With my  roomie, Danika Navarrobali-balesin-nivea-come-closer5nivea-come-closer-balesin18nivea-come-closer-balesin14nivea-come-closer-balesin11 nivea-come-closer-balesin10bali-balesin-nivea-come-closer6nivea-come-closer-balesin4nivea-come-closer-balesin3balesin-day-3-nivea-come-closer nivea-come-closer-balesin2mykonos_balesin_a_4nivea-come-closer-balesin8nivea-come-closer-balesinIMG_2768IMG_3541

When recounting a trip that was all sorts of awesome, where does one even begin?

On the way to the hangar at about 4:40 in the morning, you don’t really expect much from an event. Your personal agenda includes sleep – lots of it – and little time for anything else. I didn’t realize what was about to come my way. And so, I was pleasantly surprised.

Nivea, the revered skincare brand from Hamburg, Germany, flew us to the beautiful island of Balesin for a 3-day trip with the mysterious promise of ‘coming closer.’ Whisking us off to one of the most beautiful and most exclusive islands in the Philippines was already a pretty high note in my book but the island proved to be even better than expected. Imparting what I learned via our island tour and our fair share of sightseeing, the 500-hectare island is divided into 7 themed villages: Balesin (Filipino), Bali (Indonesian), Mykonos (Greek), Toscana (Italian),  Saint Tropez (French) and Costa del Sol (Spanish). Every seeming inch of the island was photographable and awe-inducing and my jaw stayed on the floor for the most part of day 1.

We stayed at Mykonos, the most beautiful village in my opinion, which landed right into Nivea’s aisle. Blue and white Greek inspired walls, tiles, vases and decor lined the village which really only complemented the colors of the skincare brand that brought us there. And a reminder of Nivea, its products and its heritage is always welcome.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with Nivea in my early blogging career so I was pretty familiar with their products as a regular user of their creams, sunblock and deodorant variants. What greeted us in the room though was an unprecedented and unparalleled amount of Nivea products that introduced new lines and classics I didn’t even know existed. With decades under their belt, that was bound to happen. Fast forward to the press-conference, we all learned about lines aplenty: baby care, men, face and many more each offer a wide range of products from wipes, to lotions to facial washes, soaps, creams, etc. And so, the first day was spent getting to know more about the brand and familiarizing ourselves with new releases such as the In-Shower Skin Conditioner that we got to use in the comfort of our own rooms.

The second day proved to be the exact opposite of how chill it was the day prior with a whirlwind of activities. I’m looking at you, Amazing Race.


Team Yellow!  nivea-come-closer-balesin17

Guess whose team was the most intense? Clue: leftmost.nivea-come-closer-balesin15nivea-come-closer-balesin26

With a 7AM call time, the Amazing Race proved to be pretty intense. Each leg of the race warranted us coming physically closer – whether by having our legs tied together, side by side and tight knit in certain tasks, the race ensured we understood the trip’s theme. It did not, however, warn me we’d also come in last. I honestly thought my team was winning only to find out at the end station that out of the 8 teams that competed, we were 8th. I am extremely competitive and I need to win at the smallest thing- parlor games, monopoly deal, charades. So the loss came as a big blow (accompanied by an actual big blow from the archery booth’s arrow that turned into a bruise about 4 inches in diameter.) I guess this can be one of those games that I did “for fun” because to be fair, it really was.

After a day spent under the sun, Nivea told us exactly how sunblocks work with a visual representation of how the sun sees our skin (photo below). The exact science behind it escapes me but the grade 1 explanation would be that the sun sees our skin in terms of black and white. Black, under UVA light, is what is protected by sunscreen and white is the one that isn’t. The sunscreen either reflects or blocks the rays and essentially serves as a layer that makes it harder for the sun’s rays to penetrate. Without that, your skin is exposed and without defense.


Proper sunblock, when viewed under UVA light, appear black.


We capped off the second night with a party that entailed dancing for hours. Shoutout to DJ Callum David for the throwback records and the hip hop songs that got my street groove back even in my backless halter dress.

The day after was a bit somber with everyone wanting to stay just a little longer. I guess the theme of coming closer really stuck with us and it’s not just because of the ubiquitous #NiveaComeCloser hashtag now dominating my Instagram account. The trip entailed us coming closer with our own skin and bodies by knowing how to take proper care of them and why. Having a marketing-wired brain, I appreciated how the information bestowed and the activities lined up all tied up in the end, with us not only becoming closer with ourselves but also with others. Quite literally too with the Amazing Race. With great skin and zero worries you become more confident and more open which gives you a chance to let other people in, like those we’ve met along the trip despite us all coming from such different backgrounds, age groups and interests. Imagine models, bloggers, members of the press, and athletes all getting along. So much so that almost a month later, the Viber group formed in Balesin is still my most active Viber group yet. (Yes, I’m looking at you, #Balesinners.)

And so I left with beautiful memories, a constantly buzzing Viber group and enough Nivea products to get me through the separation anxiety. And whenever I remember bathrobe moments, playing in the sand and dancing to 90s hip hop, I smile. What a beautiful trip to look back on. I will never get tired of it.

Congratulations to Nivea and ARC PR for a successful and beautiful trip and thank you so much for having me!