Saturday, June 30, 2012

Looking Conscious

During yesterday's visit to Shibuya, we went to H and M to check out their items on sale. As Mark pointed out, this is the 4th H and M store I've visited in my 6 days in Tokyo. (Which reminds me, I have 1 more store to visit. Harhar.)

While Grace was showing me her loot, I spotted a long, neon green dress from the corner of my eye. After our conversation, I went to the rack and saw that the dress was part of this year's H and M Conscious Collection.

The dress photographs well, but it looks much more stunning in real life. The bodice has these small beads all over, and it reminded me of Cate Blanchett's Givenchy dress that she wore to this year's Oscars. The fabric was nice, and the construction was flawless. Best part is, the dress was on sale and it cost around 20% of its original price. 

Needless to say, I made a conscious decision to purchase the dress.

Friday, June 29, 2012

FMM: On location

Just spent the whole day with Mark, Grace, Rick and Patty going around Tokyo. And boy, did we cover a lot of ground!

We went to Asakusa, Ueno, Shibuya, and Roponggi. We started out at Shinjuku Station and ended up in a rowdy Izakaya in Roponggi.

Since I'm in Japan right now, and it's Friday, I think it's just proper to bring back some old songs about my current location:

Back in the 80s, everyone was "Turning Japanese."

That's when they all realized that they would be "Big in Japan."

Tomorrow, we'll be going around Odaiba for more Japanese adventures.

Sugoi ne!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Winning the Lotteria

One of my favorite fast food joints when I went to Seoul in 2010 was Lotteria. And it was a pleasant surprise to find a branch at the Miraikan when we went around the place a few days ago.

I tried the Ebi Burger which was great, and Mark had the Chicken Tandoori burger which he found a bit spicy.

It's a good thing that Lotteria is just a few minutes away from TIEC. That way, we can easily go there in case I get another craving for their winning menu.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chips ahoy!

The fact that I'm a Doritos fan is common knowledge. Heck, make that the fact that I'm a junk food fan.

Whenever I travel out of the country, I try to check if they have Doritos in unique flavors. Thankfully, Mark and I dropped by the Daiso at Diver City and found these two interesting Doritos variants:

The one on the left of the screen is Doritos Three-cheese, while the one on the right is Doritos with Anchovy and Garlic. The second one intrigues me a lot since I'm a big fan of anchovy and cheese pizza.

I wonder what other chips are waiting for me on those supermarket shelves.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thrilled in Tokyo

Yesterday afternoon, Mark and I walked around Odaiba and ended up at Diver City Mall in the neighborhood. We noticed there was a makeshift stage and a crowd gathering, and we found out that there was an event in a few minutes.

It wasn't just an ordinary event. This event was Bad!

It was a Michael Jackson Memorial Day concert in honor of the King of Pop's death anniversary.

Headlining the program was this Michael Jackson impersonator who did a really good impression of Michael. As Mark observed, he even looked like he had botox and had a whitening job done.

This guy was really good. It seems like he's been a long-time follower of Michael since he had all his lines and mannerisms memorized. But more than that, he had the moves right down pat.

 He even came with back-up dancers!

Here he is doing the "Smooth Criminal" number which the crowd went crazy over.

As the program progressed, the crowd just got bigger and bigger. We even noticed a group in front who dressed up like Michael Jackson. He's that popular here.

Here's his finale which the audience just loved. It was a medley of Michael's greatest hits.

And just like a real Michael Jackson concert, the audience asked for an encore, and he gladly obliged! 

Overall, it was great fun to spend the afternoon watching a pseudo-Michael Jackson concert. 

Heck, it wasn't just great fun. It was a Thriller!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Let's go...

It's been a few years since my last trip here, and it's time to revisit the land that was my pseudo-home a few years back.

Hello Tokyo. It's great to see you again.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Scratch That!

Since our school espouses environmental preservation, we're encouraged to reuse scratch paper for our school work. As such, I always print my lecture notes on recycled paper.

Today, out of the blue, I decided to read the essay that I printed my hand-outs on. And boy, I'm sure glad I did! What I read there made my Saturday complete. It was an essay on the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman.

Part of her essay said:

"I'm fortunate enough to be in a family that's full of women. Even my mother was a woman."

Heck, that scratch paper just made me scratch my head.

