Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Now this is advertising...

I've seen a couple of ads for film festivals the past year but this particular one wasn't one of them. In fact, today was the first time I saw this ad. (Well, I'm in Manila 3 days in a month and I rarely see commercials anyway.) All I can say is that this is an excellent piece of work. It kept me glued to the screen every second, and when the high point was revealed, my reaction was: "Wow! This is brilliant!" Of course it was followed by a big smile.

It's no wonder this won the Gold Trophy for film in the recent Ad Congress in Subic.

Watching commercials like this makes me miss working in Manila. Our work there is remarkably better - both in TV and Print. The outdoor and ambient advertising in HK is excellent, though. They know how to play with their outdoor media, and they really have a lot of fun experimenting with it.

When I attended their annual creative awards shindig a few weeks ago, my observation was that their winners might not even make ad of the month in the Creative Guild awards. And seeing this TVC from Manila further solidifies that.

Gosh. I want to go back to making ads like these.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


If I'm to believe Adam Sandler's movie, there's a secret door in some Home Depot store that leads to Christopher Walken selling a Universal Remote control that can fast forward your life.

I wonder where that store is.

I want that remote.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Starting them young

The moment Miguel saw this jacket hanging at one of the outlet stores two nights ago, he was already eyeing it and asking about it. We dissuaded him from buying it since we were going to a lot more shopping places in the course of the next 3 days. And shop we did: H&M, Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, Granville, and every place in between. But as it turns out, he still had his eye on the jacket.

So today, he persuaded Ate Lissa to check the jacket out. And as it turns out, it was an H&M jacket that's 80% less than the store price. Amazing! Not only did he get a jacket that's one of a kind, he also got it for an unbeatable price. At such a young age, it looks like Miguel has the eye of a bargain hunter.

Now there's a kid that's got talent. Shopping talent, that is.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wrap Star

For the past 7 years or so, I've been wrapping my Christmas gifts thematically. As such, deciding how to wrap the presents take as much time as deciding what to give whom. Last year's theme was "Christmas Riches" and "White Christmas." My friends thought "White Christmas" was more "White Wedding." Harhar.

Among the lot, the two best received themes were: 1. "A Chinese Christmas" when gifts were wrapped in Chinese newspaper and tied with a red ribbon and a red card with an oriental motif, and " 2. Now and Zen" where I adapted an almost Japanese minimalism, silver wrapper and a black ribbon. The latter had to be adapted to some of my Chinese friends, though. Since black is a no-no, I used silver ribbons on some gifts.

This year, I've been going from one paper shop to another in search for the perfect holiday wrapping - and theme. Going to my usual haunts: Papyrus, Marks & Sparks, Ikea and Toys R Us, brought forth a lot of inspiration. And after distilling all the information in my head, and studying the feasibility and possibilities, the theme has been decided.

The theme for this year's Christmas wrapping: "Glam Christmas!"

I started with a deep purple wrapper with a rich pattern. The moment I saw the wrapper at Ikea, it reminded me of glamorous fabrics that are usually turned into dresses by designers who are very much into print. (DVF comes to mind first, I don't know why.)

Then, I've added deep purple and burgundy ribbons. These are the usual fashion colors for the holiday season (Natalie Portman was wearing a burgundy dress on the December issue of InStyle) But in keeping with the color scheme of the wrapper, purple was the dominant hue.

Finally, to cap off the "glam" concept, I added a silver key ring as accent. This particular one has silver snowflakes with a bit of bling. It has that quiet glamour that works with the first two elements. Unfortunately, they only had a limited number of these key rings, so they'll only be used in a limited number of presents. (Limited Edition wrapping, anyone?)

I've finished wrapping my first two gifts, and am very happy with the results. Can't wait to give these away.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Abacus and A baby

Javier must have Chinese blood in him. He was so fascinated with the abacus this morning and spent a good 30 minutes just "computing."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Face the Packs

Another trip to the supermarket, another discovery to get hooked on.

