Aug 31, 2011

Do You Know How to Touch a Girl? Part 1

Roughly six months from now, my sister will be attending her first prom so you can just imagine the chaos that's been happening in our house! Who is she going to wear? My mom promised her that she'll splurge on her gown since she's the only daughter. Jun Escario? Sassa Jimenez? Mag Kermit Tesoro kaya? I personally recommend Ivar Aseron. Anyway, this brings me back more than four years ago during my senior year prom.

The first thing that we thought (aside from what to wear) was who am I going to ask out? The thing with bringing girls to prom is that (as insensitive as this may sound [hello, high school]) they can be seen as your "trophies," especially in an exclusive boys school. The prettier your partner is, the more that your batch mates will be impressed. It's like bringing a Lamborghini to school. Mikey brought Eunice, a super pretty chinita girl from CSR, the year before so I wanted my prom date this year to be equally stunning.

I texted Andy, a friend I met in St. Paul during our interaction with them. She told me to ask permission from her mom which I bravely did! It was my first time to do that so my voice was shaking over the phone the whole time. Her mom agreed after telling that we'll drop Andy to her house in Greenhills with a Mercedes Benz. Problem solved! Later, I learned that her dad is a general who is currently out of town. What are the odds if I asked the permission directly from her dad? Yikes!

Back then, one of the famous prom songs was Jojo's Do You Know How to Touch a Girl? Aptly fit if you ask me. Everyone was almost finished eating their dinner when they started playing some songs signaling us that the dance floor was now open. After a few upbeat songs, they dimmed the lights and switched to the prom music genre. I asked Andy to dance with me and I noticed that her gold body hugging gown looks great in the dimmed lights!

And then came that awkward where-do-i-put-my-hands moment. After peeking over the other couple dancing - guys on the waist of the girls, girls over the shoulder of the guys. Whew! It's weird when you hold the waist of girls because you feel how they are incredibly fragile. I mean, I tried to touch her as gentle as possible because she was too thin that I think I could break her if I get too excited! Haha!

I'll spare you from more awkward and medyo embarrassing  details, but after several minutes, her dad surprisingly called telling her that he's outside the lobby of Makati Shang and it's getting late so Andy had to go home (when the fun was just starting.) I checked my watch and it was pass midnight. Alright, so I accompanied her to the lobby of the hotel. Her gold sparkling gown looking more incredible under the chandelier! I bid goodbye, "thanks for the unforgettable night." Another hug, then I went back to the party.

Realizing that my sister will be attending her first prom makes me wonder if boys these days still know "how to touch a girl." Figuratively, of course. You can't blame parents (dads, specially) if they are extra careful with their daughters because they used to be boys as well whose imaginations can sometimes run wildly. How many can still look a girl in the eye genuinely and sincerely, appreciating her for her beauty and stopping at that?

I really don't know, but I still trust that men are naturally courteous and respectful. I think when externalities (like trying to impress your friends or that one has to conform to what one thinks is the widely accepted norm) are factored out, we can observe that men still know how to touch a girl. In Jojo's words: "thoughtful and kind, cares what's on [her] mind." Those and many other qualities.

Economics of the Prostitution Industry

If I'll be pursuing my masters degree in London School of Economics (my ultimate dream school that will hopefully pave way to UNESCO, IMF or World Bank [or at least ADB]), my thesis would be about the prostitution industry in Ayala Center. I'm not even kidding.

If you've read Super Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, there is a chapter there with the title "How is a Street Prostitute Like a Department-Store Santa?" After reading it, I remembered how my high school friends and I frequent the Greenbelt area and see there women in kinky outfits behaving maliciously (to put it lightly) towards foreigners. Sometimes we'd just sit there and watch/laugh at them. But of course we know that their reality is much more complicated and multi-layered. Going back to my research...

The variables to be tested and compared are endless! Thinking about them just makes me very very excited! Having observed these women flaunt their best assets (skills not included) makes me more curious about the micro and macro implications of the "oldest profession in the world." And that curiosity somehow needs to be satisfied, as academically as possible;)

I have several questions in mind: Has prostitution declined over the past few years because of the introduction of an easier (not to mention safer) alternative - premarital or casual sex? What are the peak seasons and how do prostitutes make sure the demand is being met? Alternatively, does the law of diminishing marginal returns take place due to over supply? ...

