Those chairs look familiar

 

 

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Last November 2014, I had the great honour of hosting the official launch of APEC 2015 in the Philippines. It was attended by the country’s top business, economic and government leaders. No less than the President of the Philippines himself, President Benigno Aquino III was there to speak. It promised to be an exciting year with high-profile activities across the country. We are even getting a long vacation because of it next month.

This blog post isn’t really about APEC. It’s about chairs and integrity.

A reader of mine sent me these photos taken at the Yusay Consing Mansion in Iloilo City. It is a “heritage home” built in the 1920s and is currently being used as the site of three high-profile events for APEC dignitaries.

 

The Yusay Consing Mansion in Iloilo City is the site of the "one-stop shop" for APEC 2015. This is where the DAPHNE-inspired chairs are being displayed and sold.

The Yusay Consing Mansion in Iloilo City is the site of the “one-stop shop” for APEC 2015.

 

According to Iloilo City’s Facebook account, The Yusay-Consing mansion has been transformed into a heritage museum, where Ilonggo products are “proudly” displayed and sold. It is also now known as Molo Mansion. Here are the reader’s photos of the Yusay Consing Mansion displays and museum shop.

Please tell me what you see in these next three photos.

Inside the Yusay Consing Mansion, chairs that bear an almost exact resemblance to my chairs are being displayed.

Inside the Yusay Consing Mansion… those chairs look familiar.

 

The copies.

Those chairs look familiar.

 

For sale....

The price of one “accent chair”

 

Let me re-introduce the chairs from my own brand.

The DAPHNE® chairs were conceived in 2009. It was part of an overall wish, that one day there would be high-quality products sold under my brand. I set up DAPHNE as a registered trademark years before, upon the advise of my lawyer friend. Once we were set up, things worked out well and fast. I had products developed in partnership with top retailers and manufacturers. Our luxury linen was sold in SM and Our Home. Then came DAPHNE Furniture® which debuted in Rustan’s Makati and was later moved to all the big branches of Dimensione. Then DAPHNE® Home Scents for BENCH. And Currently, I have DAPHNE and National Book Store stationery. For all these products, there was a supporting team of designers, technical specialists and business partners who helped me design, set up, source, manufacture, market, and retail them. It wasn’t easy. It took time, money and talent.

The DAPHNE chairs were received well by the media and the public. They were cute. But more importantly, they were very well-made. Our partner manufacturer is one of the country’s top furniture makers, licensed for export and all that. The paint, distressing process, type of wood, hand carving process were all top-quality.

When my brand and blog were featured in Vogue Italia, the author asked me about the chairs. You may read about it here. You may also view the many times I’ve written about my chair in my blog.

Last year, my partners and I decided to put the furniture line to rest. We stopped making the DAPHNE chairs. I felt that the chairs had a good enough run. And it was time to move on. I had planned on developing new products.

So for now, there are no longer any real/original DAPHNE chairs being sold. I may bring it back one day… after all, it is very special to me and my brand.

 

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In 2010, in my own home. One of the prototypes of DAPHNE chairs and my youngest daughter.

 

"How did you do that Mom?" -Lily,5 upon seeing the Daphne Chairs at Dimensione
In 2012, I moved the DAPHNE chairs from Rustan’s to Dimensione. This coincided with the launch of my DAPHNE® homescents for Bench. Here is little Lily in the shop’s window.

 

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With the move to Dimensione, we came out with bolder colours. Still the same form.

 

My chair. I use its image in the packaging and on my website. This particular image was drawn by Isabel Gatuslao, who designed this website.
I use the image of the chair on my website’s dashboard. It has become this iconic thing. This particular image was drawn by Isabel Gatuslao, who designed this website.

 

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At UNICEF’s Auction for Action, which I founded and hosted for three years, I donated two DAPHNE® chairs. Here it is, displayed at the Yuchengco Museum.

 

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Early on, one of my readers, a baker, got inspired by the chairs. She used them as cupcake toppers and sent me this photo.