Friday, June 22, 2012

FMM: Hall about you

Fridays are usually hectic for me since I have to prepare for three - count 'em - three classes the next day. That's why I like to listen to music that's either relaxing or uppity and fun.

And this Friday, I'm getting those from one of my favorite duos - Hall and Oates!

My choice for the uppity and fun song: "Method of Modern Love."

(I wonder if it's true that they wrote this song for one another?)

And the relaxing song: "One on One."

Songs from Daryl Hall and John Oates help me recharge and get ready for the next day. Just like my other favorite duo who deserves a post of their own.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jenner-ation Gap

Upon opening my internet, the yahoo webpage greeted me with this very nice and very nostalgic photo.

Way back then when athletes weren't as commoditized and commercialized, and there were no supplements, steroids or performance enhancing drugs to speak of, athletes were looked at with admiration, respect and reverence.

When they perform, when they win medals, it's largely because of discipline, skill and determination. No human or scientific intervention whatsoever.

In the 80s, Bruce Jenner was one of the most famous athletes and olympians, along with Greg Louganis, Mark Spitz, Nadia Comaneci, Carl Lewis and Mary Lou Retton. What they all had in common is the fact that they not only excelled in their chosen sport, they also had matinee idol-quality looks. 

This was - of course - an Olympic medal winning combination.

It's hard to believe that Bruce Jenner - the Olympian - has morphed into an odd looking stepfather and character in "Keeping up with the Kardashians." Heck, when I saw that show and found out that a guy named "Bruce Jenner" was there, I had to research and make sure that they're the same person.

Unfortunately, they are the same person. 

There's such a big gap between the Bruce Jenner of the 80s and Jenner now. And you can call me old-fashioned, but I like the 80s version a lot, lot more.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Designer Expo

Going around Cubao Expo is always an interesting experience because of all the quirky shops within the compound. During our Father's Day lunch, Javier got a little restless and insisted on going outside and checking out the different thrift shops and looking at all the curios and collectibles.

When it was my turn to bring him around, we passed by this thrift shop that sold clothes. One of the pieces on display caught my eye. So, after lunch, I went back to the store to get a closer look at the dress. How close? So close, the dress went home with me.

The dress was an Alexander Wang confection in heather gray and black jersey fabric. True to his aesthetic, the dress had very clean lines, highlighted with draping, and some interesting details such as a fully exposed zipper at the side.

Truth is, one of the reasons why I gravitated towards the piece is because it reminded me of an Alexander Wang dress that Gywneth Paltrow wore to an event.

The dress I found in the thrift store is definitely a derivative of this one.

The next piece I found was this black, lightweight coat with elbow length sleeves. It had a lot of cute little design details that were a delight to look at.

First, it had printed, acrylic buttons in geometric shapes. It really popped out against the black. They look so cool!

But the biggest surprise was when I opened the coat and saw this:

The lining was 100% silk, and the pattern was so vibrant that it deserved a second and third look. 

Again, this vibrant pattern looked familiar, and upon closer scrutiny, I found out why:

It's a Pucci coat!

Whoa! Two designer finds in one cool thrift shop. This is enough to make me want to visit Cubao Expo more often.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Livin' la vida Loco

Here's another reason why I like dropping by Robinson's Galleria after hearing mass at EDSA Shrine.

Just in front of Robinson's Supermarket is this stall that sells the yummiest buko shakes! It's called Buko Loco and it's da bomb! The shakes are really, really smooth and creamy. None of those big chunks of ice that I get with the other buko shake stall that I frequent.

Another plus factor for Buko Loco is their fruit combinations. I really like their Buko + Mango froothies. What they do is they puree mango first, then make the buko shake, then they put them in one glass and shake it lightly so the 2 flavors marble slightly.

Then, they add the black jello for texture. And with all those things put together, the result is one yummy, refreshing and healthy drink. 

Their Buko Halo-halo drink is good, too. But it's a bit too heavy for my taste. With this hot weather we're having, Buko Loco's buko + mango froothies is one thing that keeps me from going insane.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Casual and Colorful

A laid-back lunch with Dad last Father's Day called for an attire that had the same vibe. And even if they didn't talk about it, the Morales ladies and girls were all decked in casual cool outfits.

Ate Bullet pairs a loose top with skinny marigold trousers. A black, slouchy bag completes her look.

