Monday, February 28, 2011


Whenever someone asks me what Bangkok looks like, my reply would usually be: "It's just like Manila." When I was still living in HKG and someone would ask me what Manila looks like, my reply would be: "It's just like Bangkok."

It's probably because our infrastructure look the same, or the fact that Thais and Filipinos look very similar. It can be because of the usual chaos on the streets, or the throngs of people walking in the malls.

One unfortunate incident that highlights this similarity happened last Friday when Mark, Mau and I were trying to get a cab from Platinum Mall to MBK. Since it was already 4:30pm, the rush hour was starting. We got in line for a cab, but lo and behold, the cabs would ask people first where they were going. And if it was a bit far off, they'd flat out refuse. (Sounds familiar, eh?)

When we finally found a cab to take us to MBK, the driver tells us that he won't turn the meter on and he'll just charge us 80 baht (which is probably double of what we'll normally pay.) Because we were in a hurry, I just said yes and we went on our way.

On the road, the cab driver was complaining that if people were going to a far away place, he'd refuse because the traffic was bad. Again, it's something that cabbies here would do as well.

Yup, it's the same-same MO, just in a different country.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rediscovering Bangkok

My trip to BKK wrapped up, and it was a great opportunity to rediscover the City of Smiles.

In the early 2000s, I'd be in BKK often. I found the place fascinating in terms of culture, cuisine and shopping, of course. It also helped a lot that my friend Louis was Vice-Consul to the country.

I remember enjoying the street food along Sukhumvit, the shopping at Pratunam and the endless malls, the energy of Khao San Road, and the beautiful Wats that pepper this huge city.

When I worked in HKG, my interest in BKK waned. After all, HKG and China had its huge share of culture, cuisine and shopping. Especially shopping. After trawling the stores in and around HKG, I found the shopping scene in BKK very lackluster. Thus, my trips to the country became few and far between.

But thanks to this trip, I've learned to appreciate the city all over again. While there are some new additions to the city, the old reliables are still there and haven't moved. (Unlike HKG.)

My usual haunts - The Emporium, MBK, Siam Discovery, Pratunam, even the notorious Lacoste store - are still there. And thanks to Mark and Mau, I was able to check out new restaurants and shopping spots. This includes that "patis-smelling Thai restaurant" (Mark's description) in Siam Discovery, the International Food Court in MBK, Platinum Mall, the IT City, among other things.

Thanks to this trip, I've rediscovered the things about BKK that endeared it to me when I first visited the place a decade-and-then-some back. And it looks like I'll be rediscovering more of it again soon.

Friday, February 25, 2011

These boots were made for buying...

Here's another reason why I like visiting BKK. A reason that isn't in MNL or HKG.

I remember how my Y&R colleagues and I went to Boot's a few years ago. We went ape and ended up going back to the hotel carrying 4 bags each of toiletries. Boot's has an awesome array of body lotions, body wash, body butter and other personal care items. Aside from carrying their house brand, they also have a lot of concessionaires like FCUK, Soap and Glory, among others.

Tonight, I dropped by the Boot's Store near Siam Discovery Center - the same Boot's my Y&R friends used to frequent. And it's still there! Plus, there's a Buy 1 Take 1 promo on their house brands.

It's a sign!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It'll take forever

I thought nothing would top the massive size of the Forever 21 store in Orchard Road. After all, it has 4 floors of merchandise.

But now, something has.

The Forever 21 store in Central World in Bangkok is ginormous! I almost got dizzy looking at it.

And for some strange reason, the brand is called "XXI" here in BKK. It must be some copyright thing.

Well, I guess I have to start going around now.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let's float!

I used to enjoy shopping in BKK. But after living in HKG for 3 years, I realized that the place isn't that awesome anymore. These days, I'd rather shop in HKG for clothes, shoes and what-nots. What I do shop for here that isn't in HKG is the spicy tamarind.

And of course, A&W Rootbeer Float.

Bangkok is the only place in SouthEast Asia that still has A&W, and of course, Rootbeer Float. That's why this is always my first stop whenever I'm in town.

I had 2 mugs for lunch, and I must say, it's as good as ever.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


It's been more than a year since my last visit to Bangkok. So it was a pleasant surprise when I arrived at Suvarnabhumi aiport because they now have this:

Just like the airport express in HKG, there's an Airport Link train that goes from the airport to downtown BKK in less than an hour. It was a very convenient, fast and cheap way to get to the city. It cost me only 60 baht to get to my hotel.

I wish we'd have something like this in Manila.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Catch me I'm Folie

Oh, look! Kylie Minogue has a new tour!

I've seen excerpts on youtube, and it looks awesome! Checked out the tour dates and she isn't coming to South East Asia just yet. She's dropping by Japan, though. But I don't think I'll go all the way there just for one concert.

