Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can cause permanent liver damage, and sometimes liver cancer. About 80 percent of the people who are infected with hepatitis C are unable to clear the virus from their bodies, becoming hepatitis C carriers. As long as the virus is in the body, it can be passed to other people. It can take as long as 20 years for symptoms of liver disease to appear. A special blood test for hepatitis C is the only way to tell if you have it.

It is mostly transmitted through exposure to infective blood. This may happen through transfusions of HCV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use. Sexual transmission is also possible, but is much less common. There is no vaccine for HCV.


Hepatitis C Is spread through coming into contact with infected blood. This usually happens through sharing contaminated needles used for injected drugs.

Less often, hepatitis C is transmitted through sexual contact, birth to a mother with the hepatitis C virus, or a needlestick injury.

Hepatitis B This form of hepatitis is more likely to be spread by birth to an infected mother and sexual contact. Drug equipment and needlesticks are less likely causes. The virus can be spread by semen as well as blood.

Risk Groups
Current or former injection drug users form the highest risk group for hepatitis C. If you had a blood transfusion before July 1992, you are also at risk.

For hepatitis B, the highest risk group is infants born to infected mothers. Others who have a high risk of hepatitis B are sex partners of infected persons and people with multiple sex partners.

Public awareness
In the Philippines, viral hepatitis remains a major public health concern. Getting tested isn’t the norm yet due to lack of public information. So who should get tested for Hepatitis C?

• Person who has used injection drugs not prescribed by a doctor
• Persons who received donated blood before 1992
• Persons who received organ transplant before 1992
• Persons who received long term hemodialysis
• Hemophiliacs who were treated with a blood product made before 1987
• Persons who show signs and symptoms of liver disease
• Health care workers who have had accidental exposure to blood
• Children born to mothers who have tested positive for Hepatitis C

Is there a way to cure it or prevent it? Former actor Derek Dee shares how.

He was a photographer in the 80s. He was an action star and movie producerin the 90s. He was married to Melanie Marquez with whom he has two stunning daughters— budding model/actress,Michelle and teacher based in the US, Maxine. 
He is Derek Dee, now a businessman and the voice behind HepCured, a digital movement that promotes awareness and treatment of Hepatitis C.

Derek Dee with daughter Michelle

Speaking from personal experience, Derek avers that, “one of the most common causes of liver-based sicknesses is Hepatitis C. According the Word Hepatitis Alliance, about 80 to 150 million people are dealing daily with Hepatitis C. In spite of such a high-risk rate, public concern and information is limited.”

He says, “the main reason people die from Hepatitis C is because symptoms don’t show up until it is too late so you don’t know that you are sick”.His own discovery of the illness was by accident. A routine blood test four years ago revealed that he had the dreaded disease. Doctors and his own research suggested that he may have contracted it through the use of contaminated needles in his younger days, around 30 years ago.

“Four years ago, having Hepatitis C was a death sentence because there was no cure yet”.His search for a solution to his illness led him on a journey that brought him many heartaches and disappointments. The only option he found were drugs which had deadly side effects and low cure rates of 50%. So he decided not to seek treatment.

Then two years ago, a medicine with a cure rate of 94%-97% was discovered but it was prohibitively priced. So he went into the digital realm to research his chances of getting the medicine outside the US where the drug was priced cheaper. This led him to Singapore General Hospital Pharmacy which was willing to order the miracle drug for him at a slightly lower cost.

After getting the treatment, he is now free of the virus and is officially cured. But he realized that these drugs are not affordable and accessible to many. This started him on another journey looking for generic medicines from India which cost so much less (USD1,000) than the original price of USD90,000. And now, with the new generic treatments that are very affordable and just as effective as the originals, the cure is available to all.  

Armed with this knowledge and powered by HepCured, Derek would like everyone to know that Hep C is just a word, not a sentence.He now shares his experiences and insights and communicate these findings to other Hepatitis C patients and the public in general.

“I had so much doubt getting into this because of the stigma. I didn’t really want to come out, I just wanted to keep quiet. But the mission came up when a friend I haven’t talked with in many years suddenly showed up and the first thing he told me was that he has Hep C and he didn’t know anything about it, he was not aware that there is a cure.Shortly after that incident, another friend got in touch with me, with the same story. That’s when I decided to speak up. It doesn’t matter what people will think of me, if my advocacy can save the lives of even a few, then it would have been worth it,” he explains.

To generate concern and action about Hepatitis C, Derek’s HepCured movement fires up the idea that the disease is something that happens to ordinary people. Common folk might have it and not even know it, as what happened to him. A person’s lifestyle 15 to 30 years ago could have damaged his or her liver without realizing it.

It is through constant updating and sharing of knowledge that the disease can be identified, battled, and defeated. He is doing this through the website and Facebook page of HepCured.Through HepCured, Hepatitis C patients can be part of a community of seekers for the cure, called The Cure Club. The Cure Club endeavors to search for treatments and remedies that are more accessibly priced and can be found in non-traditional sources.
For more information, please login to or visit their Facebook page,@DerekDeeTheHepster.
SM City North EDSA kicks off this summer with ART KARNIVAL - an interactive and fun exhibit that invites people from all walks of life to experience art first hand.

