ASEAN 2017

 

 

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I has been almost half a year since this happened. I have been that absent from my blog. Oops. Blame Instagram.

Back in January, I got a call from an agency handling the launch of ASEAN in Malacanang Palace. They asked me if I could host the event. It would be attended by the President, his cabinet, the diplomatic corps, and the business community. 2017 is a big year for ASEAN, being its 50th anniversary, and it is hosted by the Philippines. Needless to say, I was honoured and thrilled to have been invited as the emcee.

Here are photos and screenshots from the event. And because a lot of people asked in Facebook and Instagram, I will highlight my fashion choices. I do not work with stylists for the simple reason that I enjoy dressing myself and making these creative decisions myself.

 

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Me in my long white dress and golden south sea pearls, at the launch of ASEAN 2017 in Malacanang Palace.

 

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Fitting my dress in Religioso.

I was asked to wear a long white dress but not a gown. They wanted sleeves that went down to my elbows. It was a challenge because I only had a week to plan my outfit and have it approved by the client (i.e. Malacanang). I scoured the malls to see if there is anything off the rack that I could wear. There was nothing. I remembered loving the black knee length dress that was worn by Valerie Trierweiler when she was the First Lady of former president of France, Francois Hollande. (Valerie was our guest a year before that. She was a patron of the organization my daughter Sophia was a part of. We met each other in France, then in Manila.)

Religioso came to my rescue by offering to make a version of Valerie’s dress for me. We used white silk crepe. I had to make sure the skirt fell like a column and that it barely skimmed the carpet when I’d wear my black pumps.

I wanted to stick to the classics, so I was sure I’d wear a strand of my own Jewelmer south sea pearls — either in white or gold. I actually brought both with me. But when I put on the golden strand, the decision had been instantly made. Aside from my stud earrings and single strand of pearls, I kept everything else bare.

 

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Screen shot from the Presidential Communications page in Facebook.

 

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My script was simple and straightforward. But I find that the simpler things are, the more nervous I get of mucking things up. You never ever, under any circumstance, want to mess up the president’s name. Ever. So I practiced that in my mind over and over. (Side story, the initial script said “His Excellency…” as heads of states should be announced, but the presidential staff edited it and kept it simple this way. Apparently President Duterte prefers it this way. In fact, the Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea introduced him as “the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte.” Interesting.

 

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The Rizal Ceremonial Hall, Malacanang.

 

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In my script, I had to announce that taking selfies with the President was strongly discouraged.

 

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Loved the wooden quatrefoil panels by the window facing the Pasig River. Incidentally, the President arrived at Malacanang by boat from across the river. He doesn’t actually stay in the Palace building.

 

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President Duterte and cabinet secretaries Medialdea and Lopez, listening to my cue.

 

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I announced the ceremonial launch of ASEAN while the President’s hand was on the sphere.

 

 

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Ceremonial launch of ASEAN via this “hand scanning” sphere.

 

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So because I follow protocol, I didn’t dare ask the President for a selfie. The guests though… made a beeline to him after the formalities.

 

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At Heroes’ Hall

 

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Back to my styling, I asked for big hair and a chignon. Big, worthy of Malacañang. So hairstylist Ronel Ros gave me this pouffy top and worked with my hair extensions, braided and bunched up like a chignon. My hair was just chin length then. I remembered I had a fake ponytail from my TV days. I actually had never used extensions on TV, but I owned it. It has finally come in handy. My makeup was by Ria Aquino.

 

 


Posted by Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines) on Monday, January 23, 2017.

 

 

Amanpulo with Kerastase

 

 

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Not too long ago, I was rolling around the pure white sand beaches of Amanpulo for three days. I had just signed on as one of the new brand ambassadors of Kérastase. To relaunch the brand and new lines, Kérastase flew me, Amina Aranaz-Alunan, and Amanda Griffin-Jacob to Palawan together with our special guests and members of lifestyle press. Amina and Amanda brought their husbands. I brought my mom. My parents were visiting us at the time, and Patrick and I had just had our JUNK trip (Just Us, No Kids) so I felt that my mom would really love the tropical island treat and the whole luxurious experience. And she did.

