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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Today is the inauguration of President Noynoy Aquino and despite the fact that I did not vote for him and I've actually tried my best to dissuade others from doing so, I am ready to support him. Democracy dictates that majority wins so I'll give him a shot because more than 40% of my Filipino brothers believes in him. I just want to look back on May 10, 2010- Election Day.

This day will go down in my personal history as my first time to vote (I was out of the country the last time around.) This was me hoping for the best. 
The precinct in Quezon City where looked like a campaign hurricane blew past it. People were shoving sample ballots in your face every two meters. It was an endless sea of names and faces where no wall was left untouched. Check out the kid picking his nose. It was a dirty day indeed.

They really should demand that whatever these candidates put out, they must take back. Take responsibility for your trash!

This is my niece and godchild Trixy. She's so cute. She was rooting for Villar in the beginning but switched to ERAP a couple of days before the elections. ERAP has got some kind of magic. I'm so glad you're not old enough to vote, Trixy.

My nephew is practicing how to vote. Voter's education should begin as early as possible. People need to know the criteria for choosing a good leader.

My boyf designed the baller bands for Bayani. I brought some to give away and I got mobbed.
Why make a political statement when you can make a fashion statement?

Though Noynoy is my president. I want to remember who I voted for that day. I think it was too radical of a choice. Change comes slow. Someday.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I’m so happy to have wandered into Podium this weekend. On their 2nd floor, they had on display probably 40 dolls modeling teeny tiny Filipino designer dresses. Barbie heaven.

Rajo Laurel
Ivarluski Aseron

Dress by Pepito Albert / Jewels by Hans Brumann

Louis Claparols

At one point in my life, I had 15  Barbies so you can imagine I went gaga.  These lovely ladies are being auctioned off by Ballet Philippines to raise funds for their performances. Kudos to the Filipino designers who helped!

I can't help but see Carrie, (Blonde) Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha.

I remember how I would love dressing them up and putting them in my own telenovela type stories. I remember how the older, scraggly-haired Barbies ended up being the kontrabidas while the new fair-haired Barbies would be the stars. These Goth girls would make fabulous kontrabidas!

  Cesar Gaupo, Jerome Lorico (Last 2)

I wonder now how I would have reacted if I had seen these lovely beauties when I was at that age. I would have totally freaked. I’d probably throw a tantrum for this one. I love purple.
Joel Escober

I asked the person manning the exhibit which one raised the most moolah and he pointed to this.
Pitoy Moreno

It’s Barbie dressed in a Pitoy Moreno original bridal gown. Pitoy Moreno is a National Artist for Fashion Design,  Hailed as the "The Fashion Czar Of Asia" for taking Filipino fashion to the next level, he also introduced native fabrics like Jusi, Pinya, and Lepanto to Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and other international publications. It sold for a whopping P150,000. That’s as much as a life-sized designer wedding dress nowadays. Imagine this little thing fetching that much.

But if I had the money, I’d get it. It’s everything I love: It’s a designer dress, it's made by a national artist, it’s a toy, and it's Pinoy! The only thing I don’t love is the trashy looking Barbie that’s modeling it. I don’t mind the blonde hair but that makeup is way tacky.

I think some of the dolls are still for sale at

Monday, June 28, 2010

History has gained an awful reputation for being boring and irrelevant but if you were at the Ayala Museum last Saturday for Ambeth Ocampo’s lecture on prehistorical Philippines, you’d think history was (gasp) cool.

I’ve never met Ambeth Ocampo but I’ve heard much about his passion for Philippine history and Jose Rizal in particular. So I dragged my sleepy self out on a Saturday morning despite a crummy tummy. He did not disappoint. Not a boring second in the lecture. I was impressed because despite being hailed as a “Rock Star Historian” with the ability to command reserved seating and a venue packed with almost 500 people, he was candid and dare I say it, even dorky. In one anecdote, he shared how in the British Library, he found the Antonio de Morga Sánchez Garay book used by Jose Rizal. So in his everyday research, even when he didn’t need the book, he would put it by his side and caress it lovingly then touch his head hoping to be great someday too.

Well sir, I would have wanted to pat your head for greatness when I asked for a photo but I am not that bold. So, I just got my free book signed. (I read it in one sitting.)

I ran into a childhood friend from Saudi Arabia, Ate Kristine. She’s now a teacher based in Rhode Island, U.S.A. She enjoyed the talk a lot and I think it’s fed her patriotic spirit. Our meeting was serendipitous. The conversation gushed out over lunch and I couldn’t help but compare the feeling of catching up with an old friend to the talk Mr. Ocampo gave. He makes history intensely personal, almost like friends discussing the latest news regarding a common friend  (who just happens to be a historical figure.)

