MAC Cosmetics in Boracay



Leave it to MAC Cosmetics Philippines to present the Spring-Summer 2015 beauty trend report in the island paradise of Boracay. Every season and new collection in the past has so far been launched in very interesting and glamorous events. This one sets a new standard for seasonal launches. MAC Philippines flew the country’s top editors and a few bloggers to attend the presentation by Director of Artistry Romero Jennings. We all stayed at the luxurious Shangri-la Boracay for a couple of nights.

Here are some highlights.


Can't think of a better place to see the MAC Cosmetics SS2015 Trend Presentation. We're in paradise! #MACSS15boracay  #MACtrends #DaphneandNBS
Upon arrival we were treated to some island essentials – the Face Protect Lotion SPF 50 and Mineralized Charged Water. I had my DAPHNE & NBS margarita pouch. And my favourite pair of sunnies – Thierry Lasry limited edition.


The Shangri-la welcome. Yes to tropical fruits anytime.


Flying in, I wore my DAPHNE x Seek the Uniq wrap skirt.


My spacious room.


We were treated to a facial at Chi The Spa at Shangri-la Boracay.


With my best bud Ingrid Go, and Manila Bulletin’s Arnel Patawaran and Town & Country’s Nicole Limos.


We each had our own spa cottage.


Orchids everywhere.


I swear, my future cottage will have a lovely courtyard like this.


MAC hosted a beautiful welcome dinner by the beach garden.


Our table.


Lovely personal touches. Our water glasses were engraved with our own monograms.


So much loveliness.


With my BFF since birth Mel Lerma.


The cocktails were specifically designed inspired by lipsticks – Heroine, Ruby Woo, Morange, Candy Yum Yum and Sin.


What the cocktails looked like.


With MAC Director of Artistry Romero Jennings who flew in from New York and Country Manager of Estee Lauder Group Mel Lerma.


The smores bar was a big hit.


I finally got to wear my black silk dress that I bought from Magali Pascal in Bali. I love that shop.


Shangri-la Boracay at dusk.


MAC sent makeup artist Gee Vee to my room to prep me for dinner. Such luxury!


Monogrammed linen napkins at our farewell dinner.


Ingrid and I at the farewell dinner


Perfect place to wear caftans.


I wore mine during the day. My favourite caftan, from Mist in Bali.


My DAPHNE & NBS hummingbird tote bag came in handy.


Off to the beach to catch the sunset. Wore Melissa sandals.


We did the sunset thing…


Until it turned like this.


MAC Cosmetics Spring-Summer 2015 trends as interpreted by Romero Jennings, here.



HIV… It’s not over





A couple of days ago, December 1 was World AIDS Day. MAC Cosmetics showed a documentary entitled It’s Not Over by Andrew Jenks at a theatre in Makati. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend because I was hosting a very important event — the national launch of APEC in the Philippines. (Major!)

I couldn’t let the message of this film go by unnoticed though. It is a documentary that shows the reality of HIV-AIDS during this time. Most people associate AIDS as an 80’s issue that has already been resolved. But studies show that despite all the awareness, infections still continue. Young people account for over 30 percent of all new infections and, in certain areas and groups, infections are actually on the rise. This film was funded by the MAC AIDS Fund which has relied on 100% of sales from all Viva Glam lipsticks and has raised more than $340 million to date.




I really think this is something we should be talking about in the Philippines. We are among the 9 countries that has increasing HIV/AIDS cases. It is quite alarming to see the stats that there has been a 50% growth annually in HIV/AIDS cases in our country.

It’s Not Over is a film that could start this discussion, especially among the younger people. Starting December 1, 2014, Netflix, the world’s largest global streaming platform, will be hosting the film for viewers worldwide, and SnagFilms, a leader in high-quality free film content, is making it available through its applications on Roku®, Xbox™, Sony® and more.

I hope people who watch the film will realize that a lot of work still needs to be done and that they will be inspired to look further into the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS around the world.




Paige Diner shot 2
Paige is a college freshman who has been living with HIV her entire life. After years of battling stigma, she has come full circle, becoming a young advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and using her experience to challenge assumptions and prejudice. Andrew first meets Paige at a dance marathon at her college in Indiana before taking off with Paige and her two roommates for an impromptu road-trip.