A week before our trip, I had the most amazing salon experience at the Kérastase Institute in 6750 Makati. I used to just use shampoo and conditioner for semi-oily hair. I had no idea that hair has individual issues and needs that can be specifically addressed via a scientific hair diagnosis. At the Kérastase Institute they had all the instruments to determine your hair’s needs. It truly is very personal care, which coincidentally is the campaign’s message. They had 10 color-coded hair-care ranges, and mine was the Discipline line. More on that in a future post. Check out the video of my Kérastase Institute experience.

The salon experience was an indication that we were in for some very personal care in the island paradise of Amanpulo. There were some very special, personalized touches from the moment we boarded the chartered plane to the island, to the lovely gifts in our rooms, to the engraved crystal glasses at our last dinner.

The experience was unforgettable, and I am so grateful I got to share these gifts with my mom. Let me tell this story via photos…

 

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I won’t dwell on how small planes scare me. But we flew to Amanpulo and back in great comfort (and safety, thank God).

 

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Pamalican Island, Palawan better known as Amanpulo.

 

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Me and my mom.

 

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Loved the personal pillow.

 

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We were all picked up in golf carts. And driven to our own casitas.

 

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After which the golf cart was turned over to me and mom. I was to be her designated driver for the whole stay.

 

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Bedroom

 

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Someone was very happy.

 

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There was a wrap around porch.

 

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The bathroom. Spot the Kérastase surprises.

 

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Kérastase Discipline for me. This line is for unruly curly hair. But because my hair isn’t technically curly, it just gets frizzy whenever it feels like it, I just needed smoothness. For that my routine calls for Bain Fluidéaliste sans Sulfate (sulfate-free shampoo to smoothen and rid hair of frizz), Maskératine (a mask to leave hair soft, smooth, and with weightless fluidity), and Keratine Thermique (a pre-styling cream to protect hair before blow-drying and use of heat styling tools, leaving hair smooth and shiny).

 

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My mom had to answer a series of questions, and based on those she was given the Spécifique line which focuses on scalp-related issues like itchiness, dandruff, hair loss and oily roots. Her shampoo is the Spécifique Bain Vital Dermo-Calm to moisturize and purify her scalp to calm irritation and inflammation. She also has the Cure Apaisante, a concentrated 4-week treatment to sooth her scalp.

 

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Right after we settled in, we hit the beach. The casitas are all behind the bushes, so they are not visible from the beach.

 

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I parked myself in one of the lounge chairs.

 

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Drove to the clubhouse to check it out.

 

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Dress code for dinner was Moroccan.

 

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But first, the sunset.

 

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The evening was Moroccan-themed for the launch of Kérastase Aura Botanica.

 

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Kérastase Aura Botanica is made of 96% natural origin ingredients with handpicked and responsibly-sourced Samoan coconut & Moroccan Argan oils. It contains no silicones, no sulfates, and no parabens.

 

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The AURA BOTANICA Concentre Essentiel Aromatic Nourishing Oil Blend. It is a multipurpose oil, comprised of 99% natural origin ingredients. Renewable avocado oil, rich in Omegas 6 and 9, and jojoba oil add softness and shine to hair, while the rosemary extract helps preserve the oils. It is highlighted by an aromated fragrance of sweet orange essential oil.

 

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Despite the Moroccan theme, we had Filipino food.

 

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Loved everything!

 

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Ferdie Salvador, Javi Martinez, Rafa Alunan, Amina Aranaz-Alunan, Tim Yap, Amanda Griffin, me and my mom.

 

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With Amina and Amanda, video by Pam Quinones, editor in chief of L’Oficiel Philippines

 

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The next morning we hit the beach and went snorkeling.