Oh if I'll only be given the opportunity to write a thesis about it! Haha! Or maybe even a book! Might be a very fun read! But who knows, maybe someday;)

Aug 29, 2011

Art Works As Lovers

I find it refreshing whenever someone talks about his passion - whether it's about the environment, a new business idea, a latest fashion purchase or art.

A few days ago, we were invited to Art 101 in Superfresh, Ronac Art Center in Greenhills. The schedule said that it will start around 7pm, but we arrived around 8pm. Not surprisingly, the event just began 5 mins after we were seated.

The speaker, Bjorn Santos, talked about how he started his art collection. It was after high school that he became fascinated with paintings. There's something about art that attracted him so he "compelled" his parents and godparents to give him monetary gifts during Christmas and his Birthdays.

What started out as a simple fascination became a hobby, and saying it's an obsession may not be such a strong statement. From his first artwork, he grew his collection to roughly less than a thousand paintings and sculptures! My jaws just dropped! Having mentioned that he taught English in Our Lady of Fatima University, I thought that maybe their family also owns the school!

Then my brother told me, "look at his shoes - it's Dior!"

It takes more than the appreciation of an art work's monetary value (ehem, investment piece) or an eye for beauty (home accessory) that makes someone an art collector. There was something with the way Bjorn talked about art - like a child of a painter, an intimate lover of a collector. Art is alive.

There are those who are moved, who understand what is being expressed and who take part in the creative process of bringing the creativity into continuity. I'm not sure if you get this but there are times in art galleries where in I look at a work and the painting catches me off guard. Like I feel very vulnerable all of a sudden because here is a work that I can very much relate to.

Art expresses unarticulated desires and bridges our sensibilities with our subconscious. More often than not, it is continuous and builds up on past realizations. This may be the reason why the more you look at an art work, the more you are drawn to it. And like in Oscar Wilde's novel Dorian Gray, you become one with the art work. Isn't that how lovers eventually end up?

photos by Nicole Santos

When Repressed Memories Strike Back

Do you know that feeling when emotions you tried to repress for years come rushing back all of a sudden in one night? Like when you accidentally clicked a facebook photo album of a person that you really liked and you saw how much s/he has grown - and no matter how much you've wanted to be a part of that growth, you remain only to be an observer/admirer?

The tragic (and ironic) thing here is that the more you shield these memories, the more piercing they eventually get. Add to that being in a cold room with only your laptop to keep you company and you have the perfect recipe for a "slash-wrist" night.

It's 1:45am. I wasn't able to keep myself from opening the cabinet and retrieving my high school memory box. It's where I keep important photos, letters, my diaries and all sorts of other memorabilia. I think I haven't checked it for more than a year so the content deeply overwhelmed me.

Then I finally found the letter I was looking for. Written in a yellow paper folded lengthwise, it was a response to a palanca (retreat letter) I wrote more than four years ago. That hand writing (and the hand that wrote it)! It still sent chills down my spine. I exactly remember how it was given to me - in the second floor corridor just after the morning assembly. You smiled and you weren't sure what to say. I didn't even expect you to write back, but you did and I still have it with me.

It's weird that your best memories can sometimes be the most painful - only because of how much you'd want to bring it back over and over again. Only if we could. But maybe that's the secret to why they are your most precious.

Aug 23, 2011


On August 24 to 27, 2011, NBC Tent in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig shall house MANILART 2011, the country’s biggest gathering of art galleries. 

“We promise a more diverse and vibrant art exposition and viewers shall witness a groundbreaking event—the simultaneous opening of various art exhibitions during gala night,” said Delan Robillos, MANILART 2011 Director.  “Exhibitors will not simply be showcasing the works of artists they represent but each gallery shall be presenting a conceptualized art exhibit,” he added.

