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.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Their goodies bring all the boys to The Yard...

It's been a long time plan of D' Frendz to check out The Yard in Xavierville.

When Bonique read about this food park and the different goodies they serve, she was naturally curious and wanted to check the place out.

Initially, we wanted to go there on a Friday night for a few drinks, but adulthood prevented us from doing that a couple of times.

Today, we thought we'd give the place a shot. And we did!

I must say, The Yard is extremely popular. It opens at 4:00pm, we got there by around 4:30pm and it was already packed to the rafters. Good thing Mark was carrying a couple of bags and we used that to stake our claim on the tables. (One of which a group of girls tried to usurp. To no avail, of course.)

The group's first impression - the place was young. It was crawling with "hipsters" who spoke 3 decibels higher and insisted on taking photos of everything. Sheesh! Millennials!

Suddenly, it felt like we were a band of Titos and Titas of Manila, looking after kids. It didn't help that we actually had small kids in tow, which contributed to our Tito-hood. At one point, the little girls were dancing to the rave music being played, and they told me that they were "providing entertainment" for the night.

Luckily, as the evening progressed, there were more people within our age bracket, and higher. That was a small consolation, the fact that there were now Lolos and Lolas of Manila. At least, we weren't the oldest people in The Yard.

But we weren't there for the ambience, nor the crowd, nor the rave music. We were there for the food. And boy, The Yard has a lot of good food.

Becca loved the Spam Musubi, Mona and Lezyl loved the dynamite sticks, Mark and I enjoyed the onion rings, nachos and the mocktail in a pail. And everyone loved the yakitori and HKG street food.

And the kids, they loved the dessert! Particularly the nitrogen-freezed ice cream.

They even announced the arrival of their chocolate and strawberry ice cream, and the "trick" that came with it.

You can never go wrong with ice cream, as Becca, Audrey and Aidan proved.

Too bad we were already full by the time 7:00pm rolled in. We still wanted to try a lot of the dishes being sold - like the chicken and biscuits, fish and chips and the sandwiches. Alas, the spirit was willing, but the stomach was stretched to capacity.

Well, at least it's an excuse to go back to The Yard again one of these days.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Dear John,

Roti John, that is.

This is what interested me the most when we tried out Makansutra a few weeks back. After scouring the stores looking for Chwee Kway (which, alas, they didn't have,) it was comforting to know that they this - plus another on my favorite SG hawker classics - ice kachang.

I'll try their Roti John one of these days and see if it's as good as the authentic ones in SG.

Friday, November 18, 2016

FMM: Freeze frame Friday

From a TVC shoot that took more than 16-hours last night, we jumped into another shoot this morning.

It's the inspiration for today's Friday Magic Madness song. A classic 80s ditty about photo shoots by J. Geils band.

Now, freeze!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fun with florals

I've been seriously considering florals as my Christmas wrapper theme this year, particularly after seeing this beautiful pattern in Scribe.

Unfortunately, they don't have enough in stock to fill my wrapping requirements. So, I have to give this flower a pass for now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Office Oasis

Unilab is one of the clients that I've handled in different agencies.

I've handled it while I was in DY&R, then in Y&R, then in Harrison, then in Dentsu, and now in my current agency.

Because I've handled it for such a long time, I've seen how the clients changed. I've also seen how their office changed. From their old building in Mandaluyong, it's now this beautiful, sprawling piece of property near Pioneer.

It's such a joy visiting their office. It feels like stepping into an oasis of greens and space in a concrete jungle.

I wish there were more offices like this.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


This morning, I noticed a corrugated kraft box in the living room. Curious as to what it was, I picked it up to further examine it.

Lo and behold, it was for me!

Quickly, I opened it to find out the contents. Et voila!

It was a gift from my BFF in SG! How cool is that?

Inside was a vintage scrabble game which was great for - as he termed it - "hipster and word play."

And the birthday goodness continues!

Monday, November 14, 2016

A thing of beauty (and the beast)


It took me a few minutes to really pick my jaw off the ground after seeing the trailer of the live action version of "Beauty and the Beast."

After I picked my jaw off the ground, there were tears welling in my eyes. So this is how it feels when your favorite animated film comes to life. Beautiful, vivid and breathtaking life.

Can we fast forward to March 2017 now?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Good morning!

The ad that we conceptualized and produced a few months ago is finally on-air!

There's so much to love about this ad. From the awesome clients at Uratex, to the fab people from Hot Salad who produced it, to that simple, refreshing big idea that's a truism for everyone who works hard everyday.

After seeing this ad this morning, I can't help but echo the sentiments of the ad:

"Ang ganda ng gising ko!"

