12 January 2016


Our dearest daughter Lucia,

Right now as I type this, you are tummy to tummy with your daddy, and both of you are asleep on the lazy boy. My heart is filled with inexplicable joy looking at you both. You are 11 weeks old now.

I have so much I want to tell you and I don't even know where to begin!

I thank the Lord you were a very easy baby in my tummy and you didn't give me a hard time at all. I only had a few weeks of nausea, but the rest of the pregnancy was a breeze! I continued to work, I worked out, I didn't really have any crazy cravings, plus I never got sick! I gained just 20 pounds with you in my tummy so it was easy to carry you around. I loved having you in my tummy because your presence calmed me and made me feel I was never alone—literally.

You were seven and a half months in my tummy when your Abuelito, my dad, passed away. It was a very, very difficult time especially since your Lola Ofel, Ninong JC and Ninang Aissa live abroad, so it was only me with your Abuelito's sisters who dealt with everything. I cried so much. We drifted apart after he and your Lola were separated, but of course he was still my dad and I loved him. Do you know that he was very excited to meet you? He was so happy to find out I was pregnant, and extra happy when he found out you were a girl. His friends and workmates told me how excited he was about you. Since his two other apos, your cousins Roco and Sabine both live abroad, he was very excited to finally have an apo he can spend time with. I remember the first time I visited him in the ICU.. I held his hand.. I told him that even if he was asleep, I knew that he felt me there by his side, and that he felt you too.. I told him, this is your apo, as I rubbed my tummy.. Even if he couldn't respond, I know in my heart he was so happy to "meet" you. It was such a painful time and you were the one who kept me strong. You were such a brave girl. Even if I cried so much, I felt that you were so strong and that made me strong, too. Knowing that you were the happy thought of your Abuelito during his final days made me so happy. That is when we really decided that your name should be Lucia. Because your name means "light", and you were definitely the light during that very difficult time.

For some reason, I was certain you would be born at 38 weeks. I didn't pack my hospital bag until you were 37 weeks in my tummy, and your dad packed his bag a week after! It was a Thursday afternoon when I started to feel a different kind of stomach cramp. That night, the contractions got more frequent, they got more intense past midnight, and when I was sure that I was in labor, I took a nice, long, hot bath, put lotion all over, dressed up, and when I was set, I woke up your dad and said, "Its time, let's go to the hospital." We got to the hospital at around 8AM, and sure enough, I was 7 centimeters dilated already. By 2PM on October 23, 2015, you were born, as I guessed, at 38 weeks.

I can't even begin to describe how surreal it was that after pushing just eight times, you were out in the world, you gave out that first cry, and you were placed on my chest. Your skin was so red and your cheeks so full! Your daddy was there beside me the whole time, helping me through the delivery. Do you know he even cut your umbilical cord? Yes, he did! That was the day you changed our lives. I finally understood what parents mean when they say its love like you've never felt before.

These first few weeks home have been a rollercoaster! You bring so, so, so much love and joy to your daddy and me, but at the same time, we're so scared and nervous, so tired and sleepless, and sometimes we feel helpless when you're fussy and we don't know why. It breaks our heart to hear you cry, especially when we can't make you stop. It fills our heart when you stare straight at us with your big, round eyes. It melts our heart when you give us those big smiles, when you continuously coo as if speaking to us, and when you flash those adorable dimples (which honestly, we don't know where you got because neither your daddy or I have dimples!) Your daddy and I often joke—when you're awake and can't sleep, all we want is for you to fall asleep. When you're asleep, all we want to do is wake you up so we can play with you again! Confession: oftentimes when you are asleep, we're both on our phones looking at photos and videos of you!

I've had many, many challenging, difficult and tiring jobs, but being a mother is THE toughest job I've ever had to do. Most all mother and baby photos I see or articles I read are about the happiness and laughter.. hardly anyone ever talks about the frustration and the tears. Apparently, motherhood comes with both. During the tougher days (aka your fussy days), I just think to myself, every single mother on the planet was able to do this, so I can too. I only have one shot at taking care of you every single day, and I hope I'm doing a good enough job, because you deserve nothing but the best. This is the most "trying hard" I've ever been my whole life, because I want to be the best mom I can be to you.

I'm so lucky because you have an awesome daddy. He does everything, helps me with everything, is super hands on, and if only dads could breastfeed, he most probably would, too. As early as now I can see it, the way you two look at each other, you two will be magkakampi when you grow up. Daddy's girl, no doubt.

