Friday, March 30, 2012

FMM: Oh, Olivia!

Any and every 80s kid who's into music will be able to name an Olivia Newton-John song. During that decade, she catapulted into stardom from her native Australia to the world.

The blonde, beautiful girl with the sweet and strong voice charmed the world with her songs like "Physical," "I honestly love you," "Magic," "Suddenly," and of course, "Xanadu."

She also charmed the big screen with her portrayal of Sandy in "Grease," and again, her role as a muse in "Xanadu."

A few days ago, Kuya Ers and I were talking about Olivia Newton-John and how she's going to have a concert in Manila tomorrow. We were actually talking about watching the concert just for kicks. (Actually, we were talking about watching the concert just for Xanadu! Hahaha.) Unfortunately, we're going to have an out-of-town faculty meeting, so I can't.

Dang. It would've been great to see her sing all those signature songs. And I'm certain she'll sing every single one.

Gosh, I suddenly missed Olivia Newton-John. So, I "Suddenly" pulled this song out.

(Check out the fuchsia knee socks on her. Harhar.)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Color Story: Fuchsia and Black

Back in the 80s, when Punk was not dead and Pat Benatar ruled the airwaves, one of the most popular color combinations was fuchsia and black.

Black was considered the "punk" color, and the addition of another color gave it character, and kept it from being too hardcore. Another popular color that was mixed with black was red. I remember Ate Lissa had a red and black dress that she'd wear to dance parties. And she'd usually pair it with spiky hair and Wella Glitter Gel. Ah yes, those were the days. Harhar.

Now as they say in fashion, everything old is new. And this seemingly old color combination is back, as seen in a lot of the runway shows last F/W2011. Even in Manila, I've been seeing a lot of fuchsia and black combinations, mostly because of the color blocking fashion phenomenon. And if you think that this combination will bring you back to the 80s, here are 2 examples of how this color combination from the 80s is given a splash of freshness.

This mod and modern dress is from Celine. (The local brand, not Phoebe Philo's.) What's nice about this dress is the shape. It has a cocoon-like silhouette which gives it that 60s vibe. But the cut, especially the pockets, make it contemporary and very now.

I like how the black is very subtle, yet it's still an integral part of the design. It breaks the big fuchsia fabric at the right places. And the positioning of the black panels are flattering to the wearer because it adds to her shape.

The next one falls under the "classic with a twist" category. It's a fuchsia shift dress with a black patent belt.

From afar, it looks very normal. But if you look at the material closely, it's made of a ribbed knit fabric that gives it texture and keeps it from being too blah.

The patent belt has a ribbon buckle, which also gives this classic yet another twist.

It's so nice to see how a color story that works in the 80s can still work 3 decades after. Fashion really never goes old.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ferretti's Fast Fashion

One of the more common complaints about high fashion designers doing capsule collections is the fact that their main and diffusion lines don't look alike. Most of them look like regular clothes with a designer's name slapped onto them.

Of course, there are cases such as the H&M collaborations with Lanvin and Versace where they actually got designs from their archives and mass produced these items.

In a recent press release for the Alberta Ferretti for Macy's collection, Ferretti said that her capsule collection is inspired by and based on her couture collection. And while this might sound like the usual release, I think her claim is actually true.

Here's an item from her current S/S2012 collection. A long, one shoulder gown in a pastel color.

And here's an item from her Macy's Collection.

In terms of the look and feel, they're very similar. The only difference are the little details like the ornamentation and embellishments. But overall, I think Ferretti was right in saying that her main and capsule lines come from the same aesthetic.

Now I'm interested to see what other designs she has for Macy's.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cool Summer

Today is the official last day of classes for the Juniors. Since the summer heat was upon us, and everyone was also breaking into sweat because of their thesis panel defense, I thought of preparing something cool for my Advertising minors.

An ice cream party!

It was fun making ice cream concoctions for everyone. And I think I was very convincing as a "Mamang Sorbetero" since they asked me if I did this before. Apparently, I was "very professional." Harhar.

Another alternative career awaits.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Trucco-ling it quits?

When I passed through Greenbelt 5 this afternoon, I noticed that Trucco has been boarded up and it will soon be replaced by Miss Selfridges. Does this mean that this nice, Spanish brand will go the way of Wallis and fold up in Manila forever? Oh, say it isn't so!

