Monday, January 30, 2012

ED WESTWICK for PENSHOPPE (Pre-Summer 2012)

Yes, you're seeing Hollywood hottie ED WESTWICK times three in this PENSHOPPE Pre-Summer 2012 ad campaign pictorial. How good can this be right?! Check out Ed's cool dude attitude matched with clean lines, washed tones, hints of cool blues, grays, nudes & whites, and almost dapper styling that speak much of the actor's personal style.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


The changing season is beginning to heat up, with summer not too far away. This would mean mandals - that's man sandals - are going to run rampant in the city all the way to the beach. We've seen them last year, but S/S 2012 have several designers, from Hermes, Lanvin to Versace, featuring the return of men’s sandals on their runways - signalling the most apt time for your feet to breathe some fresh air.

WAITING TO EXHALE. L-R: Lanvin, Versace, Michael Kors, Hermes, Givenchy, Corneliani, Hermes and Missoni are showing some good, stylish toes.

Locally, footwear brand WADE is also using mandals with flamboyance, in belief that men also need something with that extra stylish flair more than what the usual flipflops can offer while on a holiday. I personally love these new designs, and I even got one pair (in black) that I truly like - courtesy of Ms. Bogs Lee, owner of WADE. Thanks a lot, Ms. Bogs!

Check out these strappy mandals available in all WADE branches, priced at P1,499 each. Also visit

Monday, January 23, 2012


With much pride, I am proud to tell that I am a dragon baby - having been born in 1976 - and I look forward to breathing fire with big hopes of many great things to happen this new year.

As the only imaginary animal in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on a cycle of five elements and twelve animals ruling each year, the dragon has long been a totemic figure in Chinese culture as a symbol of power, royalty, wisdom and luck. Endowed with a natural charisma, dragons are seen as very lucky. With 2012 being the Year of the Water Dragon, many top fashion brands around the world are plunging into the fiery dragon pool, and are taking advantage of the mystical creature’s mainstream resurgence by producing stylish items (in limited collections) that feature the said beast, in hope that the new year would bring a spike in sales to help offset soft demand in Europe and the United States.

Well, wait no more. Let's see which product/s will bring us luck, good fortune and style, of course. Enter (or wear) the dragon!

Italian luxury fashion house Versace is also showing its stylish panache for the dragon this year with the launch of a specially designed jewel handbag, which comes with a gold handle and traditional golden dragon details on a black body. The bag is limited to 210 pieces and sold exclusively in Asia.

Italian powerhouse Emporio Armani honors the dragon as a symbol of wealth and charm, and has developed two special limited edition watches '2012 YEAR OF THE DRAGON'. With only 2012 pieces made, these watches are bound to bring you good luck. Available at selected Emporio Armani stores worldwide.

Another Italian luxe brand, Salvatore Ferragamo, is taking inspiration from traditional Oriental art. It recently launched a special limited edition Year of the Dragon classic series of handbags, including a classical W brand handbags, Sophia handbags and wallets. The handbags utilizes the auspicious color in Chinese culture – the red color, with some Chinese traditional embroidery craft embroidery in dragon and lotus patterns.

Not to be outdone, Coach is doing the dragon dance by collaborating with Chinese artist Zhang Lan to put his stamp on a collection, the Azure Dragon of the East. Check out the tote bag and all the accessories.

Bally is showing its version of a dragon heart with the release of a handsome capsule collection of shoes and accessories adorned with a dragon motif. The signature red and white colours complement the pieces beautifully.

Top global menswear brand, Hugo Boss, also launched their 2012 Asia Limited Edition BOSS Black Dragon Collection centered around casual wear and leather goods. The collection blends in the peace-representing dragon into their designs, made with excellent craftsmanship, illustrating the brand’s promotion of creative men's lifestyle in the Year of Dragon.

For 2012, here comes a commemorative offering for the dragon year by top global retailer Zara: classic men’s lace-ups with a fabulous twist, designed to symbolize luck, strength and success for the new year.