Everyone says the first year goes by so fast, and that we should enjoy every moment of it. Some of your socks and onesies are already too small for you, and we really see how fast you're growing, chubby cheeks and double chin and all!

We are so excited for your many firsts—your first laugh, first word (will it be Mama or Dada??), your first steps, the first time you can hug and kiss us back, and so much more. We wanna show you so many things and travel to so many places with you. We love you so much its crazy. You truly are the light of our lives.

I hope this mushy letter doesn't embarrass you by the time you're old enough to understand it!


21 October 2015


This post is dedicated to all to-be first time moms like me! This is my first time to experience being pregnant, and I still have sooo many questions myself, but I would like to share a few things I found very useful for me during my pregnancy.

Here are my 9 pregnancy must-haves. Hope it helps!


Prior to getting pregnant, I’ve been taking pilates for over four years already. Am so lucky to not have had a maselan pregnancy, and so my OB allowed and even encouraged me to keep working out! She says that prior to pregnancy, since I was used to working and working out, that I should just continue because it is what my body is used to. (Makes sense to me!)

I cannot imagine having had gone through this pregnancy without working out. Much like when not pregnant, working out gives you a rush of energy—something really needed when preggo because you feel extra tired a lot of times. It helps strengthen all the parts of your body that you need to keep strong, to carry your growing belly (bibigat talaga siya!) and to eventually push your baby out. And one of the most masarap parts of the session, it stretches all the cramped up parts of your body and relieves you of pain or discomfort.

Some are allowed to work out the whole pregnancy, but in a lot of cases, regular workouts are recommended after the first trimester is over. I am even more strict with myself going now, compared to when I wasn’t pregnant! I have been going twice a week for one-on-one one hour sessions at Options Studio in Podium and Timog, with my wonderful trainers Reea and Kit. 


It’s basically a belt pack that plays beats. In a nutshell, the explanation behind it is that while the baby is in the tummy, yes, he or she hears all kinds of sounds like our voices or music, but the simplest recognizable pattern at that stage is the mother’s heartbeat. So the Baby Plus plays beats much like an adult’s heartbeat at level 1, and goes faster and faster until level 16, and “teaches” the baby inside the tummy about recognizing patterns. Pretty convincing for me! Parents and experts note benefits like early milestones, longer attention spans, and strong motor skills.

I didn’t play any music like classical or jazz or nature sounds to our baby this whole pregnancy. I decided to stick with just the Baby Plus. I learned about the product from my sister-in-law Tracy who used it on both her kids, Roco and Sabine.

You start using this at around 5 months of pregnancy.


This is an anti-radiation blanket that I use all the time to cover my belly, since I am always on my phone and my laptop for work.


I got this pillow as a gift from Mothercare when I was around 4 months pregnant. At that time, my tummy was just like a puson, so it was only when I hit around 7.5 months when my tummy really got bigger that I felt the tremendous benefits of this pillow. As your tummy gets heavier, wow, it gets harder and harder to find a position to sleep. This pillow perfectly cushions the side of your tummy, and your lower back, for a good night’s sleep. I literally always sigh a loud “Aaah,” at night when I lie down on this.


I didn’t buy a single maternity clothing piece these past months. I didn’t want to spend on those stretch waist shorts or jeans because I won’t be able to use it anymore post pregnancy! I decided to buy only things that I would be able to use even when I go back to my regular body.

I love wearing tummy hugging clothes—especially when my tummy really started to get bigger—because I’m really proud/kilig/happy to show my big belly! Whatever shape or size a pregnant woman is, for me, there is something so beautiful and sexy about embracing the growing belly. Mas masarap nga magsuot ng fitted pag buntis kasi hindi kailangan maging conscious sa “stomach in” buong gabi! Haha! And since dresses like these are made of stretch cotton or jersey, I can definitely use them even when I’m not pregnant anymore. Same goes for shapeless dresses! Thank God uso sila this year! They are so comfy, and will still be useable post pregnancy.



I’ve always been very low maintenance, but I was always very particular about always washing my face and moisturizing. But I became more strict with myself about religiously doing my skin care regimen when I got pregnant. When I hit around 2. 5 months of my pregnancy, my skin super broke out, both on my face and my back. They say it’s a normal symptom due to our changing hormone levels, but I wanted to do something about it. It is sooo easy to be tamad when you're pregnant because ang dami mo na ngang ibang inaalala at pinagdadaanan—but I realized its time like these we should put in extra effort, also so we feel better about ourselves!

