Monday, August 31, 2009

Park Life

I've discovered a nice place to spend lazy weekend afternoons.

The UP-Ayala Technopark in Philcoa is fast becoming my favorite "lounge-around-area." With its wide open spaces, geometric architecture, clean creek with koi fish, nifty fountain and laid-back atmosphere, it's a great area to sit around and read. Or people watch.

Another big plus is that they've got a lot of good restaurants. There's Le Ching (for good old fashioned Chinese food), Mister Kebab (the original hole-in-the-wall place in Morato) and, of course, Kanin Club! (Our new favorite restaurant! I was there two weekends in a row.)

There are other establishments that are soon-to-open, and I'm hoping they won't have too much of those. I'm enjoying the "somewhat empty but not boring" vibe that the Technopark has to offer. And as long as they keep this atmosphere, I'll probably find myself parked around the area quite often.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some more stylish surprises

During my last few visits to HKG, my trips to the Lane Crawford store were in vain. Last June, I went to the sale and found out that most of the stuff weren't spectacular enough to be spent on, or not inexpensive enough to get it on an impulse. That pegs my last successful visit to Lane Crawford to last year, where I bought those nice Chloe shoes.

But this time, it was different. With a few hours to spare, I swung by the store, not expecting to find anything worthwhile. But as these trips go, a few surprises were waiting.

Like this Proenza Schouler dress. It's a great color blocked dress made of heavy silk. It's so heavy, in fact, that the dress can be shaped, even without a person in it.

It also has a pleated ribbon detail that travels across the bodice, which gives a nice touch to the solid color of the dress.

From the same "design family" is this top, also from Proenza Schouler. It's made of silk and chiffon, with a pleated bottom, and in colors as rich as the details on the garment.

It combines that ubiquitous bustier style that's a staple in all Proenza Schouler clothes, and it has the same ribbon that's found in the other dress. The material of the pleated ribbon is a lighter material which makes if flowy.

Another nice surprise was this Marchesa printed chiffon dress. It's a short dress with billowy sleeves and a solid colored belt that anchors the dress.

Around the neck, it has a jeweled detail that makes the dress go from day to night. These details are very, very Marchesa.

Thank goodness I decided to drop by Lane Crawford, even for an hour. I didn't expect to find anything, but I'm surprised at what I found.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A stylish surprise

On my way out of the house yesterday, the guard handed over a heavy-ish white envelope and said that it was for me.

It was a DHL package from - surprise, surprise - my favorite magazine, InStyle. This September, they're celebrating their 15th anniversary, so everyone in magazine made sure that this issue would be spectacular. The great thing about it is, September is also the biggest month for all fashion magazines in the US, so InStyle had two reasons to really pull out all the stops and make this issue a collector's item.

First thing I noticed was the masthead. I saw this magazine this weekend at GrEat in HKG, and the masthead was the signature InStyle red color. But the issue they sent me had a silver foil masthead, had silver sparkles all around, and had the photo of Jennifer Lopez laminated. This made the entire cover shimmer and sparkle, perfect for an anniversary issue like this.

Another thing that pleasantly surprised me was on the feedback page.

I'm on InStyle!

Yup, that little photo is me and the little blurb was about me. It started with this blog entry I wrote about my 10th year of being an InStyle reader. Someone from their NY office picked it up, emailed me to ask if I'd mind being quoted in one of their future issues, and here it is! The fact that it was on their 15th anniversary issue is a an added thrill to the already thrilling fact that I got my issue from the very people who worked on the magazine. (With a handwritten note to boot!)

Congratulations, InStyle, for 15 years of stylish, relevant, entertaining and intelligent reading. You really put a new and fresh spin on style, and that's why I'm looking forward to the next 15 years of reading InStyle.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Where have all the 70s gone?

To say it was a "lightning visit" would be an understatement. Although it wouldn't be my shortest trip abroad. That honor is reserved for the "fly-out-attend-the-meeting-and-fly-back-a-few-hours-after" fiasco. But that's not what I'm writing about.

On my super-short trip to HKG, I had a chance to drop by Harbour City and check out H&M and Zara. Maybe it's the recession, but the prices aren't super-slashed this season. Last year, around this time, most of the sale items at H&M would be 70% off. I checked their store yesterday, and most of the stuff were only 50% off. If they were nice stuff, I'd understand that they wouldn't want to slash the prices too much. But these items were basics - with some even at the bottom of the fashion food chain - so they should practically be giving them away. (That's what they did last year.) Maybe they're just trying to meet their bottom-line. So every little item counts.

I miss those old sales. Hope they find their way back to HKG soon.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Economy and Society

On the flight to HKG, I was seated at the front area of the Economy Class cabin. Across the aisle, I noticed that the lady sitting there looked very familiar. And after seeing her entourage of 5 gregarious little boys, my hunch was confirmed.

