Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This should've come before "Valentine's Day."

Garry Marshall is at it again.

Another ensemble film featuring a stellar cast. And of course, Hector Elizondo is there.

Eventhough Julia Roberts isn't in it, I'm definitely watching this one, too.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lanvin Rocks! (and Discos, too)

Only Lanvin and Alber Elbaz can mix high fashion with camp and make it look so stylish. Their latest commercial for the F/W 2011 collection is so deliciously funny, I can watch it over and over again.

(Gotta love the "Aldeguer Sisters action" in 0:11!)

Take note, kids. This is how a fashion commercial is done.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A vanguard indeed

It was great seeing Britney Spears receiving the 2011 Video Vanguard Award from MTV. As Lady Gaga (or his male alter ego) so rightly stated, she changed the face of pop music, and the pop world was never the same because of her.

Seeing her teary eyed just shows how overwhelmed she was with this recognition. And seeing that production number with all her iconic looks and songs got me a overwhelmed as well.

Britney is a vanguard indeed.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anne believable

In class today, we talked about film critique, and the subject lead to my students talking about the film "One Day."

Most of the students watched it already and they weren't too happy about it. Mainly because they felt that Anne Hathaway was miscast as a brooding, British girl who was living an underprivileged life. They said that they can't see Anne as a struggling writer and Mexican restaurant waitress, living with a shabby comic wannabe, and sulking most of the time in the film.

For them, Anne Hathaway is a bubbly, positive girl who always walks on the sunny side of the street. In fact, she's like this in most of her movies, and in life. They mentioned her turn as host at the Oscar's this year, and she was bubbly throughout the proceedings. (Even if James Franco was not.)

I haven't seen the film, and I'm not keen on doing so. Thus, I'm not sure if my students' observations are accurate or not. I'm not sure if her portrayal of a dark-ish role is unbelievable.

As far as I know, Anne Hathaway will always be Princess Mia Thermopolis:

And Princess Ella of Frell:

Now, how can someone like that be believable as a brooder?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hey, sister, go sister!

I can't remember if I was in grade school or high school when "Sister Act" was shown on the big screen. All I remember is that, after that film, I thought nuns were so cool, and that it would be great to see a choir like that here in Manila.

After almost 10 years of teaching in a Catholic school for girls, I still think nuns are cool. Unfortunately, though, we don't have a Motown-esque choir of nuns where I teach. Hey, you can't have it all, right?

One of my favorite scenes and songs from "Sister Act" was "Salve Regina." Because of this song, I bought the cassette tape (yes, a cassette tape) of the film's soundtrack, and I remember listening to it over and over and over and over again.

Nowadays, when I feel sentimental and want to listen to "Salve Regina" all over again, all I need to do is head over to youtube, and re-live that wonderful scene all over again.

More than a decade after, this scene and song from the sisters still gets me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The face of relocation

It's quite common to read about the problems of illegal settlers and relocatees in the newspaper. Go through a daily or tabloid any given day, and it's likely you'll get to read about squatters in the Metro.

I'm quite familiar with the subject. When we were kids and still living in Morato, there was a squatter's area nearby. I was friends with some of the kids there, and sometimes, I'd hang out at their house to watch TV, or play "patintero" or "agawan base" in the street fronting their community.

Then one day, that area - the whole community - was gone. They dismantled everything to make way for a new building. And when I asked where my friends were, I was told that they were "relocated."

Since then, I've always wondered about "relocation." For me, it was just a word I read or a concept I hear about. That word or concept usually comes with problems, but to me, it was all vague.

Yesterday, "relocation" finally had a face.

I joined our Development Communication class and went to a relocation site in Calauan, Laguna. We were there to facilitate a round table discussion between the Local Government and the relocatees. We also had a briefing with the Don Bosco brothers and Franciscan sisters regarding their projects and missions for that community.

And some of the faces we saw weren't a happy ones.

It was a face that came to that community because of bright promises, but got there to a home that doesn't have any electricity. And 2 years after they moved into the relocation site, they still don't have power in their homes. Because of that, their children can't study at night. They can't keep fresh food in the house. And they're literally living in darkness.