My regimen is quite simple and short. In the morning, I would cleanse, tone, and moisturize using Olay Total Effects, around the whole face and until the neck. (Kasi paniniwala dito, lalong umiitim ang leeg kapag buntis.) Before sleeping, at night, I would cleanse, tone, moisturize, and apply eye cream using SKII, also a P&G product. Sure enough, I never did break out again the rest of my pregnancy, and people seemed to compliment my skin even more than when I wasn’t pregnant. (Pwera bola!) To those asking, yes, as confirmed by the P&G R&D in Singapore, these products are safe for pregnant women.

I also did around two visits for a facial at Facial Care Center. Yes, also very safe for pregnant women because they don’t use any chemicals or medicine on the face. Just steaming and cleaning those clogged pores.


Sobrang mahal! But worth it din kasi talaga. Sobrang mahal ng stretchmark cream—I use both Clarins and Mustela—and so far, so good because there were no signs of stretch marks even until I reached full term. I generously apply around my belly, even until the lower back, breast area, butt, and outer and inner thighs.

I plan to keep using it even after giving birth, because a lot of moms shared that sometimes, its when you “shrink” after that they appear.


My husband JC and I took this around our 8th month. It is usually a once a week, six session class, but since it was close to impossible to make our schedules meet, thankfully, Chiqui also does a one day crash course from 8AM to 6PM.

This is something I really wanted to do, because I wanted to understand what really will be going on in my body when I’m in labor. More than just the breathing techniques, I loved that she explained the order of how things will go when we reach the hospital, how to tell false alarms from the real thing, different realistic scenarios, the details on how exactly a baby is delivered, so that when the day comes, I understand what is happening to my body, instead of just being clueless and in pain. It was also so important to my husband to be there, so that he understands what is going on, beyond the possible moans and tears when the big day comes. In fact, he wants to be the one to cut the umbilical cord when our daughter comes out!

The class was so worth it. Just Google the name Chiqui Hahn to find out about her classes.

A side note on pregnancy books:
I only used the “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” phone app to help me keep track of the number of weeks and the fruit that corresponds to the size of the baby at each stage (super cute!), but I don’t really recommend the book and articles itself because a lot of it can make a pregnant woman praning, at a time that she should just be super chill and super happily carrying a baby. I would rather recommend “Expecting Better” by Emily Oster, a very realistic, practical, chill book recommended to me by another mom, Stephanie Zubiri.


I took this session when I hit my 37th week of pregnancy. I am committed to doing all that I can to breastfeed our baby for as long as I can. I have been warned that breastfeeding is much, much harder than people think it is. A lot say mas mahirap pa ang breastfeeding kaysa sa panganganak! I am already psyching myself for the tough road ahead. The benefits of breastfeeding are definitely worth it. It really is “best for babies.”

This class with Beng Feliciano, a mom of 3, and Joy Martinez, an internationally certified lactation expert was so helpful! I learned about how we come to produce milk, how little the baby really only needs especially when new born, the possible complications, the ways to address complications, how to keep it going, and so much more. Since I plan to do my best to balance being hands on and a working mom, I also purchased a Medela Breast Pump from The Parenting Emporium, and it is only on the 37th week or onwards that you can be “fitted” for the breast shield for the pump.

Good luck to us first time moms!!!!

07 February 2015


It was a perfect mix of sunny and breezy that December afternoon. In a gorgeous garden chapel in El Nido, Palawan, and in front of our parents, siblings, closest friends, godparents, and God, we shared our personal vows.

Through the lenses of Jason Magbanua's team, we'd like to share with you a part of that unforgettable day.

Love is such a gift, thank you God!

. . .

To the soon-to-be brides reading this, will be sharing the names of our suppliers and the DIY things I did for our wedding.

11 January 2015


It will definitely be tough for me to top my 2014. 2014 was filled with crazy ups and downs, but it was one of those years that proved to me that as long as you persevere and give it your best, all will be well. Sure enough, my year ended on the best note possible: I released my dream book project and I married the love of my life.

I end every year with a blog post on the people that made the biggest impact in my life. It is usually a list of 10, but for this year, I'm keeping it simple.

The #projectBG team

While working on my book #PaanoBaTo, I coined the tag #projectBG. It is so surreal that it seems like only a few months ago that I told my friends, "Hey, I wanna write a book," and now, the book is on the Bestsellers list of Philippine publications. (Aaah! To God be the glory!) When you put your heart into it, when bank on your strengths, when you work your ass off, it is true—dreams do come true.