South Africa 3 - Lucky
A teacher and mentor, Lucky is working to keep young South Africans out of the type of trouble that he ran into at an early age. Lucky acts as a tour guide around Khayelitsha, the largest and fastest growing township in South Africa with some of the highest rates of HIV in the country. As Andrew follows him to work and around his hometown, Lucky emanates an exuberance and zeal for life that is an inspiring celebration of the efforts of a single, committed individual.


An Indian playwright, Sarang (not in photo) is openly gay in a country where homosexuality is outlawed. Come along for the ride as Sarang’s new play, addressing gay marriage, makes its way from rehearsal to public debut. While in India, Andrew also meets Sarang’s boyfriend, witnesses the personal stories of HIV+ orphans, and experiences the staggering poverty of the infamous Falkland Road.


UNAIDS welcomes the film and calls upon young people around the world to mobilize around its vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. Globally, an estimated 5 million adolescents and young people (ages 10-24) were living with HIV in 2013. Millions of young people living with HIV do not know they have the virus. Every day approximately 1,800 adolescents and young people become infected with HIV, accounting for nearly 31 percent of all new HIV infections.

“Young people will lead us to an AIDS-free generation. By ensuring adolescents and young people are aware of and have access to HIV services, we are not only saving lives, but also investing in a healthier future for generations to come,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We are proud of the strong partnership we have with the M?A?C AIDS Fund to advance global efforts toward ending the AIDS epidemic.”

The subjects in the film are active with MAC AIDS Fund grantees including Humsafar, Grassroot Soccer and Camp Kindle. These partners have received grants to help fight HIV/AIDS through the MAC AIDS Fund, which raises funds exclusively through the sale of MAC’s VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipglass. MAC donates 100 percent of the sale price to fight the AIDS epidemic and has raised more than $340 million to date.


For more information on the film, including cast biographies, grantee overviews, exclusive clips and ways to get involved, please visit


Jewelmer Gala





It has become somewhat of a tradition that this time of the year, Jewelmer hosts a wonderful gala befitting the celebration of the Philippines’ National Gem. Back in 2012, I had the honour of being the host of the Jewelmer Gala. It was so glamorous and luxurious — Patrick Rosas did my hair and makeup and Randy Ortiz made my dress.

This year is Jewelmer’s 35th anniversary. It topped previous events with not just a runway fashion show, but an entire production involving theatre actors, dancers and a story of mankind’s despair over the death and destruction of planet earth, his realization that he can act upon it, and finally, his triumph in restoring balance to the environment. Performers include Prima Ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and award-winning actress Angel Aquino accompanied by original arrangements performed by the Manila Philarmonic. Top Filipino models, dressed in couture designed by Rhett Eala went on stage with Jewelmer Joaillerie’s Spring-Summer 2015 Collection.

Also launched was Jewelmer Joaillerie’s 35th Anniversary special pendant, symbolising the miracle of the golden pearl. It is composed of a 13mm golden South Sea pearl surrounded by an 18-karat yellow gold wave with 0.105-carat sparkling diamond “bubbles”. This piece depicts how the pearl is born from the sea even as it protects this miraculous treasure in its depths. It takes about five years and at least 323 individual steps to produce a single pearl. Each piece of this special edition pendant is numbered, handcrafted by Jewelmer’s expert artisans.


Jewelmer Senior Vice President and Creative Director Gaelle Branellec, Jewelmer Deputy CEO Jacques Christophe Branellec and
Jewelmer Senior Vice President and Creative Director Gaelle Branellec and Jewelmer Deputy CEO Jacques Christophe Branellec


Liza Ilarde
Liza Ilarde of Manila Bulletin’s Style Weekend


Jewelmer Marketing Manager Isabel T. San Agustin and Daphe Osena-Paez
With Jewelmer Marketing Manager Isabel T. San Agustin


One of those rare moments, together at an event.


The gala took place at my favourite Manila building, the Philippine International Convention Centre (PICC). I took advantage of the beautiful space and snapped a lot of photos. Here’s my shameless OOTD. I wore a dress off-the-rack from Religioso, made of cotton jersey (bodice) and cotton (skirt). My shoes are from Melissa, yes they are PVC. Bag from Aranaz. And I wore my own pair of studs and strand of white south sea pearls from Jewelmer, of course.