I've read about these 100 Calorie Packs from Nabisco for more than a year now. The print ads for these usually appear on InStyle and Marie Claire. (High fashion and low calorie naturally belong together. Harhar.) But I've never seen them sold in Hong Kong, and I haven't been to the U.S. in more than a year, so I simply dismissed these things.

Until I found them at Park and Shop.

Now I'm hooked! The Chips Ahoy ones are the bomb! They're actually better than the regular chocolate chip cookies. They're uber thin and this makes the flavor of the chocolate chip burst out some more. Plus, they're crispier and the texture is better. The fact that they're only 100 calories a pack is inconsequential to me. Heck, even if they're 1000 calories, as long as it tastes this good, I'll take a pack. Or 6 even.

I've almost finished one box. Time to buy another before they run out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Face the Music

While checking out new CDs at HMV today, I was surprised at the number of new releases this month. There's Carrie Underwood's new CD, as well as the new record of the Mutya Buena-less Sugababes. Annie Lennox has a new CD, and the Eagles has one, too (after 28 years, according to the poster). Then there's the Spice Girl's new CD which is a complilation of their old songs plus the new single "Headlines."

Among the hundreds of CDs that were spread out, two immediately caught my attention. First was Natalie Imbruglia's collection of singles from 1997-2007. I've liked her ever since she broke into the international music scene with "Torn." But my favorite Natalie song is still "Wrong Impression."

This is such as happy song and the beat never fails to lift my spirits. The MTV follows that light and happy vibe, and she's simply gorgeous in this one.

I was also able to listen to Craig Davis' new CD and he's got a smashing first single. Called "Hot Stuff (Let's Dance)", it channels David Bowie's "Let's Dance."

These two songs just played and replayed in my mind that I just had to watch and listen to them again. And I thought of putting it here so that it'll be easy to access it the next time the urge to listen to it arises.

Let's Dance!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

You said it, girl!

As Wena and I were walking down Nathan Road this afternoon, she said:

"Ang lungkot pala dito pag mag-isa ka, ano?"

And as Danilo would often say:

"Truer words have never been spoken."

Oh, I crossed 5 more people off my Christmas list!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Starting Early

I'm a notorious last minute Christmas shopper. This might come as a surprise to a lot of people because they think that I shop most of the time anyway. But Christmas shopping is a totally different discipline - each gift should be given a lot of thought and bespoke to the recepient.

There were times when I'd be rushing off to a mall on the 24th of December, yes, the 24th of December, just to look for a gift for my parents. Then at 11pm on Christmas eve, I'd be in my room still wrapping gifts while everyone is downstairs eating. That's how last minute I can get.

This year, I'm trying to change that. My target is to finish Christmas shopping at least a week before Christmas day (good luck to me) so I can just focus on enjoying the festivities. And driven by that goal, I've spend the last 2 days dropping by shops near the flat to look for gifts. And the past 2 days were successful because I was able to buy around 40 gifts!

Yup, I've shopped for Christmas loot early this year, and it looks like I've covered at least half of my list. Sasa was my favorite place the past few days because they've got loads of cool gifts that are useful as they are pretty. Was also able to get a couple of shirts from Lane Crawford and some other apparel at Maple.

Looks like my gift buying target is attainable after all. I just hope I can do the same when it comes to wrapping.


Oh, it's Noah's birthday today! Happy Birthday Noah!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Life in School

When I was in Manila last Saturday, Prichy invited me to attend the first departmental meeting of the Mass Comm faculty in St. Scholastica's. She reminded me that it was going to be chaired by our blockmate - and as Prichy always reminds everyone, my erstwhile college "love team mate" - Wowie. Since I haven't been to SSC in more than a year, I decided to go. (Didn't tell her, though. It was a surprise.)