Here's the perfect example of sisters in style. They're wearing the same style of top, but Ate Lissa pairs her teal colored blouse with blue boyfriend shorts. A slouchy, teal bag completes the look. Also, they're both wearing the Old Navy sandals that Kuya Marv got them from the U.S.

Yes, everyone must've been thinking of the same thing before heading off to lunch. Here are 3 generations of Morales women, all decked out in color. From Mom, Rose and Princess' tops, to Toni's bright and happy combination of neon yellow and pink.

Such colorful looks that are suited to a colorful occasion .

Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Carbon Copy"

Growing up, I heard those two words a lot. Especially whenever people would see me with my Dad.

It always perplexed me since I thought my Dad and I looked completely different from one another.

As a kid, I'd spend time looking at myself in the mirror trying to find similarities between Dad and me. But as much as I'd wince and squint my eyes, I'd always come up with the conclusion that we weren't similar in any way.

Despite this personal observation, it seemed like everyone else had a dissenting opinion. In school, during parties, whenever we had family reunions, whenever I attended Dad's office events in San Miguel Corporation - everyone would say the same thing.

"Ed, carbon copy mo talaga si Lester."

Fast forward to a few decades later. I found myself working at San Miguel Corporation, and working with the same people who Dad worked with. In my team, there were 3 people who used to report directly to Dad as well: Senen, Miniong and Willie. I felt weird working with folks who used to be my Dad's staff. But it must've felt more weird for the 3 of them.

In fact, it was so weird that my first week in the company was mostly spent hearing them say: "Tignan mo nga naman, dati, 'yung Daddy mo ang boss namin. Ngayon, ikaw naman." 

As I worked closely with them, another insight surfaced. Apparently, I didn't just look like my Dad, we also have the same demeanor.

"Ka-ugali mo din pala si Edgar," Senen once said.

Now that I found a bit off putting. Fine, we might look alike, and that's a function of genetics. Being alike in terms of personality and attitude, now that's a totally different thing.

My Dad and I are polar opposites when it comes to personality. He's stern and I'm smiley. He's quiet and I'm talkative. He's serious and I'm carefree. He likes leather shoes and I'm more the sneaker type of guy. 

Candace, my former colleague in HKG, captured this thought in a sentence. Once, she ran into Dad and me in Causeway Bay. After introducing her to Dad, she pulled me aside and said: "Your Dad looks like the serious, scary version of you."

So, how can two totally different people be carbon copies of each other?

As the adage goes, with age comes wisdom. And during the past few years - 3 of which spent living alone - I realized more and more what people meant when they say "carbon copy."

After growing a mustache, I realized that I do look like my Dad. We have the same face shape, the same bushy eyebrows, and at certain points in time, we even have the same hairstyle. There were times that I'd look in the mirror in the morning and feel like I was looking at Dad. Seriously.

More than just looking alike, Dad and I really do have a lot of similarities in our personalities. We have the same penchant for shopping, (so that's where I got that from,) the same temper, the same generosity, the same love for family and siblings, the same interest in travel, and a host of other things that made me realize how I became who I am, and how big of an influence Dad has been on me.

Even without me knowing it.

Growing up, I heard the words "carbon copy" a lot whenever they'd describe my Dad and me.

And now that I've finally grown up (not completely, but I'm getting there,) I realized that we really are.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! (And carbon copy.)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fat Albert

Whenever I was in the Benelux area, one of my favorite destinations was Albert Heijn. I'm a supermarket junkie, and this was THE supermarket to go to whenever you're in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemborg. 

I still remember how I'd enjoy going through each shelf to try and find something interesting and unique to buy. My favorites back then were the raisin bun and the Spa Blau. 

It's been years since I've been to Albert Heijn. But as the saying goes: "If Mohammed can't come to the mountain, let the mountain come to Mohammed." 

So, Albert Heijn comes to me. In the form of these two goodies!

First, there's the calorrific Stroopwafels! I swear, each piece of this must contain a gazillion calories! And of course, Belgian chocolates. Still the best in the world.

Thank goodness for pasalubongs from Albert Heijn. Even the ones designed to make you fat.

Friday, June 15, 2012

FMM: I Heart This Era

The cab driver of the cab I rode was playing a Madonna CD, so I was treated to a lot of her older songs. Particularly the ones from the "True Blue" album.