She's a famous HKG socialite who happens to be Filipina. I've seen her in a number of magazine covers, but I must say that she's much more radiant in person. She has that movie star/model aura, but without the attitude. Throughout the flight, her demeanor was very pleasant and gracious, and you wouldn't think that she's part of one of the richest families in HKG.

Which probably begs the question, why isn't she in Business class?

As a friend once told me, the real, old rich are people who don't really pay attention to the part of the plane their sitting in or who shares their space. They live, act and behave like everyone else, and it just so happens that their wealth is equivalent to "everyone else's" combined. They don't like being the center of attention, or pushing people around, or brandishing their status for everyone to see. Those qualities are reserved for the "noveau riche."

Actually, this isn't the first time I was in the same plane (and in the same economy class cabin) with the rich and famous. In one CX flight, I was sitting in the same row as a Zobel, a real Zobel. I've shared a flight with a Tantoco family as well, and they, too, were very low key.

It makes me admire how they were brought up by their families. They must've been taught at a very young age that just because you have money, you should treat everyone like your paid servant. And having been on flights with the "noveaus" who order flight attendants around like they were waitresses, these people should learn a thing or two from the "real" rich.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Meanwhile, in Sesame Street's parallel universe...

There's Tickle me Emo from Depressame Street.

Where can we get this toy? I'm sure the kids of today will definitely like it! Beats Tickle Me Elmo, anytime.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Making the Grade

When I'm asked what the most challenging part of being a professor is, my immediate (albeit boring) answer is:

"Computing for grades."

After all, Mass Communication graduates aren't known for their proficiency in Mathematics. (Unlike some Economics and IDP graduates I know.) Thankfully, my basic knowledge of Math, and my penchant for computing things in my head, comes in very handy - especially at a time like this.

Yup, it's midterm grading season. I've got 24 students done, 28 more to go!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ho Ho Ho Joe!

While Mark and I haven't seen G.I. Joe yet, I'm getting my Joe fix from watching this H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S music video.

I hope the movie is this good!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hung Over

The Zara sale is done. Topshop and Topman have concluded their sales. Mango and Promod are wrapping up. But just as you thought it was safe to go back to the malls, another sale comes along.

Actually, Folded and Hung's end of season sale started early August. Honestly, I never bothered to check out the store because I'm not a fan of F&H's aesthetic. They had a lot of nice clothes a few years back, but lately, their selection has been bordering on blah.

This weekend, though, I wandered inside and found a couple of really good deals. They had a P300 rack, and it had boyfriend-cut jeans in a worn-out denim fabric, a jeweled tunic in jersey, a lace dress with interesting construction, and capris that are almost-but-not-quite-dhoti. The combination of the design and the price immediately put them in the "you've-got-to-be-insane-not-to-buy-it" category. So I did.

I won't be a convert to F&H anytime soon, though. Their regular items are still a bit blah in my book. But thanks to this sale, they won me over, if only for a day or two.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

B(u)y a Mile(y)

Miley Cyrus is one of the new hypenates in Hollywood. She's already known as a "singer-teen icon-Disney's queen-tween's best friend", and just recently, she's adding "-designer" to her resume.

It turns out that she recently teamed up with Max Azria (yes, the guy from BCBG, Max & Cleo, and Herve Leger lines) to come up with a capsule collection at Walmart. I browsed through their website and saw a lot of "teen" stuff. They're not bad, and the price points are very attractive. No wonder most of it is sold out on-line.

And how did I find out about this capsule collection? It turns out that the shirts on the website are also available at "The Haunt." In fact, I was able to buy 3 out of the 4 "out of stock" shirts.

Thank goodness for Miley Cyrus and her designing instincts. The shirts are nice, the fabric is one of those soft, tissue-cotton materials, and the print has that nice and vintage vibe. And I thought the price in the US was cheap (US$10 per shirt), so imagine my delight when I found out that the local price is way cheaper.

Double thank goodness that the capsule collection is made in the Philippines. And triple thank goodness for places like "The Haunt."

Monday, August 10, 2009

High Fidelity

It started out as a brainstorming lunch for Grace's Dad's 80th birthday, and ended up as a conversation about old songs that defined his generation. I couldn't get past the thought that "Dandansoy" was part of his list of favorites.

Because Grace's Dad's name is Fidel, I suddenly remembered this popular song from the 80s. Once again, youtube came to the rescue because it turns out they had a video of their song in their archives.