Bring your tour to HKG or SG. I want to catch you again!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Having fun

The adage goes: "Time flies when you're having fun."

And it looks like I've having so much fun. I was flabbergasted to find out that this Saturday is the last day of our Creative Advertising class. Which means another semester just whizzed by! Jeez!

Another school year, and another batch of future advertisers are about to graduate. I hope they have as much fun in the real world of advertising.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hold it!

Finally, "Hold it against me" is out!

After 13 teasers, many days of waiting, and much anticipation, I finally caught Britney Spears' new video. And I must say, it's definitely worth the wait.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Put it on print

My guess was right. The R + P teaser billboard that I saw is for the new Rajo Laurel collection for Plains and Prints.

I've seen some of the photos on the net, and the designs look nice. Question is, will the fabric be nice as well? His last collaboration with the local fast fashion brand was ok: designs were cool but the fabrics were a bit meh. The only exception was the high-neck dress with a bow at the back.

The prints on this collection is much better than the last time. Can't wait to see the actual clothes to see if they're really rave worthy. Sometimes, things are different in real life opposed to when you see it on print.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Holmes on the range

Judging by their teasers, it looks like Katie Holmes is the next face of Kamiseta.

Yup, their celebrity endorsers are getting A-list-er and A-list-er. Although if you look at Katie's status in Hollywood these days, I think she's going down the C to D-list category. But hey, she'll always be an A-list celebrity here in the Philippines.

She feels a bit old for Kamiseta, though. Unless Kamiseta is changing the range of their target audience.

Oh well. I would still have preferred Vanessa Hudgens.

Monday, February 14, 2011

That's love

Love is in the air! And love is in the malls as well.

Judging by the amount of people lining up for roses, chocolates, stuffed toys and what nots, the commercial side of Valentine's Day is very much alive. And while I have nothing against all this cheese and unabashed display of commercialism, I'd like to think that Valentine's and sharing love shouldn't be a one-day affair.

Just like Christmas, (remember "kahit hindi pasko ay magbigayan") people should celebrate the essence of Valentine's day everyday. As much as possible, one shouldn't wait for a special day or a special occasion to show other people how much they're loved.

And it doesn't have to be in the form of a humongous bouquet or a ginormous pink teddy bear. It can be shown through simple and small things. Like a good deed, a nice word, a loving gesture. Things that you can do everyday, and will have the same impact and meaning as if it were done on Valentine's day.

And speaking of acts of love, I caught this segment of youtube. It's the AFI tribute to Michael Douglas, and in one part, Michael's wife - THE Catherine Zeta Jones - performed "One Singular Sensation" for her husband.

It doesn't take a genius to see how much love she has for him, and vice versa. You could see it in Catherine by the way she performed, and how much passion and energy she put in her performance. You can see it in him by the way he reacted to her every move and word. He was even teary eyed by the end of his wife's performance.

There were no big bouquets, no ginormous teddy bears, no outrageous and cheesy showcases. But in that 4 minute performance, you could tell that Catherine and Michael were definitely - and still - in love.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bye bye Bysi?

Is Bysi the next fast fashion import that's about to close down?

I've noticed that a lot of the old Bysi stores have given way to Celine or CMG stores. Among them - the Gateway and Trinoma branches.

The remaining Bysi stores that I've visited - SM The Block, The Podium and The Ramp - have very un-Bysi like items. The clothes they sell there look like Divisoria rejects with the Bysi tag slapped onto them.

Also, the stores are but a ghost of its former self. The merchandising is as bad as the merchandise. There are no more glossy posters or current campaigns. Whenever I go there, all I can feel is sadness.

So, I guess Bysi is about to make an exit. And if they aren't yet, and they continue this downward spiral, then I suggest that they just quit while they're ahead.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fairy gone scary

Maybe it's because Twilight is such a hit.

Hollywood is suddenly turning dark and gloomy. Even fairy tales are given the "dark" treatment of late.

Exhibit A: Red Riding Hood

Our favorite fairy tale with the cross dressing wolf and the subject of many cartoons is now a dark movie with Amanda Seyfried. I've seen the trailer and it does look a bit like a horror flick.

Exhibit B: Snow White

There are 3 simultaneous Snow White projects, and none of them seem to be fun and colorful. So, don't expect any chirping bluebirds and good mannered dwarves who "hi-ho, hi-ho" on their way to work.

In one of the versions, Julia Roberts is supposed to have signed up as the evil Stepmother.

And what's the plot of the story?

Snow White and the huntsman are hunting for the evil stepmother to avenge her father's death.


Thursday, February 10, 2011


Today, that acronym stands for: Unbelievable! Shocking! Bummer!

