Gandang Filipina

Makeup, Culture and Politics from a Southeast Asian perspective

Manilart 2010 Exclusive Preview

I've calmed down a little from the hangover of meeting my second favorite-est Filipino designer (the first is my childhood friend Marc Rancy), Kate Torralba. I'm still not done bragging about it to my friends, but if you're my friend and I haven't bragged personally to you yet, you can catch up here.

Manilart 2010 opened to the public on July 30, Friday, but there was an invitation-only exclusive preview of the exhibit the night before. Thanks to Patrice, Maxime's friend, we were able to score tickets to this VIP event worth Php2,500. Rumors were circulating that the President himself was going to grace the event, but of course, the rumors remained rumors.

Situated in SMX Convention Center beside SM Mall of Asia, Manilart 2010 is the second of its kind, the first being last year. This year has 10 or more times more oomph and grandeur, because there were more galleries exhibiting, more artists, and definitely more newsbuzz. It took me half a day and a whole mall to put together my outfit, but it wasn't as difficult as that night when I attended the premiere night of Ploning. I figured President Aquino wouldn't flatter me on my outfit, so why bother.

I'm not an art collector but I do know some stuff about visual art, but my real love is performance art, and I'm lucky they didn't any shortage of performing talents in Manilart. Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, the country's favorite ballerina, performed "Fire," a number created especially for the event, and Grace Nono performed in a mini-concert (she was onstage for more or less 20 minutes) with some of the most talented Filipino musicians and singers. 

Lisa Macuja-Elizalde's "Fire," together with some very hot and graceful talents from Ballet Manila

Maxime: "She looks old, but she has a great body and she's very flexible." Yes, with Lisa Macuja less than 5 meters away, you can see she's had a long ballet career, but she still has the moves of an internationally-acclaimed prima ballerina. Mabuhay ka, Lisa.

And will you look at that lift? I swear it was just one guy lifting her the whole 5 minutes they were onstage.

The final pose. (Just look at those abs.)

There was absolutely no shortage of abs, even in the performance of  Grace Nono:

Her gown was made of kacha, or sack cloth, which is hard and course but environmentally friendly. She had tassels made of shells. Very ethnic.

She would put the mic around 2 feet away from her mouth when belting out the notes, which shows how powerful her voice it. Very rarely do we see singers who have that kind of power and volume.

A kind of ritual where they were stepping back and forth while the man in the middle was chanting in an indigenous language.

A native guitar while Grace Nono is singing

Oooh, this guy knows about audience interaction.

Some people behind me were whispering that at this point, she was singing in Bisaya. I didn't understand at all, but it sounded like songs from the Spanish era.

And yes, I didn't resist from taking a picture of his abs. He sings pretty well, btw, which was a pleasant surprise.

Taking a bow

While walking around, I was sightseeing more on the people rather than the artwork (although I was looking for two particular Ado Rodriguez paintings, which were not there to my dismay).

Congressional Spouse Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo with two very famous visual artists; I feel so stupid I can't remember their names. If anyone recognizes them, please inform me so I could make the correction and do some self-lashing.

My friends from Ateneo and theatre, Mia and Camille. Camille is the sister of Floy Quintos, who directed me in a play he also wrote, Fluid.

This deserves another posting--Kate Torralba with her BFF (duh I wish)

With the best date one could ever have--Maxime. Thank you for this night and for opening the car door for me. He does it most of the time, and when he forgets he apologizes profusely--to the delight of my romantic, pro-chivalry, anti-radical feminism side.

I also met Sir Freddie Santos, who was my teacher in some workshop I enrolled at around 7 years ago. I dunno if he remembered me  (of course he said he did), but it was for public speaking and I learned a lot of things about dressing up onstage, confidence and diction. There were also 2 lawyers I met, both from the UP College of Law, and upon hearing that I'm also a student there, they said, "Good answer! It's the only law school in the country!" Haha, oh well. When you're in the best law school, they said, it's difficult not to feel any kind of pride.

It was a fun night, even without President Aquino around. The only thing we didn't like was the food. It was a cocktail affair, but the buffet table was packed with lechon and some fresh Vietnamese noodles. I like noodles and lechon, but they don't go together, and they're not compatible with the affair. And they served it on very small plates, which are appropriate for cocktails but not for this type of food. I mean, seriously, is there any way you can eat noodles on a small plate without spilling?