In 2009, Onib Olmedo’s iconic jeepney painting served as the image of the first ManilArt while Andres Barrioquinto’s “Crystal Gazer” was the face of last year’s art fair.  This year, ManilArt shall be graced by Elmer Borlongan’s “Batang Edsa” which shall also be translated into modern dance during the launching gala by premiere contemporary dance maven and Dance Forum founder, Myra Beltran.

Hosted by writer, magazine editor, and TV personality RJ Ledesma, the Filipiniana opening night will also feature a fusion of indigenous and modern music by Banda Malaya.  The award-winning Fatima University Chorale shall also render a performance.

MANILART 2011 through the Varsitarian, the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas, has invited UST to celebrate their Quadricentennial year during the 4-day affair.  The recognition  of outstanding Thomasian visual artists shall highlight a program featuring Thomasian performers which has been tentatively set for August 26, 2011

The MANILART lecture series this year includes, among others, “How we turn paintings into Bicycles:  Lessons in Art, Law, and the Internet,” by Atty. Gigo Alampay and “Semiotics in Visual Art” by Dr. Oscar V. Campomanes.  

Atty. Alampay the Executive Director of CANVAS, a non-stock, non-profit organization that promotes Philippine art, culture, and the environment and teaches Contemporary Legal and Policy Issues in Information and Communications Technology at the University of the Philippines’ College of Law. 

Dr. Campomanes is a permanent panelist at the annual Jerry Elizalde Navarro Workshop on Arts Criticism in Baguio City and teaches critical theory and cultural studies at the Ateneo de Manila University, and semiotics, media criticism, and culture theory at the UST Graduate School

Award-winning poet, fictionist, playwright, and essayist Vim Nadera shall give a talk titled “Visuals on Rizal Today” in commemoration of National Hero Jose Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary.

Little art enthusiasts will also enjoy the storybook reading hour at the lecture room.  RepubLikha Executive Director and former preschool teacher, Carisse Escueta shall read “The Rocking Horse” which features paintings by Elmer Borlongan.  VJ Chino Lui Pio of MYX, and Ramon Bautista, have also been invited to read “Message in the Sand,” with artworks by Roel Obemio, and “Sol: A Legend about the Sun” with images by Farley Del Rosario, respectively.

Artists in Residence, Inc. (AIR) founders Architect Jojo Ballo, Cathy Lasam, and Jill Arwen Posadas shall also give a lecture on basic drawing for kids. 

Since year one, Manilart’s live sketching sessions have always been one of the highlights of the art fair. The event not only aims to foster fellowship among the artists, but gives the audience the chance to witness how they are able to render the same subject through different style-genres from scratch. The live sketching session also serve as an interactive experience between the artists, the subjects, and the spectators, allowing art enthusiasts a glimpse at how artworks are brought to life.  Leading up to the art fair, satellite sketching sessions shall also be held at Mercato Centrale on several weekends prior to August 24.
Among the art fair’s goals, in conjunction with promoting Philippine art, are to compound visitorship, strengthen support from both local and foreign exhibitors, and fortify media relations to expand media coverage that is both more extensive and intensive.

MANILART 2011 is presented by the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization (BAGO) and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and co-presented by Allied Bank and Contemporary Art Philippines with the support of Bellarocca, Business Mirror, Business, World, Colleen and Derwent Art Supplies, Crown Fine Arts, La Creperie, Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar Heritage Resort, Manila Bulletin, Mercato Centrale, Midas Hotel,Oakwood Premiere, Pebeo Art Supplies, Ronac Art Center, Secret Fresh, Sustain Pro Complex, UNO Magazine, and Uratex Premium. 
The gala event on August 24, 2011 is by invitation only.  The art fair is open to the public on August 25-27, 2011.  For lecture series registration, call  531-6231 or 0917-8511333 or email  Visit

Lights, Camera, Action!

I was surprised when one of our featured personalities, Adrian Gonzales, asked me to cameo for his thesis short film, Ningas. I have been invited to do cameos before for school projects but this was much different. And it's Adrian Gonzales we're talking about - just the guy whose works will be exhibited in Milan this September.