 

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Another baker in Ilocos Norte gave me this cupcake with an intricately handcrafted fondant replica of my chair. It was done to scale. I kept this, as is. Though my friend, Eliza, accidentally sat on it. haha. So the leg is broken.

 

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Original DAPHNE® chairs started to be used at Vanilla Cupcake bakery a few years ago. .

 

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The DAPHNE chairs were also sold in HEIMA for a limited time.

 

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At a trade show in 2012 where I was able to put all my products together in one setting. Months later, I launched DAPHNE Home Scents by Bench. And early this year I launched DAPHNE & National Book Store stationery.

 

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Featured in Lucy Torres-Gomez’s old TV show, Leading Ladies, in Lifestyle Network.

 

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The chairs are so special to me, I use it as my Twitter profile pic.

 

The APEC ministerial meetings have been ongoing in Iloilo City since September 22nd. The are “familiar-looking chairs” are being shown and sold as we speak. I don’t know what can be done now.

I’m just sad that there is no respect for intellectual property!

My heart is broken.

 

 

The Aldub fever

 

 

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Last Friday September 11, my friend Stephanie Arambulo Dela Cruz sent me this photo thru Facebook. You should have seen and heard my reaction. Haha. I didn’t ask for it. Stephanie knew that I had been appreciating “Aldub” for a while because I’ve made a declaration in my Facebook weeks before. Stephanie worked on the first Aldub commercial (McDonald’s), and asked her talents to do me this favour. You can see that both actors were wearing what they wore in the TVC.

I posted this on my Facebook page, got a crazy reaction from fans —  got a lot of questions from people who didn’t know them yet, some mentioned that I was the reason they started watching it. It got over 5,000 likes and hundreds of shares. These numbers mean nothing now. Yesterday, after Yaya Dub’s and Alden’s first date, they broke the internet with over 11 million tweets. Eleven million.

A lot has already been written about the Aldub phenomenon. So I won’t even try to add to the analysis. When I first posted about it in my Facebook page (the day the wall came down), I received some judgement from people who expected “more” out of me. Really, ugh. I also got judged for saying that I’d never watched Eat Bulaga ever before. Seriously. Noontime shows were not allowed in our house because the noise bothered me. All that has changed now. The entire household staff and I watch together! Ok, I may have exaggerated a little. I probably watched Eat Bulaga as a kid during the 70’s. I also said I didn’t know who the Dabarkads were. Of course I knew Tito, Vic and Joey. I knew some of the hosts personally. But to tell you the truth I didn’t know the rest of the gang! I really had to google. Wally Bayola and Jose Manalo’s comedy are completely new to me. And let me tell you, I am now a huge fan! Well, apparently some were upset with me for saying I didn’t know who the Dabarkads were. But just to give some perspective, I haven’t been watching any TV shows lately. And not just Eat Bulaga. I also have never watched an episode of Showtime. I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, and I only saw one season of Gossip Girl. I just got too tired that I preferred to catch up on sleep whenever I could. So there… no snobbiness behind what I said. But I must admit, I got a little upset by the reaction that I deleted that post. (Yes, I get that way.)

I think what’s evident is that this Yaya Dub and Alden phenomenon has made converts out of non-viewers. And it’s not just me. I think after this weekend, more of my FB demographic will watch. I usually catch it on the Eat Bulaga Facebook Page before going to bed. After my two-week trip to France, I found myself catching up on episodes I missed. That’s how hooked I got.

 

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I first found out about the Kalyeserye, a segment within Eat Bulaga, where half of the hosts go on remote locations to different barangays, the day after Yaya Dub fainted (in real life during the live show). There was a bit of a debate whether her fainting spell was scripted or real. Click on that link above and you’ll see how real it was. Yaya Dub is Maine Mendoza, a graduate of College of St Benilde who did her internship in culinary arts in New York. Maine became “famous” online because of her crazy Dubsmash hits, like this one…

 

 

Alden Richards is a GMA 7 actor whom I’ve actually met twice before. First time was during the opening of Options Studio Timog (see photo below). A few weeks later, during my guest appearance at the Ryzza Mae Show, he peeked his head into the dressing room and said “Hello, po.” Yes, he said “po.” Mabait na bata, hehe. He was cute and clean and mabango. But both times, he didn’t register well enough with me to get giddy. All that has changed now. I wish I could get invited to Broadway Centrum studios again.