I wonder if the Power Plant mall branch is still open. I'm just hoping the brand doesn't completely quit on the Philippines.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The power of three

Last night, after watching Hunger Games with Ia and Chrissie, we naturally talked about the film from the points of view of a person who read the book (Ia) and people who didn't. (Chrissie and myself.) Like most book-to-film adaptations, the book readers prefer the book and found the movie wanting. But for those unfamiliar with "Hunger Games, the book," we liked the film because it had the right combination of action and cheese.

And speaking of cheese, after watching this film, I observed a pattern among the successful book-to-film series. After having seen a gamut of these, (Twilight, Harry Potter, Cirque Du Freak, Percy Jackson, Chronicles of Narnia, etc.) I noticed one factor that was common among the ultra successful franchise films.

They all had love triangles built into the story.

"The Hunger Games" had Katniss, Peeta and Gale. A love triangle that translated well on screen since the audience often reacted to the cheese that ensued whenever Katniss and Peeta would share a scene together.

Needless to say, "The Twilight Saga" was built on the love triangle of Bella, Jacob and Edward. Let's face it, despite all the fangs and fur that goes around that film, the reason why people lined up for the first 4 films is to see ever-constipated Edward, ever-brooding Jacob and ever-sulking Bella fall head over heels for each other.

And yes, the one that started them all. In the first few films of "The Harry Potter series," there was a cute love triangle between Harry, Hermione and Ron. Of course, it was just puppy love when it started, and it faded away by the time the 3rd movie came around. But there was this scene in part 1 of "Deathly Hallows" where Ron's jealousy over Harry and Hermione's closeness was shown. Proof that there is still some tension between the 3 characters even after 10 years.

Even the earlier movie series like Star Wars had that angle in Luke, Leia and Han Solo. But of course, we later found out that Luke and Leia were twins. If they continued down this path, it would've been incest.

The series with none of this wasn't exactly successful: The Chronicles of Narnia, Cirque Du Freak, Percy Jackson - they did modestly in the box office, but the clamor for them isn't as high as the three abovementioned films.

Then, of course, there are notable exceptions like "The Lord of the Rings trilogy." But that's a league of its own.

I wonder what the next successful book-to-film franchise will be. I'm curious to see whether there's a triangle forming there as well.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

To celebrate Toni Maroni's graduation, we ate at this restaurant in Katipunan called Bahay Ligaya. It's a quaint restaurant that serves very good Filipino food. But what makes the place even more interesting is the antique store beside it. Aptly called "Luma't Bago," it was a trove of curios and antiques, ranging from hand operated sewing machines, to beautiful narra furniture.

Outside, there was a wall which had different types of antique mirrors. It was such a photogenic spot, that I had to take photos.

A photo with Ate and Javier checking out the mirrors while I'm inside one of them.

Then, there are a couple of shots with Javier playing around with the mirrors.

It really was a wonderful spot to take photos.

These snaps are perfect testaments to that.

Friday, March 23, 2012


My grandparents were very religious. Here in Manila, I remember how Lola Dita would go to church almost everyday, wearing her brown dress, brown veil and her large scapular. In Bicol, Lolo and Lola's house was just across the church, so it was very easy for them to hear mass.

Whenever I'd accompany them, I'd always wonder what it would be like to be an altar boy. I thought it was so cool that they're that close to the altar and are involved in all aspects of the mass.

That's why when I entered Elementary school, I volunteered to be an acolyte for masses. I still remember my first mass and my assignment was to ring the bell during the consecration of the host and wine. After the priest said: "Take this all of you and eat it, this is my body which will be given up for you..." I rang the bell.

And rang it.

And rang it.

And rang it some more.

And I kept on ringing it until I saw the priest look at me with a "Yes, young boy, you can stop ringing the bell. Now!"

Despite that bell-happy incident, my duties as an acolyte continued until I was 4th year high school. My "tour of duty" was so long, I practically knew everything like clockwork.

Since I went to a State University for college, there were no more weekly masses that we needed to attend. That's when my altar server duties stopped.

But today, almost 20 years since I last took on those duties, I found myself being an acolyte again.

To no less than Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle!

It was the student's Baccalaureate Mass this morning, and one of the former acolytes was now Dean. Ergo, he couldn't serve during the mass. Because of my altar serving credentials, I was asked to take his place.

And I'm so glad I did. Carrying the cross to lead the procession, assisting the Archbishop, assisting in the preparation of gifts -- all these activities brought me back to my childhood days when I'd relish the days whenever they had mass in school because it meant I'd serve again. It was such a great joy to serve again.