So by 11am, I casually walked in the TV studio and surprised everyone as planned. It was so good to see my partners in scholastic crime again. Aside from Prichy and Wowie, the old reliables were there. Rose, our intrepid KBP chairperson; Atty. Chally, one of our legal eagles; John, our big brother/father figure; Carla, former student and now teacher; and Liz, writer/producer extraordinaire. There were new faces in the group, too: Pam, John, Kuya Lito and Ron. Seeing all of them was like coming home to a family I haven't seen in a while.

Apart from advertising, teaching is one of the things I'm passionate about. When I was still "Professor Lester" at SSC, I'd always teach the early morning (read: 7:30am) classes. Despite the ultra-early schedule, I'd still make it a point to arrive in school at around 7am, to the chagrin of students because I'm always on time.

Interacting with both my co-professors and students made me feel so alive. Exchanging ideas with them - be it creative or academic - rejuvenated me and enriched me both intellectually and emotionally. There was so much positive and productive energy, and that was energy I'd bring back to work on Monday. As I'd always tell Prichy, I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. And seeing my former students make their mark in Advertising reminds me why I love teaching.

One of the reasons why I took time to accept the post in HK was the fact that I'd have to give up teaching. And after missing more than two years of being in front of a class exchanging ideas, missing more than two years of meeting the "Saturday Group" in SSC, missing more than two years of reading a mountain of scripts and poring through ideas thrown at me by my students, a bit of my life felt missing as well. Life became a bit less lively, and less enriching.

While we were having lunch and Wowie began talking about the Advertising minor, I felt a surge of new life in my system. Suddenly, I felt rejuvenated, and soon after, I was emphatically talking about making Advertising one of the key selling points in St. Scholastica's. I was beginning to ask about large format printers and how the department should have one. I was beginning to talk about radio commercial production and how it can be a new subject.

Just 2 hours in that faculty meeting brought a surge of familiar energy that I've been longing for. I felt that the life that was missing the past 2 years suddenly came back. And that felt good, really, really good.

As I exited Pergola and made my way through my usual route of Pablo Ocampo then Taft, the decision became even clearer in my head.

It's time to get back to my life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Day Ahead

Caught this MTV on youtube and was instantly reminded of how much I loved this song a couple of years back.

Paula Abdul

Eagles calling
And he's calling your name
Tides are turning bringing winds of change
Why do I feel this way
The promise of a new day

The promise
The promise of a new day
As thru time
The earth moves
Under my feet
One step closer
To make love complete
What has the final say
The promise of a new day

And so time over time
What will change the world
No one knows
So the only promise
Is a day to live, to give
And share with one another

See the wisdom
From mistakes in our past
Hear the younger
Generation ask
Why do I feel this way
The promise of a new day


And so time over time
What will change the world
No one knows
So the only promise
Is a day to live, to give
And share with one another


Yup, the promise of a new day is up ahead. Finally!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Model Family

Last week, Maricar asked me if my sister - Ate Bullet - would be willing to model for San Miguel's in-house publication. Then it later progressed from my sister to my sister and her husband, then to their kids. They wanted two kids (which my sister has) but one of them had to be a toddler (something my sister doesn't have.)

But my other sister - Ate Lissa - has one. My unbeliveably and unexplicably cute nephew Javier is in the toddler age, and this made him the perfect candidate. And Maricar concurred. So what happened was a "hybrid family" of sorts, with Ate Bullet, her husband Raymond, her youngest son Kurt, and Ate Lissa's youngest son - Javier. And this is how the new family looked like on film.

(A lot of people say that Javier looks like me. Now that's cute. Harhar.)

It's funny because now that I'm thinking of it, almost everyone in the family has appeared as a model in some shape or form. Kuya Marv has come out in some print stuff, and I even got his set card once when we were casting for a "Dad." Ate Lissa and Miguel appeared in a McDonald's ad a few years back. Ate Bullet has been featured in Women's Magazine (or was it Mod? I forget.) Though I can't recall at the moment, I'm sure Biboy has also appeared in some. And because of my advertising background, I've appeared in ads, both as a main talent and as a body part. (Hand talent, back talent, etc. Hahaha.)

