Monday, April 30, 2012

[Lookbook 04.29.2012] Avenger fever

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Okay, I did not wear this when we watched The Avengers last Saturday. I mean, I had to stop myself. So I thought, maybe wearing it the day after ain't so bad. So there, a t-shirt with jeans and animal-patterned sneakers = a simple Sunday afternoon outfit!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My thoughts on The Avengers

One thing more fun about the Philippines -- however fleeting -- is being able to watch Marvel's much-awaited The Avengers more than a week before its big May 4 opening in the U.S. I wasn't able to watch it on opening day here because I was busy but I was happy nonetheless to be able to catch it yesterday at eleven in the morning. Yes, 11am. Come to think of it, I haven't seen a movie that early since college.

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It was pretty obvious in Marvel's previous outings that they've been trying to tie everything together to an eventual Avengers film. In the last Iron Man flick, we were already introduced to S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury and Agent Coulson (even if that sequel was not up to par with the first one). Black Widow also already made an appearance there. Tony Stark was likewise there at the end of the last incarnation of the Hulk talking about a team being assembled. S.H.I.E.L.D. was also very prominent in Thor, and Stark Industries was just as active in Captain America. So everything was practically set for this epic coming-together.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Teddy Bear is falling down!

Oh no, a bear is falling from a tree! Yes, it is!

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I saw this photo yesterday over at Yahoo! and despite the fact that the bear was falling, it was just the cutest thing ever! I can bravely say that because it wasn't really a gory ending for the bear. Here's the whole picture:

Friday, April 27, 2012

[Lookbook 04.27.2012] April rose

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"Love is a many-splendored thing. It's the April rose that only grows in the early spring."  Haha! After coming up with a title for this post I suddenly just thought of this Frank Sinatra ditty. Yes, I do know a couple of oldies and now I need to get that song out of my head.

Zac Efron covers Garage magazine

Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron, Penshoppe's latest international celebrity-endorser, graces the May 2012 issue of Philippine-published Garage magazine. This follows fellow Penshoppe spokespersons Ed Westwick's and Mario Maurer's appearances on the mag's cover.

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[Photo from Penshoppe's Twitter account]

I have yet to get a copy of the mag but according to a tweet from Penshoppe, Efron said in the feature, "I think Penshoppe and I were made for each other." Spoken like a true spokesperson!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sunsets at Sugar Beach

We were blessed with glorious sunsets for the three days we spent at Sugar Beach in Sipalay. For the first two days it rained mid-afternoon, causing me to worry about my prospects of getting completely sun-soaked there. But consistently, the clouds parted by sundown, revealing a sun that made a daily exit in spectacular fashion, easily turning this place into one of my favorite sunset spots. Here are a few photos I'm sharing with you...

Day 1
With the rain that had just stopped, the sky was left with lots of clouds when the sun began revealing itself again. The result was simply magnificent, and the clouds alone were worthy of being photographed sans the sun.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

[Lookbook 04.25.2012] Untried and untested

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It's been a while since I last did a lookbook post. But I had a lot of other stuff to blog about anyway. Nevertheless, I thought I should do one, especially since April's almost over.

[Ramblings] Midweek news roundup

Crazy news so far this week. We've got everything from a president wanting reports of good news and then getting them, to the irony of a particular Earth Day run.

On Hacienda Luisita
  • The Supreme Court voted 14-0 on the Hacienda Luisita case. Finally, there's good news! The President is probably going nuts right now, chain-smoking, thinking it would calm him when all it does is accelerate his heart rate.
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  • The high court also voted 8-6 to peg the 'just compensation' at the 1989 price of Php 40,000 per hectare. Now here's where the SC judges disagreed, just in case you thought The President's cohorts in the SC are being impartial. So let's just wait for Leila De Lima to defy this Supreme Court decision. I wouldn't be surprised.
  • The Php40-K/hectare price means that the Cojuangcos will be receiving much, much less than the Php5 or 10 billion they were asking for. The President better hide now; Uncle Danding will be very, very angry.
  • Curiously, the Palace has kept mum on the issue so far. Probably because the President wants his 'mum' right now to cuddle up to?
  • With this landmark decision, expect a new round of tirades and dirty tactics from the Palace against Chief Justice Renato Corona. I hope he gets acquitted. The President would totally go bonkers then.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Discover the scary new face of Boracay

Last Sunday at a coffee shop in McKinley Hill, and after I realized that PDI had two different versions of their front page, I was stunned by a particular print ad:

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The print ad of an impending MEGA development in Boracay. I smudged the developer's logo on purpose.

Instead of being wowed by the mega development trumpeted by this ad, I cringed at the sight of what would be  several multi-storied buildings sprawled across a vast rolling landscape in the already-fragile island of Boracay. And judging by the artist's rendition, these buildings and other structures will be spread throughout several hectares. I really won't write anything more about this development but it's going to be on the eastern side of the island, opposite to where the famed white beach is.

