The Cetaphil Experience: When ASEAN Girls Unite at The Farm

It was my dermatologist when I was in high school who introduced me to the Cetaphil product I first used, which was the Gentle Skin Cleanser. I have become a Cetaphil fan since then so it is no surprise that I immediately followed their Facebook page. A few months ago, they posted a question which goes like this: “What does skin confidence mean to you?” Being the bored person that I was back then, I immediately sent my answer (about being comfortable in your own skin, with or without make-up, basically); I was also intrigued with the prize which was a stay at The Farm at San Benito in Batangas.

After a few weeks, I received this message from Cetaphil PH, telling me that I was one of the finalists for the event and that I have to send an audition video. So, I gladly made the video, which I’ll never show you (haha). A few days later, they sent me an e-mail, congratulating me after being selected by the team! I was really excited, especially after I learned that it was a really big event, involving not only Cetaphil Philippines but also its counterparts in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia!

According to the organizers, I was lucky to have been chosen as the delegate of the Philippines for the event, among 20,000+ girls who wanted to be part of the experience. I was indeed lucky because I had such a blast at The Farm!

Each country had its own representative — me from the Philippines, Marlene from Malaysia, Sara from Singapore, and Toey ftrom Thailand. Each of us was accompanied by two beauty vloggers/bloggers from our country. I was with Ana and Kristine. I was really excited to meet everyone since I am a newbie blogger myself. #kilig

With video bloggers Ana and Kristine :)
With video bloggers Ana and Kristine 🙂

There are four things that I will never forget about the whole Cetaphil Experience.

1. The Farm at San Benito (Lipa, Batangas)

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Anyone who has been here will never forget about the place. Up to now, I still have a hangover; I definitely want to go back.
This is the perfect destination if you want to relax and reconnect with nature. 
This is the perfect destination if you want to relax and reconnect with nature.
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There is a gym, meditation/yoga area, several pools, and a healing sanctuary (for spa and medical treatments).
At the South Pool area, where we our meals were usually served.
At the South Pool area, where our meals were usually served.
The usual set-up for each meal.
The usual set-up for each meal.
How about the villa? Ana, Kristine and I stayed in one villa with our own infinity pool! How sosy is that?
How about the villa? Ana, Kristine and I stayed in one villa with our own infinity pool! How sosy is that?
The view from the balcony
The view from the balcony
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I don’t know about Chuvaness, but this is definitely an In Full Bloom-approved sink and counter LOL
Being one with nature means taking a bath with the glass as walls
Being one with nature means taking a bath with the glass as walls

The Farm only serves vegan food (all made from fruits and vegetables, no meat, no dairy products) in the most stylish way. I love fruits and vegetables but I have also always been a carnivore so this was the first time for me to try the vegan diet for three consecutive days. How was vegan food, you may ask? Good news — you can eat french fries and chocolate. But, the bad news — fake sausage, fake everything.

I was not able to clarify what each meal contained but mostly, the main course was made of tofu, sweet potato, or chickpeas. We always had three-course meals. For breakfast, we were always served with a bowl of grains,  nuts, and banana, with coconut milk on the side. It was really delicious and filling.
I was not able to clarify what each meal contained but mostly, the main course was made of tofu, sweet potato, or chickpeas. We always had three-course meals. For breakfast, one course was always a bowl of grains, nuts, and banana, with coconut milk on the side. It was really delicious and filling.

Well, it is not really bad at all but I really missed my first love (meat) after the 2nd day, so much so that I ate liempo and roasted chicken right after arriving in Manila, true story. Haha!

One of the reasons why I can be a vegan if I want to: I can drink coffee. On the upper left is a lime meringue, and on the upper right, some chocolate-filled dessert.
One of the reasons why I can be a vegan if I want to: I can always drink coffee. On the upper left is a lime meringue (without egg, of course), and on the upper right, some chocolate-filled dessert.