"High Fidelity" always brings back lots of memories of my childhood. In particular, it reminds me of that time when I was a little boy and we'd spend summer in Bicol. They would play this song a lot on the radio while we'd be hanging out in the tent at night with my parents, siblings, titos and titas, and our cousins. They were such great memories, that it's no wonder why I still get a high whenever I hear this.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Pretty Smart

When I saw her photo a few days ago, it confirmed a hunch I've had the past few months. I've met our candidate to this year's Miss Universe. And it wasn't a recent event. It was a few years back, when she was still a college student in Assumption.

It happened when DY&R was still in Ortigas and I was still a CD there. She, along with her groupmates, interviewed me about advertising trends. If I'm not mistaken, she's a Mass Comm student, so this was for one of her subjects.

After introducing herself and hearing the surname "Manalo", it struck me how she looked like Katherine Manalo. Like her sister, she was very eloquent and very well mannered. Her questions and follow-up questions were all well-thought of and smart. And even if she was wearing her Assumption uniform that time, you could tell how elegant she was.

And if she was already elegant and eloquent a few years ago, then it must've grown exponentially over the years. That said, I think our country has a very good chance in this year's competition.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Full Circle

Twenty-three years ago, my siblings and I boarded our old, yellow Toyota Liftback and went around EDSA to welcome President Cory as she took her place in Philippine history.

Today, my friends and I stood in the middle of Ayala Avenue to say goodbye to Tita Cory.

Thank goodness Lyli asked me to join them in the middle of the street. I was just about ready to watch the proceedings from a distance at the Enterprise building. The energy in Ayala Avenue was different. There were so many people waiting to say their last goodbye.

There were strange and questionable occurrences. Among them, a band playing the Ayala Malls theme song (how's that for blatant promotion), and a guy attributing the presence of Assumption students to the fact that Cory used to study at St. Scholastica's College. Plus, there were unabashed displays of politicking which made me even more sure not to vote for the pedicab guy. But aside from that, it was a farewell that was fitting for a woman like Cory.

Tita Cory has gone full circle. And I feel fortunate to have witnessed her as she did.

*Thanks to Beth and Mother Lyli for the pictures

Sunday, August 02, 2009

More Mango

Nope, this isn't another post about Mango, the clothing store. Although I must say that their current collection of accessories is very, very nice. In fact, I found a few pieces of layered necklaces that aren't just nice, but cheap, too.

It's about another Mango that I've been obsessing over the past few months.

Eversince our first foray into Red Mango a few months ago, it has become a weekly habit for Mark & myself. Actually, liking Red Mango isn't such a stretch for me since I really like yoghurt. Unlike other frozen yoghurt brands, Red Mango isn't too sour, which makes eating it really feel like eating a lighter version of ice cream. And when it's topped with Blueberry and Peaches - divine!

I hope they open a Red Mango branch in Makati soon. After all, the timing for it is ripe. If they do, I think we'll have another favorite hangout, aside from Tsoko Nut.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Cory's Era of Unity

While waiting for my class to end and Nath's class to start, we started talking about Cory's passing. Cory was a former student of St. Scholastica's College, so it was easy to feel the sadness around the campus. Yellow ribbons were strewn everywhere, and there was an early morning mass said for her soul.

One thing that struck me about what Nath said was this: parts of our era - Cory included - are slowly ending.

We were children of the 80s. Eventhough we were too young to understand what People Power was or the impact of Ninoy's assasination, we were there when it happened. So this entire experience, along with Cory, was part of our life and our lifeblood. It was something we shared with a whole generation, and I feel so blessed and fortunate to be part of something as life-changing as this.

Not surprisingly, our conversation steered towards the songs of that era. And this one, "Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo", really captured the sentiments of that time. After People Power, people were even more proud to be Filipinos. I remember that in one of the Academy Award shows, Jane Fonda even greeted the Filipinos by holding up the Laban sign and sent out a message to "the People Power of the Philippines."

While watching this video again, all I can think of was: "Gosh! We were part of that." Our old house in Morato was near Channels 2 and 7, so when the entire People Power revolution was happening, we were right in the middle of it. My siblings and I would stand around Mario's to see what was happening during the day, and at night, we'd sleep in the sala because Lolo was afraid that we'd be hit by stray bullets should an encounter ensue.

Mom - being the gracious hostess that she usually is - would even prepare sandwiches and give them to the people who were there, participating in this revolution. Somehow, that image is seared in my mind - Mom carrying a silver tray full of sandwiches wrapped in white sandwich bags, and we'd help her distribute it. Aside from the return of democracy and the banishing of a dictator, that was what People Power - and Cory - meant to me: Unity.

She was the glue that bonded people together, and for a moment, people forgot their differences, social classes, political leanings, and just worked together for one common goal. And as Cory passes away, that's my only wish and prayer for her. That the Filipino people - as a whole and as a country - remember and continue to fight for what Cory stood for.