Apparently, my history in this type of thing is quite evident. After the mass, the Bishop's assistant and I had this conversation:

BISHOP'S ASSISTANT: Excuse me, Sir, were you an acolyte before?
ME: Yes I was. Well, in elementary and high school.
BISHOP'S ASSISTANT: I can see that. You move like an acolyte. And you carry the cross with such dignity and pride.

Imagine, almost 2 decades and I still have it.

Some things you really never forget.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Satisfy my hunger

I never got into the "Hunger Games" trend. All I remember that there was a time that everyone was talking about it. Even Tintin was raving about the book at one point a few years ago. They even had huge billboards of the book, courtesy of National Bookstore. But even those didn't get me any curious about the series.

Now, there's a Hunger Games movie, and according to websites, it's one of the most anticipated movies of 2012. They're saying that this will be the new "Twilight." (And a few years ago, they said that "Twilight" would be the new "Harry Potter," and so on and so forth.) They're even saying that Jennifer Lawrence will be the next Kristen Stewart. Which makes me wonder, what's with all this "the next..." biz.

Just out of curiosity, I asked my niece about the Hunger Games trilogy, and she was able to summarize the 3 books in less than 30 minutes. Yes, the main plot is that simple.

From the sound of it, it's action, sci-fi and violence (with a tad bit of puppy love) all thrown into one. And these elements do make an interesting film.

Well, I'm going to find out how interesting it is. I'm going to join the throngs of tweens who'll watch the movie this weekend, just to satisfy my curiosity about the film.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wrap Star

Last Saturday, D' Frendz's resident fashion star (and Ms. size 0) Lezyl celebrated her birthday. First, we had dinner at Bistro Miyake and had a Japanese feast. It was my first time to eat there, and their food is good. Apres dinner, it was off to Cara Mia for the usual gelato and cake.

Being a fashion plate, I had to make sure that I wrapped my gift in a way that's befitting a fashionista. So, I scoured the racks of gift wrappers and notions, and managed to come up with this fashion forward take on gift wrapping.

My base was this red and black tie dyed wrapper that I got at National Book store. It's so chic and it actually looks like fabric. Which is the reason why I got it.

Then, I bought two types of ribbon - a thick satin ribbon in black, and a thinner organza ribbon in red. Then, I tied the two together to form an obi-belt type of pattern on the gift.

Judging by Lezyl's comment - which was echoed by the other Frendz - she liked the wrapping a lot. So much, in fact, that she said that she doesn't want to open the gift.

I told her that she should, because what's inside is as fashionable as the wrapper outside.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Look like a million for less than a thousand

A few years ago, my friend Alfie asked me if I could help her find an outfit that was more in line with her ADB surroundings. She needed something that was more classy corporate without looking too stuffy. More importantly, she needed something that would cost P1,000 or less.

"No problem," I said.

Being an avid comparison shopper, and having the patience to pore through bazaars and shopping haunts, I know for a fact that you can put together a full outfit for less than a thousand bucks. And the great thing is, this P1,000 outfit looks way, way more expensive than that. It's all a matter of finding the right material and design - one that looks classy and classic. Then look for interesting colors and prints, and you've got that million dollar look.

My visit to Robinson's Galleria and Landmark last Sunday proves this point. Both places were on sale, so it was a perfect place to hunt for that P1,000 or less outfit.

And here's what I was able to come up with. A classic, casual outfit with some quirky twists.

The carrot pants with accompanying belt was from Penshoppe. It was on sale at P349.00. The cut and color are both on-trend and versatile, so it was well worth the price. The top was from Landmark, and it's a sheer shirt with a button front, and the color combination is khaki and black, which matches the pants perfectly.

If you look closely, the shirt has a cute cat print. And this little number is just P229.75.

To complete the look, take these versatile black ballerina flats that are in patent and adorned with a gold ribbon. It's the classic shoe made more visually interesting. A steal at P379.75.

So, all in all, this outfit will just set you back P958.50. And if you have a budget of P1,000, you still have P41.50 left. That's enough to get you a Jollibee 39ers, or a medium Zagu.

But wait, that's not all! (That's the home TV shopping in me talking.) If you want something more colorful and screams summer, then the malls also have something for you. For less than a thousand, of course.

Presenting the refreshing summer pair at a refreshing summer price.

This top is an export overrun, and according to the tag, it's from Gap. It's a cotton jersey shirt with a lace detail on top, and the body itself has a pinkish-orange watercolor stripe. When I asked how much it was, I had to ask her again because I wasn't sure if I heard the price right. It was P165.00!