They came to the community thirsting for a new life, but got there thirsting for something more. They didn't have running water. They still don't have running water after 2 years. Some of them just go to the nearby creek to take a bath and wash their clothes. They go to the stream to get water to drink.

Their promised land turned out to be an unfulfilled promise land. Hearing their stories one after the other echoed their anger and desperation, but surprisingly, there was also patience and hope.

And that's the other face that was refreshing to see in that community. The face of hope.

Despite the hand dealt to them, some of the residents there still smile and are thankful for what they have. And they try to make do and flourish with what is given to them. They're optimists with a "can do" attitude.

It helps to have people like Father Pat and Sister Rosario around in the community. They give them faith where they can anchor their hope. As one of the women there told us: "Basta may pag-asa at pananampalataya, wala kaming hindi kayang gawin."

I'm looking forward to the school's further interaction with this community. Personally, I look forward to helping them out in trying to market their small businesses - their shoe factory, their organic farm, and their cafe. When I was talking to them about branding their businesses and the potential that they have, I could see the genuine excitement on their faces.

And that's a face that I'd like to eventually see more of in that community.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


They've finally uploaded the full Karl Lagerfeld collection for Macy's on-line, and it's quite an interesting collection.

Not every piece is covetable, unlike the Lanvin x H&M collection where each piece - be it blouse, skirt or dress - is a must have. For Lola Karl's collection, there were really nice pieces, while some others were just ok.

The two pieces that caught my eye had something in common. They were totally Karl Lagerfeld. And the reason? The starched white collar that is his trademark attire.

This dress looks like a tuxedo made feminine. The collar frames the face beautifully, and the color makes it very wearable.

This second one is a marriage of baby doll and Lagerfeld. It's mod and modern at the same time. I can see Twiggy or Mia Farrow wearing this, but at the same time, Zooey Deschanel and Ginnifer Goodwin can rock it as well. Which is a perfect demonstration of how timeless the dress is.

The entire collection launches this August. And I'm wondering if there'll be a mad dash for it just like Lanvin x H&M.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On change

After listening to Sophie Ellis Bextor's "Won't change you," I began thinking about change.

Our college yearbook was called "Transitions," and it was all about change. On the first page, we wrote: "Change can be scary. But not changing is worse."

The past few months have seen a number of changes in my life, both welcome, and otherwise. I've also noticed that things and people around me are changing as well. Some friends, like the HRH Princess Shash, decided to make major changes in her life, and we had a good talk about it. After all, we're in the same boat - more or less. And I'm excited for her as she makes her own transition. When I asked Shash if she's excited about the big change in her life, her reply was: "Super excited!" (Such a Shash response.)

Change has a way of making one feel excited. And apprehensive. And inadequate. And small. But the good thing is that these feelings can change as well. And when it changes, it usually changes for the better.

And the other thing I noticed about change is this: There are SO many songs about change!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Suddenly Sophie

Maybe it was because I saw her latest CD in HKG a few weeks back, but I suddenly missed Sophie Ellis Bextor.

She's not very popular here in Manila. In fact, there are very few people who know her. Well, it's the same case in HKG. But luckily, when I was still working there, I had 2 colleagues who were also into Sophie. There was Golf from Thailand, and Edie from the land down under.

Sophie has a very catchy sound and a distinct voice with a beautiful British accent. And her songs are so pop - complete with catchy melody, light hearted lyrics and a wonderful hook. Qualities that are best captured in one of my favorite Sophie songs, "I won't change you."

And I hope Sophie doesn't change, too.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Luxe be a lady

The past few seasons, I've noticed a return to modesty and luxury - qualities which were big in the 40s and 50s. Circle skirts, sweater tops, cardigans and jackets were carried by most designers, from Marc Jacobs to Oscar dela Renta.

As a result, even fast fashion brands waved the luxe banner and proudly incorporated this modesty in their collections. Everyone from Zara to H&M to Macy's to Saks Fifth Avenue had a touch of the trend on their shelves. And it was so infectious, it even reached our shores here in Manila.