Jewelmer was founded in 1979 by Filipino entrepreneur Manuel Cojuangco and French pearl farmer Jacques Branellec in their pearl farm in Palawan, Southern Philippines—one of the few places in the world capable of sustaining the Pinctada maxima oyster that brings forth the rarest of all pearl varieties, the golden South Sea pearl.


Prima Ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Ballet Manila (vince Arcilla by Alfred Mendoza Photography)
Prima Ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Ballet Manila. Photo by Vince Arcilla by Alfred Mendoza Photography.


Angel Aquino played the role of Mother Earth.


Earth Segment with the Dancers by AM Photography
The Earth segment. Photo by Alfred Mendoza Photography


Earth Segment by Rhett Eala ( Vince Arcilla by Alfred Mendoza Photography)
Rhett Eala creations and the Jewelmer Joaillerie’s Earth collection. Photo by Vince Arcilla by Alfred Mendoza Photography.


Water.  01 Baroque pearls, gems with unusual and dramatic silhouettes, are unexpected free expressions of nature, giving rise to unorthodox jewels that have long fired the imaginations of artists. This free-flowing TOCCATA necklace with 9 golden south sea pearls in 18-karat yellow gold lives up to its name, like a virtuoso piece of swift, lighthearted music. 02. From the  BOLLICINE Collection: A ring composed of one golden South Sea pearls set with diamonds in 18-Karat yellow gold. 03 Also from BOLLICINE, a bracelet composed of five golden South Sea pearls set with diamonds in 18-Karat yellow gold.


Earth.  01 By far one of the most beautiful pieces of jewellery I’ve seen. This TROPICS necklace is composed of one single baroque South Sea pearl set with diamonds in 18-Karat yellow gold reflecting the earth’s bounty and many shapes, colours and textures of the natural world. 02 Scintillating petals unfurl in pavé diamonds, blossoming with the pearl at its heart. Each sparkling flower in the DOLCE ROSA collection is an unforgettable treasure, a sumptuous feast of nature and romance. Dangling earrings composed of two golden South Sea pearls set with 0.368 carat diamonds in 18-Karat yellow gold.  03 From the TROPICS Collection: Earrings composed of two golden South Sea pearls set with diamonds in 18-Karat yellow gold.


Air.  01 From the LINEA DE ORO Collection, solid, straight lines are drawn in precious gold and set with sparkling stones to make a sophisticated setting against which the sensuous curves of a pearl stand out in stunning detail. A bracelet composed of five golden South Sea pearls set diamonds in 18-Karat yellow gold.  02 From the Zen collection, a cuff composed of golden South Sea pearls and diamonds in 18-Karat yellow gold.  03 From the Zen collection, amidst symmetrical ripples, a perfect duality of textures, and evenly spaced circles of light, a golden pearl floats in tranquility – a masterwork of breathtaking simplicity. A necklace composed of three golden South Sea pearls set with 20.66 carat diamonds in 18-Karat yellow gold



The Philippine Literary Festival 2014



Print Ad - The Philippine Literary Festival 2014 (6x30)


Announcement from my sponsor, National Book Store –

Raffles Makati and National Book Store present the first ever Philippine Literary Festival featuring international bestselling and award-winning authors Amy Tan and Chang-Rae Lee from October 23 to 25, 2014 at the Raffles Makati.

Attend three days of book signing, discussions and panels about books and literature with free admission! The Spotlight on Amy Tan panel will be on October 24 at 1:30 p.m. and her book signing will be on October 25 at 2 p.m. The Spotlight on Chang-Rae Lee panel and book signing will be on October 25 at 9 a.m. View the complete schedule and get details of all events at




Author Photo - Amy Tan (credit to Rick Smolan)
Amy Tan is the woman behind ‘The Joy Luck Club’, ‘The Kitchen God’s Wife’, and ‘The Hundred Secret Senses’, which are all New York Times bestsellers and recipients of various awards all over the world. Her works have been translated into 35 languages.