In keeping with the summer theme, this top is best paired with these coral colored trousers from Folded and Hung. They were on-sale at Galleria, and the awesome thing was, their sale items had an additional 30% off. Because of that, this pair of pants cost only P210.00. Yes Virginia, THESE PANTS ARE JUST P210.00!!!

That means this ensemble is just P375.00 in total. You can buy two of these and still have money left over for a meal at Yellow Cab Pizza!

Looking for deals and looking expensive isn't that hard to do in Manila. All you need to do is search, and you'll find hundreds of options. And it'll only cost you a few hundred bucks.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Force Majeure

Last Monday, we had our Seniors Send-off, and, once again, Chally and I went in character. It was the last big event for the 4th year students, so we decided that it was a major event that needed major props.

Since this year's theme was "Star Grads," we came as opposite sides of the force. I was Luke Skywalker, while he was Darth Vader.

Yes, the force was with us that day.

And no, he isn't my father.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mas Que Empanada

There's another reason why I find myself at Robinson's Galleria at least once a week. And no, it's not shopping related.

At the food court, there's this wonderful little stall that sells some heavenly fare. (It's bagnet, so if you have to take it easy or else the cholesterol just might send you on a one way trip to heaven. Harhar.)

It's a place called Bagnet Boy, and needless to say, their specialty is bagnet. But I don't eat bagnet, or pork for that matter, so what do I order there?

I go there for these big, orange masterpieces. The Ilocos Empanada. These wonderful snacks that's more than the usual empanada that you buy at Empanada Royale, Yumpanada and Red Ribbon. Compared to this, other empanadas are grossly inferior.

I've been a fan of Ilocos Empanada from the first time I tasted it in Vigan. Since then, I've always been on the look out for good Ilocos Empanada in Manila. The closest to these were: the one they sold in Tiendesitas (but you'll have to wait 20 minutes before you get your order), the Ilocos Empanada stall in Katipunan (okay, but not stellar), and the one in Banchetto. (The first time I tried it, the empanada was a bit soggy.)

So, I wasn't keeping my hopes up when I tried this one. That's why when I took a bite, I was in Empanada paradise! The grated green papaya, monggo and egg were blended so well and was so flavorful. The crust was wonderfully crunchy and you can eat it on its own - just dip it in the Sukang Iloko mixture. I kid you not. This is so good.

My only comment on the empanada is it tends to get a bit oily. The thing is, they re-fry it once you order, so when it gets to you, it's all glistening with oil. I just dab it with napkins to absorb the excess oil.

But other than that, this is the closest to real Ilocos Empanada in Manila. So, if you're craving for more than the usual empanada, here's the sign to look for.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Doo ri is in the details

And Doo ri has landed!

Muchas gracias to Biboy who looked for them in the U.S., and Mom who brought them with her today, the two Doo ri for Macy's dresses that I had my eye on are finally here.

Design-wise, the dresses are gorg. But as the reviews from Macy's website read, there were still bits and pieces that could've been improved.

One thing I like about these dresses are the details that Doo ri Chung put into them. They were thoughtful details that came as a surprise, especially since they weren't on the photos on the website.

Let's start with the black painterly dress. It has a nice shape, the crinkled fabric is a nice touch, and the print is very pretty.

Yup, it's Doo ri, baby!

The dress came with a magnetic belt with Doo ri's signature on the buckle. Nice touch!

And while it's smashing up front, the view of the dress from the back reveals another cute detail.

The zipper is exposed and there's a red ribbon lining it all throughout. It really pops out against the black.

The only minus factor about this dress is that it isn't lined. But other than that, it's a great buy.

Moving on to the red painterly dress, while the print might be similar to the black dress, the material is different. This one is a softer cotton, which makes it ideal for summer.

And to keep the overall lightness and breeze of the dress, the top detail is actually made from cotton jersey, which looks very comfortable. It's like wearing a shirt - a chic one at that.

Plus, this red fabric goes all the way to the back, providing a nice contrast to the strong print of the dress.

And that plus is also the room for improvement. The jersey fabric could've been a bit more substantial.

But overall, these dresses were a great buy, considering the designer and the price point. I'm glad that Biboy was able to find time to get them.

Next stop: Alberta Ferretti for Impulse!

Friday, March 16, 2012

FMM: Turn it up!

