Saturday, December 31, 2016

The 2016 Year-in-review: Two weddings and a homecoming

To say that 2016 was an eventful year would be an understatement. All over the world, events happened that changed the way we live, think, and feel.

"Change" must have been the most used phrase this year, and change resonated from as near as the Philippines to as far as the U.S.

Personally, there were also a lot of notable events this 2016. Every month, there was something interesting, and it was almost hard to keep track of everything.

But if I were to summarize the best of the year that was, it's encapsulated in the phrase: "Two weddings and a homecoming."

WEDDING # 1: The Golden Couple

This year, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and we celebrated it in the usual fun, happy and crazy Morales style.

It was a beautiful celebration to recognize a beautiful couple who continue to be an inspiration to all of us - Mom and Dad.

WEDDING # 2: The Next Generation

You know you're getting old when one of your nephews gets married. And last July, I became officially old!

My eldest nephew - Jul - married his long-time sweetheart - Jen - in a beautiful and intimate ceremony in Dallas, Georgia. It was the first wedding of his generation, so we came in full force.

And yes, we all were teary eyed during the wedding.


After 5 years, Mark finally came home with his doctorate in tow. Having been in Japan for those 5 years, I've seen how hard he worked, the sacrifices he's made and the time he's put in. And after all that, he finally graduated and is now a doctor! Woot!

While having merienda at Jollibee this afternoon, he told me that this is actually the first new year that we'll celebrate without the thought of him leaving the next day. It's a truism that I'm so glad to hear.

These 3 highlights of the year 2016 are just the beginning. I'm sure they'll result in much more exciting prospects ahead in 2017.

Can't wait for the new year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Sketchy Stories + FMM: Solihiya So Chic!

In the spirit of crossovers which the DC shows have done so seamlessly, today is a crossover post. It's a sketch post with a tinge of Friday Magic Madness.

Last October, I wrote about this beautiful solihiya looking fabric that I bought from one of my fabric haunts.

One of the things mentioned in that post was that the design of the dress has to be simple and classic since the fabric is already ornate and detail-rich.

Eventually, I got around to sketching something for the fabric, and here's the chicken scratch.

Very classic. That's the best way to describe it. A bateau neckline, sleeveless, tea-length hem with a bit of hi-lo action. Done correctly, and if the dressmaker handles the fabric well, the final product is sure to be a knock-out.

And it was!

This is going to look so chic on Ate Bullet.

And speaking of chic, here's the part where Friday Magic Madness comes in.

Presenting, Chic's classic ditty from the 70s: Le Freak!

See, crossovers are fun!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas re-Leaf

Now that Christmas day is over (but the Christmas season isn't finished just yet,) I finally have time to write about this year's Christmas wrapping theme.

My friends know this about me. Sometimes, it takes me longer to think of the wrapping theme than thinking of a gift. Usually, the inspiration comes from random, everyday things. It can be about travel, a book I read, a dress from a rack, or a fabric swatch picked up from the floor.

For this year, the inspiration for the theme came from this dress which I wrote about last October.

This Dolce & Gabbana dress - which incidentally my sister has - became the springboard for the theme. Because a few weeks after seeing this dress, I saw this wrapper:

Isn't the similarity uncanny? This wrapper was so gorgeous that I had to use it! Problem was, most of the stores didn't have enough quantity for my requirements. The store with the most quantity was in Cebu! And I was actually willing to go there and pick it up. Thankfully, they found a way to send it here.

Now the best part of this wrapper is that it has 2 sides, so in some of the gifts, I was able to utilize both designs by adding a fold to reveal side B.

Since the predominant color palette is black and white, the ribbons echo these 2 colors. The combination of black and white ribbons give the overall look a more modern feel.

Finally, the finishing touches. I designed a botanical print card to use as tag, then found this shiny leaf from a craft store.

And voila!

This year's theme: A Botanical Christmas!

It turned out as nice as I envisioned it to be. And that's a big relief!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Leia wreath for her

Stop it, 2016! You're taking too many awesome people!

Now, you're taking away Princess Leia from us? That's just so unfair! We're looking forward to her on Episodes 8 and 9 of Star Wars.

As a huge fan of Star Wars, this piece of news really, really saddens me.

But I take comfort in one of the posts I read about her passing.