To solve the problem, Maxime and I stopped at McDonald's Las Pinas on the way home and feasted on chicken nuggets and McChicken--amidst the stares of some late-night snackers and the cashiers.

The Orgasmic Feeling of a famous fashion designer complimenting you on your outfit

Manilart 2010. While having a conversation about art and politics with Maxime and some friends, I spotted THE Kate Torralba walking around the exhibits. I grabbed Maxime's arm in panic/excitement.

Diega: Oh my god oh my god oh my god you have to take a picture of me with Kate Torralba.
Maxime: Who's she? Where?
Diega: She's a famous designer here in the Philippines. Should I follow her? Should I? Should I?
Maxime: (shrugging) Yes, let's go.

Maxime did NOT understand the magic of KT, to my incredible disappointment, but after a lengthy discussion (while trying to call all my friends and mass text about my wonderful encounter), he finally got it when he compared her to Jean Paul Gaultier. I said, "Yes, but in the Philippines!"

Trivia: I didn't know it until Maxime told me that Jean Paul Gaultier started his designing career in Manila!

So I tiptoed my way behind KT, waiting for the perfect moment to talk to her. She was taking a picture of an avant garde painting, and I was sane enough to conclude that it was perfect for her style. I finally mustered up the courage to tap her shoulder.

Diega (Fangirl from hereon): Hi, I'm so sorry, but can I bother you with a picture?
KT: Oh sure! I love your dress! And this! (pointing to my headdress)
Fangirl: (shocked and orgasmic) Thank you so much!

It started from there, and then she went on complimenting my whole outfit, how she loved the headdress, how she would definitely wear the outfit with the yellow shoes, and how she would blog about my outfit too (she also handed Maxime her own camera so he can take a picture.)

Maxime also had a good conversation with her; she apparently speaks French with a smooth accent, and Maxime was surprised. I also told her I'm in law school in UP, to which she responded she also graduated from there. She then took a masters course in Ateneo (business, I think) but she didn't finish it, to which I replied "But you don't need it!"

A lot of words were exchanged but at that point my mind was racing and I couldn't remember anything. I was just stuck on the idea of having KT talking to me, knowing my name AND complimenting me on my outfit. Coming from a famous designer who connects with my love for color so much I think she lives in my subconscious, it meant everything.

And then the most amazing part: she asks for my mobile and email address, because she wanted to blog about our meeting. I scrambled for a pen, didn't have one, and ran (no, scurried) to the nearest table of art exhibitors and borrowed one. As I was writing my information on the back of somebody's calling card that she offered, she told Maxime, "Elle est tres tres jolie," meaning "she's very beautiful." I was shocked I didn't just collapse and die right there.

So here is the picture, which was fortunately taken when my eyes weren't still hazy from looking at her. Oh what a night. That was so much better than standing a foot away from Congw. Lani Mercado-Revilla.

Of course, Maxime, with all his manly ignorance of fashion, didn't take a full body picture, so my shoes (which brought half her compliments), weren't seen. Below are the shoes, as well as proof that I do NOT know how to pose in front of a sponsor wall.

Would you believe, there's something she and I have in common (in the closet, at least)!!! I don't think it's the same brand (mine's Nine West), because the peep toe is bigger in mine, but they are basically IDENTICAL!!!

She poses better than I do, too.

I still CANNOT afford her, but then, I haven't even tried on my friend Marc Rancy before, much less buy from him, and we've known each other since we were mortal enemies in grade school. I remember going through KT's shop in Greenbelt and realizing how much of life I'm missing. That's one more thing to add to my bucket list.

KT rockssssss

First Bridal Makeup Gig
My friend Pia trusted me enough to ask me to do her cousin's makeup for her wedding. I couldn't make up my mind on whether to accept the challenge or not, and truth to tell, I had to consult my friends in law school about it. I did the makeup of a friend's sister for her debut before, but I think a debut is totally different from a wedding.

Didn't get to take some good pictures of Janina, but maybe this could help:

Janina's 18th Yellow and Black party

So I'm quite nervous as to how it will turn out in the pictures. In person, everything looks natural, just like the bride said, but in pictures, you never know. And the pictures last forever.