On a routine visit to Makati last week, I found odds and ends from different shops, and came up with this:

It's a very "luxe lady" outfit which can easily be seen on a Mad Men episode, but still made relevant for today.

The tops were from Surplus Shop, which simply means they're dirt cheap. There's a black tank, and a beaded cardigan with a damask print. It's a modern take on the twin set, and it works.

The Zara sale yielded this belted, full skirt in gray flannel. And finally, Parisian - yes, SM's in house shoe brand - came out with this ballet flat with a tiny bow. Plus, it was made of cotton jersey, which makes it feel super soft. And as everyone knows, the price points at Parisian are very, uhm, democratic.

Ah yes, it's luxury for less. Much, much less.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Barry Nice

The 70s had such a distinct sound, and each of the big stars during that era had such a distinct voice. Carole King, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Tavares - the list goes on and on. It was so easy to distinguish one singer and sound from one another, unlike now. Everyone sounds the same.

And speaking of distinct voices from the 70s, one of my favorites was Barry White. He had such a cool voice and smooth sound. They must be thinking of him when they coined the term: "a voice as smooth as butter."

I can never get enough of this song.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bacolod is So FAB!

A few weeks ago, Ate Bullet was telling me about this nice pair of Oxfords that she saw in So FAB! in Ali Mall. It was a nice, classic - and cheap - pair, but unfortunately, they didn't have it in her size. So, like the loyal foot soldier, I checked out their branches in Shangri-la and Makati to see whether they carried it.

Alas, they didn't.

Meanwhile, in Bacolod, I was roaming around SM Bacolod while Mark was off at the Port Office, when lo and behold, there was a So FAB! store, and they had this pair.

It's the black Oxfords that my sister wanted. What's nice about this is the mix of matte and patent synthetic leather. It adds dimension to the pair. The style is the classic, round toe Oxford that will look great with jeans or a dress.

To add femininity to the pair, the shoelace is actually made of satin ribbon. So it's an added oomph to the pair. Plus, there's an extra pair of leather laces for versatility.

It's a fab find in the most unlikely of places.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to Bacolod

It's been about a decade since I was last in Bacolod. And while we were traversing from the Silay Airport to Bacolod City, it was nice to see that the town is pretty much the same as I left it.

Robinson's Place was still there, looking spiffy sans renovations. There's L' Fisher Hotel where I used to stay. The provincial capitol looks as classic as ever.

But there were a lot of new things, too. And one of the new things that Mark and I tried out was food. Well, it wasn't really new for him because he's eaten in some of these places, but it was a first time for me.

First up, Manokan Country! This is where we had our first lunch in Bacolod.

They don't call it "Chicken Bacolod" for nothing. And if you want a plethora of Chicken options, this is the place to go. It's stall after stall after stall selling Chicken Inasal. It's a no-frills place where you wash your hands with a detergent bar. You don't use any utensils - just your hands. There's linoleum on your table and the chicken oil is in a plastic bottle. And all these add flavor to the crunchy and juicy Inasal being served.

Next up, Sweet Greens for dinner.

With "Greens" in the name, we thought it was a vegetarian restaurant. But it turned out to be a very homey place with home cooked meals served "turo-turo" style. May I just say that the Pancit Molo here was DA BOMB! The Bangus Tocino was equally yummy, and the atchara was divine.

Apres dinner, we went to this new and swanky dessert place called Calea. It was such a yummy experience - visually and gastronomically, that it deserves a separate post.

Food, glorious, food. It's a good reason to be back here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Early bird

It's 3:30 am and I'm at the airport already.

I don't remember when I last took a flight this early.


Monday, August 15, 2011

You Glow Girl

When we were kids, my brothers and I would watch WWF a lot. And after we've had our fill of Hulk Hogan, Koko B-ware and Andre the Giant, we'd have a ridiculous distraction right after. It was also related to wrestling, but it was way, way, WAY crazier!

It was the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling!

With names like Matilda the Hun, Ninotchka, Americana, Mount Fiji, Ashley and Sally the farmer's daughter, you can be sure that the show is high in camp. And it definitely was.

