Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Recently, during the “sale” season of the online stores, I bought a few beauty and skincare product. One of the things that I bought online from one of the stores is a sleeping mask under a popular brand that I usually buy. I love this brand, so I really wanted to buy it during the sale season.

I went online and saw the official store of the brand, but of course, being the typical consumer, I wanted a better deal. I searched for the cheapest product and found one which was sold in another “store” at 20% cheaper. I added that into my cart, and after a few days, it was delivered to me.

When I got the product, I was so excited. I finished the entire bottle of what I bought in the brand’s store in a mall, so I really wanted to use it when it arrived. When I slashed through the bubble wrap, I saw the box and something did not feel right.

I’m an avid beauty (mostly skin care) blogger and I know what this product looks like. I immediately had a feeling that what I bought wasn’t the real deal. The box didn’t look like the one I had before. When I pulled out the container, the seal wasn’t sealed thoroughly. And when I opened it, it’s smell was close to the original, but the color and the viscosity was not quite as how I remembered it to be.

I immediately went to my husband, and mentioned that I didn’t feel quite at ease with the product. He told me not to use it. Obviously, I didn’t use it in my face, but I thought “sayang naman” (I spent money, so at least use it somewhere else) so I used it on my leg. I didn’t get any allergies or anything. That was the only time I used it.

Then, a week after, I saw the series on Netflix called Broken. The first episode was about the counterfeit beauty products that are being sold.

That’s when I realized how dangerous these counterfeit beauty products are to your health. I decided to throw the product that I bought.

I highly suggest that you check out this series.

Have you ever been a victim? Share your story with me 🙂

Moving forward, personally, I will check if the store is either the online store of the brand itself or at least the official distributor of the brand.

Sharing this so that we can all be aware that there are counterfeit beauty products out there.

The reality of life is that we won’t stay young forever. I realized this last year while I was looking at the mirror. I noticed fine lines under my eyes! It suddenly dawned on me that I was about to hit the big 4-0 in a couple of years.

Personally though, I have no qualms about mentioning my age (my REAL age) when people ask for it. I just think that the older you are, the wiser you get. Also, people in this country respect you a little bit more when you’re older. Case in point, when I fainted in the gym two months ago, people were asking me… “okay lang po kayo, ate?” (are you alright, older sister). I just feel that if it were a younger ME, people would have just paid no attention, and they would go about their own business. Haha!

Anyway, my point is that I love myself; I love my age. But, loving one’s self doesn’t mean that we don’t want to look good, right? We still want to look our best. I have plans of living a long, fruitful and useful life. I still want to look and feel young even if I’m old, so I can do a lot of purposeful things. I want to make all the positive difference I can make in this life for the good of everyone in this world.

For us women, we need a little boost of confidence, when we want to complete our goals. We want to make sure that we can look back and be proud of ourselves (i.e. when looking back at old photos and videos).

Speaking of looking good and feeling good, I discovered this site called Bella Pelle: https://bellapelleph.com/

I instantly loved it. The site is an eCommerce site that brings you the best and premium dermatological beauty products in the Philippines. You can just sit back, navigate through the site and order online. The brands that it carries are the brands that we trust like Heliocare, Neostrata, Biologuique Recherche, Viviscal, Cosmetic Skin Solutions, Footlogix, Infracyte, Kamedis, MD Therapy, Rapid Brow, Rapid Lash, SErum V, Tizo, Vanicream, Yllume and Zo Skin Health by Zein Obagi.

What I like about the site is that you can search for products based on your skin care need/s. Also, these products are not those that you see being sold over-the-counter. They are those that you get from dermatologists. When you ask for recommendations via the contact us page, a fellow of the Philippine Dermatological Society and board certified dermatologist is consulted.

These are the products that I got from the site.

Zo Skin Health Instant Pore Refiner, NeoStrata Tri- Therapy Lifting Serum, Heliocare Ultra Gel SPF 90 and Zo Medical Brightenex

I also got a prescription on how to use the products that I ordered. I’ll be reviewing each product soon and posting a vlog about each in my YouTube channel soon (http://YouTube.com/gingerarboledavlog) and on my Facebook Page (http://facebook.com/mommyginger).

Feel free to ask me anything you want to know about these products, and I’ll definitely try to answer them (to the extent of my experience with the product). I can also ask the derma who recommended these to me if you have more technical questions about the products.

Also, I wanted to interview the founder of Bella Pelle PH, so watch out for that article in the upcoming days.

So, that’s it, peeps! If you want recommended-by-dermas, trusted, premium skin care products, I highly recommend that you visit https://bellapelleph.com/.

This year, as I promised to share more about my own personal thoughts, I’ll be sharing some intimate stuff today. I’ll be sharing with you the story of a part of my life where my insecurities run deep.

Let’s talk about beauty, what true beauty is and how my definition of beauty has evolved. Long post ahead! 😀

My Insecurities…

I was 3 🙂

We all give love, and want to be (liked or) loved, too. With this, since (they say) first impressions last, we want to look our best at any given time.