"Our Princess is now an angel."

You will be missed Carrie Fisher!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Not according to Flan

Some sights just make your day.

Just like this sight from the nearby 7-11!

Really? You can't distinguish between "flan" and "plan."

Proofreader, please!

Monday, December 26, 2016

You gotta have faith

It's true that 2016 has been harsh to musicians.

A few days shy of 2017, and another great musical artist is joining the concert up there.

George Michael, first of Wham, then as a solo artist, passed away on Christmas day. And he leaves a legacy of memorable and chart-topping songs from every decade since the 80s. I'm sure everyone can sing a George Michael song from each of those decades. That's how influential a singer he was.

Now, to the question why are all these singers leaving us? Well, I'll just take a page off the George Michael songbook and say that we just got to have faith.

Rest in peace, George Michael.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Clan!

Christmas is about family, and we're fortunate to have around 90% of the Morales' here at home, celebrating the holidays.

From the Morales clan to yours: Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Twinning weekend

What better way to spend Christmas eve than wear a bright shade of red.

Both Ate Lissa and Ate Bullet had that in mind, so they wore their matchy-matchy red dresses for our holiday reunion dinner. It was fashionable twinning at its finest.

This photo is just two-chic for words!

Friday, December 23, 2016

FMM: Yazzzzz!

Fun fact: way before "Yassss!" became an expression du jour, it was the name of a popular 80s singer.

Hard to believe? Well then, behold Yazz and her famous song from the 80s! Just in time for Friday Magic Madness.

I don't know about you, but this song just makes me want to raise my hands, dance and shout: "Yasssss!"

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A harvest of citrus

Even if it was launched a few years ago, the trend of fruit prints on clothes doesn't seem like it's withering away anytime soon.

Need proof? Just check out these beauties I found during my different mall runs. And it includes the D&G dress I wrote about a few days back.

From just one pick, it became a full harvest of chicness!

I'm sure the Ates would agree.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Maternal instinct

Aside from being a sister, Ate Lissa is also everyone's de facto Mother.

It's no surprise because she's naturally maternal - protective, caring, nurturing and loving.

And she's not just maternal to her 4 boys, she's like that to almost everyone she knows. That's why it's no wonder how she has a lot of "adopted" children. These children range from her friends, children of her friends, and a host of other people in between.

It's no wonder that her facebook page was flooded with birthday greetings today. So many people wanted to greet their Mother a happy birthday.

Let me add to that list.

Happy Birthday Ate! Here's to more years of happiness, health and blessings, so you can be a mother to more people.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Bet you haven't heard of that term in a while.

A long, long, long, long while.

But back in the day when Friendster was the hottest thing on-line and everyone was begging everyone else to give them a "testi," a friendship was born. It was a friendship of kindred creative spirits in an advertising agency in Wynsum Corporate Plaza in Ortigas.

A friendship that was cemented with potluck dinners at Bennet's place and Christmas get-togethers in random restaurants. A friendship that has seen weddings, birthdays, and even not-so-happy events like saying goodbye to wonderful folks like Harvey and Siki.

A friendship that has stood the test of time. And even if "Friendster" is no longer around, we continue to be the "Super Friendsters."

Merry Christmas, Super Friendsters!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Let's get personal

There was a time when there was a "personal ads" section in most broadsheets and tabloids.

In this section, you could read about people who are looking for other people. They can be looking for a date, a person to converse with, a long-term relationship, "the one", or simply, "a mate." It used to be very popular, covering about a page or 2 of the paper.

But when the internet came, that all disappeared.

So, it was such a novelty to see an honest-to-goodness personal ad last Sunday.

A personal ad written for a dog, though.

I hope Marcel finds the dog of his dreams.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Here's to traditions!

What I enjoy about my current office is how everyone values tradition.

I'm a traditionalist, (read: old) and sticking to traditions give me a sense of regularity and comfort.

Today, we had one of those traditions. Our annual office toast to give thanks for the past year and to look forward to all the great things in the coming year.

Cheers to traditions!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Siblings are *insert heart emoticons here*

We're all older now and living our separate lives. Some here in the Philippines, some in the U.S.

We may not see each other that often, but when we get together, it feels like we're back to being kids in that big, old house in Morato.

That's the reason why it's always a joy to get together with my siblings. And whenever we do, I feel like the luckiest youngest brother in the world.