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Celebration continuation

For someone who doesn't like to celebrate birthdays, (I still don't,) there has been quite a number of celebrations going around.

From the family gathering last Sunday, to the production houses' surprise last Monday, to an ADB lunch last Tuesday - it's going all Energizer bunny and keeps going and going.

Yesterday, the celebration continued. And it wasn't just one celebration - but two!

First, the SMC gang! Gosh! We've been friends for 20 years now. And everytime we get together, it still feels like our first year in CAO.

Second, Melrose! Now, these folks I've known for more than 20 years! We were together in the first advertising agency I worked for, and we've been friends ever since.

Yes, I still don't like to celebrate my birthday.

But for these crazy folks, I'll make an exception.

Friday, November 11, 2016

FMM: Time for a cocktail

Today is one of those Fridays when you just want to hang out with friends, talk about good times and bad, and catch up with a refreshing cocktail on hand.

That's what we did tonight.

And that provided the impetus for today's Friday Magic Madness song.

"Kokomo" is a song from the 90s film starring Tom Cruise. It was entitled "Cocktail." Though I've never seen the film (maybe I should,) the song is something I remember vividly.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sketchy stories: Writing on the sand

"Inspiration strikes anywhere."

This has to be one of the most common lines spoken and heard by creative folks. And in the words of Danz, "truer words have never been spoken."

That's why I always have a pen and pad beside my bed. Strange but true: sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with some inspiration for something. So, I jot it down before I forget about it.

During my trip to Cebu a few weeks ago, there was some idle time on the beach. There I was, sitting on the soft, pristine sand, looking out into the sea. Then I remembered that Ate Bullet was asking for help in designing a label for her Christmas food project!

Thankfully, there was a twig within arm's reach. I picked it up, started scribbling on the sand, and came up with these:

See, inspiration does strike anywhere.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

So wrong, it's right!

That's my reaction after seeing this sign at the farm where we shot a few weeks ago.

This is why I love my job!

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

La Vida Loca-vore

Whenever we pass by Brixton St., en route to a meeting at UNAHCO or Unilab, we'd often pass by this hole-in-the-wall looking restaurant in Pasig.

"Locavore." That's what the sign states - etched neatly on the cool gray concrete wall.

Apparently, it's a very popular choice among modern foodies. Judging from the reviews I've read - both on print and on-line - Locavore offers Filipino cuisine with a modern twist. Not exactly a new proposition, but people who've eaten there say that the way they've modernized and twisted local cuisine is phenomenal.

So, after passing by the restaurant for over a year, it was time to drop by and try it out.

Tuesday night isn't really the briskest for restaurants, but Locavore was full tonight. All the tables were filled with big groups, ranging from families, officemates, friends, and some rowdy, mildly entertaining and mildly irritating college kids. (Hello, table on my left!)

Initial reaction on the menu? Very interesting and quite novel. They had dishes like oyster sisig, kare-kare wings, tilapia in kwek-kwek batter, and pakbet ratatouille. I've been to quite a number of "Filipino Moderne" restaurants, but this is the first time I've encountered these dishes.

After poring through the choices a few times, we finally decided on a combination of old favorites and experimented on some new dishes.

For starters, the street food platter. You can't go wrong with that.

Our main course was the baby squid, pinakbet ratatouille and organic garlic brown rice. Visually, they might look simple but the interplay of flavors belie its seeming simplicity.

The baby squid was perfectly tender, and had a rich, garlic butter flavor. It had whole cloves of roasted garlic that gave added zing to the taste. The pinakbet had a creamy texture to it. When blended with the bagoong and the individual flavors of the veggies, it felt like a fiesta of flavors. And to temper all these strong flavors, the garlic brown rice did the trick.

Now, what's a meal without dessert? Enter the pandesal pudding.

It has salted egg and dulce de leche sauce. 'Nuff said.

Overall, Locavore lived up to the hype. The dishes were unique, the flavors were top notch, and it was worth the lengthy walk going there.

No wonder people are going Loca over it.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Silver belle

It might be because fast fashion is moving faster, but I've noticed how trends seem to resurge faster than usual these days.

For example, metallic moccasins were all the rage last year. It was a combination of the style of boy's loafers, plus feminine metallics like rose gold, pale gold and platinum. Forever 21 had a lot of styles, and Ate Bullet had a few in her shoe closet.

During my weekend run at SM, lo and behold, metallics are back!

This time, it's in the form of tasseled slip-on shoes. The pair is from the Parisian brand, and it was too shiny to ignore. (And buy.)

With a pair of shoes as fabulously blinding as this, the next step was to create an outfit around it. An outfit that would fit the character of the shoes - hip, cool, feminine but androgynous.