Early in life, my mom taught me that I needed to look good. As compared to my daughter now and how she is, I was the opposite. I hated wearing dresses. I was quite and shy. I loved running around, too. I was always the tallest in my class, and the biggest. These pictures that I’m sharing now was me when I was 3. Can you imagine? I looked more like a 6 year old girl.

Aside from my weight though, I looked very clean. I had an apple cut hair cut with neatly combed bangs. I had nice skin, because of how my parents and yaya took good care of me. When I was little, I remember my mom telling me not to run around too much, because I might trip and hurt myself. She said that scars last a long time, and it wouldn’t look good on my fair skinned legs.

When I was in grade school, I was a chubby kid. I always felt conscious about not being as slim as my classmates. I would compensate by studying hard to get good grades. Even when I lost a lot of weight on my way to high school (dropped from around 130 lbs to 107 lbs), I still felt heavy and big. I always wore a jacket because I was so conscious of showing my arms. Do you know that I only got over that when I was 25 years old? Haha! Talk about having major body issues.

Started losing weight when I was in Grade 6, so I was slimmer when I graduated 7th grade.
First year High School

I really did have issues with the way I looked. It’s not because I’m vain or anything like that, but it’s about my eternal lack of confidence. Up until now, people don’t know this, but I still get VERY self-conscious. Sometimes, when I go to events, I feel awkward. I don’t know why I still have voices in my head that tell me that I’m not good enough or that I shouldn’t be here because I’m not worthy.

2009 – Our wedding 🙂

My ever so patient husband would tell me that I’m crazy and weird to think that way about my body. He always assures me that I’m fine.

How I try to stop these thoughts …

I love observing other people — how they react to certain situations, how they cope, how they think, etc. In this journey of mine, what I’ve realized is that people don’t really care so much about the way you look. What matters more to them is who you are as a person — are you reliable? are you trustworthy? do you have integrity? are you honest and kind? are you caring?

I’ve seen movies, films, advertisements, etc. that constantly show us what our standard of beauty should be. They define the standards on what being physically beautiful is.

I was in my late 20s that I realized that people are too busy to care about the way you look. I then consciously made an effort to stop listening to the voices in my head, and committed to to the opposite of what the voice would say. I would wear anything that I wanted to wear. I would eat anything that I wanted to eat. I felt free.

What happened when I stopped listening to the voices in my head…

I started loving myself. I started to see my strengths, utilized these abilities and started to shine! I started seeing problems around me that I wanted to solve. I slowly saw things that I could do, and that eventually led me to find my purpose in life.

This was when my own interpretation of true beauty changed.

About my friend, Cat…

My friend Cat Arambulo-Antonio is the country’s representative for the MASJ Squad (MERZ Aesthetics Serendipity Journey) campaign. She’ll be sharing her journey alongside 10 women from other countries in Asia Pacific to redefine self-care and see it as something that is deeper: Self-love. I attended the launch, and Cat’s words (and the entire campaign) reminded me of my own journey.


“When you look good physically, you will feel much greater inside,”

Cat Arambulo – Antonio
Know more about Cat here: https://myserendipityjourney.com/meet_the_squad/cat-arambulo-antonio/

I, personally, was moved by this campaign about true beauty. Wanting to look good shouldn’t be looked down upon. If we feel good about ourselves and if we love ourselves, then we get to “see” other people. Oftentimes, what happens is, we divert our attention now from ourselves to other people — we focus on taking care and loving others, solving society’s problems and adding value to the world.

On Merz Aesthetics…


(L-R) Merz Asia Pacific Regional Commercial Director Conway Rappa, Merz Philippines Marketing Manager Judith Albano-Cantada, Cat Arambulo-Atonio, Merz Asia Pacific Regional Marketing Communications Manager
Kris Leong, and Merz Philippines Country Manager Jorge Libanan

Merz Aesthetics has been a driver of innovation in the field of aesthetic medicing since one of the first anti-wrinkle moisturizing creams was launched in 1953. They are a global, family-owned aesthetics and neurotoxin company backed by 110 years of trust and commitment.

“I definitely trust the treatments that Merz offers not only because it really works, but it has contributed to building my self-assurance,” says Cat.

I’ve looked at their products and services, and I’m really interested now to try out their services. Cat has been telling me about the wonders of Ultherapy and how it made her face look more elongated.

For more information on the Merz Aesthetics Serendipity Journey, you may visit https://www.myserendipityjourney.com and Like and Follow My Serendipity Journey on Facebook and Instagram. Also, visit www.merzaesthetics.com.


Yours truly with Cat Arambulo – Antonio and Sam Lewis.

When we talk about beauty, it’s really not just about what the human eye can see. It’s also about confidence, charisma and character. Life is not about getting people to like you, but it’s about loving yourself. It’s about wanting to be a better you everyday, so you can be of service to others.

Thanks, Cat and Merz Aesthetics for inspiring me to be a better version of myself again this year! Congratulations on this campaign, and may it inspire more women to love themselves!