 

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Alden Richards at the launch of Options Studio Timog.

 

My husband wondered why he’d see me laughing my head off. I told him, the Lola characters were hilarious. Jose dancing Mambo Number 5 gets me all the time. I also told him that I was fascinated with Maine Mendoza and how she got discovered by Eat Bulaga via You Tube. They didn’t mean to make the Kalyeserye an #Aldub love story. It was supposed to be just the same segment where they meet real people, interact with them, give them advice, give them prizes. But one day in July, a couple of weeks into the first episode, Yaya Dub was caught reacting with a “kilig” smile when she saw Alden on the monitor. The rest was pure genius. The co-hosts teased the two. The audience reacted positively. The main hosts took a back seat and allowed all this to happen naturally.

I told my husband, and declared in that now-deleted FB post, that this was revolutionary. Again, something that sparked a debate. But I knew early in August that Eat Bulaga had not only created a new genre of local TV — a live series with a bit of improv that included audience participation online and in person — but it would also cause a disruption in the TV network landscape. And we see that happening now, with how the other networks have reacted. Again, 11 million tweets, what can anyone do? It reminded me of how Tagalog-dubbed Marimar also changed the TV landscape.

While most of my FB friends were oblivious to the Aldub craze, one of my friends who is a commercial pilot, sent me this private message. He said he has noticed a change in psyche of some Filipinos he worked with. (And yes, he is the only person who calls me Mare.)

 

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Another fascinating thing about this phenomenon, is that it has sparked so many new creations like songs and art work. Check out these amazing fan art I found online.

 

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Art by Gwendie85

 

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Art by @Natzumiehan

 

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Art by Gwendy85

 

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The reason why I laugh non-stop, the Lolas, played by Jose, Wally and Paolo. Art by @eewlevi

 

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From #ALDUBMostAwaitedDAte, that pugo egg and isaw. Art by @enjelicious

 

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The genius use of the split screen! Art by @enjelicious

 

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The adorable Maine Mendoza. Art by Cheeneetoh23

 

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Art by Felix Cruz.

 

What’s your #aldub story?

 

Prenatal Screening

 

 

My first pregnancy. Photo by Eddieboy Escudero
Waiting for Sophia. Photo by Eddieboy Escudero.

 

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Waiting for Lily. Photo by my husband.

 

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Waiting for Stella.

 

During my recent travels, I was reminded of what it was like to have little babies and toddlers on a long flight. I saw moms and dads chasing their active toddlers running down the aisle of the plane. There was one mom who balanced a baby holding a change of diapers and baby wipes in another hand. One family had an army of yayas caring for the kids; the yayas would bring the toddler to Business Class cabin when the parents wanted. Wow, that was me a few years ago. Minus the yayas and Business Class. We have never traveled with a yaya. The youngest my kids flew on a plane was 4 months. I’ve also survived flying long haul with three kids alone (no husband to help me). I’m not asking for an award. Moms are really just like that. We just make it all work. As stressful as all that sounds, I actually miss it all. Suddenly, we have no more diapers, no sippy cups, no strollers, no more army of yayas.

I became a mom much later than my Filipino peers. Some of my Filipino childhood friends have kids who’ve already graduated from college. Mine just got out of pre-school. However my Canadian friends and I are pretty much on the same schedule. We all started having babies in our early- and mid-30’s. It was both a deliberate plan and providence (or destiny).

When I was still in university, I thought I had my life figured out. I thought that I’d start having babies at 27. But when I was 24, I started working overseas. (I mean, from Toronto, I was assigned on projects outside of Canada, and eventually was sent to the Philippines for work.) In my urban planning field, it was important to gain international experience at the start of one’s career. So while I was busy “changing the world,” I also worried that my biological clock kept ticking. I had to stop myself from doing the math in my head with every birthday that came.