Now how's that for a model family.

Monday, November 12, 2007


The days leading to and even after my birthday made me realize once again how gifted I am. From the phone call from Japan to the calls from Manila. From the texts from the US, Vietnam and Manila to the emails from across the US and Europe. These little things reinforce that factoid that I'm gifted with so many wonderful people who are so generous in giving their love and friendship.

The gifts came in all shapes and sizes: 5 line messages, 50 minute conversations, and that one thing that I love and never fails to put a smile on my face -- surprises!

First surprise came in the form of a big envelope from Japan. It was dropped off the house just as I was about to leave, and this caused me to act like an excited kid inside the MTR. Slowly, I began opening the gift and discovering what good things were inside. The first thing I opened was a gift of words: a letter that got me smiling from TST to Fortress Hill.

As I arrived at the office, I started bringing out the gifts one by one. There were 4 different items: the first two were a box of Pocky Crush and 3 boxes of Dars chocolates - sweets from Japan that I always indulge in whenever I'm there.

The 3rd gift was this really cool hoodie:

It was a two layer hoodie that had a trucker vibe to it. The red plaid hoodie is inserted into another brown hoodie, and the effect is layering without the bulk - and this is tres perfect for autumn. So perfect that I ended up using it the very next day. (And I used it on my trip to Manila last weekend, and my trip back to HK this morning - yup, that's how much I love it.) Plus, the brand of the jacket is equally cool! It's so revolutionary.

The last gift was a collared tee with a western motif and funky buttons. Also in brown, it looks perfect with medium wash, boot cut jeans. I wanted to take a photo of it, but I was wearing it the very moment these photos were taken. Maybe I'll take another photo of it once it comes back from the washers.

Now that's what I call Presents Perfect.

Just when I thought the gift giving has finished, another package came 2 days after. This one came in a funky corrugated box of a Japanese product (the box was in Japanese characters, so I have no idea what was in there originally.) When I opened the box, this familiar package was the first thing I saw.

It's a box of High Raisin cookies from Hazel. Mark gave me the same box of cookies and I really liked it. Now that I have a bigger box, I'll probably share some of these yummy things. Well, I'll probably share one.

And beside the big box was a small package wrapped in red paper. After opening the pack and unraveling the bubble wrap, this beautiful red thing appeared.

It was a special edition red iPod nano! Totally, way, super, uber cool! Mark and I were in Ginza when they launched this product and we spent half an hour just roaming around the apple store looking at this. Everybody knows that red is one of my favorite colors that's why this iPod is perfect. Just perfect. Now I can listen to "Going out of my head" over and over in private. Hahaha. But I won't use it while i'm crossing the street - Mark's orders. Harhar.

Aside from the gifts, the thought behind these gifts are what I cherish more. Reading and re-reading the letters that came with it made these more special by a hundred fold. And that is what really, really makes me feel so gifted.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Music of the moment

I think Donna Summer nailed it with this one.

There's the answer.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Call of the Wild

Tomorrow is the launched of the anticipated capsule collection of Roberto Cavalli for H&M. People have been anticipating this since the first billboard was put up on their flagship store.

I'm expecting that HK streets will be awash with animal prints and risque blouses the next few months. After all, that's what Cavalli is known for.

Hmmmm... I'm sure that tomorrow is going to be a jungle at all H&M outlets.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Happy New Year!

J: So Lester, how old are you now?
ME: Look at me and tell me what you think.
J: Hmmmm... 27!
ME: Joe!!!
J: Ok, sorry. 25.

That was one of the many highlights of my birthday today. Hahaha.

Actually, it was full of highlights and firsts since the clock struck 12 midnight. From Mark's birthday phonecall (the first birthday well-wisher, even if he had to be awake at 1am Japan time to do so), Claire's birthday card (the first one to arrive, followed by Mom's), Biboy's text (my first text greeter, albeit a bit early), to the gift I got from the post office this morning, again from Mark. (That deserves a separate entry, though.)