As if this wasn't enough already:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Day irony

This morning I saw this photo on Facebook taken by Francis Xavier Pasion, a director at TV station ABS-CBN (according to his Facebook profile). I need not describe it anymore because the photo already speaks for itself.

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Disturbed by all the paper cups strewn all over the street? What's more disturbing, however, is that this photo was taken yesterday during an Earth Day run organized by NatGeo. Yes, Earth Day. How ironic.

The magazine alter-ego of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

I've come to live seeing the Philippine Daily Inquirer repeatedly sport a front-page design reminiscent of a magazine for a while now. It's that generous use of a single photo, most often unrelated to any news article, that spans the entire width of the paper and with the Inquirer logo re-positioned to suit the photo. And as with magazines that layer sections of a photo subject to sit in front of its logo but leaving everything else in the background, the Inquirer does that as well.

Not that I'm complaining. In fact, I sort of took a liking to this style because it instantly brightens the front page. And with that I often joke that it wants to be a magazine. Last Saturday, however, the Inquirer took this magazine style to a whole new level:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Ruins: A shadow of a glorious past

What has once been an impressive mansion, then burned, abandoned and exposed to the elements for decades is now fast becoming one of Bacolod's more popular tourist attractions (although technically it's in Talisay). During the holy week, as we had a few hours to spare before our afternoon flight back to Manila, we took to The Ruins (and later, Balay Negrense).

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The glorious facade of The Ruins.

At under twenty minutes, it was a fairly short ride to Talisay from our hotel in Bacolod. The structure -- or what remains of it -- is tucked away in the middle of a vast sugarcane plantation yet remains easily accessible. Even from a distance, rising above all the fields of green, its beauty was immediately evident.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tyra Banks in Rajo Laurel and hope for Filipino fashion designers

Queen of smizing Tyra Banks yesterday posted a photo of her on Facebook wearing a gown by Filipino designer Rajo Laurel. As to be expected, it becomes news here in the Philippines because apart from our propensity to take pride in even the slightest touch of Filipino in just about everything in the international arena, this country hasn't really made a noticeable mark in the fashion world as yet. Come to think of it, has any Filipino designer at all made it big in the global fashion circuit? [Apparently, I forgot about Monique Lhuillier. Thanks to 'Life's a shoe' for pointing that out.]

The Philippines is a third-world country that no one probably really cares about. As such, any attention or exposure, no matter how small, tickles that Pinoy pride and is voluntarily harped about (Look at what I'm doing!). We Filipinos bask in it.

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Tyra in Rajo Laurel. The gown was part of Laurel's "Insects" series and was first shown in a September 2008 fashion show.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

SMART wins big at 2012 Telecom Asia Awards, sets record for most wins in one night by a single carrier

Philippine mobile operator Smart Communications set a record three wins at the 15th Telecom Asia Awards last night (April 19, 2012) in Bangkok, Thailand. This is reportedly the first time in Telecom Asia's history that a single carrier bagged three trophies in one night. (Axiata may have also won three in 2010 but its third win was by its Malaysian subsidiary Celcom, technically a separate carrier.)

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Napoleon Nazereno (center), Smart's President and CEO

Shortlisted in four categories, Smart won for Best Emerging Market Carrier while its President and CEO, Napoleon Nazareno, was named Telecom CEO of the Year. Nazareno also gave the opening keynote at Telecom Asia's Telco Strategies conference yesterday.

Smart also won in the Best Community Telecom Project for its mobile health platform SHINE (Secured Health Information Network and Exchange; read more about SHINE here).

[Demented ramblings] On Jessica Sanchez trending, Kris Allen on TV5, and everything in between

Just de-stressing here, reading stuff, then messing up with them.

On American Idol:
  • Jessica Sanchez is trending on Twitter as AI fans express support or hate. - Sorry, but tweets won't save her. You gotta actually vote.
  • Jessica Sanchez is trending on Twitter as AI fans express support or hate. - Uhm, but trending only in the Philippines where no one can vote for her).
  • Now Pinoys are trying to use Magic Jacks to vote for Jessica Sanchez? - Unbelievable! Pinoy pride?
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Jessica Sanchez on American Idol.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

[Lookbook 04.15.2012] Sunday driving

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After "dropping by" Enchanted Kingdom last Saturday, we drove to Tagaytay to experience some much cooler air and spent the night there. After some bulalo at Antonio's, we checked in at Hotel Kimberly (again!) and no longer bothered to go some place anymore that night. We were dead tired.

The cool breeze felt really good but reluctantly, we had to go back to the torturous heat of Metro Manila the next day. I originally intended on doing a few laps in the hotel pool the following morning but My Bibe and I decided on catching a few more hours of sleep instead. Hungry, we had galette and crepes at Cafe Breton first before speeding off to Manila.