Yes, Madonna is the queen of reinvention and we've seen many incarnations of her. But for me, the younger Madonna - all pop and catchy - is the best version of her. It's this era that really captured my heart.

It's not that hard to love a song like this.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


After many months of speculation, H&M has finally revealed its next collaborator.

It's Maison Martin Margiela! Minimalism and tailoring galore!

I can imagine throngs of people already planning where to go and what to buy.

I'm not one of those people, though.

Well, not yet, at least.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

School shopping

Despite the fact that it has happened several times before, I still get surprised when I get personal emails from people who read my blog. People I don't know, at that. 

Somehow, I'm still under the impression that it's 2005 and blogs were personal journals that other folks didn't have access to or read. But as Mark always points out, this blog is in the public sphere, so anyone can read it, as long as they have access to the internet.

I received an email today with a funny question. My blog reader asked if ever I buy anything for myself. She observed that I've posted so many entries about shopping for my sisters and friends, but she hasn't read anything about me shopping for myself.

Looking back, I think I've posted a lot of my personal shopping escapades, especially during my first year in HKG. There were a lot of posts about jeans back then, and there's that episode when I was trying to decide whether I should buy the Zara leather jacket. (Which I did, and I'm glad I did.)

So, in answer to that question, yes, I do shop for myself. Not too often, though. I usually shop for my clothes in HKG, which means I only do personal shopping once every 3 months or so. Maybe that'll change once Uniqlo opens in Manila on Friday, though.

As proof, I actually bought stuff this week. School is opening, and I decided to get some more "school-friendly" clothes after the Dean's talk last Saturday on proper dressing. In addition to that, they renovated the Deans' offices and they now have glass doors. This means they'll be able to see us clearly from their offices. Yikes!

Presenting my school "uniform" for this coming year.

Although they discourage denim jeans on campus, they didn't say anything about non-denim jeans. This pair from Forever 21 is made of the softest denim and comes in taupe - making it look like khaki chinos more than jeans. What's great about it is how incredibly soft it is. It feels like I'm wearing jogging pants.

Here's another staple I bought more of: chambray shirts! It's rare to find chambray shirts in nice colors here in Manila, so when I saw these two, I knew I had to buy them. They're light, airy, and more importantly, Dean approved!

With these purchases, I'm all set for school. Heck, I'm uber excited to go back to school already. Not because I have new pants and shirts, (how elementary school!) but because I'm teaching a new subject this year.

See, I do buy stuff for myself.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dressed for excess part deux

A lot of fashion magazines say that if you have one highly detailed piece in your outfit, everything else should be more muted and minimalist to offset the extravagance of the detailed piece.

On the other hand some designers - including geniuses such as Karl Lagerfeld and Roberto Cavalli - say: The more, the merrier. That's why when you see their designs, it's so rich in details that it's almost bordering on excessive. 

Now, excessive details aren't reserved for the runway or special events. Everyday wear can still be rich in details and not look like a costume.

One such outfit is this shirt and skirt combo from Ate Lissa's closet. Both top and bottom have rich details: prints, ruffles, lace and texture. But the key to making it work for everyday is by keeping the colors muted. And in this case, it's a play of gray and black.

The top is from the old Freeway x Valera collaboration. It's a sublimation tee that has a print of beadwork from a Valera gown. This alone is an uber chic piece.

The bottom is a black lace skirt with ruffles along the hem and in the mid part of the skirt. The silhouette is full, which works with the snug fit of the shirt. This makes the two pieces complementary, despite their highly detailed nature.

This is one of those cases when excess equals success.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Charlize - not an angel

Just like Chris Hemsworth, one actor who looks like she's having a film fest this week is Charlize Theron. She has two movies showing in Manila simultaneously, and in both flicks, she's playing the main villain.

First, there's her turn as Queen Ravena in "Snow White and the Huntsman." I'm interested to see this movie because of her, but what keeps me away is the thought of Kristen Stewart's "I'm constipated" acting style.

Second, she plays Meredith Vickers in "Prometheus." Here, she plays a suit (in a very snazzy, futuristic suit) who manipulates the people in her intergalactic mission. I've only seen the trailer, but she looks wonderfully wicked and icy in the few scenes that I saw.