Friday, December 16, 2016

FMM: The Moffats show

For today's Friday Magic Madness, I thought of going a little bit more current, meaning the 90s.

This was the decade of grunge, minimalism, and boy groups with high pitched voices.

Of course, everyone knows "Hanson." But there was another group that was equally infectious.

Presenting, "The Moffats!"

Let's be honest, you sang this song once in your life, too.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Time to go Rogue!

It's the first day of Rogue One!!!


Gotta see this movie soon!

*faints again*

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Unbearable lightness of being


That's a relatively easy word to spell, right?

Apparently not.

Proofreader, please.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A glass on its own

Tonight's party with one of my favorite clients was fun in several ways.

First, it was fun because I got to hang out with my clients in a social setting. (With red wine to boot!) After getting used to seeing them in the boardroom and in shoots, it was such a refreshing change to see them at a party.

Second, everyone was game with the games. I haven't seen a group so passionate about a Tak-Tak-Ganern game.

Third, there was a glass bridge leading to the function room where the party was held.

Yes. Glass. Bridge.

Perspective. The function room was on the 42nd floor of the building. The way leading to the door of the function room was made of glass, and you can see 7 storeys down. Now, if you're afraid of heights, this will definitely freak you out. Like, super kaduper freak you out.

Thankfully, I'm not afraid of heights.

So, I was there running on the bridge, jumping up and down, and at one point, I was lying down on the glass structure.

What's even awesome was that I was able to convince my colleagues to all stand on the bridge to have a groufie!

Here's proof:

Yup, we're in a different glass altogether!

Monday, December 12, 2016


As a huge fan of Chinese films, I'm also a big fan of Chinese director, Zhang Yimou.

It's been a while since I've seen a film he directed,  so when I came across the trailer for his latest film "The Great Wall," I was psyched!

There are so, so, so, SO many great movies showing this January. I can't wait!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Daddy cool!

My sister said it perfectly.

Happy Birthday to the coolest husband, Dad and Lolo.

Happy Birthday Dad! Here's to more years of coolness!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Nine lives of the cat-walk

Just when you thought ANTM was sent home.

Apparently, it's making a comeback on VH1!

I wonder how this show will fare without Tyra's Tyra-isms.

Looks like I have to watch to find out.

Friday, December 09, 2016

FMM: You never forget your first...

Because of this project we're working on the whole week, I got re-acquainted with this super classic cheesy song from the 80s.

It's so cheesy, we loved listening to it again and again and again.

Presenting, Eugene Wilde and Joanna Gardner and the cheesy classic, "First Love Never Dies."

Hurray for projects that make you rediscover old songs!

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Off with his head!

Something peculiar I saw today while having lunch with Mark at Shangrila.

Looks like the restroom icon was related to Marie Antoinette.

(Just like this post is related to yesterday's post about Marie Antoinette.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Off with her head!

Since Ferdie came in as Marie Antoinette during our French-themed Christmas party, I thought of getting into the story and attempted to cut off her head.

Talk about taking our roles too seriously.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016


This year's office Christmas party theme is French.

Just like last year, we decided to dress up as a group. For the 2015 animated party, we came as Mars Ravelo characters. So, a week ago, we started discussing our costume for this year. Our parameters were simple: it had to be French, easy to execute, and comfy for everyone.

Our theme: Ratatouille!

Yup, we all came as chefs, with the rats from "Ratatouille" on our toques.

As usual, everyone had fun with the costume. Our only problem was, we had to dodge people who thought we really worked there as chefs! Harhar.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Guardian angles

My geek quotient just went up by 1000x!

I'm loving the new trailer for "Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2!" It shows all our old favorite characters in new story angles, particularly the growing love angle between Starlord and Gamora.

Can we fast forward to May 2017 now?

Sunday, December 04, 2016

When life throws D&G lemons...

They make a lemon print dress.

A very, very, very, very pretty lemon print dress.

And one that I see in my sisters' closets soon.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

From Republic Glass to Batangas

This is a friendship that was born at the 4th floor, Republic Glass Building, 196 Salcedo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati.

Or, Adformatix.

First, there was Fiesta, Shash and myself. We knew each other from college, and were thrilled when we found ourselves working in the same advertising agency.