Kidding aside, I started to appreciate the vegan diet for the number one reason that my bowel movement was at its best during those three days. I also did not have a hard time adapting to the diet since all of us were eating the same thing; Vegan eating was much more bearable that way. I also felt like I lost some weight… which makes me want to try to eat vegan at least three times a week. HAHA. Let’s see where this will go…

2. The Girls!

From left to right: Marlene, Sonia, Emily, me, Sara, Clara, Roseanne, Charis, and Jamie. Photo (c) Cetaphil Malaysia
From left to right: Marlene, Sonia, Emily, me, Sara, Ana, Clara, Roseanne, Charis, and Jamie. Photo (c) Cetaphil Malaysia

It was really a great experience to meet girls from different ASEAN countries, who were all into beauty, fashion, and skin care. I realized how beautiful Asian girls really are. I feel like most of us here in Asia have the notion that Caucasian beauty is superior to Asian beauty, when in fact, beauty is just in the eye of the beholder (chos haha). But seriously, Asian and Caucasian girls are equally beautiful! When are we going to stop trying to look like Caucasian girls?

This was taken during the first day. It was so easy to get along with these girls.
This was taken during the first day. It was so easy to get along with these girls. Photo (c) Jamie Tan Yi Jing
Already goofing around on the first day haha
Already goofing around on the first day. Haha. Photo (c) Jamie Tan Yi Jing
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Photo (c) Cetaphil

I also appreciated how similar the girls are. We had the same guy problems (well, some problems, because there can be a million guy problems in the world, haha), relationship goals, and skin and body concerns. Imagine how comforting it is to know that you are not alone. On each ASEAN country, girls have acne, too; some also have eczema, and someone has skin as dry as yours. We shared our different views on politics, opinions on religion, and even talked about our goals and plans for our future careers. Being the curious person that I am, I really had a great time talking to them about various things. Some of us still keep in touch through WhatsApp (hi, Marlene!) and Instagram!

With Sonia and Clara from Indonesia
With Sonia and Clara from Indonesia
Marlene and I really had so much to talk about!
Marlene and I really had so much to talk about!
Apparently, July is their birthday month. Yey, more cake for everyone!
Apparently, July is their birthday month. Yey, more cake for everyone!
Photo (c) Cetaphil
Photo (c) Cetaphil

3. Skincare tips from the experts

Cetaphil products have always been prescribed by most dermatologists so it was no surprise that experts (two dermatologists and a plastic-cosmetic surgeon) were present to give us tips regarding skin care. I want to write about everything I learned but maybe it requires a different post. The thing is, your skincare regimen should be apt for your own skin type. Also, try as much as possible to stay away from the sun to prevent development of skin cancer, and to prevent or delay the appearance of wrinkles! I may sound like your nagging mother but, when are you going to start applying your sunscreen?!

But first... an outfit shot with the very nice background
But first… an outfit shot with the very nice background

Some myths about skin care were also debunked. Note that:

  • Having an oily skin doesn’t mean you should avoid using a moisturizing cream.
  • A good skin cleanser should not make your skin feel tight after washing. Leaving your skin tight means that moisture has been swept away from your face.
  • You should not abuse the power of steroids on preventing or controlling acne. It can cause skin atrophy (thinning of the skin). There is a limit to the use of these injectables and cream.
We all took home lots of Cetaphil products plus that very cute mini luggage

4. The meaning of beauty and confidence

In this age and time, beauty products are being sold left and right. It is a billion-dollar industry that will always be a part and a major driving force of our society. But, really, what makes someone beautiful? Is it based on the brand of make-up she wears or the technique on how she uses it? Is it about following trends or having the perfect skin?

Martina Fink, during one of our workshops. Photo (c) Cetaphil
Martina Fink, makeup artist/life coach,  during one of our workshops. Photo (c) Cetaphil

I left The Farm with answers. These were actually already resting inside our minds (Thank you, Martina Fink, for the reminder.) but have been buried in there due to influence by the media, our Instagram feeds, and various advertisements. Isn’t beauty something that comes from within? Something related to confidence, something that radiates from the soul? Isn’t it about being comfortable in your own skin?

Photo (c) Cetaphil
Photo (c) Cetaphil

So, during the last night at The Farm, while I was preparing to go to bed, I was removing my make-up and realized that “feeling beautiful” does not have to rely on the layers of make-up one is wearing. Yes, make-up can boost one’s confidence but the main factor that brings out one’s beauty is her mindset and her confidence, with or without those acne scars, pimples, and other imperfections. We can be perfectly happy even with the bits of imperfections in our lives, don’t you think? 🙂

Photo (c) Cetaphil
Photo (c) Cetaphil
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Photo (c) Cetaphil

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