Laguna towns and my OM-D



Here’s my first “roll” from the Olympus OM-D. All photos (except those indicated) were taken using the Automatic mode. I didn’t bother going manual to play with aperture/shutter. I wanted to see how good the camera was on its most basic mode. Plus it was over 37 degrees C that day. Getting out of the car felt like hitting a burning building. It was that hot.

Last weekend, my family and I went for lunch at a fishpond in Laguna. Then Patrick decided to drive around the lake back into the city. I love Laguna lakeshore towns. Really rustic and pretty. We stopped by Pakil and visited the church. My mom also insisted on buying some balut and salty eggs from a specific vendor.


Church of Pakil, Laguna.


Sophia and my mom, reading the historical significance of the church.


Patrick bought these prayer “intentions” made of wax.


Which this boy across the street lit for us, sending our intentions up to heaven. I’m loving these local rituals.


These were the bolts on the doorway into the church. Again, the camera was just set on Automatic. I didn’t zoom in either.


I played with built-in art filter here – Grainy Film.




Stella and the angel.


Sign at the side of the church.


Across the street there were local handicrafts. Mom got a little basket bag.


Cute papier mache carabaos. These small ones were only P20 each.


I was really tempted to buy them. For no reason except that I may need them one day. But we are desperately trying to control clutter at home.


Horse and raindeer. These were around P70 each.


Snacks galore.


Not Tootsie Rolls. (Used art filters here. This was “Pale & Light”)


This was in another town. My mom insisted on buying from this particular stall because it was recommended and tried by her friends.


Duck eggs galore.


They also sold ducks. Again, this was simply on Automatic mode.


I have to say that I’m so in love with this OM-D. It’s like I’m having an affair behind the back of my PEN E-P3, which I really love and appreciate. Both cameras are excellent. They’re different machines. OM-D is more powerful and much faster. But it’s not like the E-P3 is noticeably slow either, it’s just different. First, there’s the budget. The PEN E-P3 is in the 44,000 range while the OM-D is around P62,000. So that should already be a deciding factor. The PEN doesn’t come with a view finder. I had to order an electronic viewfinder for my PEN. Still waiting for it. The OMD has a built-in view finder. Also another major breakthrough is that the OM-D is weatherproof. Rain, dust and moisture won’t affect the camera.

These photos are all on Auto mode – idiot-proof. I like the sharpness of the images. Autofocus was really fast. And now that I’ve had a week to play with it, my newer photos (which I haven’t posted yet) are more fun and interesting. The camera does everything you want a DSLR to do, except it is smaller and lighter. Love.

Back to the Laguna loop. I love this drive around the lake. Pretty.


Daphne Furniture® in Dimensione



Daphne Furniture has a new home = Dimensione


Can’t get any more informal than this.

I’m so happy to announce that Daphne Furniture® has a new home in Dimensione (Bonifacio High Street, Eastwood, Greenbelt 5 and Rockwell Power Plant Mall).

We haven’t had a formal launch yet, but the new colours of Daphne Chairs are there now. All the colours are in High Street, it being the bigger store with more traffic. I hope to add the new collection of sofas, side tables and wardrobes soon.



Dolce Gusto



I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here. I’m a coffee person – both my husband and me. Even before pod-type espresso machines were accessible, we were making espresso the old fashioned way every morning – with a Bialetti stove top espresso maker. Separate gadgets did the milk frothing – from a manual milk frother to a battery operated 3-dollar handheld frother. And when we’re lazy to froth and do all that, we used a simple French press. We had a coffee grinder because we liked our beans fresh. And yes, this means I do not drink instant coffee. Yes, maarte. You get the drift. Haha.

Fast forward to last year, the coffee pod machines went mass market. My husband bought a Lavazza Blue machine in 2010 – simply because there already was a local retailer and the pods were readily available. The machine wasn’t inexpensive but luckily the pods only came out to P30 pesos each. We enjoyed cappuccino and espresso everyday. I blame this machine for the 10 pounds I gained (or never lost). All that milk froth and muscovado sugar. But I’m not complaining. This lessened my spending on Starbucks coffee. But I also feel guilty for the amount of garbage the pods produce. Sigh.

A few days ago Bridges PR invited me to the event of Nescafe Dolce Gusto. I was curious about this machine because it is cheap and cute. It retails for less than $100. (Let me find the local retail prices.)


