Thursday, February 28, 2013

[Throwback (Travel) Thursdays 02.28.2013] Tinago Falls

With summer just around the corner and with everyone planning vacations, this Throwback Thursdays post is dedicated to travel.

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Yes, that's me. Apparently I had this propensity for goofing around a lot in photos before. Well, I still make faces at times but not that much anymore. Call it old age or whatever. Anyway, I just want to show you that I was (and more so now) also capable of playing it serious:

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Boracay nosedives in TripAdvisor's latest 'Top 25 Beaches' list

So much ado about the crowning glory of Philippine tourism. From a high of no.2 in 2011, to a slight dip to no.6 in 2012, now Boracay plunged several spots towards the bottom of the list at no.24 in TripAdvisor's annual listing of the world's "Top 25 Beaches." Rabbit Beach in Lampedusa, Italy clinched the top spot.

SKIMMING ON WATER (Boracay Island, Philippines)
A kid displaying dexterity at skimboarding on the shores of Boracay.

I'm not privy to details in regard to how the site actually comes up with the list. All I know is that it's based on the subjective opinions of TripAdvisor members worldwide. Nonetheless, it's a reflection of people's perceptions and experiences. And whether we like it or not, opinions matter.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar: Uprooted and transplanted colonial-era charm

I've long wanted to visit this place and after braving the three-hour drive to Bagac, Bataan, I was finally able to. Sitting on a vast property close to the sea, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a heritage resort where 18th to early-20th century Philippine houses, or casas, from several parts across the country have been rebuilt and clustered together to resemble a colonial-era Philippine community. There are mansions, stone houses, and even wooden houses on stilts, replete with cobblestone streets, sidewalks, and even bridges.

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The setting sun casts a silhouette, framed beautifully by an arc from one of the casas.

I must admire how the resort owners have scoured the archipelago for such decaying structures, disassembled them, and then reassembled them -- brick by brick, plank by plank, as they say. Not that this endeavor, apart from being business-driven, has been spared from criticism from some sectors who argue that they aren't actually preserving them because the houses have been uprooted from their original locations, however. But personally, I think most of these structures would have rotted away nonetheless because of our people's collective lack of appreciation and concern for history. But whatever. To each his own, I guess.

[Throwback Thursdays 02.21.2013] Back when Bamboo was still Smart

I'm not really one who'll approach a celebrity and request for a photo but apparently, back in October 2004, I had one of those rare moments.

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This is me with Bamboo Mañalac, erstwhile lead vocalist of the Filipino rock bands Rivermaya and Bamboo, and who's now performing as a solo artist. Oh yes, I was sooo dark from all the beachcombing and mountaineering back then.

This photo was taken during his Bamboo (the band) days at a concert in Zamboanga City. At the time, I think his band was signed up by Smart Communications for a series of concerts across the country, which were usually tied to the telco's promotional activities and events. We met him backstage before the show and were seated front row during the concert.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

[Throwback Thursdays 02.14.2013] Our first photo

What a coincidence that Valentine's falls on a Thursday this year! And I've just got the perfect Throwback Thursdays post for this week.

Exactly nine years ago today -- yes, Valentine's -- I first met the love of my life, My Bibe. It wasn't a date or anything fancy but rather it was inside a jeepney on a very bumpy ride to the Mt Pulag ranger station. It was a mountaineering expedition.

We instantly hit it as friends, chatting and sharing stories during socials amid the near-freezing temperatures atop the mountain. The following day after our descent, we had our very first photo taken -- and the only one with just the two of us. We were filthy and our shoes were full of mud. We were simply ourselves.

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And to My Bibe, here's a little something I wrote for you:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My chat with American Idol alum Jessica Sanchez

American Idol Season 11 runner-up Jessica Sanchez is here in the Philippines for a Valentine's Day concert. As youth ambassador for Smart Communications, she's also been doing the rounds of meet-and-greet events, press conferences, and even a storytelling session with public school kids for Read to be Smart yesterday. She also dropped by our office this morning, and I got a chance to chat with her.

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Jessica Sanchez answering questions at our office lobby.

Me: Hi, Jessica!

Jessica: Hi!