Book Cover - Valley of Amazement
Amy Tan’s new novel ‘The Valley of Amazement’ is described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “a novel that grabs your soul”. Abandoned by her mother Lucia, and uncertain of her father’s identity, Violet is one of the most celebrated courtesans in Shanghai. Her quest will set her on a path fraught with danger and complexity, and the loss of her own daughter Flora. Lucia, a willful and wild American woman who was once the proprietress of Shanghai’s most exclusive courtesan house, nurses her own secret wounds. Her search for penance and redemption will bring her to a startling reunion with Flora, and will shatter all that Violet believed she knew about her mother.


Author Photo - Chang-rae Lee (credit to David Burnett)
Korean-American novelist Chang-Rae Lee is the author of ‘Native Speaker’, which garnered numerous awards including Ernest Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the American Book Award. He was hailed as one of the 20 best American writers by The New Yorker magazine for his second novel ‘A Gesture Life’. His novel ‘Aloft’, earned him the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in the Adult Fiction category in 2006. Photo credit ©2009 David Burnett, represented by Cathy Saypol, August 19, 2009, New York, NY, NY Public Library


Book Cover - On Such a Full Sea
‘On Such a Full Sea’ is Chang-Rae Lee’s latest novel set in a dystopian future America, which is described by the Washington Post as “a brilliant, deeply unnerving portrait”. In a class-divided future America where urban neighborhoods function as labor colonies for elite charter villages, Fan, a female fish-tank diver, embarks on what becomes a legendary quest to find the man she loves, who mysteriously disappears. Her journey will soon become a legend to those she left behind.


All events will be held at the Raffles Makati with registration starting at 8 a.m. everyday. Admission is free. Only books purchased at the Philippine Literary Festival will be entitled to signing passes for Amy Tan and Chang-Rae Lee. Sign up for updates and view the complete schedule at

Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for updates on the latest events, promos and contests. Tag #PLF2014 to join the discussion.



Study in Canada



Graduation, University of Toronto
When I was awarded my degree at the University of Toronto.


I was recently invited by the Canadian Embassy (Manila) to join a roundtable discussion with media and the Canadian Ambassador to promote post-secondary education in Canada. It brought me back to my years in university, where I had the best years of my life. To this day, I still value not just the quality of education I received, but also the wealth of experience I gained by living and studying in a dynamic city like Toronto.

I must say that I did not choose to study in Canada. I’m Canadian and it was just a natural progression. I graduated from a Canadian high school. I always wanted to study at the University of Toronto. I worked hard in high school, got involved in leadership positions, and I got in to all three universities of my choice. I wouldn’t know what it’s like as a foreign student. The Study in Canada Fair hopes to address questions regarding international students.

Tomorrow, October 4, 2014 from 10am to 6pm at the Fairmont Hotel, the Embassy of Canada is hosting the Study in Canada Fair. There will be representatives from some Canadian colleges and vocational institutions. Everything you need to know about studying there will be available. Register online here, it’s all free.

I will answer the most common question I receive about Canadian education. No, the Embassy does not give scholarships or grants. They are hosting this event to give information and support for those considering an education overseas. However, universities, colleges and organizations give scholarships to individuals based on merit and need. First things first, put in your application to a university and get in. Then try applying for financial assistance.


University of Toronto graduation
The day I graduated from the University of Toronto. I was 23 years old and my sisters were still in high school. Both of them also went to U of T. Both did very well. Hanni even graduated “With Distinction” (cum laude).


Every time we are back in Toronto, I make it a point to visit my old campus. The kids love it there because it reminds them of Harry Potter.


University of Toronto is Canada’s #1 university. It is ranked in the top 20 of the world. I say that not to show off, though it makes me very proud that I got in to such a prestigious institution (and completed my degree). I’m proudly sharing this fact because in Canada, you can get top quality education at a fraction of what one would pay in the UK or the US. All our universities are subsidized. We do not have private universities. Because of this, competition is really tough getting in to the top schools.


University of Toronto is the largest university in Canada. It is divided into three campuses – St George campus (downtown, where I went), Erindale College (in the west of Toronto, Mississauga) and Scarborough Campus (eastern side). St George is huge and spans across many blocks of the downtown core. As a student in St George, you are either affiliated with a professional faculty (Engineering, Architecture, etc.) or a college (for those in the arts and sciences). I chose to be in St Michael’s College. I didn’t live in official on campus residence because I found my “family” in Pi Beta Phi, the first women’s fraternity established in 1867 in the US. I lived in my women’s fraternity house, which was in the periphery of the university and just a corner away from the Art Gallery of Ontario.