It was a lunch event at Beso Vinoteka. The idea was to present the different flavours of Nescafe Dolce Gusto pods paired with food courses. This was black coffee.


This was the hot chocolate. One of the selling points of the machine is the capsule flavours – caramel macchiato, chai tea latte, chococino, Nestea® peach iced tea, etc. The downside is – if you make a cappuccino, latte, macchiato or anything with milk, you have to use two pods (one pod for the coffee, the other pod for the milk). So technically your cup of fancy coffee will cost you two pods or P50. Not that cheap. The upside is you don’t have to spend another 90 seconds frothing milk manually. But I’m budget-conscious so I think I’d like the option of frothing non-fat milk while saving P25.


This was the plate of meat for our main course, prepared by Chef Carlo Miguel.


Big surprise for me. Dolce Gusto’s Brand Manager is Jiggy Cruz. He introduced himself to me saying he and his mom used to watch me frequently in F. I was stunned. His mom is Ballsy Aquino Cruz, daughter of the late President Cory Aquino. It took a minute for me to process that they can have normal lives, as Jiggy demonstrated his brand’s coffee machine. His uncle is just the President, you know.


I wasn’t able to photograph many of the guests. I got Liza Ilarde-Cuenca and Jessica Zafra though.


Ingrid and I sat with Town & Country covergirl Joanna Preysler-Francisco, wearing the necklace I made for her. She had her own collection of pendants that were all meaningful to her, then she bought some of my charms and I put them all together on my chain. So pretty – Joanna and the necklace.


Joanna is a fan of personalized jewelry. Here, gold bracelets piled together with one custom-made bangle that represented her family.


Me and Jiggy Cruz. All photos were taken using my new Olympus OM-D. All on Automatic mode. I didn’t have time to play with the settings. Very sharp images (sorry that some were over-exposed).


We all got this as a gift (Photo from Dolce Gusto website). We are now enjoying this for iced coffee and fancy drinks at home. Did I tell you it has an option for cold or hot coffee? Nice. Now I just have to figure out if the coffee is instant or espresso-based. Because it matters.


EDIT: My advice is, if you are a serious coffee drinker (i.e. espresso level and non-instant ever), try going for an upgraded model. This Piccolo model is the entry-level machine for Nescafe coffee pods. Like I said, it’s a fun machine. Great to have as an option for guests who want different flavours. But for me, I need my serious caffeine fix. So for that I am still betting on my Lavazza Blue. It’s not cheap, but not the most expensive either. It’s in the level of Nespresso or Illy. I’m not after the machine. I’m after the coffee bean. But if budget is an issue then a machine like Dolce Gusto may be a good compromise.



Olympus OM-D



Please don’t hate me for being this lucky. My Olympus family sent me the newest baby, the Olympus OM-D E-M5. As a PEN EP3 user I didn’t think it could get better. But this one is in a league of its own.


OMG my #OM-D came today!!! Thank you #Olympus. #microfourthirds #camera
The unboxing ritual. Don’t we all love this part?


Olympus ad
The Olympus PEN is gaining popularity locally among those who want more than a point and shoot compact camera but don’t want to carry a D-SLR. I never leave home without my EP-3. I have convinced so many friends to upgrade to a PEN. Now everyone who sees the OM-D is even more intrigued. Both are Micro Four Thirds System cameras with interchangeable lenses.


My world. I'm dizzy. #Olympus #OMD #em5 and #ep3 #primelens #microfourthirds
Here are my new babies. Aren’t they both so good looking? And powerful! The black is the new OM-D, the silver is my EP3.


OLYMPUS OM-D is an offshoot of the popular OLYMPUS OM-1 system developed in the 1970s – smaller and lighter than other contemporary 35mm SLR cameras. The OM Series was produced up to 1994 and maintained its compact size, light weight and originality that made it a legend among camera buffs all over the world.

This new generation system camera, the OLYMPUS OM-D, picks up where the original OM series left off. It has a sexy magnesium-alloy body that looks traditional. It is more compact than a DSLR. And it is dust and splash proof! Finally I don’t have to worry about hiding my camera when it rains. Or if you ever catch yourself in a sandstorm, this camera should be able to hold up.