Will have to wait for the official photogs to deliver said photographs to the bride, so she can give it to her cousin Pia, so Pia can show it to me.

Manilart in 2 days!

Yes, I haven't been posting lately, but will try to catch up. In the meantime, Manilart 2010 is in TWO DAYS and I didn't realize that Maxime got us 2 VIP tickets to the exclusive preview and gala night the night before the actual public opening of the exhibit.

So we're actually going on July 29, which is by-invitation-only event, and thanks to Patrice, Maxime's friend, we got tickets for two! The tickets say they're worth Php2,500 but I guess it doesn't really matter because you only get it when you're invited anyway, and the tickets aren't for sale.

For some history, Manilart actually started last year, in 2009, and the private opening was attended by lots of famous socialites, politicians and art and business tycoons.

Some pictures of Manilart 2009 gala night:

Tim Yap and Sarah Evangelista

With Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano

Tessa Prieto-Valdes

Secretary Duque, Hon Maria Laarni Cayetano, Mayor Sigfriedo Tinga, Hon Marlen Abigail Binay, Dean Florentina Rontina Colayco

What worries me now is that I have less than 2 days to think of what I'm going to wear. I made up my mind before to wear one of my ever-reliable ukay (vintage) or Landmark (yes, the dept. store) dresses, but when President Noynoy Aquino, the namesake of my favorite Filipino hero, is opening the event, I wouldn't dare wear something less than Php300 (I can do with Php500).

Yes, the President, who just recently delivered his State of the Nation Address, will be breathing the same air in the same room as I am. Who knows, I might even be close enough to actually smell his perfume.

Some friends suggested I wear this, but sad to say, this gown was one of the casualties of Typhoon Ondoy on that fateful day of September 2009:

This was during the premiere night of Ploning, a film directed by Dante Nico Garcia starring his best friend, Judy Ann Santos.

While dressing up with Sanndra

With Jean Pierre (who provided us with the tickets), Mik Hirang and Carlos Lacson, my date

That gown stole the show. It was definitely better than Judy Ann's white Filipiniana:

Well, maybe not, but it was good enough competition, considering it was made in Tutuban.

This might be a good time to buy a formal dress to wear on occasions like these. Oh well.

*Manilart 2009 Gala Night photos taken from Manilart Facebook account. Ploning photos taken by me.

La Prise de la Bastille

More than two centuries ago, thousands of revolutionaries stormed the Bastille, a fortress-prison where political prisoners were held during the monarchy of Louis XVI. It led to the French Revolution and the creation of French republic. It is now known as quatorze juillet, or the fourteenth of July, and has been celebrated ever since.

Like last night, when hundreds of French people living and visiting the Philippines, as well as very important Filipino people, gathered at Sofitel Plaza amidst L'oreal booths, some paintings and French-hatted waiters and mingled with wine, cheese and excellent bread.

Maxime and I have this unwritten arrangement every time we go to a party as a couple: we cannot be together all the time, unless we're in a group. We enter together, talk a little and survey the venue for a while, and then go around and talk to friends. Bastille Day was no different, and that's why while I was dressing up, he noticed that I was a little nervous and kept asking questions about the party.

Is it formal? Will there be some Filipinos there too? Do you like my lipstick? Are you going to see your friends there? He concluded that I was so stressed about the party, and I was. It was my first time to go to Bastille Day, which is more of a French reunion. I felt like an outsider.

As it turns out, I was scared for nothing. Upon entering, we saw Patrice, one of Maxime's cigar-smoking buddies and a really smart man, and we talked for a while with Stephen, who's working here on a new L'oreal perfume. The French ambassador took the stage and delivered a speech which nobody in my perimeter could understand. I thought it was in French at first, and then I realized it was in English, and I whispered to Maxime about it and he said he didn't even know what language it was.

Then, an undersecretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) made a speech too, which was more understandable, and both the Philippine and French anthems were sung. (You begin to notice the cultural differences here because I heard some singing during the Phiippine anthem but nobody sang with the soloist in the French one.)

I saw my friend Martin from L'oreal Philippines in a full suit, and was relieved to see someone I know, although all of my French friends stuck together that night. But it's still a relief to see somebody I know who looks like me.