 

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Shoot for Urban Zone, by Marty Ilagan 2009.

 

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During my pregnancy with Stella, we were planning our second line of DAPHNE Linen. This came out in Philippine Star.

 

Looking back, I do not have any regrets about having my babies in my 30’s. By the time I got married, career goals were being achieved, dreams were coming true, and I had financial and emotional stability (sort of). And with every new baby came the birth of my other babies (products, creative ventures). I felt that my husband and I were more than prepared to be parents.

 

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Throughout all my pregnancies, I worked on TV until the day I gave birth. This was in 2009, shooting Urban Zone at The Heirloom, Manila. I was wearing Religioso.

 

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Another Urban Zone shoot, while pregnant with Stella. Wearing Religioso custom made dress.

 

But as we all know, nothing in life is guaranteed. My pregnancy with Sophia was threatened. I was bedridden for 3 months because of a hematoma in my uterus. She is a miracle baby. Faith and prayers had everything to do with it. Lily and Stella were easier pregnancies. However, because I was already in my mid-30’s then, I had some fears. Fertility and genetic risks increase when a woman reaches 35+ years.

 

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Toddler Lily, waiting for baby sister, Stella.

 

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Lily excited about her baby sister.

 

Pregnancy can be the most beautiful time in a woman’s life. It can also be very unsettling if you think of the risks. It makes you most aware of the power and strength of your body. It can make you more spiritual and more intuitive. Some couples take out extra life insurance, move to new homes, and redefine their careers in order to make way for a new baby.

Proactive parents make extra plans from the moment they are expecting. Part of being proactive is going through an optional procedure – a prenatal screening. Hi-Precision Diagnostic’s Panorama™ Prenatal Screen is a non-invasive DNA screening test, which gives essential genetic information about your baby as early as nine weeks into pregnancy. The Panorama Prenatal Screen can determine the baby’s gender and find out his likelihood of having a chromosomal condition by testing a sample of the mother’s blood. Babies born to mothers over 35 years old have a higher chance of having certain chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome and Angelman Syndrome. A screen test can help determine your baby’s risk of being affected with a specific chromosome condition regardless of age, family issues, or medical history.

 

 

Panorama is a non-invasive prenatal test, which may be done in a single in office visit or at the comfort of your own home. As you will not be exposed to any extraneous elements, it is absolutely safe for you and your baby. Some of your baby’s DNA actually crosses into your bloodstream during pregnancy. Panorama Prenatal Screen is the only screen test which can distinguish between fetal and maternal DNA, so that Hi-Precision Diagnostics’ laboratory specialists can analyse your baby’s DNA using your blood. Panorama screens for a broad panel of chromosome conditions, including Chromosomal Abnormalities, Sex Chromosome Abnormalities, and Microdeletions. More importantly, Panaroma is accurate, with a 100 percent batting average on fetal sex determination and the lowest reported false negative rate for chromosomal conditions.

 

 

I first heard of Hi-Precision Diagnostics (HPD) in Powerplant Mall when I was feeling a bit faint and needed to check my blood. It is a diagnostic laboratory and clinic located in 20 very practical locations in Manila and Cebu. All their results can be checked online in a modern and safe computerized system. They also have a mobile app that lets patients access their lab results for free. HPD laboratory exams are fully automated, decreasing the risk of human error. HPD offers X-Ray, ECG, 2D Echo with Doppler, Ultrasound, Digital Mammography, and Drug Testing services.

I’m honoured that they chose to partner with my site in sharing the different and new tests that are available in Hi-Precision Diagnostics. I’ll be telling more stories about wellness and health in the coming months.