So yes, let's double the crowds the next time around.
His next lecture is on July 24, 2010. 3:00 pm. It's on the Philippine-American War.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

When I wear something native, some people are so “aliw” or amused to see something fresh and new. This was one of those cases when my photo junkie friend John Ed was so amused, he started clicking away. The ever-obliging posing fiend that I am, I did as many silly/ fashion/ crazy poses for him. Sometimes though, I get funny looks for wearing native stuff and even questions like, “Are you Ifugao?” (since this is an Ifugao top)

No, I’m not but I’m Filipino and Ifugaos are Filipinos too.

Many Ifugaos would argue with that. They would rather just be Ifugaos and not Filipinos. Honestly, I would be proud to be an Ifugao. They are part of the Northern Cordilleran cultural groups who have managed to keep their culture intact mostly because they were unreachable by the Spaniards. Why would you want to keep that rich heritage cooped up when we can all celebrate it? When an American dons a Sari from India or a Kimono from Japan, she’s showing an appreciation of the culture.

This “barriotic” mentality is prevalent all over the country. People are protective of their culture in a way that kills it. But now is a different time, the West doesn’t encroach upon us by the might of their swords but by their ideas. They conquer us with their fashion and style using their red carpets and runways. And I’m not saying, block them out by all means. Let’s welcome Western culture but let’s not neglect our own. There’s New York. There’s London. There’s Milan. But there’s Manila. And Cebu. And Baguio too. The best inspiration is right here at home. We just need to go out and look around.

I’m wearing an Ifugao top, Delia’s minidress, and Geox black shoes.
Thank you to John Ed De Vera for the photos. (And to Nolan for the pose coaching.)

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm really excited to attend tomorrow's talk at the Ayala Museum. History buff, Rizal fanatic, and all- around Filipino Idol: Ambeth Ocampo kicks off his new lecture series designed to take us through the nation's entire history in four short sessions I've heard a great deal about his work at the National Historical Institute and my friends have told me that he is a phenomenal great teacher. For those of you like me who have never had the opportunity to attend any of his classes, tomorrow is the day. The first session is pre-colonial Philippine society. It will be held at the Ground Floor Lobby of the Ayala Museum at 10:30 a.m. That's tomorrow! Come, let's go.

For details. please click:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

For advertising practitioners such as myself, this is an exciting month. Now is the time for the, "Oscars" of the advertising world which is being held in Cannes, France. From my FB news feed alone, I'm feeling a big tidal wave of awe, happiness, and envy pointed at the three works that won. So, go on let's  all drool. The people behind these deserve their time in the limelight.

A Bronze for BBDO Guerrero \ Proximity

A Silver for DDB DM9 JaymeSyfu

A Silver for Ace Saatchi & Saatchi

Awesome! Congratulations to all the winners. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


This weekend is a rainy blur. I've never tried to do two art openings in one night before so please forgive me for not being able to jot down the artists' names. I shall remedy this as soon as I figure it out. The night started out mellow at the Manila Contemporary
The owner, Valentine Willie greeted us with, "Thank you for braving the rain." 

No. No. No. Thank you.

Manila Contemporary always puts on amazing openings. This one was entitled, "Clouds & Wings: Alwin Reamillo and Juliet Lea"

For this gallery, art isn't static. They understand how art permeates all pores of life and that one form of art inspires another. Art is not just something you mount on the wall.

Avant-garde Filmmaker Khavn dela Cruz is also an accomplished pianist. 
Looking spiffy in that suit, Khavn!

Famous painter Popo San Pascual takes the seat. My boyf is pretty unhappy at this point. The crowd is noisy and he can't hear the music. (He plays piano too.)

My boyf is also slightly irked because he can't make out the shapes clearly. 

I took a moment to appreciate not being color-blind (by posing with the painting). 
We then headed to my friend's exhibit, "20/20: Likhalayaan Exhibit". A collaborative effort between 20 artists and 20 photographers. I spotted some interesting stuff.

 This one reminded me of an ad idea I pitched recently. So naturally, I think its BRILLIANT!

I like this mirror. I probably would not want to look at it while brushing my teeth though.

This leaves you with a nice fuzzy feeling.

This one too. Kind of.

I'll end with my photographer friend, Kaity Chua. She's light-headed and happy that she's done with her first exhibit. Yes Kaity, you may now assume the tortured artist pose.

Friday, June 18, 2010

musa manila has been swirling around in my head for roughly two years now and I’ve always stopped myself from jumping right in. Excuses include: I need the perfect name. I need material. I need time to refine it. I wonder who will read it. I want it to be perfect. But now I feel the time is ripe. You see, approximately a month from now, I’m going to be a year older. It’s time to do something meaningful for myself.

This blog is about finding a muse in the land I live in and the culture that’s thriving on it. I want to find inspiration in the blood that flows through me because I love being a Filipino. I want to discover how to be more Filipino every single day. musa manila is a  chronicle of the journey.