Instead of the usual summer activities, SM City North EDSA initiates a different mall-going experience through a voyage of discovery of the visual arts. 

Through a partnership with Vinyl on Vinyl, one of Manila's hippest contemporary art galleries, SM City North EDSA supports young artists Anjo Bolarda, Bato, Blic, Garapata, Jeffrey Jay Jarin, Tyang Karyel, VOV Studio, and Whooop. This edgy initiative by SM City North EDSA hopes to spearhead a new appreciation of art in the north.

 The media was greeted with fun and interactive program together with delicious treats 
from Shakeys and IHOP.

Present during the event were the SM North Mall Admin together with 
Ms. Gabbi Dela Merced

Each piece in this exhibit was carefully selected and placed in areas that would bring not only the art piece itself to life but the surrounding area as well. As mall-goers walk the meandering path, installations pop out at them, drawing their eyes to their surroundings, stimulating interest. This whimsical almost fantasy-like world perfectly complements Skygarden's tenants.

Of course I didn't let the chance slip by without doing some artsy fun too!

Come to SM City North EDSA's ART KARNIVAL at the Skygarden. The exhibit, which runs the entire length of the Skygarden, showcases unique installation pieces by each featured artist curated specially for the space by Vinyl on Vinyl. The exhibit runs from April 21 to June 12, 2017.
FROM the team that gave us the phenomenal box-office hit, “Camp Sawi,” and the director of mega-blockbuster movies like “Always Be My Maybe” and “#WalangForever,” come this year’s most enchanting romance-comedy, “LUCK AT FIRST SIGHT.”

VIVA Films and N2 Productions bring to the big screen a Joyce Bernal production that pairs off Asian Drama King, Jericho Rosales and Primetime TV Gem, Bela Padilla for the first time.

During the Grand Presscon of Luck at First Sight at Trinoma Cinema lobby, the cast narrated their respective roles and how excited they all are with the movie. 

Meet the cast of Luck at First Sight:

This is the first time that Jericho Rosales and Bela Padilla will be working in a project together and Jericho even mentioned during the presscon that Bela is one of the actress she wants to work with in the future saying, "nung magkasama kami ni Arci sa soap at napanuod ko yung Camp Sawi sabi ko siya (Bela) ang gusto ko maka-trabaho!"

In the movie, Jericho is Joma Labayen, a down-on-his-luck guy who believes that a “life charm” could help make for him a rosy existence despite the drudgery of everyday living. By accident and by some stroke of fate, he meets Diane dela Cruz (Bela), who he thinks is his "life charm." Little did he know that their encounters would lead him to the toughest choice his heart will ever make: luck or love.

Diane, however, is no sucker for stories of luck and/or life charms. She is a firm believer of love and how romance sheds light, beauty and happiness to one's being. Their partnership proves lucky enough until they discover that choosing between luck and love can be a tough pick.

“Luck at First Sight” is a concept Bela thought about while listening to the radio.
“Nasa kotse ako, nakikinig ng conversation ng DJs sa radio. Tapos, naisip ko 'yung title, du’n nabuo ang story. Tungkol siya sa dalawang tao na sinuswerte kapag may physical touch sila.

“Ako, gusto ko makapanood ng konting feeling ng magic, parang maniniwala ka uli sa isang bagay na hindi mo nakikita. Sa totoong buhay, naniniwala ako sa swerte, ibang forms lang siguro.

“Nu’ng nag-iisip na kami kung sino ang kukuning direktor, sabi namin, dapat si Direk Dan ito. Sobrang galing kasi niya, sobrang ganda ng shots saka gusto naming ma-touch din ang point of view ng lalaki sa pelikula,” Bela explains.

As for Direk Dan, working on “Luck at First Sight” made him excited. 
“Ang difference nito sa mga nagawa ko na, yung dati, rooted on reality, kung ano ang nangyayari sa totoong buhay. Kaya na-excite ako rito kasi may magic element, ‘di realistic. Medyo hyper realistic siya, magical, fantastic,” he says.

“First time kong gumawa ng ganito, so minsan, 'yung pagtimpla ng mga eksena, mapapaisip ka, exaggerated na ba 'to, baka masyadong mababaw o matigas. Rom-com siya, pero may magic realism element,” he adds.

Echo, like Bela, is totally absorbed by the project. Though “Luck at First Sight” may be their first as a tandem, he shares, “may commitment sa isa’t isa na ito ang pinakamagandang movie na gagawin namin together.”

Bela says Echo is easy to work with, “hindi niya ako pinahirapan.” Echo, for his part, relates, “Working with Bela was great. She’s very open, walang showbiz na vibe. ‘Pag nasa set kami, nag-uusap kami ng concept and ways to promote or make the film better. It’s nice that she’s open to exploring things, wala siyang masyadong inhibitions. It’s been fun.”