As much as I'm against typecasting, I must say that Charlize looks better as a villain. There's something beautifully, wickedly ethereal about her. Maybe it's her height, her features, or her icy demeanor, but she has "villain" written all over her. I just can't imagine her playing a damsel in distress or in a rom-com. (Although I think was in "Young Adult," which I still haven't watched.)

 In Charlize's case, it's really good to be bad.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Ever since I first heard the song on Disney Junior, I've always wondered about the title and who sang the catchy ditty that played in my head over and over again.

For weeks, I couldn't figure out what song it was. Despite many google and youtube searches, it still remained a mystery.

Until today, that is. They were playing it at the music store, so I had to ask the sales clerk about the artist, title and CD.

It turns out the song is by Martin Solveig and Dragonette.

And they just came to say "Hello."

Mystery solved!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Model Teacher

I've heard of teachers as models, but this is ridiculous.

Today, we had our faculty orientation for part-time professors and one of the items the administration discussed was the all-important subject of "the dress code."

Yes, there was a time when I was one of their favorite violators since I came to school in faded, tattered jeans and Chuck Taylors. I remember one of the deans telling me (in her colegiala accent): "I know it's bagay to you, but the other professors might imitate you and it's not bagay to them."

Now, as I've matured, I've become more compliant about it. I've lessened by use of Chuck Taylors and started shifting to Clarks. My faded jeans have now given way to dark rinse ones. ("Dark blue as the sky at night"is the official accepted color.) I've also started to wear khakis more often than usual. And my collarless Topman t-shirts have now been placed under chambray Oxford shirts.

Which simply means I've now transformed into the poster boy for "Preppy Geek."

Back to today's orientation, as the Dean was talking about the "acceptable way of dress," she said: "I know you want to wear jeans because it makes you feel cool and approachable to your students. But wearing faded, tattered jeans and rubber shoes isn't the only way to look cool."

The next part was the kicker:

She continued: "I'll give you an example. Lester, look at him. He's very cool, but he's not wearing tattered jeans and rubber shoes." (FYI: I was wearing khaki pants, brown Clark's and a plaid shirt.)

But does she stop there? No. She had to continue:

"Wait. Lester, why don't you come up here and show them how it's done. Show them what you're wearing. Model for us. You know, he has this beautiful pair of boots, but I don't think he's wearing it right now."

And even though I was reluctant about it, after seeing one of the male faculty members wearing jeans, a maong jacket and big, chunky gold jewelry, I knew it had to be done.

Hey, a teacher has to do what a teacher has to do.

Friday, June 08, 2012

FMM: Chime in

There's something relaxing and happy about the sound of chimes. During my childhood in our house in Morato, we'd have chimes in the main doors, and whenever I'd hear it ring, I'd immediately check out who arrived.

In my room, I also placed chimes on the door and one near the window. And usually, I'd wake up to the tingling of metal, which always put me in the right mood.

Maybe that's why I also like songs that have that have an element of chimes to it.

Right now, two songs come to mind, and they're two of my favorite songs from the 80s. I'm not really sure if they're considered as chime sounds, but the intro of these two songs have this light, organ sounds that do remind me of chimes.

First, this uppity song by Stephanie Mills:

Second, this song by Madonna which was done before she got all new age and odd:

Notice how the two songs start the same? That's the happy sound that makes me enjoy these songs even more.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Flare for fashion

Break out the Earth, Wind and Fire soundtrack because the 70s are back!

I've been looking at the new pairs of jeans coming out these days, and it looks like flared jeans are back with a vengeance. Not only that, the requisite flared jean companions are also making a resurgence. Just check out this combo I scored:

These Kamiseta pants were on sale at an uber cheap price. The wash is very light, and that's what makes it very 70s! I can imagine this pair being worn during the Woodstock era.

The top is a modern rendition of the peasant top. The sleeves are full and gathered at the wrist, and the top is a bit shirred. What makes it modern is the length of the sleeve and the buttons in front. This makes the combination look and feel current, and not a costume from an "Age of Aquarius" musical.

Here's another rendition of the 70s look turned modern:

The top is from the same family as the tribal print tops. But this one has a pattern that feels more 70s than tribal.

Paired with dark wash flares, and you've got something that's less Woodstock and more Studio 54.

It's amazing how a tweak or two can turn something from 4 decades ago feel new and updated.