 

For more info –

Website: www.hi-precision.com.ph
Facebook: hpdiagnostics
Twitter: @HP_Diagnostics
Instagram: @hiprecisiondiagnostics
Head Office Corporate Hotline: +63 2 863-9999

 

 

Italian Goes Local

 

 

When I decided to move to the Philippines, I had eight Canadian friends visit me during my couple of years. That was eight different times I had to show off the Philippines. It was easy. I was an avid scuba diver then. So we went to different dive sites and islands. In my first visit back to the Philippines, I extended what was supposed to be a three month trip to eight months. I fell in love with the country. I travelled all over from Zamboanga, Davao, Cebu, Palawan, Boracay all the way up to Luzon. Though I haven’t seen Batanes yet, I felt I had seen more of the Philippines than an average Manila girl did.

I’ve been here long enough to consider myself a real local. So now when we get foreign visitors, sometimes my husband and I find ourselves at a loss for places to show them. We have been so jaded. Manila is not exactly the easiest city to love. So when I saw photos of my friend’s visiting-Italian-friend (Antonio) enjoying the things we’ve already forgotten, I got nostalgic about why I moved to Manila in the first place. It’s about the people and the many layers of things to do and see. It’s about local food and our culture of hanging out with food and drinks. It’s our very animated spirit. These are the things that make us endearing to visitors. We make up for whatever we lack in services and architecture.

Antonio was originally from Italy, but he’s been working in Bangkok for a few years. And according to him, he’s “been working but not quite living.” He says in the years he’s been in Bangkok, he’s barely experienced anything. So he decided to take off a few weeks to discover and eat his way through Asia — the sort of thing we did after university, except Antonio already has a job and he’s not your typical backpacker.

Antonio’s travels (which, coincidentally is the name of his social media accounts) focuses around Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta. I’m sharing with you some of the highlights of his Manila trip where he met new friends. These like-minded foodie people showed Antonio some of Manila’s best restaurants to taste and try real local food.

 

A jeepney ride

Every visitor must see and ride a Filipino jeepney. It is quite a cultural experience.

 

The colourful streets of Metro Manila.

The colourful streets of Metro Manila.

 

Like Antonio, I found it both amusing and disturbing to see people's laundry hanging out windows.

Laundry-drying, more fun in the Philippines.

 

In the Philippines, night food markets do really well. It's just a lot more comfortable when the sun is down.

Night food markets do really well here because of our tropical climate. It’s just a lot more comfortable when the sun is down.

 

Mercato, or any food bazaar or market, is alive with many choices. It is here where new food concepts are usually tested.

Mercato, or any food bazaar or market, is alive with many choices. It is here where new food concepts are usually tested.

 

The new Pinoy lechon - crispy pork belly roll at Mercato.

The new Pinoy lechon – crispy pork belly roll at Mercato.

 

Buko juice.

Buko juice.

 

This is a fascinating and truly Filipino activity - Arnis! Antonio tried arnis in Luneta.

This is a fascinating and truly Filipino activity – Arnis! Antonio tried arnis in Luneta.

 

Can't get any more Pinoy than chicken adobo. Here, Goto Monster creates their own dry version.

Can’t get any more Pinoy than chicken adobo. Here, Goto Monster creates their own dry version.

 

Antonio at Goto Monster

Antonio at Goto Monster

 

Antonio with his new friends in Manila at White Moon Bar, Manila Bay.

Antonio with his new friends in Manila at White Moon Bar, Manila Bay.

 

Our famous Manila Bay sunset.

I am a sunset snob because of our famous Manila Bay sunset.

 

The biggest bone I've ever seen in soup. The half-Ilonggo in me is salivating. I love Kansi.

The biggest bone I’ve ever seen in soup. The half-Ilonggo in me is salivating. I love Kansi.

 

Now I know where to go when I crave for Kansi.

Now I know where to go when I crave for Kansi.

 

It's always good to find a pocket of stillness in the chaotic city of Metro Manila.

It’s always good to find a pocket of stillness in the chaotic city of Metro Manila.

 

Follow Antonio Travels in Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Check out Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta through the eyes of Antonio. #italiangoeslocal