Bela also shared how generous Echo is. Jericho gave Bela a 1950's edition Typewriter on which Bela said she's been scouting for some time now, saying that she dreams of owning one because she loves to write and collect vintage stuff too. Bela shared that Echo has been there for her when she experienced a heartbreak recently. When she and Neil Arce (producer) broke up.

While shooting the movie, Echo also experienced a big trial in his life when his father passed away and he expressed gratitude to his co-actors and co-workers for giving him time to grieve at the unexpected turn in his life.

“Pinakawalan na nila ako, ni Direk Dan, ni Bela, sina Boy 2, ‘go na’, I wanted to continue, sabi nila, ‘hindi na, go na.’ So, ako blessed ako to be in this project. I will never forget this project and the people I’ve worked with dito sa project na ito. They’re all very supportive and loving,”

“I think I look better. I’m a better person. I actually did. . .nag-long ride kami ng mga barkada ko, we did 1,800km in two hours on a motorcycle. Pinuntahan ko ‘yung San Juanico Bridge kung saan nagpunta si Papa, kinunan ko ng litrato, iniyak ko lahat du’n sa tulay. Bumalik ako ng Manila, I came back a better person, a stronger person, and I understand my father even more, parang ganu’n.

“So our family is better, medyo naka-move on na kami, of course, we miss Papa, my source of adventure and inspirasyon ko rin sa buhay, my source of strength.

“But ang nakakatuwa do’n, I became a stronger person. So ‘yun. I’m better,” he said.

Also part of the cast are Jeric Raval, Dennis Padilla, Cholo Barretto, Kim Molina, Thous Reyes, Issa Pressman, and PJ Endrinal. 

Watch the Grand Presscon here:

Will Joma and Diane make the right choice? Will their love story ends in happily ever after? Find out when “Luck at First Sight” casts its magical spell in cinemas nationwide starting May 3, only from VIVA Films and N2 Productions.

Watch the trailer of Luck at First Sight
The scorching heat doesn’t have to be that bad when you’re ready for it. Just be prepared with your summer must haves and you can take the hottest enjoyable escapade. With your sunblock ready, sunglasses, hat and light clothing, you can feel lighter on a hot sunny day. And to top this off, your summer OOTDs won’t be complete if you don’t have your light / neutral colored footwear. 

Here are various styles that will definitely maintain your glam chic look even on a hot weather.

The Ipanema Summer Pastel collection called Class Fem comes in 4 different colors. For a lighter vibe, it offers Pink, Blue and Green, and of course, for those that would always want a neutral look, the same style is available in Black. 

This style is priced at Php1,295 and is available in selected Ipanema and Bambu Stores nationwide. Likewise, this is available in select SM Department stores (The SM Store) , Shoe Salon, and Landmark Department Stores.

Another style to for this summer is Ipanema’s Classic POP Fem. This style will definitely make an impression as it  exudes a vibe of individualism, freedom and liberation. The perfect fit for you to relax this summer as leave behind all excess baggage and keep your calm. Show off your feet and make a statement! The Ipanema Classic POP Fem is also priced at Php1,295.

Bambu Glorietta Branch (GOLA)

If you’re not one of those who’d spend your summer lounging in the beach, there’s still a perfect pair for you. 

Gola brings you the pastel collection of the WASP. This sneaker will amp your style even if you just want to dress down and be comfortable with what you wear. Priced at Php 3295, a true catch for a pair that offers both style and comfort.

For a more sophisticated yet lighter look this summer, Grendha offers the:

Grendha Is Raizes priced at  PHP 1,095.00

Grendha Exclusive Sand AD priced at PHP 1,495.00.

Be simply chic, simply beautiful, as you bare this feet this summer with these 2 stunning collections. 

Another go getter this summer is Grendha’s Is Natural Sand Ad. Priced at Php1695, this all around style will surely bring out the modern elegance vibe, fit for any occasion. 

Now if you’re feeling hip and boho, the Zaxy Glass Sand Ad is a sure win. This nude strappy sandal doesn’t only feel light and look light , but it’s extremely stylish and goes with any color. Priced at Php1295, this value for money sandal will bring out the goddess in you. 

Another hippie variation is the Zaxy Vibe I Sand, priced at Php1,595. Experience ultimate comfort like you’re walking on a yoga mat. The softness that it brings will definitely relax your feet. Dress down with comfort as you pair this neutral sandal with your coolest summer get up.

There's a lot of choices to choose from and I'm sure you'll get the perfect sole for your Summer getaway at any Bambu, Ipanema Store, The SM Store, Shoe Salon, Robinsons Dept. Store, Landmark Dept. Store, Olympic Village and TAF. 

Check out the presentation here:

So what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite brand at any store, you can also avail their ongoing discounts and promo like the exciting trip to Bohol! plus games and raffle. 

Ipanema,Grendha, Rider, Zaxy, Gola, Sofft, and Anacapri are exclusively distributed by ELRO Retail Corporation. Visit for more information.