 

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Editors in kaftans and big hats. Inquirer’s Cheche Moral, Town & Country’s Yvette Fernandez, and Philippine Star’s Therese Garceau.

 

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Took a break from snorkeling and soaked up some sun.

 

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Happiness by the sea. Always. I wanted to remember this moment because I used to go scuba diving every weekend. It was one of the reasons I stayed in the Philippines for an extended period. Had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I always feel God’s presence when I am underwater, even if I’m just snorkeling.

 

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We had a nice light lunch back at the beach.

 

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Salad and antipasti

 

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Those artichokes.

 

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After lunch, back to the beach.

 

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The rest of the group went out on the boat again while I stayed behind and went paddle boarding by myself.

 

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Then the boat came to my direction and suddenly I had everyone taking photos of me. Yay. Photo by Pam Quinones.

 

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The reason the boat came my way, it turned out that a resident pawikan (sea turtle) was a spotted near me. So some of the people in our group jumped into the water to look for the turtle. Photo by Pierra Calasanz Labrador

 

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And there he was, the lovely giant sea turtle (pawikan) as captured on video by ABS-CBN’s Marie Lozano. And how’s that for a money shot? That’s me!

 

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Amanpulo is completely surrounded by fine white sand. You can walk around the island!

 

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Even birds leave their footsteps on the sand.

 

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On the night of the relaunch of Kérastase, we were all asked to wear white. The set up was so lovely.

 

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Mom loved all the pretty details…

 

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…beautiful orchids…

 

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And this lovely souvenir. We all got engraved crystal wine glasses.

 

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It was  magical.

 

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Kaila Nicdao of Kérastase

 

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My video campaign was first shown.

 

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It was so lovely being with Amina and my fellow F girl, Amanda.

 

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All of us.

 

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The Kérastase team.

 

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With Nik Pedro and Janlee Dungca

 

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More handwritten notes and special gifts from Kaila Nicdao of Kérastase.

 

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We wrote postcards to home.

 

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It was hard to say goodbye.

 

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On our last morning before we flew back home, my mom woke me up while it was still dark. She said, “Do you want to see the sunrise?” I dragged myself out of bed and went walking with her in the dark. I have photos and videos, and they were pitch black. There was nobody in the beach except us. We didn’t really talk. It was too early. Neither of us had coffee yet. But we just walked side by side until the sun went up. By this time we saw an Amanpulo staff working on a docked boat. And I asked him to take our picture. This has got to be one of my most memorable moments with my mom.

 

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I’m so glad I had spent this time with my mom. In all the years I’ve been living and working in the Philippines, my family rarely gets to see my work. This time, not only did my mom get to come with me to Amanpulo, she saw the relaunch of Kérastase with my video, and experience Kérastase Very Personal Care with me. Photo by Cholo de la Vega

 

 

Dear Traveler

 

 

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It has been a while since I blogged. Instagram has kept us all trapped. So much has happened and it’s already June.

By now you know I hosted a travel series for AirAsia. The videos were shown in the Air Asia Facebook Page. We have recently released our first season’s finale. But I think each destination warrants a separate entry, so I will keep this short.

This one’s a bit more personal — my thoughts on traveling and motherhood. The poem in the end is by AirAsia’s Len Caccam. I think it captured what traveling means to most of us. I hope you like it. I’ve embedded the video in the bottom of this post, but if you can’t see it, just click here.

 

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Red Talks Episode 6 – Destination: FREEDOMShot around the beautiful skyscrapers of Shanghai, the season finale of AirAsia Red Talks with Daphne is an ode to travelers all from all walks of life . This episode has a special message dedicated to travelers that will hopefully inspire them to continue sharing their wonderful journeys. Being a traveler herself, Daphne shares her insights on how traveling has influenced her role as a mother and a travelogue host; and why she believes discovering new places is something a person should strive for. Join us as we cap off this season of AirAsia Red Talks with Daphne.

Dear Traveler, What’s your next destination?

Posted by AirAsia on Saturday, June 3, 2017