Then, Xtine came along. She was the new writer in the Optima creative team. And the moment she came in, we hit it off immediately.

The friendship stayed and grew even after we all left Adformatix. Heck, it stayed and grew even if some of us left the country.

It's been 20 years since that day, and we're still together, crazier than ever. And we owe this reunion to Xtine's wedding to Eric in Batangas.

Congratulations Xtine and Eric! We're both ecstatic and honored to be part of this beautifully happy celebration!

(On a side note, I've had 2 weddings on 2 consecutive Saturdays, these 2 are destination weddings, and there are 2 Christines as brides. How awesome is that!)

Friday, December 02, 2016

FMM: Cinnamon girl

First things first.

Happy Birthday Mom! Here's to more happy and healthy years ahead!

Now, on to Friday Magic Madness.

And today's song is inspired by a dear, dear, dear friend who's going to get married tomorrow.

Christine - or X'tine - is one of my best friends in Advertising. But unlike the song where Christine is a strawberry girl, our Christine is more of a cinnamon kind of gal. My first memory of her was during her first day at work, she had a box of cinnamon candies which I could smell from a mile away. And because I love cinnamon, this spice scent kick started our friendship.

It's a friendship that now spans more than 20 years. That's more than 2 decades of meandering and foraging, trying out new culinary adventures, thrift store shopping, apartelle partying, beach bumming, and so many things in between. And we did all these both here in Manila and in California where she's currently based.

Can't wait to be part of her special day tomorrow!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Another day, another (four) commercials!

As another testament to how December is shaping up to be a busy-good month, we just finished an off-line presentation of 4 different commercials today!

Bring it on, December!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Boracay blunders

Seems like the lack of proofreaders is a nationwide thing.

Case in point: this sign I saw on the boat en route to Caticlan from Boracay Island.

Methinks spelling isn't their forte. (two.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Meet your Matcha

And the Pinoy passion for Matcha continues.

Yesterday, en route to the photo shoot, I dropped by 7-11 and saw this:

Matcha Milk Tea from Oishi!

True to it's name, it really is delicious. And it'll be part of my milk repertoire from this day forth.

Sugoi ne!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Birthday Bullet-in

Among my siblings, she's the one who I look alike the most. In fact, my colleague Karina once said - "She's your girl version, and you're her boy version." This is part true, though I hastened to add: "But she has better posture. And better hair. And definitely has a better sense of style, unlike me."

But more than our physical features, Ate and I are also alike in the way we approach and live life. She has a very strong sense of passion and compassion, she has kindness and firmness, she has luminosity and generosity, and of course, she has joie de vivre.

On one of my trips to SG, I was shopping for some sari fabric for Ate in Mustafa Center with Ka Wei. He asked me: "What makes you and your sister so close?" My reply was: "We're close because we're very much alike, both inside and out."

So, to my sister who's a lot like me, here's to another year of wisdom, passion, happiness and health.

Happy Birthday Ate Bullet!

Sunday, November 27, 2016


They say that life is peppered with happy accidents. Working at McDonald's was one of mine.

It was the summer of my sophomore year in college. I was thinking of taking summer classes or taking a summer job. Since none of my friends were taking classes that summer, I thought: "What the heck, I'll be a crew member at McDonald's Commonwealth."

Back then, working at McDonald's was a badge of honor. Being an all-American fast food chain, you had to speak impeccable English. In fact, the person who interviewed me was American. Which was - as one film once quoted - "surreal, but nice."

At first, I wasn't sure of my chances of getting hired. First, I was underage. They needed people who were 18 years and above. Thankfully, since it was summer, they hired people below 18, granting that they had a waiver signed by their parents. Now, I knew my parents wouldn't allow me to work so far from  home, so I did what any good kid would do:

I asked someone else to sign the waiver for me.

Then just like that, I was a crew at McDonald's 026 - a happy accident that resulted is so, so, so, SO many wonderful memories.

During most of my life at McDonald's, I was with the opening shift, or "The Openers." Now, in the McDonald's universe, the openers were usually geeky, wholesome, quirky and non-conventional. These archetypes were fine by me since I was geeky, wholesome, quirky and non-conventional to begin with.