Within the UofT St. George campus (downtown), there are seven colleges. Each arts and science student must choose one college affiliation. I chose St. Michael’s because it was Catholic. But once you’re studying it hardly matters which college you belong to, except if you’re paying tuition or changing courses (which I am sure is all online now). The college system is a distinct feature of UofT, to give students the chance to feel the smaller college community life with its own traditions. This photo shows Knox College, a postgraduate theological college of the UofT, founded in 1844. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of Canada and the church of Scotland.


I love going to Knox College, because it’s just so pretty. I don’t really have interest in theology or divinity, but if I did, I would love to study and live in this kind of environment.


Sophia is smitten by UofT, St George campus. This is at the University College (UC), established in 1853. UC has no religious affiliation. The building reflects a mix of styles including Norman, Romanesque Revival, and faint traces of Byzantium and the Italian palazzo. It is located in the centre of King’s College Circle, making it the most recognisable landmark of the university.


Convocation Hall last spring 2013.


Under the bell tower
The hero’s memorial outside Hart House.


Hart House, University of Toronto
This is Hart House, our student activity centre established in 1919. In my freshman year, this is where my friends and I ate lunch every day. I love the Gothic revival style of architecture. I used to do my aerobics classes and swimming laps in the indoor pool with vaulted ceiling. Really beautiful place.


Med Sci building
Not all buildings at UofT are from the 1800’s. There are some very interesting 60’s modern and post-modern architecture as well.  This is Lily when she was 4. At the Medical Sciences building.


Living in the heart of downtown Toronto gave us access to a lifestyle that was rich in culture, social activities and dynamic urban issues — very important for a student of urban planning. The Royal Ontario Museum ROM was within our vicinity. One of my Art History courses in East Asian Art was held at this museum. The ROM has since undergone an expansion by Daniel Libeskind.


Just a block from where I lived (Pi Beta Phi house), was the Art Gallery of Ontario and Toronto’s famous Chinatown. Again, as a student of art history, living near the AGO was a real privilege. In 2008, the AGO was redesigned by my favourite, Frank Gehry.


The new City Hall of the City of Toronto, where I was an intern for two years. As a student of urban planning, I got my practical experience as an intern for a city councillor. We dealt with the city’s growth issues, heritage conservation, and our local ward’s neighbourhood concerns – from a resident complaining that a neighbour is not mowing his lawn (creating an unsightly streetscape), to the study of deep lake water cooling, to gentrifying neighbourhoods and preserving heritage structures, and the possibility of a Metro government. Fast forward to now, Toronto city government has moved to the Metro Hall as all the cities within the Toronto area amalgamated and formed one metro-wide government. Think, one Metro Manila government as opposed to 17 city halls.


It was also this internship at Toronto City Hall that paved the way for me to get hired by the Canadian Urban Institute’s International Programs Office, which eventually led to my working overseas — in Mexico and the Philippines. And the rest, as they say….


A couple of weeks ago, upon the invitation of Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder, I attended a round table presentation to media about our Canadian education.


With Ambassador Reeder to launch the Study in Canada Education Fair were other prominent Filipino alumni of Canadian schools. From left, Chef Sharwin Tee who graduated from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, Miss International Bea Rose Santiago who studied at York University, SEAOIL Philippines President and CEO Glenn Yu from University of British Columbia, me from University of Toronto, entrepreneur Christopher Tan from University of British Columbia, and musician artist Nykó Macá of McGill University.


So, yeah, I talk with my hands. Haha. Here’s a light moment with Ambassador Reeder. On the left is the President and CEO of SEAOil Philippines Glenn Yu who graduated from the University of British Columbia on full scholarship from the federal government. Bea Santiago, current Miss International, studied in York University. Amb. Reeder studied at University of Saskatchewan and Carlton University.


The Study in Canada Fair, tomorrow, October 4, 2014 from 10am to 6pm at the Fairmont Hotel. There will be representatives from some Canadian colleges and vocational institutions. Learn everything you need to know about studying in Canada. Register online here, it’s all free.