenhousefairph.com

Noel Bazaar

December 19 – 22, 2019

No list of bazaars would be complete without one of the longest-running (and quite possibly the largest) Christmas Bazaars in Manila: the Noel Bazaar. It’s gotten so big that it’s already split into three, with this one being their final run at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. The best part: a portion of the proceeds goes to select charities, including the GMA Kapuso Foundation!
SMX Convention Center Manila, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City | fb.com/noel.bazaar

World Bazaar Festival

December 14 – 23

If the Noel Bazaar isn’t enough for you to complete your shopping list, then here’s another bazaar for you: the annual World Bazaar Festival. Happening at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, this one runs for 10 (yes, TEN) days, with a portion of the procbeeds also going to charity, this time to the ABS-CBN Kapamilyw Foundation.
World Trade Center, Pasay Extension corner, Sen. Gil J. Puyat Ave, Pasay City | fb.com/worldbazaarfestival

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