I'd be at the store as early as 5am. Sometimes, my brother Biboy would drive me from Tomas Morato to Commonwealth - something he'd also do if I was a closer, or a member of the closing shift. Sometimes, my Mom would prepare breakfast before my shfit, and I remember one time when she got upset because she wasn't able to wake up early enough to make my breakfast.

The Openers made sure that the operations for the rest of the day ran like clockwork. That included opening and calibrating all the machines, stocking all the freezers, and making sure that there were enough stocks for the whole day. These were things I relished doing on a daily basis.

One of the best parts of being an opener was the friendships I made.

Through the opening shift, a group of crazy characters was born. Crazy characters who later became some of my best friends. This group included Helene, Teody, Chris, Ces, Nadine, Glenn, Dhymphle, Anj, Chinky, Joc and Tang. We'd all come in at 6:00 am and finish our shift at 12 nn or 1 pm. After our shift, we'd go out to watch a movie.

Movie watching came in two forms. First, we'd ride the jeep to SM North EDSA where we'd watch the latest geeky film. Our tradition was that every week, a pair would be assigned to pay for the movie and food. It was a tradition that was strictly followed, no matter how meager our pay for that week was. Second, we'd bring a VHS tape (!) and go to one of our friend's houses in Fairview to watch it. More often that not, it was Nadine's house. And I remember watching the animated version of "Beauty and the Beast" there for the first time.

Later on, we started leaving McDonald's, mainly because of school. But even if we weren't openers anymore, the group made sure to stay in contact and keep our friendship intact.

It's a friendship that's now 25 years old!

This was a realization I made this weekend during Chris' wedding. Over breakfast, Ces and I were talking about our McDonald's antics, and she exclaimed that those antics were from 25 years back!

And even if our friendship is that old, I feel we've remained the same young, geeky, wholesome,  quirky and non-conventional kids from 026. Although we weren't complete, we brought the other members of the gang in our hearts.

 (Ces, Glenn, Chris and myself. McDonald's 026 represent!)

Here's to 025 years of friendship among the 026 kids!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

From bridesmaid to beach bride!

The last time Chris and I saw each other, it was during Teody's wedding.

She was one of the bridesmaids, and I was the wedding organizer and (surprised) host.

That was probably 15 years ago.

Today, Chris and I saw each other again. On her wedding day.

Yup, the bridesmaid is now the beautiful, blooming, beach bride!

Congratulations Chris and Liam! Here's to a life of wedded bliss!

Friday, November 25, 2016

FMM: Island life

The last time I was in Boracay, it was 2013 with Mark, Patrick and Madel. It was in September, and it was such a fun and relaxed trip to the island.

Now, 3 years after, I'm heading back to Boracay to attend the wedding of a dear, dear friend.

This inspired today's Friday Magic Madness song, an island tune from one of my favorite musicals, "Once on this Island."

Among the many wonderful songs from this musical,  "Mama will Provide" is still my best bet.

Now, it's off to the island!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Yves dropping

It looks like Fashion Hall in SM Megamall is really living up to its name.

I dropped by their main atrium and saw this!

An Yves Saint Laurent photo exhibit!

Who would've thought? SM? Yves Saint Laurent? Together?

But it's true.

Fashion wonders never cease.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


And just like that, I'm craving for satay.

Blame it on the chicken satay that I shot last Friday. It was just so, so, SOOOO good!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bluer than blue (screen)

Staring at this scene for a few minutes, I had an epiphany.

I haven't worked with blue screen for the longest time.

Most of the directors and cinematographers tell me that green screen is easier to work with, that's why they prefer to shoot with that hue.

But our director today says he's more comfortable with blue screen.

Only in advertising is there much ado about screen colors.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Well, Hola there!

Mama Marna - Maricar's mother-in-law - is such a sweet lady.

She remembered that I can understand a bit of Spanish, so she sent me this:

It's a recent issue of Hola! And I've always equated this magazine with Spain. After all, my Tita has a lot of these in her house in Barcelona. Plus, my late Grandmother, Lola Dita, also read this magazine a lot.

The timing of this magazine is perfect. My cousins from Spain are arriving in a month's time, so I need to brush up on my Spanish.

Surprisingly, despite not having practiced for so many years, I still understand most of the headlines on the cover. Even more surprising, I read the first 2 articles from start to finish and understood them!

Let's see if it holds out until the inner pages.