This is the big acting break that I've been waiting for! Haha! I'm kidding of course because I really have no talent in acting. Nevertheless, I confirmed our attendance for the shoot together with my brother. 

Everyone in the staff of Ningas were very accommodating. We were the fashionable friends of Camille, the Chinese lead actress. Our lines were very little and I think our scene will just be within a minute but it took us 3 hours, from 9am till noon to get everything done! It was that intense. One scene even took 8 takes just to perfect it.

I used to direct short films for school projects but this was much different. There's just this insatiable need for perfection and they were very attentive to the littlest details. I'm not complaining though, I want to appear in a film with the utmost quality. Haha!

We arrived home just in time for lunch. It was definitely a day worth remembering! The film will be shown during Cine Adarna at the end of September! Definitely can't wait.

Being Still for 5 Minutes

"Are you a carnivore?" was one of the first things my meditation teacher asked me before the start of our first session. JM invited me to visit her house in Antipolo for an introduction on Christian Meditation last Saturday. For the record, this isn't something that I usually do because we live in a fast paced environment that I can't even spare 5 mins to "reflect" and  I find silence lethal (well, sometimes). Start with 5 mins, she kept repeating.

It's interesting to note that she came from the hard core corporate world - the woman responsible for bringing Red Bull and Agfa Film in the Philippines. She also worked for P&G before becoming the VP Marketing for an Advertising firm. She's what I'd like to call metanoia personified - a total change of heart.

She told me that Christian meditation is different from Zen or Transcendental meditation because it involves Christ. You are doing it because of Him. I find it uncomfortable when religion was taken into consideration because it marginalizes those whose beliefs are different. She made it clear though that meditation is universal and not exclusive to any one faith or tradition.

Back in my oriental philosophy class, we tried to meditate for 5 mins - concentrate on your breathing, do not pay attention to your environment, thoughts or emotions. I found it difficult at that time, and I still did last Saturday. We were seated in the meditation room and JM asked me to repeat after a mantra inside my head -  "ma ra na tha" which means "Come, Lord Jesus, come."

Different concerns start entering my head - the fashion show, Manila Kid, I'mABosco, how will I get home, what to wear in the next party... STOP. I'm paranoid. This was the time I realized that I needed to meditate. I'm usually cranky, disorganized and sleepless these days and this 12-week meditation tour will help me manage the stress.

JM told me to practice meditating at home even for just 5 mins every morning and evening. I'm quite surprised that being still for 5 mins is actually very difficult! It ain't lethal as I originally thought but it will leave you vulnerable. But maybe it's in that state that you get to know what your body (and soul) needs. It's all the external layers are being peeled to reveal the core person within. I have yet to arrive at a solid realization, but we're getting there.

11 weeks more to go!

Aug 10, 2011

Strengths Finder 2.0

Few weeks ago, a friend of mine was so thrilled to share with us this "sobrang solid" book that he read about self mastery. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath isn't your usual book where they give you a general guideline on self improvement like the Covey's or Maxwell's. Attached at the back of the book is a unique code that will allow you to take an assessment which will help you discover your 5 key strengths among 34 most common talents.

It is an upgraded version because even though (for example) you and your friend got 'Achiever', the assessment will be different based the intensity of your inclination, and on the relationship of that strength with your other strengths. In fact, there are more than 5,000 personalized insights that the system will choose from. This certifies that this project is thoroughly researched and your money is definitely worth every peso!

I got my copy for only P719 because I guess almost every bookstore has their products on at least 20% off this time of the year. Original price in Powerplant Fullybooked is P999, but I used to see P899 copies in other bookstores. Yeah, the price may sound like a bargain for a book and a practical assessment test, but the challenge comes with looking for a copy.

I have to warn you, it's out of stock in all bookstores in Shangri-la, Mega Mall and Robinsons Galleria. When I bought it, I had to go to Greenbelt 1 National Bookstore first, then Greenbelt 5 Fullybooked, Greenbelt 3 Powerbooks, Glorietta 3 Powerbooks before I ended up in Glorietta 5 National Bookstore where they only had one copy remaining! It's like looking for an ancient artifact!