Meet, from the left side, Wena Manalastas, PR manager for #PaanoBaTo; Abbey Sy, letterer; Guia Galvez, contributing writer; Ionne Ocampo, layout artist; and Pete Rich, illustrator. All so young (and I mean early and mid-20s), all so talented and driven, all with a very bright future ahead. I can't think of better creatives to work with on this dream project of mine.

Of course the book would not be possible without my Business and Support Team, here is Mylin Montecillo, Honey Bagsic, Peewee Reyes-Isidro, Allen de Guzman, and Sophie Menor. Not in the photo but also very much part of my book are Pierra Calasanz-Labrador, Em Eladia, Archie Carrasco, Sari Yap, and Suki Salvador. This is also the team working extra to get the books back on the shelves soonest.

A book just seems like a book that one person wrote, but really, it took a whole team to make it happen. And I am so grateful!


On December 4, 2014, in front of an intimate group of all those closest to our hearts, I said "I Do" to my boyfriend of almost 4 years, on an island that really felt like paradise.

When we say intimate, we mean intimate. Everyone you see with us in the photo above—they were the 35 guests we had at our little island adventure. They were all part of this dream wedding, and all part of this list. JC's family, Papa Nars, Mama Ning, PJ and Abby, Mark and Reg, JR and Pearl, Rex, and Vica. My family, Daddy Chito, Mommy Ofel, JC and Tracy, Sabine and Roco, Aissa, and nanay Virgie. Our dearest couple friends, JayR and Jen Reyes, Julian and Marion H. del Pilar, Zach and Anj Estoesta, Zion and Karla Laterre, Doug and Cheska Kramer. Our beloved ninongs and their gorgeous wives, Direk Lauren and Liz Dyogi, Coach Norman and Benjie Black, Doc Raul and Glennda Canlas. And our dearest officiating priest Fr. Tito Caluag.

Walang perfect sa mundo, but I swear, from the gorgeous El Nido scenery, to the weather, to the sunshine and breeze that morning, to the candle-lit afternoon ceremony, to the remote island reception, til the throwing-into-the-pool at the after party, our wedding—to us—seemed perfect. Thank you, God!

Not in this photo but also a huge part of our wedding, this list, and those we are extremely grateful to, are Team Pat Dy, our photographer, who captured the most priceless moments; Team Jason Magbanua, our videographer, who is truly the best at sharing what a couple's love is all about; Liz Uy and her styling team, for patiently coordinating with every single person in our group about our looks; Robert Blancaflor, our florist and event stylist, who made magic and made everything look like a dream-come-to-life; the Rosa Clara Philippines team, because I am so in love with my gown and would not have worn any other; Celline Bautista, who lovingly made our girls' entourage dresses; and to the amazing El Nido team for making everything so easy for me to arrange (we had no wedding coordinator), Meps Pe, Brian Ong, and Jel Lagman. You are all angels to me and JC!

And of course, to the most important person in this list, my husband, John Christopher Antonio Intal, thank you for your support, patience, and love. Thank you God for the gift of you talaga!!!!

. . .

How about you, who are the people who made a difference in your year?

08 January 2015


We really didn't want to do what they call a "pre nup shoot" or an "engagement shoot" or whatever else its called. JC and I couldn't imagine ourselves wearing a gown and a suit, all decked out, looking into the horizon.. emoting. Di namin kaya!! Besides, I told JC, "Where would we use those photos?" So we really weren't supposed to do the shoot.

Until our awesome wedding photographer Pat Dy—who is one of the first photographers I ever worked with when I started modeling when I was 17 years old—sent me a message on whatsapp one day saying, "Tara, shoot na tayo!" I told him we really couldn't do the whole formal shoot thing. "Steady lang naman kami, di kami ma-ganyan." He said, "Isip tayo concept." He then sent me a photo of a couple wearing just house clothes, taking a selfie in the bathroom.

That was when we agreed on the idea of doing a very laid back, staycation type of shoot.

Everything seemingly fell into place. My dear friend and top stylist Liz Uy instantly said, "Game!" when I asked her if she would like to come along and style the shoot. Another dear friend and top makeup artist RB Chanco also said yes without batting an eyelash, and she took along hairstylist Janet de Rama to complete our "look". And our super generous friends from Raffles Hotel Makati, headed by Gem Valmores, willingly lent us their suite for us to have the shoot in. The day before the shoot, Pat told me our wedding videographer, the amazing Jason Magbanua was also free, "At sasama daw siya para mag-shoot shoot lang."

On the day of the shoot, everything WAS super chill and laid back. JC seemed to be more at ease in front of the camera, at parang ako yung mas kinabahan! We ordered pizza for everyone, and even the pizza made it into the shot. Everything was done in around 4 hours, because everyone was a breeze to work with.