I think I'm going to relive all the campy wrestling action through youtube.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

More words of wisdom from Fr. Dave

After 3 weeks, I was able to catch Fr. Dave's mass again. He hasn't been attending his usual masses the past weeks, and I was ready not to see him today when I went to Edsa Shrine. But surprise, surprise, he was the officiating priest today.

And true to form, the had an inspired sermon. I like what he said in his homily today:

When you lose your money, you lose nothing.
When you lose your health, you lose something.
When you lose your character, you lose everything.

Well said, Fr. Dave.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

White out

I've been watching the two "Snow White" reboots with much interest. Aside from the interesting twists in the story (Snow White and The Huntsman plots revenge), they also have top notch casts.

My personal favorite would be "Snow White and the Huntsman," primarily because of Julia Roberts. She's playing the Evil Queen, and I'm interested to know who she'll play a really evil character considering she's been a goody two shoes most of her life.

The actresses playing "Snow White" are interesting as well. In one version, it's Kristen Stewart. And in Julia Roberts' version, Snow White will be played by Lily Collins. And after seeing her production still, I think she'll nail this one.

Let's hope they come out with both versions here in Manila.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Meatloaf with cheese

There are two songs in the running as "longest song ever." They're by 2 very different artists, and 2 very different genres. But there's one thing that's common about them. Both songs are just overflowing with cheese.

These songs are Meatloaf's "I will do anything for love", and Celine Dion's "It's all coming back to me now." It's a Friday, so I decided to watch both videos again. And again. And again.

After digesting all that cheese, my verdict is that the longest (and cheesiest) song ever is from Meatloaf!

Well, Meatloaf does go better with cheese.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Thanks to Shirley's organizing abilities, I found my old Clarks shoes! I had 2 pairs when I was living back in HKG - a black and beige one. It got lost in the unpacking of boxes, but this weekend, the shoes were finally found.

I can't wait to resurrect and wear these comfy pairs again.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Feliz cumpleanos prima y primo

Every August 8, two of my cousins celebrate their birthday. There's Cristy in Barcelona, and Harold from Bicol.

Happy birthday, cousins!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

In case you missed the concert...

They're showing the Aphrodite concert of Kylie in theaters. In 3D. In Hong Kong!

I hope they bring this to Manila as well.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Jets on a jet

I like the new Cathay Pacific planes because of their entertainment console which is AWESOME! They have an extensive music library which has a section devoted to 80s songs. And since it's a Friday, I naturally tuned it to it.

And because of that, I was treated to a Friday with The Jets!

Sorry, Aaron Carter, your version ain't no match for the original.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

May I see part deux

Finally, after trawling cyberspace for a few weeks, they've finally come up with a photo of a piece from the Karl Lagerfeld for Macy's collection.

Looks very promising. Not because of the design, but because of the price point.

I can see the lines forming outside Macy's as early as now.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Limited exposure

My friends and I have observed that during the past few years, Kamiseta has been a bit "meh." It's either the clothes are too bland or they're too expensive. That said, we often just check it out during the sale season.

But there was one piece of clothing that went against that observation. It was a nice little number from Kamiseta's Limited line.

The Limited line has its own bag and logo. When you're in the store, it's easy to spot their designs because the hanger is wrapped in this thick, burlap like fabric with silver embroidery. And if you buy an item, (like I did), you get a special bag, and the inside part is wrapped in Japanese paper with a silver sticker.

And what's inside the bag? It's this chic and sassy little number.

The first thing that caught my eye was the fabric. It was a silk jersey confection with a jewel toned floral print. It pops out from afar, but it isn't too overwhelming when you look at it up close.

The neckline is asymmetrical and draped, and there's a black, ponte lace that goes around one of the straps.

And it runs all the way to the back, to reveal a sexy twist to the seemingly sweet front part of the dress.

The workmanship and fabric both say Limited, but the price is so cheap, you'd think it's mass produced. But the sales clerk said that it's not, and they only have 4 pieces in the store.

If Kamiseta does more clothes like this, my visits to them won't be limited anymore.