Monday, September 29, 2008


There are two songs that I'm very much into right now. In fact, they're practically looped on my iTunes. I never bothered to find out who the singer was, until yesterday. And knowing who the singer was left me shell shocked!

Both songs were sung by Fergie. Yes, the Dutchess from Black Eyed Peas. This was something unexpected. She sounded so different in both songs, and she also didn't sound like Fergie in any of them. Probably because these ditties didn't have that "London Bridge" vibe to it. In any case, it's good to put a face - and video - to these songs now.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mass Comm Memories

Just got back from the Grand Alumni Homecoming of the College of Mass Communications. Like the last reunion we attended some 5 years back, this one was equally fun and was filled with memories. Ran into our old professors (literally and figuratively) including my favorites, Andy Sev, Ma'am Tessa and Ma'am Armi. Professors Diaz and David were also there, but they were to busy to mingle.

Another highlight was seeing my classmates who I haven't seen since graduation! First, there was Charles, followed by Rommel, Daryl, Jicky and Ned. The celebrities of Mass Comm arrived in full force, including Senator Legarda, Jessica Soho, Kara David, Maryo J. Delos Reyes, Giselle Sanchez, Lauren Dyogi (who came with a group from Pinoy Dream Academy), Vida Doria (clothes, anyone?), Sari Yap, among others.

At this point, we thought, "why didn't anyone bring a camera?"

Since we got there early, we paid homage to UPSC - and we wanted to check out which of the old stores survived. Lo and behold! Not only were GM Miranda Bookstore, Sabater Optical, Rodics and Handog Gift Store still there, they looked the same since the 90s! Talk about blast from the past! And longevity!

Then we went to the College to see how much it has improved. Everything pretty much looks the same, but the org tambayans were removed to make room for a new classroom. The library is still there. The crappy canteen is still there. The CMC auditorium is still there. And just as we thought everything was the way we left it, the girls went to the ladies room.

Surprise, surprise! Not only was it renovated, it was totally transformed! According to Bonique, Grace and Alfie, the first floor ladies room looked like it was taken straight out of a hotel. Dark wood, soft lighting, bidet, tissue paper, luxury soap - it was all there. I think this will be the new tambayan of the CMC girls.

Now, what is a trip to CMC without a trip to the fishball stand. Yup, it's still there, and the owners are still the same. Apparently, they still remember Grace and her ex, Paul. No memory gaps and senior moments here. But the burning question then was, "where's Romy?"

This is why I love attending reunions. You pop up for a few hours and leave with a decade's worth of memories. That's why I think I'll follow Direk Maryo J's advice when he went up on stage: "We should really, REALLY come back to CMC more often."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Milk duds and bank runs

Upon running into each other in Causeway Bay, my former colleague immediately asked me: "How are you? Did you hear about the milk situation?"

Apparently, she remembers how I'd often drink two packs of chocolate milk a day. (Yup, I'm a milk guzzler, but more the chocolate variety.) She asked if I remembered the brand of milk that I drank, and said yes. After finding out what brand, she gave a sigh of relief because that brand is made here in HKG and not in China. It's also not on the list of "tainted milk."

The funny thing was, she was more concerned about it than me. And it seems there's another thing concerning people here these days.

For 2 days, I've noticed long lines outside BEA branches all over the island. It turns out, they're having a "bank run." Someone spread a rumour that the bank is in trouble because they had major dealings with Lehman Brothers and AIG, and because of that, people are starting to withdraw their money and moving it elsewhere.

My friend was quite surprised that I knew what a bank run was, considering I'm in a creative field and never had a finance or math subject in my life. Even if banking wasn't in my field of study, it was in the family. Ate Lissa was a manager at Far East Bank and East West Bank, and I remember how she talked about it once.

Thanks to milk and money, things are a bit frenetic here in HKG. It's quite novel to see people getting worked up over things other than LVs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Today has been absolutely phenomenal. It's amazing what you find when you're not looking for anything.

Lane Crawford. Chloe. Sale. Last pair. Ate Bullet's size. Enough said.

Aside from that, got a letter from the IRD saying I'm getting a rebate. The fact that it's unexpected is what makes it totally cool!

For these two things alone, this trip has been very, very worthwhile.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Say my name...

This afternoon at the airport:

After checking in, I rushed to the Airport Fee counter seeing there was no queue. Somewhere in between the 2 counters, I dropped my Mabuhay Miles membership card. I was already inside the waiting area when I realized it was gone. Since going out was no longer an option (the area after the immigration counter is one of those "points of no return") my next option was to tell the ground staff about it.

They were very, very attentive and thorough. First, they tried calling the counter where I checked in just to make sure the card wasn't left there. After that call, the girl came up to me and said that it wasn't on the counter and that they'll send their Customer Service Officer to the lost and found section to check if someone turned it over.