We got our wish of not having to "pose", our wish to just be "us", like how we'd naturally be with each other. We also now have these photos to tell our future grandkids, "Uy, fit na fit din kami nung kabataan namin." LOL. We realized that that's why Pat Dy and Jason Magbanua are #1 in the industry—they don't impose on the couple, they let the personality of the couple shine. The Pre-Wedding Film that Jason did was pleasantly, surprisingly, and kilig-ingly (I know walang word na ganun, but it describes it well) a collection of what we were doing when photos weren't being taken. We can't thank this whole team enough for making these captured memories possible—you guys ROCK!!!!

06 January 2015


Planning the start of the rest of your life with your husband is one of the most WONDERFULLY AWESOME and OVERWHELMING experiences in life.

There are so many amazing people that helped us put everything together, and so much gratitude is owed. I will try my very best to give justice to our loved ones who helped us make everything as humanly perfect as can be.

. . .

This story begins on the (early) morning of March 20, 2014 (early as in 4:00AM), when I got to the airport for my flight to London. Little did I know that there was a huge surprise waiting for me. Our now-ninong-and-ninang Kuya Alan and Ate Lani Cayetano, who helped my husband JC put this all together, apparently hired a videographer to surprise us with this preserved memory of what happened that morning.

10 October 2014


My good friends Chely Esguerra, Lynn Pinugu, Anna Oposa, and I have this passion project with New Media Factory, it is a podcast titled Coffee Break! We are so excited to share with you our new and very special season where we give you life hacks and practical tips ranging from public speaking and presentations, to resume writing, to moving on from a heartache, to make up!

For our premiere episode, we chat with fitspiration Isabelle Daza about workouts that work, what to eat, and how to get up from our asses on lazy days. 

Watch the episode below! We hope you enjoy (and learn) as much as we did!

11 August 2014

Time To Bake!

Minsan kailangan mo talaga ng creative break from work!! Watercolor painting, painting on canvas, rubber stamping, and other ways to de-stress are a must from time to time. For this past weekend, I decided to take on a childhood hobby.. baking! Growing up, my sister Aissa and I loved to bake cookies, brownies, muffins, and even cakes, from different recipe books we saw at home.

I looked up a lot of oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipies from the net and chose this from the Betty Crocker website, but did a few adjustments on my own! It turned out well so I'm sharing the recipe and step by step process with you! To first time bakers reading this, baking is really easy because everything is calculated!

First, fire up your oven to 350°F, or 176°C. This is just to pre-heat.

Then mixed the dry ingredients together: 2 cups quick-cooking oats (that's different from instant!), 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/4 cup of chocolate chips (I prefer the semi-sweet kind). Set that aside.

In a separate bowl will be your wet ingredients. Mix together 1 cup softened butter and 1 1/2 cup brown sugar. Remember, softened butter doesn't mean stick it in a microwave to make it melt! That changes the consistency of the butter. Just leave out out the refrigerator for a bit to make it soften.

Then mix in 1 egg and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Make sure to mix only in one direction. You'll know the batter is smooth enough when the sugar and butter have no chunks left.

Mix together the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients. I like putting it in portion by portion so that it is easier to mix. When batter starts to get thick, use the folding technique instead. That's using the spoon to scoop from below and "fold" on top, repeatedly and circling the bowl. Set aside.

I like greasing the pan so that the cookies don't stick to them after. Remember the stick of butter earlier? So the easiest way to grease the pan is just to save the wrapper of the stick of butter and rub the inside on the pan itself. Keeps your hands clean too!

Get a tablespoon's worth of the batter, roll into a ball, and place on the pan two inches away from each other.

Stick in the oven and set the timer to 12 minutes.

Make sure you check on your cookies at around the 8 minute mark. Sometimes, at the 9th or 10th minute, you'll see the edges of the cookies start to brown. When that happens, you need not wait for the 12 minutes to finish. Important tip too! Stop opening the oven to "check" on what you are baking! When cool air from the outside enters the oven, that also affects baking time.

Cooling the cookies are just as important as baking! No need for a cooling tray, just use your wooden table trays (for hot dishes) and set your baking pan there. Don't try to lift the cookies right away because they may crumble when fresh out of the oven. Make them cool for a bit first.

When done cooling, tadaaaaa! Time to eat! It's a very simple recipe perfect for first time bakers! I hope you try it out, and I hope you like it. If you do try it out, let me know what you think of the recipe!