The rest of the day, my phone was ringing non-stop. Calls and texts from family and friends kept my phone a-buzz all day. It's was wonderful reading and re-reading each message and recalling each conversation. It really reminded me of how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life.

Fiesta introduced us to the concept of saying "Happy New Year" instead of "Happy Birthday." Her rationale was that a birthday is another new year in a person's life, and should be called as such. Needless to say, Fiesta's greeting to me was:

"Happy, Happy New Year. Hope this is year is better than last year."

Speaking of new things, today is a new experience because it's my first time to celebrate my birthday out of the country. Last year, I spent half of my birthday in Manila and half in Hong Kong, and this year, it was HK full on. It's a bit strange to not be with my family and loved ones today, but they made their presence felt so strongly that it felt like they were just here.

So what did I do on my birthday? My colleagues treated me to lunch at a dimsum place and that birthday lunch left us wobbling like penguins. Then in the afternoon, we had our usual Verve Cliquot and cake celebration at the office. Between that and dinner with friends, there was a lot of work - which is a bit odd after being used to the concept of "birthday leaves" in Manila.

As I look back on the "old year" I continue to realize how blessed I am. He has blessed me with so much and He inspires me to share that blessing with people around me. If I list down all the ways He has blessed me, and all the people He has blessed me with and how these people are blessings to me, I might end up writing a blog entry until 2013. That's how much I am thankful for.

And as I look forward to the "new year", I just realized that it might be the perfect time to do something new again. After all, it's been a while since there was a new and exciting change in my life. I've got things running in my mind as early as today, and after I filter and visualize these things the next few days, then I'll know what the "next new big thing" in my life should be.

It's a new year! And I'm excited to start it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

(M)acting up again!

And now for today's GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! inducing moment.

I was in the middle of composing an email when my Mac just stopped and a strange whirring sound started. After a few minutes of waiting for it to respond to the motion on the trackpad, it was clear that my computer was down.

Tried restarting it once, twice, and thrice, but the hard disk wouldn't mount.

Yes, it looks like my office Mac zonked out on me again. And as usual, all my files are brought along with it. Now I'm at Pacific Coffee using the free internet terminal since that email needs to be sent out today.

Gosh! How about all the work I've been doing the past weekend? I hope Tommy can have this fixed overnight. (Since it's the 2nd time it happened in - hmmmm - less than 2 months.

Grrrrr indeed.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sweet Treat

This afternoon, Melvin and I decided to drop by Elements to get to know the mall a bit more. He was looking for a watch for Shash, and I was planning to buy a hoodie at H&M. After a quick stop at H&M and finding out that they didn't have a kids section, we looked around for a Victorinox shop, and we found one in a jiffy.

While Melvin was choosing a watch, I decided to meander around the area and found this enticing dark wood shop with chocolates on the display window. It was a shop called Deschamps.

Being a chocoholic, I immediately went inside the shop. Drawn by the elegant brown interiors coupled with gold leaf motifs inside.

Lo and behold, the shop offered more than just chocolates. Just like Sonja's in Serendra, they also had scrumptuous and mean looking cupcakes.

I bought 4 cupcakes, (which costs about P130 each) and chose them for their visual impact. The two cupcakes were SO impactful, I ended up eating them even before we left the mall. (Mark says my emotional quotient isn't so high. Harhar.) The ones that didn't reach the pictorial were peppermint and orange.

The ones that made it were the cookies and cream cupcake.

And my favorite, the Dark Cherry cupcake. (Save the best for last, that's what I always say.)

The cupcakes aren't as sweet as the ones that Sonja's sells. I think it's a cultural thing, Chinese folks aren't into super sweet things, unlike us Filipinos. The peppermint cupcake at Sonja's is diabetes inducing, while the one at Deschamps has the right balance of coolness and sweetness.

I promised myself that I'd eat the Dark Cherry cupcake tomorrow.

Better go to bed now.