After a few minutes, the same girl came back and said that the card wasn't at the lost and found. I told her not to worry about it and that I'll just request for a replacement card from PAL. Right after my sentence, her face lit up and said that she has one last option.

She walked away, and after a few minutes, a voice blared all over the airport.

"Attention passengers. If anyone has found the Mabuhay Miles card of Mr. Lester Edgard Morales, please turn it over to counter N6. Once again, if anyone has found the Mabuhay Miles card of Mr. Lester Edgard Morales, please turn it over to counter N6."

Gosh! Hearing them shout out my name for the entire Terminal 2 to hear was enough to send me shuddering. Thank goodness we boarded a few minutes after. I already lost my card, I didn't want to lose my pride. Harhar.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Loud and Claire

While waiting for my ride, something bright and campy rolled in front of my eyes.

Yes, it was the Philippines' answer to Karen Carpenter - Claire de la Fuente - on the side of a bus. With her fluttering eyes and sultry demeanor, she was calling people to take a journey with her. (Apparently, she owns a bus line and is the president of a Bus Operators Organization.) Suddenly, I had visions of sitting inside the bus, listening to her greatest hits wafting in the air. Or maybe a TV screen, showing these:

As much as I was being drawn to ride the bus, I couldn't. Not today.

... Oh, sayang...

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Paige off InStyle

Browsing through a recent issue of InStyle, something on page 42 jumped out and caught my attention.

In their monthly "Where can I find..." feature, one item looked very familiar. The top that Gabrielle Union was wearing triggered a case of deja vu.

Then I remember that I scored the same top for Ate Lissa in HKG early this year. After double checking it, it was confirmed that the Paige twisted jersey top I bought was the same one that Gabrielle was wearing.

InStyle might have found the top for its reader, but I'm happy to announce that I found it first.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dream accounts

Most advertising creatives I know have a "dream account." An account that they'd relish working on once they enter the advertising world. Working on an account you're passionate about pretty much ensures that the creative work that will come out is brilliant, heartfelt and - of course - creative. It gives us the ability to really dig deep into the product and bring out the best in it.

Since I entered advertising by accident, I never really had a dream account.

Now, after more than a decade-long career in advertising, I can say that I've worked on dream accounts, and a lot of nightmare accounts. It was only after working on them that I found out that they were a dream to work with. Among the lot, these are on the top of my list - arranged chronologically.

- Cardinal Ceramics
- Incremin
- Myra 300-e
- Robinson's Malls
- Palmolive

That said, I've also come up with a list of accounts I'd like to work on. These would probably be my genuine "dream accounts" list.

- Philippine Airlines
- Department of Tourism
- The Landmark
- Duty Free Philippines

I'd love to work on these accounts because these companies and brands have the ability to showcase the best of the Philippines. These companies can show the world that there's more to our country and show our countrymen that there is still something to be proud of at home. And being able to do that, and communicate that, is one of my biggest, biggest dreams.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mark his birthday in Manila

Today is Mark's birthday. And for the first time in 2 years, we're spending it in Manila.

Two years ago, we spent it in Muikamachi. After the big surprise I planned, we ended up taking the local train from Urasa to Muikamachi. Then we walked from the eki to Jusco (which is quite far, judging from Mark's reaction then) and ate at Makurodonarudo. Followed it up with trips to Amerikaya, Hard-Off, and the Daiso.

Last year, we were in Ginza. It was my last night in Tokyo and we did our usual trek to Shibuya and had dinner at Friday's. Then we went back to that wonderful little hotel - Ginza Washington - and asked the front desk lady/room service lady for plates so we could eat the traditional Dexter's cake in the room.

Today, we finally celebrated in Manila. Heard mass at Greenbelt, followed by lunch at Marina. Then we went to the World Trade Center to meet Ate Bullet and watch Raymond judge the wedding cake competition. (And saw some really bad wedding cakes.) Then it was back to Tsoko Nut for more of the gigantic dalandan juice.

I'm glad that Mark is celebrating back home this year. He's been looking forward to spending his birthday with his family for years now. That alone adds a happy to his happy birthday. And it's another reason to celebrate, so it looks like there will be more celebrations to come.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tearful Tuesdays

Every Tuesday night, I find myself locked in front of the TV screen and spend some time fighting back tears. It's all because of this show that has become a semi-habit for me.

"Reunions" is a public affairs program that has a very simple premise. They bring together people who have been separated or estranged. In the past months that I've been watching it, I've seen people reunited after 10, 20, even 50 years - and each Reunion brings a big smile to my face. (And the occasional watery eye.)