Swarovski turns flashy this 2012 and has designed a whole dragon-themed collection that includes men's and women's watches, accessories and jewellery. The Piazza Grande Automatic Dragon Limited Edition for men features a black lacquered dial with a depiction of the dragon - in black, red and white; while the Piazza Dragon Limited Edition for women goes with a white dragon, laced with dashes of black and red and accentuated by the white silver sunray dial. On the other hand, the crystal-embellished Paladin collection comprises a necklace, pendant, bracelet and brooch. A line of fine leather goods for the gents, the Nightfall Dragon collection consists of a wallet, a cardholder and a key-ring. The dragon motif is embossed, its outline subtly evoked in a tone-on-tone design in black leather embellished with four Jet Hematite crystals. The Nightfall Dragon key-ring with the the octagonal form plays on the figure '8', a symbol of good fortune in Chinese culture.

Piaget pays tribute to the Year of the Dragon with a very blingy Dragon and Phoenix collection that features 24 different models. This new series is crafted to stand out as a statement piece. The most expensive watch in the collection, the Altiplano Double Jeu, of which the watchmaker will sell only eight.

Blancpain's legendary Caruso gets a spin with an elegant touch of the dragon. While most watches place a dragon design on the front face, Blancpain has decided to place it the other way. This unique design has a face that displays the signature look of the Caruso series, but turn it around and be pleasantly surprised to discover an exquisite engraved Chinese dragon on the 18k rose gold rear case. 

Skagen gets timely with the launch of a limited edition piece of the Skagen Dragon watch. The collection will only have 120 pieces each in the men's and women's range. This limited edition piece of Skagen Dragon watch is an interpretation of the Chinese dragon married seamlessly to the Danish minimalist design.

There's a cute way to welcome 2012. Feeling amazingly gorgeous begins with this sparkling Hello Kitty mirror. A shiny gold metallic finish covers the surface of its durable plastic component. To celebrate Chinese New Year and the year of the dragon, it comes in a special commemorative box. Find a special New Year's message from Hello Kitty printed inside.

Nike celebrates of the Chinese New Year with the Year of the Dragon Collection featuring the Air Force 1 Low Supreme, Nike Kobe VII System Supreme, the Nike Zoom KD IV, as well as offering a first look at the Air Jordan 2012. Brimming with design details inspired by the Chinese dragon, each shoe features a unique theme, capturing Nike’s global imprint.

The big cat roars into the Year of the Dragon product ring, releasing a brand new collection that consists of the classic Puma Suede sneaker and a matching T7 track jacket. The red-based Suede has been treated to a special cross-weave design strategy meant to give off the appearance of dragon scales. Dragon images and Chinese lettering are embroidered on various parts of the equally appealing T7 track jacket.

The New Balance 574 first premiered back in 1988 and has since enjoyed iconic status for its comfortable fit, innovative use of materials and its plethora of colourways. This year, the 574 silhouette comes in a colour palette of red, gold, black and yellow for the Chinese New Year.

Featured on the Chuck Taylor All Star Leather Hi silhouette, Converse puts the dragon on everyone's feet by altering the upper to replicate ancient porcelain dragon decorations, complete with a wonderfully detailed dragon-shaped eyelet, red and black leather emblem, and contrasting black laces. The all-over porcelain print exclusives, along with other Year of the Dragon releases, will be available at select Converse retailers.

Starting the Chinese New Year with a bang, the new Stussy collection features some interesting dragon graphics as well as the double ‘S’ logo reworked with the mythological creature. The collection is comprised of a couple of jackets, including one made of velour and another in satin, as well as tees and dragon mesh cap.


Swiss watchmaker Swatch welcomes the Year of the Dragon with a limited edition watch that features an intricate and graceful Chinese dragon drawn in blue on the white of the silicone strap, it draws inspiration from classic Chinese-style blue and white porcelain. Fortunately for us Pinoys, this timely piece of artwork is also available for purchase in the Philippines.