Like the popular PEN Series models, the OLYMPUS OM-D features a compact, lightweight design that’s fully compliant with the Micro Four Thirds System standard. But whereas the PEN Series inherited the convenience, simplicity, and high image quality offered by the PEN Series in the film age, the OLYMPUS OM-D has inherited the tradition of a true system SLR from the OM Series. The OLYMPUS OM-D is designed for serious camera buffs who want to make full use of interchangeable lenses and shoot photographic masterpieces by looking into the viewfinder, without having to worry about the weather or environmental conditions. Sand, sun, sleet, or snow, the OLYMPUS OM-D is a camera that’s ready to go. – Press kit.

Shot with my new #olympus #OMD #em5 today. At Pakil, Laguna.
I played with my OM-D over the weekend.   I’m sure you’d rather see actual photos than read technical specs about a camera. I have been so busy (what else is new) this week that I haven’t uploaded what I’ve shot. But I will work on it today. I just had a home-service massage. And my body feels like mush. Let me enjoy this… Promise I’ll post photos soon.



To summarize, the OM-D’s features
1. Compact, lightweight body in the tradition of the famous OM Series: Made of magnesium alloy and enhanced with the same dust-/splash-proof capability already proven with the E-5 camera
2. 16.05-megapixel new Live MOS Sensor and TruePic VI image processing engine for high image quality and high sensitivity
3. Electronic viewfinder with high image quality and high functionality that enables real-time checking of various shooting conditions
4. World’s first*¹ 5-axis image stabilization to compensate for camera shake of any kind during both still photo and movie shooting
5. World’s fastest*² FAST AF autofocusing system plus 3D tracking for improved moving object tracking performance


The Olympus OM-D EM-5 retails for Php 56,750 for body only and Php 62,750 for body with kit lens.



The new Samsung SMART TV



Last week I attended Samsung’s SMART TV Roadshow. As a user of the first generation SMART TV, I was very curious to see what was so new and great about this next gen SMART TV. It was surreal…


I flew solo after shooting all day. So I went for the no fail formula dressing. Black dress, nude pumps, gold clutch. This time I wore the flower necklace I created. Each flower represents one daughter. The rose is Sophia Rose, the lily is Lily Paloma and the daisy is Stella Margarita (margarita means daisy).


Tootsy Angara and Daphne Osena-Paez
With one of my first friends in Manila, Tootsy Angara. Not too many people know that I actually started my TV career as a short-lived and quite unsuccessful AE (account executive) for Studio 23. It’s a long story. Let’s just say, I’m glad I chose the path I chose. And I’m glad Tootsy and our other friend Gia Apelo-Ramos stayed. They are now big bosses in ABS-CBN. I’m so proud of them.


SEPCO Business Unit Head for AV - Ariel Arias
Samsung executive, Ariel Arias presented the new Samsung SMART TV. We were all in awe of both the SMART TV and Ariel’s presentation skills.


In my table, Tessa Valdes, Ernie Lopez and Anton San Diego. All of us were impressed when Ariel announced that…


…this TV doesn’t need a remote control. You can do everything by motion, face and voice control. Very “Minority Report” high tech.


Well, we own a first generation SMART TV. And let me tell you, we haven’t even maximized it’s potential. It has a lot of apps and it’s internet-capable. Right now it is owned by our three children. It’s summer and they are watching movies and shows at home. It is too hot to play outdoors sometimes. This new 2012 SMART TV has even more features – aside from the face, motion and voice recognition, it has more than 1,500 Samsung SMART TV apps including Angry Birds and other games.

If you’re holding back because tech companies release new versions too fast, you don’t need to worry. This version is “upgradable.” If and when they discover and release new technology, all you have to do is get a new chip and your TV is all of a sudden “the latest”.

2012 Samsung Smart TV will be “future proof” for years to come. Thanks to its proprietary system-on-chip technology, Samsung is the only company that can deliver an evolving TV, which allows you to easily enjoy the benefits of the latest TV technology year after year, without purchasing a brand new set. With a simple slot-in to the back of TV, Samsung’s Evolution Kit will bring the latest and greatest TV technology to life. Samsung’s Evolution Kit will be sold separately in 2013.



So like the theme of the launch said, Now is the Perfect Time to Buy a TV.