Kitty curfew jeopardizing Japan's cat cafés

I was saddened upon learning that Japan's popular cat cafés are in danger of closing down because of a new Animal Protection Law. Once the law takes effect on June 1, there will no longer be any displaying of cats and dogs after 8pm.

While the law is meant to shut down 24-hour pet stores in the country, where felines and canines alike are on brightly-lit displays 24/7, it also impacts on cat cafés whose peak hours, they say, are between 8pm to 10pm. And we know how active cats are at night. Funny how the Japs couldn't be more specific with their legislation.

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What cat lover wouldn't want to spend time here? [Photo source]

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dropping by Enchanted Kingdom

It's that time of year again when the company I work for throws a family day for us. This year, we had the freedom to choose from among four different venues. As expected, Enchanted Kingdom, or EK, as we fondly call it, was one of the options. And like an annual family tradition, My Bibe and I always make it an excuse to spend the night in Tagaytay and just drop by EK.

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The Space Shuttle, EK's roller coaster of a ride.

Last year I posted an introspective on how I seemed to have been taking this EK thing for granted (see post here) and sort of promised to dive back into that magic that was lost in me. Well, I think it's safe to say I partly fulfilled that promise.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Felicia's Pastry Cafe and Steak Room, Bacolod City

When My Bibe and I were in Bacolod two weeks ago, she suggested Felicia's for dinner. Originally just a pastry cafe, Felicia's later added an adjacent steak room.

The steak room
The restaurant was cozy with ambient lighting. It's that type of resto with an air of formality to it (Read: table cloths). There's a curtained-off area at the rear where, I guess, small private functions can be held. More tables are available in a section right next to the pastry cafe.

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Maybe because it was Wednesday of holy week, but there weren't many diners around.

The steak
Service was quick although I don't know how it is if the place is full. I ordered their pepper steak (tenderloin cut) while My Bibe had a filet mignon. At around Php 600 for each dish, the cuts were unimpressive but at least they were really tender and cooked right according to our specification (medium well). So I was okay with it.

Review: Circle Inn Bacolod

I had joked on Twitter that I was disappointed with this place because it wasn't, well, a circle; instead it was rectangular. To be fair, though, they had round windows on the facade.

Anyway, coming from our sun-soaked holiday at Sugar Beach over the holy week, we spent a night in Bacolod before flying back to Manila. Looking for something affordable but nice enough, I booked a room at Circle Inn Bacolod. Initially it was a standard room but we upgraded to their Zen room upon check-in. So how was it? Here's the rundown:

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The front desk and lobby.

Reservation
I booked online via the hotel's website on a Friday. Little did I realize that my card wasn't charged yet even if I already got a confirmation of my reservation, so I got an email on Monday saying there was a problem with my card. FYI, the card I used was Smart Money, a debit card linked to my mobile. It has a security feature where I need to unlock/lock it for internet transactions (for my protection). Naturally, it was already locked when the hotel charged it three days later.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hot summer with Tyler

I normally don't do blog posts about women's fashion but I came across these photos a couple of weeks ago showing a hot and sexy mayor donned in Tyler's latest collection. The mayor in question is Pie Alvarez of San Vicente, Palawan and the photos appeared in The Philippine Star's Lifestyle Allure section last March 25.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

[Lookbook 04.05.2012] The haciendero look

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Oh yeah, I feel like I'm thrown back in time to a bygone era when sugar barons lorded over vast haciendas, puffing through their cigars in the comforts of their Hispanic-inspired mansions. Well, at least that's how it felt like as I was looking at photographs from our visit to The Ruins in Talisay and Balay Negrense in Silay with Kwittiegirl.

I guess it was my outfit that day coupled with the Colonial architecture of those structures that gave me that feel, which was totally unintentional (on the contrary, my Señor Santibañez feels at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar was very contrived). Who would have thought that mere bermuda shorts, a polo shirt, espadrilles, aviator-like shades, and a straw hat would fit so well in those places?

Escape to luxury with Regatta

Just saw these colorful vintage wash shorts from Regatta and I want one. I love the dusty effect; so perfect for summer. Okay, maybe two.