Oh well, you can't win 'em all. Jessica's rendition of "Turn the Beat around" didn't really resonate well with the judges. But I'm sure she'll be staying on the Idol stage for a long time.

Yes, she has a nice voice, but a song like this needs more than a nice voice. She needs to sing it with soul, just like Vicky Sue Robinson did when she sang the original.

She also lacked the energy and sass of the 90s version sung by Gloria Estefan.

Looking at these 2 versions, it's easy to see what the judges were looking for.

Jessica needs to turn it up some more next week.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

But won't she get dizzy?

On today's episode of American Idol, it seems like Jessica Sanchez didn't impress the judges as much as she did last week. Apparently, she made the wrong song choice, and the judges called her out on that.

There was an article on-line about the judges reactions, and there was one paragraph in the article that caught my eye. This was what Randy Jackson apparently told Jessica:

Looks like sound advice. But upon looking at it more closely, you'll see that the way the on-line writer misspelled one of the words in the story.

Yes, it's normal to "steer" people to the right direction. But to "stir" them? That can be very dizzying advice.

Ah yes. Where's a proofreader when you need one?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yes, doo come over

So it's true. These painterly dresses from Doo ri's capsule collection are coming over to Manila!

I can't wait to see how they look like in person.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

There must be a concert up there...

I just read that two musicians just passed away within one day. And they're musicians who have helped define their respective genres in the Philippines.

First, there's Karl Roy, who was the lead singer of P.O.T. I remember listening to his songs in UP when I was in college. Because of his stance and attitude, he looked like a young Pepe Smith. His song, "Yugyugan na," is still very much heard on the airwaves until now. (Even if it was first played almost 20 years ago.)

Then, there's Bodjie Dasig, who's THE Bodjie in "Bodjie's Law of Gravity." His music was more mellow, relaxed and romantic. His voice was very "feel good," and is reminiscent of 90s OPM. One of his biggest hits was "Sana Dalawa ang Puso ko," but I still prefer his rendition of "Ale."

They may have moved on, but their music will stay with us. So, thank you for the music. *cue ABBA here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Long, long ago, in a college not so far away...

As a professor who grew up on Star Wars, I always see my students as Padawan learners. The moment I meet them, I see a powerful Jedi that needs to be trained to harness the force within them. That after the graduate, they'll excel in whatever field they choose, and that they will, indeed, bring balance to the force.

Today, we sent off the 78 Padawan learners of Batch 2011-2012. Once again, it was time for the Supreme Jedi Council to convene and give our final words of wisdom to our graduates-to-be.

And since I was head of the event, I naturally chose to carry this Star Wars theme for the send off.

Congratulations, our young Jedi. You'll definitely make the council very proud.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Formalities aside...

Here's a first in my many years of teaching at SSC.

I'm wearing something formal!

Yes, that's me. Although some students actually didn't recognize me. Seriously. That's what a change in outfit can do.

The reason why were were in our Filipiniana attire was because of the Hildegarde Awards that we held yesterday. It's the school's annual recognition of women in media. One of our awardees, Gilda Cordero-Fernando, came in a Salvador Bernal terno. Ergo, we had to look as spiffy as she did.

There were a lot of amusing reactions to my first formal outing.

One student said: "Sir, bagay kayong naka-barong. Para kayong si Ken. Kulang na lang, Barbie na naka-saya."
Another one said: "Congressman! I mean, sir!"
Finally, the dean: "Wait, wait. I have to have my picture taken with you. This doesn't happen very often."

Amazing what a little formality can do.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vital Vita

One of my students asked me how come I'm so up and energetic for my 7:30am class.

My answer was simple: Chocolate milk. Harhar.

Even as a kid, I loved to drink chocolate milk in the morning. From Choco-Vim, to milk with Hershey's brown cow, to Magnolia Chocolait. It's what peps me up and is vital in getting me going the entire day.

And the past week or so, I discovered another chocolate milk to add to my routine. Vitamilk Choco Shake!

I tried it out because I was curious to know if it's the same Vita that I used to drink in HKG. And I think it is. The good thing about this milk is the fact that it's soya milk, so it's healthier. The chocolate is rich but not too creamy, and it comes with the requisite chocolate residue at the base of the bottle and you have to shake it to mix it.

Nope, it won't replace my all time favorite - Magnolia Chocolait - but this is a worthy addition to my chocolate milk repertoire.

(The faculty room at 7:00 am on a Saturday. I'm usually the only person there.)