After, there was fireworks, which we ignored, because they opened the cocktail buffet. I wanted to get to dessert really fast that I ignored the cheese and bread deliberately and went straight to the dessert table. It was amazing! There were some hand-rolled chocolate balls displayed on hand-shaped milk chocolate. This was the most memorable taste of the night.

I walked around and saw Mon Casiple, an electoral reform expert in the Philippines, whom I worked with in my stint in political research. I was touched he remembered me, and told me that Eta Rosales, former Akbayan chairperson, Risa Hontiveros, ex-Senatoriable and party-list representative, and Tony Villasor of COMELEC were there. I was ecstatic. So many famous political personalities! The political science major in me jumped in excitement.

Most exciting part was meeting Pierrick, one of my friends who studied in Ateneo two years ago but left prematurely because of a broken leg after a soccer game. He's here in the Philippines with his girlfriend Jeanne and cousin Mathieu, who is unbelievably funny! We instantly clicked when I learned he knows how to speak English, haha! Baptiste (pronounced Ba-tist) was also there--he was in the Philippines around two years ago too, then went back to France to finish his studies, got in a student exchange program in Taiwan, and is now back here to work in Makati for a Filipino-German company. These people share my love for my country, and this is why I like them so much.

We ended the night before 10pm--Pierrick, Jeanne and Mathieu has a flight to Bohol the next day, Maxime and Baptiste have work, and my heels were killing me. It might be my last time to see Pierrick and friends while they're here in the Philippines--I didn't even recognize Pierrick the first time I saw him!--but hopefully I can see them off on their last night here.

Waiters clad in typical French costume, which my friends vehemently deny--"that was true 50 years ago!" I said that's how foreigners think of the French: riding on a bike with a beret on his head and a baguette tucked under his arm.

This was just a display where they put some chocolate fudge brownies (see lower right, with the white chocolate triangles).

Tarts and chocolate! (and Martin's hand because he couldn't wait until I finish taking the picture)

Hand-rolled chocolate on (gasp!) mutilated chocolate hands!

Chocolate trees

Red, white and blue--the colors of the French flag

Outside the Sofitel and overlooking the bay

L-R: Baptiste, Baptiste's friend, Maxime, Pierrick, Jeanne and Mathieu (I'm behind the camera)

How Maxime got back his iPhone after forgetting it in the cab
So Maxime and some friends were on their way home to Alabang from France's National Day celebration at Sofitel Plaza (will post on it later). They all got out of the cab and Maxime was about to open his door when he felt his pocket and realized that he forgot his iPhone in the cab. With raging panic, he hopped on his motorbike and chased after the taxi driver. He finally caught him just as he was going out of the Madrigal gate of Ayala Alabang. He knocked on the door, got down from his motorbike, opened the door and took his iPhone, which was quietly sitting on the back seat.

You are amazing. Cheap but functional. You need to have a name, just like my laptop and my camera. Will baptize you with one soon.

Review: G-lish by Patrick Roxas bronzer

I've had a lot of posts about G-Lish here because it is my most favorite local brand of makeup. I've just recently discovered it, and they don't release collections very often. The last I heard was Patrick Rosas' line, but it launched around 3-4 years ago and they're putting it up on sale now.

G-lish by Patrick Rosas bronzer (Php100/7.8g) is a 3-color bronzer especially made for Filipina skin by famous makeup artist Patrick Rosas. I love all the Patrick Rosas eyeshadow palettes, but this one is slightly different from the others, because it doesn't show at all. It's frustrating how the color looks amazing on the pan but disappears on my face.

It has a smooth, creamy feel to it, and apart from the fact that it's invisible, it's a good product actually. I love these kinds of products because it's 3-in-1, and you get a good deal with your money. You can use this as 1) eyeshadow by using the colors separately and blending away, 2) as a bronzer by swirling your brush on all the colors, or 3) as a blush, by concentrating your brush on the 2 matte colors. This may be good for those with cooler skin tones, because then the product might show, but the warmer ones like me should stay off.

G-Lish packaging has a clean look to it because of it's glossy white plastic case, so it's not entirely ugly, but it looks a little cheap. Of course, at Php100, what do you expect? I think it's pretty functional that it comes with a mirror too.