M: Am I talking to Jessica Sanchez right now or is it Bebe Chez?

J: (laughs) It's Jessica. I'm feeling kinda shy right now.

M: Is that so? Hey, can you ask Bebe Chez if she knows BB Gandanghari?

J: Who?

M: Oh, never mind. Anyway, it's your second time in the Philippines, post-AI at least.

Warby Parker's Hayworth Collection: Bringing film noir glory into the future

You know how they say they don't make them the way they used to? Yes, there's always something about decades past that fascinates us. Perhaps it's that nostalgic factor in everything from architecture to fashion that evokes unparalleled glamour.

This nostalgia, particularly of 1940s and 50s Los Angeles, has likewise inspired Warby Parker's latest collection, drawing on the vamps, the criminals and the detectives that characterized the day. Dubbed "The Hayworth Collection," the revolutionary eyewear brand's latest capsule collection that's launching today features vintage touches rendered in Warby Parker's signature custom acetate and premium Japanese titanium. It's the brand's way of bringing back film noir glory and pushing it forward into the future.

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The Hayworth Collection features six new frames: three optical and three sunglasses. Personally, I love the Edgeworth frames in blue marblewood.

Friday, February 8, 2013

[Lookbook 02.03.2013] The flag bearer

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I originally thought of bringing a Barong Tagalog to our recent trip to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, thinking I'd go walking around the heritage resort and do a personal photo shoot, but I decided against it. Instead, I brought my almost-three year-old Philippine flag-inspired polo shirt from Collezione C2 that I simply paired with shorts and flip-flops (I realized walking on cobblestone wasn't much of a pleasure).

Tea time at TWG Tea Salon & Boutique

This one flew under my radar; I didn't know that the TWG at Greenbelt 5 had already opened (yes, since November 2012). I only learned about it some two Sundays ago when we chanced upon it on our way to dinner somewhere. Well, we ended up having dinner there instead.

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The TWG store at GB5 has a dining section with a few tables where apart from tea, of course, they serve pastries, sandwiches, and even full meals. There was a wait list, so it took a while before we were seated. While waiting, we looked around the store, knowing very little about tea. I'm primarily a coffee person but I also take tea, with English Breakfast and Earl Grey as my go-to choices. I was just fascinated by the sheer number of artisanal tea varieties there at TWG, all kept in their signature yellow tins and stacked up on floor-to-ceiling shelves.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

[Throwback Thursdays 02.07.2013] Alternative career

This new year I'm starting a weekly project that will take me to a nostalgic trip down memory lane -- Throwback Thursdays. So I'm unearthing old photos (maybe even a few embarrassing ones), random old stuff and whatnot, and share them once a week every Thursday.

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This week's nostalgic trip takes me back to 2001 when I was just starting out as an auditor. I wasn't sure yet if that's what I really wanted to do, so I tried my hand at cleaning just for the heck of exploring other career options while I still can.

Well, suffice it to say that I'm still an auditor to this day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

[Lookbook 02.02.2013] Señor Santibañez and Facundo

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I had the fun of staying at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan over the weekend. With hordes of transplanted heritage houses all around me, the cam-whore (or cam-gigolo?) in me was unleashed. The lovely setting likewise spoke of grand haciendas of old and somehow reminded me of Doña (or Señora) Angelika Santibañez of the hit 90's Mexican telenovela Marimar.

Doña Angelika was the villain, one who always looked down on Marimar and the poor in general, forever barking orders at her servant Facundo. Thanks to memes that glorify her snobbish attitude with humor, the character is currently in a resurgent mode, at least among Filipinos since the memes are in Filipino. Marimar was dubbed in Filipino when it was shown on TV here.

So just for fun, I thought of channeling my inner Doña Angelika as Señor Santibañez, with an imaginary Facundo in the background.

Monday, February 4, 2013

[Lookbook 01.31.2013] Black olive

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I was feeling quite casual last Thursday because at least to me, it was the last working day of the week already, as I was going on a short holiday. No ties whatsoever; just this black, low-cut shirt here worn over a white V-neck tee. I had to wear something underneath because I was at work and I couldn't just saunter around and show off my hairy chest, can I?
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