Whether you're Chinese or not, have a Prosperous, Happy & Stylish Dragon Year to all!

NOTE: Most of the products may not be available in the Philippines.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


In Tagaytay, I always feel I can almost reach the sky.

Last week, our MGP team hurried off to this captivating city south of Manila, for an ad campaign shoot of one of the in-house brands of the largest retailer in the Philippines. It was a fine day, although the sky was slightly overcast and the breeze was blowing chilly when I opened my car's windows. On a winding road that leads to the fishing town of Talisay, we headed to this quiet and unassuming house with beautiful whitewashed walls with an other-worldly appeal, a dome-shaped structure and a small earthen jar that stood at the entrance bearing the name METEORA.

One of the more noteworthy houses in Tagaytay City, METEORA is a unique private bed and breakfast, 2-bedroom house with multiple view decks ensconced on a cliff with an unimpeded view of Taal Lake & Taal Volcano, Mounts Makiling and Banahaw, and the surrounding countryside. I learned that it was built a decade ago by St. Luke’s Medical Center director Dr. Joven Cuanang as a vacation retreat, with METEORA getting its inspiration from a Byzantine monastery in Athens, Greece.

SKY'S THE LIMIT. The forever changing and endless skies plus a scenic view of the double caldera of Taal provides the backdrop of the already-breathtaking Meteora.

OVER THE TOP. Meteora is actually a Greek word that means suspended in air.

PILLARS OF BEAUTY. These white columns are very Greek-inspired.

THE BIG DOME. Doesn't this remind you of the immaculate structures in Santorini?

REACH FOR THE SKY. Find your solitary place underneath the cloudy skies.

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. Whitewashed stone steps and an opened gate feel almost like leading up towards heaven's door.

ROOM WITH A VIEW. I must be dreaming of the ultimate holiday!

For a first-time visitor, I instantly fell in love with  METEORA with its minimalist architectural design that fuses Greek and Ilocano styles. The stark white cement finish, domes and columns are reminescent of the Isle of Santorini in Greece. On the other hand, the Ilocano inspiration comes with the use of wooden windows, doors, some flooring from old Ilocos ancestral houses, hand-embroidered Abel Iloko pillowcases, and stone steps that were sourced from San Esteban in Ilocos.

ANCESTRAL DOMAIN. This very Ilocano, antique wooden door with ornamental carvings take us back in colonial Pinoy times.

STEPPING STONE. Move up and down the stone steps which were sourced from San Esteban.

WINDOW TO THE SOUL. The carved wooden window (upper left) demonstrates old, ancestral Vigan charm.

NEUTRAL BASE. Stone steps and flooring look very earthy and natural.

MIRROR ON THE WALL. Antique wooden frame and fixtures highlight this bedroom while I take a reflective picture of myself.

There are only few furniture in the house, but sculptures serve as accents on its plain white walls, mostly done by artist Salvador Alonday. According to METEORA's website, a graceful Mater Dolorosa, has exquisite craquelure; while a life-size Sabel, stands guard by the deck, the only one of its kind being the only one authorized by National Artist Ben Cabrera.

FEELIN' COLD. A life-sized Sabel monument greets guests upon entering the deck.

BREAST EXPOSURE. This sculpture with exquisite craquelure must validate the statement that breastfeeding is still best for babies.

ART OF ANATOMY. An eye-catching impression of the human physique stands by the fire place.

ANONYMITY. A veiled sculpture of a mysterious woman adds drama to this blank wall.

BIRTH STONE. This table piece with a fetus in between a female body cut into half is just mind-boggling.

SACRED ART. An antique wooden religious icon hangs on the immaculate wall.

FLIGHT OF ANGELS. A painted mural of divine winged figures looks heavenly by the ceiling.

LIGHTROOM. I just love how the light enters this room accented with throwpillows and wooden figures.

EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY. An attractive mural hangs by the dining hall.