This is such a noble program. So noble that if I meet Jessica Soho down the street, I'll probably walk up to her, shake her hand, and congratulate her for a job well done. (Plus, I'll tell her that I met her back in college when we did a studio tour of GMA-7. Gosh! That was ages ago.) "Reunions" is a show that I pray will have a long, long run. Hopefully, even longer than "Eat Bulaga" - the longest running show on local TV.

If there were more programs like this, (and less of the trash that's been airing in the regular channels) then there would definitely be more reasons to watch local TV.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Let's do the time warp again...

While walking along Araneta Coliseum, an old man came up to me and asked:

"Boy, nasaan na dito 'yung C.O.D.?"

Of course, I had to be the harbinger of bad news and had to tell him that it's closed. Actually, it's been closed for around 4 years.

Maybe I should've told him that Syvel's, Rempson's and Zenco Footstep are also closed. Just in case he's planning to look for them as well.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pretty, talented girls.

Project Runway Season 5 is down to its final 6. And three of my favorite ladies are - as Heidi would say every episode - "in." The great thing about these ladies are the fact that they're pretty as much as they're talented. Each one has a distinct style and attitude that makes them as interesting to watch as the clothes they send down the runway.

Hands down, my favorite is Leanne. She's got that very unassuming, somewhat nerdy vibe. And that intelligence shows in how well thought her creations are.

Kenley is the 50s girl. She comes across as someone who adores the style of the 50s and puts a modern spin to it. Her clothes have that retro-futuro vibe. (Though I agree with Michael Kors and thought her dress for the avant garde challenge looked too Viktor and Rolf.)

Korto is the earth mother, much like Anita Roddick of fashion. She's always on the top 3 and it's no surprise if she'll be one of the last 3 standing.

All 6 designers showed their collections at Bryant Park, and the girls supposedly outdesigned and out-ramped the guys. I think Leanne, Kenley and Korto will make it the the final 3, and by the looks of it, this season will go to Leanne.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Imagine that...

While flipping through today's newspaper, I found out that this film is currently showing in Robinson's Galleria. (And ONLY in Robinson's Galleria.)

This film was shown in HKG early this year, and my colleagues and I decided to watch it one lazy afternoon. This is a very small, indie film from the UK and it looks like it was a digital film. At certain points of the movie, a cursor and some computer commands came popping up - to the chagrin of the viewers.

Despite the format and the occasional glitch, it was a very, very nice movie. "Imagine Me and You" is a light drama-romance film which has its share of the gratuitous "kilig" moments. The only twist to that is the love story happens between two women. (And one of them just got married, so you know where the complication lies.)

Like "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Dan in Real Life", this movie is one of those "little movies that could." Despite it being very low key and quiet, it delivered a lot of strong punches. The characters, the dialogue, they all made the movie work. Actually, it had the same "feel good factor" as "Love, Actually" except that Keira Knightley would've fallen for Emma Thompson. Harhar. The song at the end of the film has to be the crescendo of feel-good-ness.

I'm not sure how the audience in Manila will accept it though. (It wasn't a hit in HKG) A love story between two women isn't very common here, so I'm not sure of the box office potential. But it's good that Robinson's Movieworld brought the film in, and hopefully, people watch it and see how nice it is.

It's a big risk, but they took it. Imagine that.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

There's a TV in the train

Probably inspired by the former KCR, the current Airport Express and the JR trains around Tokyo, our MRT trains (or at this point, at least some of them) are now equipped with TV screens inside. I reckon they'll probably be showing advertisements, short tv features and information bits here in the future. Right now, though, it's showing a - uhm - train.

It also shows you where the train is now. This is a good idea, but I wish they'd execute it better. The font is so... elementary.

This is a great idea because it'll help divert people's attention from the jam packed train, especially during the super rush hour. Maybe they can take a cue from the AE and have a short news program inside the train. This would be ideal for people who leave their houses early and come home late, thereby missing the news.

It's nice to know that MRT is doing little things to improve their service. But PLEASE do something to improve the lines and people traffic in the Ayala and Buendia stations during peak hours. I swear! The lines there are from here to eternity.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Today's winning conversation is...

... between me and a St. Francis Square Saleslady. I was looking for a particular pair of colored jeans, and this place has the best selection and cheapest price. While at the tiangge, a very gregarious saleslady approached me:

SFSSL: (in one breath and without pausing) Sircoloredskinnyjeanspilinangcolorandsizzzzeah!
ME: Meron ba kayong gray?

At this point, SFSSL looks at me, blinks, frowns, then looks at me again. She looks away, looks back at me and asks:

SFSSL: Color ba ang gray?

*insert Twilight Zone theme song here.


First, there's UP winning the cheerdance competition for the 2nd straight year. Being last year's winner is always a source of pressure, and UP handled it with winning form.