Overall: 3/5

Recommended for: Cool toned girls who like multi-tasking products

Availability: All G-Lish outlets at Alabang Town Center (upper ground level), SM Megamall (3rd Floor Building B), Sta. Lucia Mall in Marikina (3rd floor Bridgeway level 2 Phase II) and Trinoma Mall (ground floor, across ForMe and Blue Star)

Review: Harmony Fruity Soap

Harmony Fruity Soap
(Php10.75/75g) is possibly the cheapest scented soap I've seen in the country ever. Maxime was doing some grocery shopping and I was wandering about at the health and beauty section (which I always do when I don't have to buy anything but want to) when I saw it. I thought, "Really? TEN Pesos?" and put it in the basket.

The scent is very strong when in the shower, and with the hot water it makes bathing a totally soothing experience, with the smell of strawberries around me. It's not very out there when you get out of the shower, however, so don't expect you'd smell like strawberries the rest of the day. It may be good or bad for you, and for me, I'd rather smell like my perfume than my soap, because I only like fruity smells in the shower.

Packaging says it's extra moisturizing, but please don't expect this from a ten-peso soap, because I didn't. It wasn't moisturizing, but at least I wasn't disappointed.

It's a nice scented soap for a really cheap price, and it does the work of making your shower a bit sweeter than usual.

Overall: 4/5

Recommended for: Scent-loving girls who like hot scented showers.

Availability: Check your local grocery stores.

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It's a wonderful world
A wonderful week last week!

Some Caramia Italian gelato hazelnut capped July 5, 2010, when Maxime saw something he's been wanting to buy for over a year. But it's a secret, so I will leave it to your imagination.

We're used to opening the windows in our 8th floor condo to feel the strong wind but this was a first:

It's a dead bat that apparently got trapped in my mom's room. It's been smelling for a day and we couldn't find the source; fortunately my brother chanced upon it while he was looking for a missing shoe.

My best friend Dai gave me this as pasalubong from her trip to Bangkok. Isn't it classy? And my readings can fit! I love it. And the scarf comes with the bag too!

Review: Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick in Incognito

Haven't blogged in almost a week, and I've seriously been guilty missing out on these days! I promised myself I'll blog as often as I can, hopefully everyday, but finally realized it's next to impossible. Especially if you have a wonderful weekend of good meals and shopping!

Now, back to regular programming. Last weekend was amazing and I had to use an amazing lipstick to catch up with it. Maxime's family visited the Philippines last May and she bought me this as pasalubong, and you wouldn't believe how hard I tried to contain my excitement. In fact, I asked her to buy it for me because I thought it was cheaper in France (it wasn't) but she offered it to me as a gift. It is THE most amazing lipstick ever.

The Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick (Php1950) is Chanel's pigmented line of lipsticks, one of a staggering 39 shades, and is packaged in a cool, click-type container. You open it by clicking the gold part and out comes the lipstick. I was already dazzled by Lancome's magnetic lipstick cap, but this one is for the books--I love creative lipstick containers because they just make applying makeup more fun! (Now longing to buy Guerlain's "bullet" lipstick.)

Incognito is a nice color of mauve-y pink brown. It's really hard to describe Chanel colors because they change on different lips or when light reflects, but I do detect the three colors I mentioned, plus small specks of pink and gold shimmer. The shimmer doesn't show on the lips unless you look really closely, so it's not totally out there. This has a really smooth satin finish, very creamy and it doesn't dry out my lips even when it fades out. If you like glossy lips you might wanna put some gloss over this, but this works fine for me.

What I really love about Chanel lipsticks (don't think I'm an expert, I only have 3 but they're of different lines) is their capability to change color on every lip. When I look at swatches on the internet of Incognito, I saw something nudish pink, but this turned out to be more pigmented than that. When buying expensive lipsticks, I always go for the nude wearable colors just because I feel safe with my money, and I just try experimenting on cheaper brands. I got a little scared of Incognito but realized that it was a really wearable pigmented shade.

Overall: 5/5

Recommended for: Anyone who appreciates makeup enough to spend for one lipstick (but believe me, it's worth it)

Availability in Manila: Chanel counters in Rustan's outlets

Chanel Rouge Allure side by side with Chanel Rouge Coco, their newest line of lipsticks, and to be reviewed later:

And swatches!


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