From a 19-page result (!), I'd like to share with you guys my Top 5 Strengths from the outcome of the assessment:

1) COMMUNICATION - I wasn't surprised with this outcome, not that I used to be VP for Communications in our org. Haha! It's more than my love for writing and conversing with other people. I always feel the need to bring dry ideas to life to make them exciting and vivid for those people who have short attention span. "Your word pictures pique their interests, sharpen their world and inspire them to act"

2) MAXIMIZER - this may be the strength that allowed me to conceptualize Manila Kid. We wanted to highlight the talents of the youth today in our online magazine so that others who share the same interest will be inspired! I can sense the strength of people and feels that something can always be done to maximize them. I never really focused on my weaknesses and try to improve them. I enhance what I already have.

3) STRATEGIC - I guess I really hate complex situations that's why I try to find the patterns in scenarios and the best route or alternative for efficiency. This comes into play when competition in business or projects arise. I'm usually the one who comes up with an idea on how to change the course of the game in favor of us. Even during the end of my term as VP, I was helping one of the incoming officers on how to politically strategize so that there will be balance of influences in the org, if you know what I mean.

4) FUTURISTIC - the future always fascinated me because of the possibilities and the impact we can have on it. I'm a visionary and thinking of what is yet to come energizes me and somehow provides hope that something can always be done. I think this strength goes in perfectly with the next strength on the list.

5) POSITIVITY - those who know me may be skeptical on this one. But generally, I'm a positive person - very generous on giving praises and support, and always on the look out for positivty in a situation. I think everyone will agree that we're better off immersing ourselves with the goodness that life can offer instead of concentrating on the problems and deficiencies of the events and people around us. We're all about solutions!

Now I kinda realize that my top 2-5 strengths are very much in perfect harmony with each other.

I usually try to finish at least one book per week. I have to say that this is the most worthwhile book investment I've made for the past few months! Grab your copy now, if you can still find one! Haha!

Aug 8, 2011

Filipino and Proud

Last Thursday, the Manila Kid Team took on the challenge of Chictopia Style Icon and interior design student, Aivan Magno. "I'll be asking Filipino bloggers to wear one (or more) of my Igorot Pieces and give them the challenge to make it contemporary without losing their personal styles."

Together with Nicole Santos, MK's Fashion Editor

 and Jonard Palteng, MK's Creative Director

we invaded Ortigas in our Igurot-inspired outfits and had one of the most awesome collaboration shoots ever!

It wouldn't be a surprise to say that we got stares from people around the area of Ortigas. From Mega Mall, we had to walk all the way to Podium to change clothes. Aivan led us to this shortcut where we had to pass a carinderia area - and it was lunch time. These people might be thinking that we came from some cultural show or something!

It's weird that people find Korean fashion in the streets more acceptable than something as Filipino as Ifugao fashion. This shouldn't be the case. Why do we have to look for inspiration in Tokyo, Milan or Paris when there's so much that our country has to offer? :(

And here is the amazing Aivan Magno. He told us that he had to dye his hair purple before meeting us (last week it was red). You may check out our feature article with him in Manila Kid here.

For the record, we're all "Chictopia babies." We've met each other online years ago when Chictopia hasn't been that famous and people would post their outfits mainly to share and express themselves - not to gain popularity. 

After the shoot, we had to cool down in a coffee shop because walking under the scorching sun under three layers of clothes can be lethal.

We talked about a lot of things - from high school memories to plans after graduation. Of course we wouldn't miss talking about the blogging world - the issues revolving other bloggers (gossips!) and the power of media. It was a very insightful conversation because we shared our personal vision for our country. We dream of having a distinct/dominant Philippine fashion, because right now I think there is none. Our country has always been a melting pot of cultures.

Those who say that fashion bloggers are narrow and superficial cannot be farther from the truth. I've talked to a lot of them, and lahat sila ay may ipinaglalaban - from homosexuality acceptance in society to being true to yourself through your clothes. 

Why use media to create pain and contempt if you can use it to spread love and positivity?:) In our case, it's our love for our country!:)