Second - and more exciting for me - is the fact that Britney Spears has finally won a moon man! After 16 nominations, Britney finally walks away with a MTV VMA award. Not just one, not just two, but three statues. That should make up for her much panned and universally criticized performance last year.

Victory is sweet indeed.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Stick witchu

After more than 6 months of searching, I've finally found you. Who would've thought you were in a bottom shelf at the Robinson's Supermarket in Galleria.

When wafer sticks were all the rage and my nephews and nieces were all buying Stik-O, I took a chance on an unknown brand called Giziku. That chance, in my opinion, paid off immensely. This was no ordinary wafer stick. It was close to perfection!

The stick was almost light as air and very crunchy. It almost disintegrates the moment you bite into it. That gives way to the choco filling that oozes, oozes out with it's creamy consistency. (I always found Stik-O's filling too dry for my taste.) There were times when the packs would have "defective sticks" or sticks with twice or thrice the amount of choco filling. Those were times worth relishing, of course.

For the longest time, Giziku was readily available at SM, Daily and Shopwise. But the past 6 months, they weren't in any of these places. This led to my irrational fear that they might've been phased out. After all, wafer sticks have been pushed off the snack map by Pillows and pillow-like snackers.

Thankfully, they were in Robinson's. And today, I got 2 big packs and opened the first one. (No defective sticks, though.) There were 4 more big packs left there, which makes me wonder whether I should go back for them tomorrow.

To hoard or not to hoard. That is the question.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Pretty People

For kids of the 80s, "People are People" meant the ultra-popular song of Depeche Mode that played in almost every prom and "interaction parties." For the 90s generation, though, it's better remembered as the store that sold fashionable street clothes that were SO in vogue that time.

I had my People are People phase, too. Their store in Galleria was my shop du jour and that was my source of dark jeans and snug fitting polos. For the longest time, it was the place to go if guys wanted hip club wear and girls could get sexy outfits with enough street cred. And from that store in Galleria, it eventually grew to more than 20 stores all around the country. (Looks like there's a big market for street.)

The past years, though, I noticed that People are People was expanding their market. While the snug fitting shirts, hoodies and dark jeans are very much alive in their men's section, the girl's side seems to be taking a different direction. The graphic tees, skinny jeans and short-shorts are still there, this is their bread and butter, after all. But now, racks and racks of dresses are emerging, and these dresses are something the brand wasn't previously known for: pretty.

Exhibit A. Got this strapless, tiered, sherbet colored jersey dress in their Galleria store a few weeks back. At first glance, you'd think it was from Mphosis or H&M. But no, it's from People are People.

Aside from that, they've also got twill dresses and silk shifts reminsicent of Zara. Some of their gauzy blouses and jersey dresses are part-Mango, part-Topshop. I even spotted a color-block silk dress and a beaded wool dress which could easily pass off as Banana Republic.

With all that pretty-ness scattered all over, it's no wonder that more people are finding themselves in People are People.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Loving every Minute

I have a new "2nd most favorite drink." (The most favorite one being ice cold water.)

Whenever I was in the U.S., I'd chug bottles of Minute Maid like they'd run out. I love the flavor - not too sweet but not too overpowering like Tropicana - and the pulp bits remind me of that very popular orange drink in the 90s - Rani!

Now, they've got Minute Maid in Manila. Same taste, same pulp bits. And that's why I'm loving it just the same.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mint Condition

It's been ages since I last visited Mint. It was Lezyl who introduced us to the store some 3 years back, and I've forgotten about it. Well, I do pass by its facade whenever I find myself in Galleria, but going inside... nada.

Thanks to the "Sale" sign, I found myself inside the store yesterday. (Yup, that sign never fails to hook me in.) I've forgotten how amazing this store is! A lot (but not all) of the clothes are fashionable, easy-to-wear and cheap! Now that most of the clothes are on 50% off, it just became cheaper than cheap! Got a trove of jersey dresses, including this beautiful, tie-dyed number. It looks 10x more expensive than its price.

I also noticed that they've got a decent advertising campaign. Looks like it's serious in becoming one of the Philippines' fast fashion players.

Gotta find me some more mints.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Early Christmas

It's September! And as expected, Christmas carols are already being played all over the metro. The radio stations are at it, the MRT station is at is as well. While having lunch at the mall a while ago, "Sa paskong darating..." was wafting in the air, and some of the crew people were singing along unconsciously.

And with early Christmas comes an early Christmas present. Arnie told me that H&M will be opening in Manila next year! Brought in by the SM group, no less. The Sy's are really poised to become the country's premiere fashion royalty. I wonder where their first store would be? Mall of Asia would be the obvious answer, but I hope they open in somewhere nearer.

Please, please open H&M as soon as you can. That would be a wonderful gift to the fashion community in the Philippines.