Moreover, tinges of color blue echoed throughout the decorative items in the living room. Cobalt-blue stoneware plates and bowls by artist Lanelle Abueva added a contrast on its white-on-white kitchen walls. Ilocos furnishing blended well with memorabilia from travels to Greece, Turkey and Morocco.

A CHARMED LIFE. There's a fireplace in the living room, accented with deep-blue vases and decorative pieces.

BLUE STREAK. Decorative plates and bowls by an artist liven up the kitchen walls.

JARRED. This lovely ceramic vase cannot be ignored.

WASHED OUT. Earthen clay pots make wonderful adornments, too.

TIMES TWO. These wooden ethnic carvings are worthy of a second look.

The outer landscape features white columns and cement and stone tables seemingly carved out of rock; petrified wood serve as chairs and accent pieces. A flight of steep stairs lead down to the property where the annex is located, which has a small room that can fit at least two people. All around bougainvillea, yellow hibiscus and agave plants add color and charm to an otherwise stark surroundings.

OPEN SESAME. These doors at the entrace that are made of petrified wood give rustic appeal.

WOODSTOCK. A chair made out of petrified wood adds contrast to the cemented surroundings.

WINDSTRUCK. The outside foyer is surrounded by lush greens and a panoramic view of the countryside.

CORNERSTONE. This outside corner with stone tablets and stone table looks like a religious altar.

EDGE OF LIGHT. This attractive pavement leads to a not-so-secret garden.

METEOR GARDEN. A picturesque garden with an uphill view.

BREAKFAST FOR TWO. I would definitely love to sit here with my partner while enjoying a hot cup of coffee with the fresh morning breeze blowing on our faces.

THE GUARDIAN. An interesting bulul figure sits on top of a wooden fixture in one of the outside portions of the house.

NATURAL WONDERS. Flowers, like these bougainvillea, bloom around the garden.

CACTUS RIDGE. Agave plants serve as outside accents, too.

THORNED. A succulent plant is displayed on the center table.

That day, my partner George Palmiano also celebrated his birthday. It would mean no party for him, but he loves his work too much that he didn't mind getting his ass filthy on his very special day. However, super dear fashionable friends drove from Manila all the way to Tagaytay to visit and greet a surprised Geo, and brought him his favorite cakes, ice cream and snacks - therefore an instant party celebration! Thanks Mader Luis Espiritu, Mader Ayen Florendo, Louis Claparols and Jo Ann Bitagcol for making Geo's day very memorable, as well as to the whole LTBG team (esp. Rina Lacia-Bugayong & Jane Cometa-Segundo), Adfolio (esp. Lora Gabuna-Antenor) and everybody in the pictorial team (Pat Dy, Bobby Carlos, John Valle, models etc.).

BIRTHDAY SONG. My partner George Palmiano gets his birthday surprise - with Adfolio's Lora Gabuna-Antenor, photographer Pat Dy and LTBG's Jane Segundo. (Photo by Louis Claparols)

HOW SWEET! Geo's favorite cakes, ice creams and snacks brought by Luis, Ayen, Louis & Jo Ann. (Photo by Louis Claparols)

PARTY OF FIVE. Me, Geo, Chief makeup artist Bobby Carlos of Max Factor, fashion guru Mader Luis Espiritu and our favorite hairstylist John Valle. (Photo by Louis Claparols)

PHOTO FINISH. Photographer Pat Dy versus photographer Jo Ann Bitagcol. (Photo by Louis Claparols)

HAVING CAKES. Pat Dy, Luis Espritu and Ayen Florendo of MFMC.

EVERYBODY HAPPY. Thanks to these wonderful people who surprised Geo! (Photo by Louis Claparols)

ALL TOGETHER. Geo with his cake, moi, beloved friends & co-workers.

CHOCO LOCO. Happy birthday again, Geo! Thanks for all the loving and caring, and being the best partner I could ever have! Priceless!

I'll be posting behind-the-scenes photos next time, as well as ad campaign photos when those come out this summer. Can't wait!