Thursday, April 24, 2014

Magpakatotoo Ka!

I don’t think there is anyone above the age of at least 20 who doesn’t know how the beautiful and talented Toni Gonazaga first made her mark in the showbiz industry – yes, I am talking about that commercial. Sprite’s Magpakatotoo Ka! TV ad 13 years ago, where Toni shamelessly screamed, “I love you, Piolo!” sparked the fire that has been lighting her journey in the entertainment industry for over a decade.

And now, the frank yet adorable girl from that legendary commercial is back! This time, as the celebrity everyone was going crazy about – just like Papa P last time!

It’s really witty how they were able to remake the Magpakatotoo Ka! commercial to show how Toni blossomed from that fan girl to the super famous celebrity that she is now. My praises go to Sprite for this wonderful new TV ad. And to Toni, this commercial made me realize just how far you’ve really come. Congratulations!

The main point of Sprite’s new commercial is to remind us and every store owner in the country that a bottle of its thoroughly refreshing drink is worth P7.00 only! Awesome, right? Just the perfect news for summer!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Blessed in Bulacan

Because of Ellen de Generes's Twittter breaking celeb selfie, #blessed has come to be associated with gathering as many stars as you can into one photo. Of course, blessings come in many forms. For me, it recently came in a day full of quiet joys and unexpected treasures. Call it coincidence; call it lightheaded thinking from meatless Fridays, or perhaps just some Divine Intervention. Some friends and I wanted to do a pilgrimage, and a road trip as well and I was tasked with doing the research. My best friend Angelette said, "Let's go to Bulacan, it's near enough to be back in a day." I thought of Barsoain Church, and as I searched online, discovered that a few meters away was equally historic and architecturally significant Malolos Cathedral or formally named the Basilica Minore de la Immaculada Concepcion.

Barasoain Church was built in the 1630, and then witness to three major event in our history, the convening of the First Philippine Congress, the drafting of the Philippine Constitution and the declaration of the First Philippine Republic. It has a serene majesty, and though burned in the Revolution, has been wonderfully restored. Malolos Cathedral is slightly older as it was constructed in 1591, of light materials, and finally completed in1740. In 1813, it was destroyed by a fire, and then rebuilt; but then it was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1863. Emilio Aguinaldo used it as the first seat of his government. Its super fresh paint job is a bit discordant with its NeoClassic architecture, but its soaring dome asserts its presence and heritage. The Stations of the Cross were kept in the original Spanish. It gives hope to our Boholano kababayans that their landmark churches can emerge from last year's devastation, as these Bulacan monuments have also survived these tectonic shifts.

It is mind boggling to think how old these churches are because there are signs of life everywhere: baptismal and mass schedules; wedding banns; and constant cleaning, perhaps in preparation for Holy Week. And it filled my heart and soul to know that though many of our beautiful buildings have been torn down indiscriminately, these churches have been so painstakingly and lovingly restored.

Angelette had read about a local resto Kabisera, and we headed there after offering our prayers in both churches. My sister, the architect called it Pinoy Shabby Chic. Maybe it was more shabby than chic, but we left satisfied. With some authentic dirty ice cream, care of the local manong whom we followed on the subdivision's streets, I felt uplifted in body, mind and spirit.

Malolos Cathedral, Basilica Minore de la Imacolada Concepcion.

The Malolos Cathedral's immaculate ceiling

The dome of Malolos Cathedral.

Malolos Cathedral altar with the statue of the Immaculate Conception

La Imaculada Concepcion statue at Malolos Cathedral

Heads bowed in prayer.

Malolos Cathedral interiors

Malolos Cathedral - the Stations of the Cross are in Spanish.

"In the beginning was the Word." Gospel of St John. Ceiling of Malolos Cathedral.

Malolos Cathedral finely carved doors

These plants must be watered with holy water, as they are lush and blooming even in the summer heat. Landscaping at Malolos Cathedral.


Barasoain Church altar

Main altar, Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan.

Barasoain ceiling

Barasoain Church's intricately carved main door & Romanesque facade

Floor detail in the pathways outside Barasoin Church.

Excursionistas ang peg!

Kabisera Restaurant. Pinoy shabby chic in Bulacan

Local flavor. Foyer of Kabisera, a restaurant specializing in home cooking.

Feelin' the blues.

It's more fun on the floor!


Come to my window.

Provincial providence.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Today’s Terno comes alive with Hana and Champion

Fashion designing really has gone a long way in the Philippines. They say it is a great era for local designers right now. After this year’s Philippine Fashion & Design Competition (PFDC), I totally agree! Thanks to Champion Infinity Detergent and Shokubutsu Hana Shampoo, the gala night was a blast!

Every two years, the Fashion & Design Council of the Philippines (FDCP) hold the much-revered PFDC to showcase the country’s brightest young designers. This year, 13 finalists were chosen to interpret the country’s national costume in modern times to create Today’s Terno.

And wow. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to wear our national costume the way they did if I didn’t see them with my own eyes!

I specifically liked Tony Evan’s designs. His work with layering and transparency are just superb. And surprise, surprise! He won the grand prize! And I mean grand. This includes seed money for his clothing line and an all expense paid scholarship for a world-renowned fashion school in London. Wish I have his talent, and his grand prize!

The FDCP also created exclusive pieces for two of the night’s sponsors, courtesy of FDCP President JC Buendia and Joey Samson.

JC Buendia wowed the audience with his Infinite Terno for Champion Infinity Detergent. It was a great visualization of the infinite woman, the one who defies limits and boundaries. Mr. Buendia’s masterpiece allows women to do anything, and be anything. I was really impressed!

Meantime, Joey Samson created the Beauty of Nature Terno for Shokubutsu Hana Shampoo. It’s a comfortable flowy piece that allowed the natural beauty of the model to shine through. Seeing this creation alone was rejuvenating. Loved it!

Aside from Tony Evan, a couple of designers also received special awards for their notable designs. Gabbie Sarenas won the Infinite Terno Award for her creations that defied boundaries by merging fashion with comfort. While Vince Tolentino won the Beauty of Nature Terno Award for the overall beauty of his designs and his creative use of natural fabrics to make pieces that will endure overtime.

PFDC grand prize winner Tony Evan with his take on Today's Terno.

Champion Brand Manager Caloy Bacani with Gabbie Sarenas who took home Infinite Terno Award for her creations that embody the infinite woman.

Peerless Cosumer Marketing Manager Norman Mier with Vince Tolentino who won Beauty of Nature Terno Award for his creations that endure overtime.

Thank you so much, FDCP, Champion, Hana and the rest of the sponsors who made this year’s PFDC possible! After that night, I can already see a super bright future for our young designers and the modernized version of our country’s national costume. So excited for Hana and Champion’s next projects that will surely showcase more Filipino talents!

James Ong & Wynn Wynn Ong with FDCP President JC Buendia

Franco Laurel & FDCP President JC Buendia

Bea Recto & former Senator Nikki Coseteng

Peerless Lion Marketing Director Pen Roque

Fashion designer Randy Ortiz

Fashion designer Lulu Tan-Gan

Hairstylist Henri Calayag

World-renowned industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue

Former Miss Universe Margie Moran

Architect Gil Coscolluela

Tonichi Nocom, Jackie Aquino, Thelma San Juan & Pen Roque

JC Buendia, Pen Roque, Jackie Aquino, Randy See & Raphael Robes

Irene Marcos-Araneta

Jojie Loren

Chito Vijandre