All of a sudden, my USB goes on the blink. And in that blink of an eye, all my folders and files were gone! Zip. Zilch. Nada!

Mercury must be in retrograde again. Time to start rebuilding my files.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Pickle my fancy

A lot of people I know don't like pickles. Whether they're the sweet kind or the sour variety, they find pickles an unnecessary evil in a sandwich. In contrast, I find them a wonderful addition.

Even as a young boy, pickles have always tickled my fancy. It helped that there was always a bottle of pickles inside our fridge. Sometimes it would be mixed pickles, other times it would be pickle relish, and most of the time, it would be sweet pickles. I vividly remember how I'd get a fork, open the bottle, get one whole pickle and snack on it while watching cartoons.

Ah yes, sweet, pickle-tasting memories of childhood.

When I was in college and working at McDonald's, all my crew friends would set aside their pickles and stuff them all in my sandwich. Despite it getting a bad rap, I liked the super sour taste and crunchy texture of the McDonald's pickle. Too bad they don't put pickles in their burgers anymore. (Which is ok since I don't eat burgers anyway.)

Nowadays, I get my pickle fix from my favorite sandwich place - Subway! I'm not sure why, but I'm addicted to their pickles. Whenever I order my usual tuna or seafood sub, my request would always be "pickles. Lots and lots and lots of pickles!"

If I don't frequent the megamall branch of Subway, it's because of the fact that they don't have pickles. (Boo!) I've asked the sandwich maker a couple of times, and his standard answer is always: "Wala pa kasi sir, baka sa susunod meron na." But 4 visits after, they still don't have pickles.

While noshing on a tuna sub, I realize that their pickles taste a lot like the pickles from my childhood. The same sliced pickles that would always be at the bottom shelf, in that clear glass jar with the white tin cap. So with every bite of the Subway pickle, I'm suddenly back in Scout Gandia as a little boy.

Yup, I think that's the secret.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Here's how it's done...

Thirteen teasers for thirteen days leading to the launch of her "Hold it against me" video.

I am very, very intrigued. This is how teasers are done.

Can we fast forward to February 17, please?!

Monday, February 07, 2011

This ain't Montana

Cate Blanchett and Saoirse Ronan in one film! This I gotta see!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Bad girl gone bad

Looks like the Gossip Girl girls are invading the big screen.

After Blake Lively's critically approved turn in "The Town" and Jessica Szohr's critically panned appearance on "Piranha 3D", another Gossip Girl is making her way onto the big screen.

Leighton Meester - aka Blair - the occasional bad girl of the upper east side is upping her "bad" ante for her next film.

According to reviews, "The Roommate" is obviously a copy of "Single, White Female," with Leighton playing the crazy roommate originally done by Jennifer Jason Leigh. And apparently, Americans wouldn't mind seeing another SWF type film because it opened at the top of the box office this weekend.

Even though her music career isn't that great, at least Leighton can now say that she's got a thriving film career.

And that's no gossip.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Cool cat

Arche approached me after school and said:

"Lester, sabi ng mga students, kamukha mo daw si Garfield."

And my reply was:

"I look like a fat, yellow cat?"

It turns out, she was referring to Andrew Garfield.

When I mentioned it to Rona, she said:

"Oo nga, no."

Maybe it's the eyebrows...

Friday, February 04, 2011

Plain copier

I've been a big fan and believer of Filipino creativity. That's why it's disappointing when I see local brands and artists being "influenced" by foreign brands.

There's this series of videos coming out about the new collaboration of Plains and Prints with another artist. The third video came out already, and it's pretty unremarkable just like the first 2 ones.

What I noticed is that this tact of Plains and Prints is very similar to the Lanvin x H&M strategy when they launched the capsule collection. To pique the interest of the rabid Lanvin x H&M fans, they came out with short videos that gave the audience a taste of what the collection would be. First was a video of Alber Elbaz talking about the collection, and 2nd was a short film that showcased the clothes.

Obviously, this is what "inspired" Plains and Prints for this collection. I wouldn't be surprised if they come up with a full length fashion film like this:

Plains and Prints is one of my favorite local brands. They're current and very creative. Unfortunately, this series of videos to launch their capsule collection are neither current nor creative.

(And yes, my guess is that their capsule collection will be another Rajo Laurel collection.)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Fierce February

In a few weeks time, the 16th Cycle of America's Next Top Model will be back on air. And judging by the trailer, it looks like another fun and fierce cycle.

My favorite quote is from the contestant on the 20th second:

"These things aren't - like - killer bees, right? They're trained, right?"

Yup, the ditzy blonde lives.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Question of the month:

Now that it's February, the question is:

Where the heck did January go?