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But just buying even one (at Php 1,095) already entitles you to a chance at a Shangri-la Mactan getaway for three. Awesome, right? With Regatta's Escape to Luxury raffle promo, every Php 1,000 worth of purchases of any regular-priced items from April 13 to May 6, 2012 qualifies you to join the raffle by filling out the promo form on Facebook.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

[Lookbook 04.10.2012] The sweater shirt

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Late post. This was me back to work last Tuesday. Coming from a beach holiday, I was sporting a noticeably darker complexion (yay!). Anyway, I wore what I call my sweater shirt. Here's why I call it that:

Zac Efron joins the Penshoppe family

Of course you've heard it already; Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron has recently joined Penshoppe's growing list of international celebrity endorsers. The Philippine powerhouse retailer posted the following photo on their Facebook page yesterday:

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Efron will be joining the likes of Gossip Girl's Ed Westwick...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

[Lookbook 04.03.2012] Life's a beach

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This was last week at Sugar Beach in Sipalay. It was my last day on the beach, and although I still didn't want to leave, I'm pretty happy with my skin tone. It was just nice to do basically nothing but lounge by the beachfront, reading, eating, even dozing off. So on this day I wore... nothing but leaves!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The colorful world of 'tuktuk'

I immediately thought of that Thai mode of transport at first, but this tuktuk is a clothing and accessories brand inspired by the wonderful colors, tastes, scents, and personalities of South Asia. Believing in clothes that fit well with a strong emphasis on bespoke tailoring (as an optional extra service), tuktuk tries to avoid mass production where possible. Hence, they buy all these unique, colorful and occasionally vintage fabrics in low quantities, allowing their styles to always stay fresh and as individual as possible.

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The photos here are outtakes from their Spring/Summer 2012 collection, which takes inspiration from the historic colonial landmarks of Sri Lanka's Dutch Galle Fort. The result is an explosion of color peppered with plaid, gingham, floral and other patterns. My favorites are the colored chinos, the shorts (that fall right above the knee), and the floral shirt. The colored belts are hot, too.

Monday, April 9, 2012

TRAVEL | Sipalay's Sugar Beach: A beach far, far away

Being an archipelago, it's no surprise that the Philippines is home to a lot -- and I mean, a lot -- of great beaches. But the idea that there are also a few good ones in the southern part of Negros Occidental in the Visayas seems largely unheard of for most Filipinos. One of these is the kilometer-long Sugar Beach in the city of Sipalay, a land far, far away.

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The lovely Sugar Beach.

Looking for a nice, quiet beach far from the chaotic Holy Week crowd, My Bibe and I spent four nights at Sugar Beach. I first read about it from a magazine when we were at Anda, Bohol back in 2010, and was convinced to include it in my travel list. Finally the time was right.

Going to Sugar Beach reminded me of my earlier travels with My Bibe, where we regularly sought off-the-beaten-track destinations, usually with no hotel reservations whatsoever. We didn't completely dive back to that, however, as we still managed to afford ourselves some level of comfort.

We flew to Bacolod City and hired a car to take us to Sipalay. It did cost us money but we weren't too keen on riding a non-airconditioned bus that stops every few meters to unload and pick up passengers along the way. That said, a three to four-hour private ride would easily stretch to five hours or more.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

[Lookbook 04.02.2012] Scars and stripes

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Oh yes, I'm flaunting my huge scars from my 2009 surgery. But how else would I enjoy the sun, sand and sea without exposing them? Besides, having these scars is still a hell lot better than having a PTBD tube jutting out of my tummy (with the small round scar just below my left chest as a reminder).

So without resorting to Speedos, I put on the skimpiest swim shorts I could find in my closet and get as much sun on my body as possible.

Bermuda Beach Resort: The perfect place to stay in Sugar Beach, Sipalay

Oh yeah, just been to the beach with My Bibe; our second so far this year. With Holy Week being the busiest of the summer peak season for travel in the Philippines, we sought some far-flung place to escape the maddening crowd. After little thought, we ended up with Sugar Beach in Sipalay, Negros Occidental, a lovely kilometer stretch of sand that's just perfect for some quiet time.

There are only a handful of places to stay in Sugar Beach, most of which are native bungalows (nipa huts) that afford the traveler an authentic tropical feel. We booked four nights at Bermuda Beach Resort, and we never regretted our choice.

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A view of the beachfront at Bermuda Beach Resort.

The resort was acquired from a German guy in 1998, who, after about two years since building it, gave up because nobody really came to Sugar Beach. Well, nobody probably heard of it, especially at that time when the internet was still largely unheard of in the Philippines. Today, however, owners Francis and Zenaida Buchwalder seem to be doing well.

And they've been managing it well. Here's my review.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

[Lookbook 04.01.2012] Preparing to turn brown with brown

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Just came back from a holiday with My Bibe in Negros Occidental in the Visayas. From the airport in Bacolod/Silay, we drove four hours down south to our main destination, Sugar Beach in Sipalay. Oh yes, it has to be a beach. After all, it's summer. And for me, summer = beach.

Wanting to escape the Holy Week crowd, we settled for this quiet spot that's thankfully off the radar of most Filipinos. We arrived at close to 8pm, so after dinner we went straight to bed. The next day, however, it was time to hit the beach. I know I'm not as white as some people (I'm only half-white!) but I do enjoy getting a tan. And as if to psych myself up into getting the color that I want for my skin, I slipped into brown swim shorts.

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