Which this nice pair of boyfriend jeans captures perfectly. It has the right wash, the right slouch, the right cuff, and the right attitude.

Since the pair of jeans and shoes already embody tomboy chic, the top should offer a counterpoint and be unabashedly feminine.

Just like this white, crocheted beauty!

It's both simple and complex - an irony that makes for good fashion.

Summed up, you have an outfit that is silver chic!

Ate Bullet will definitely rock this outfit.

Sunday, November 06, 2016


That hashtag is almost like a running joke between Mark, Kris and myself.

Whenever we get together in the common room of IH2, we talk about how #feelingblessed is probably one of the most overused terms on social media. More often than not, it's accompanied by a brag (or humble brag,) to show off a new item, a recent trip, or some form of advancement in life.

Needless to say, we're not huge fans of the term.

Just like I'm not a huge fan of birthdays. People who know me the best (hello family, hello Mark) know that I don't like making a big deal about the day I was born. If it's at all possible, I prefer to spend my birthday incognito, and just come out when it's all over.

But today, I'll make an exception - for both the hashtag and the birthday.

Because today - my birthday - is really a day full of blessings for me.

Why? Mainly because today marks another year in my so-called life. That means there was another year to be thankful for, and another year to look forward to.

Surprisingly, at the strike of midnight of November 6, the greetings slowly trickled in. Eventually, it poured, almost flooding my phone and inbox with well wishes and heartfelt greetings. 

From family members both near and far. From former colleagues to former students. From advertising friends to friends from the academe. From long-lost friends to long-standing loves. They were all represented and all shared their good wishes.

In fact, I think I spent 1/3rd of my day answering all the greetings and good wishes. It's a tiring but very uplifting feeling.

Then, to cap off the day, my family came together for dinner. As usual, it was an evening of good food and even better company. And it was one of those moments where my heart was swelling with joy as the people I'm blessed with were around me. (I missed my parents, Biboy, Liz, Jul, Carl, Miguel, Kurt, Kai and Noah, though.)

To cap off a sweet night, an even sweeter treat from my brother-in-law, Raymond. He really has an awesome sense of humour!

With a birthday like this, I really can't help but feel honestly, undeniably, unbelievably blessed.


Saturday, November 05, 2016

Lovely layers

As a kid, I was already enamored by layers.

Whether it was on a cake, a gulaman that Mom would make, or a toy, or a painting on the wall, I'd always gravitate toward things with well-defined layers.

So, while I was sitting on the beach in Cebu, this particular vista enamored me as well.

It's a simple layering of sand, sea and sky. But the way nature composed it that afternoon was just photo worthy.

Nature really is the best artist.

Friday, November 04, 2016

FMM: Pick-up lines

Whew! This was a short week! Despite that, each of the 3 days we spent at work were both busy and intense. The pace picked up starting Wednesday, and it felt like we came in for 5 days!

Which simply means that today's Friday Magic Madness song should be the opposite of hectic and busy. It should be relaxed, chill and feel good.

Enter Melba Moore, and her iconic song "Pick me up, I'll dance."

This 70s ditty reminds me so much of Mom and Ate Lissa. Why? Because it's a perfect song to dance the swing to. And I think I've seen them pick up their heels and dance when this was playing.

So, I'll pick up this song and dance! (Nope, I can't dance. So I'll just pick it up and bob my head like a doggy on a dashboard.)

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Let's be Blunt

The November cover girl of InStyle magazine is always a person of interest.

Being my birth month, I always look forward to who will represent my month on the cover. And more often than not, their choice of celebrity resonates with me, one way or another.

They had Taylor Swift last November 2013 and 2014 - an awesome move since I'm a huge fan of Taylor. Then, in 2015, they had Drew Barrymore. Again, this is great because I've been watching her since she was a kid in E.T., and she grew up to be an admirable woman.

Now, it's 2016, and the cover girl is...

Emily Blunt!

Heck, I loved her as Emily Charlton in "Devil Wears Prada." She was adorable as Violet Barnes in "The Five-Year Engagement." And her turn as Freya in "Snow White and the Huntsman" was icy cold genius. I couldn't be happier to have her front the magazine this November.

Awesome job, InStyle!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Ken(zo) hardly wait

Captain's log. Stardate: November 2, 2016, 7:00pm.

The H&M x Kenzo launch is about 15 hours away.

And someone's already in line for it.

Yes, he's already in line and will wait outside, overnight, just to get a piece of the action.

Now that's what I call dedication. (Well, I'd call it crazy as well, but hey, I know where he's coming from.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

That's a whole lotta noodles!

Their noodles must be so long, it takes more Os to spell it!

Proofreader please!