Princess Lea



lea books2


When I told my girls we were invited to the launch of a children’s book about Lea Salonga, they were floored. They are big fans of Lea. Sophia knows all her songs. They’ve met her at the opening night of Mamma Mia at the CCP where they were surrounded by so many local stars but they only recognized Lea and another personality.

Princess Lea is Yvette Fernandez’ fifth book published by Dream Big Books, a subsidiary of Summit Books focusing on children’s stories about modern-day Filipino role models. Among the books in the series are Big John, the riches-to-rags-to-riches tale of John Gokongwei, Jr.; Nanay Coring, the success story of National Book Store owner Socorro Ramos; Ninoy, Cory, and Noynoy, which tells of love for nation of the Aquino family; and Simply Jesse, which recounts the life of former DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo.


lea yvette, lea, nicole lim2
Writer Yvette Fernandez, Lea and illustrator Nicole Lim. Princess Lea shows highlights of Lea’s life from when she was a six-year-old, landing a part in a local production of The King and I to an internationally renowned performer who has starred as Kim in Miss Saigon, Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables, and Mei-Li in Flower Drum Song, among others.


lea nicole reads
The story builds up to the day of Lea’s wedding to Rob – Lea’s favourite “moment” in the book. She also says her favourite role is that of mommy to daughter Nicole, who read the 10 tips to succeeding like Lea Salonga.



lea robredos
Also guests were Jillian, Trish and Congresswoman Leni Robredo.


As you know, Leni and I met in person days after Sec Jessie’s funeral. She had been a long-time reader of my blog and knew everything about me. Now we are friends. Surreal.


My girls read their books on the spot.


Then they all lined up and waited for their turn at the book signing. They weren’t just excited about seeing Lea again, they were also looking forward to talking with Yvette Fernandez (they call her Tita Yvette). Yvette has given them signed copies of all her children’s books. Soph has a knack for writing fiction and poetry, and hopes to be published one day. Both Soph and Lily love drawing and illustrating their works, so they were also in awe of the illustrator Nicole.


Princess Lea 204
Happy when they got their turn.


Stella said, “It’s the best book ever!” She is into superlatives. But really, it’s a great book.


Princess Lea is available in National Book Store and other bookstores nationwide for only Php 125. Part of the proceeds from the sales will go to the ICanServe Foundation, to benefit women with breast cancer.



Etihad Airways



It was an honour for me to emcee the 10th Anniversary celebration of one of the world’s best airlines, Etihad Airways. For five consecutive years, Etihad Airways has been voted World’s Leading Airline. A couple of months ago, they celebrated their 7th year of service in the Philippines, coinciding with their 10th anniversary year. Here are some of the official photos from the event I emceed.


Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan, was the host and guest of honour of the event.


Mr Hogan has led Etihad Airways since 2006 – the very same year the airline started flying to the Philippines. One of the global industry’s most accomplished CEOs, James Hogan has had a stellar career in travel and aviation. He was recently honoured with the prestigious Executive Leadership Award at the 2013 Airline Strategy Awards and at CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence in Hong Kong last year, was named CAPA Aviation Executive of the Year.


With the cabin crew of #etihadairways, at the 10th anniversary of Etihad
With the lovely flight attendants of Etihad Airways.


Also in attendance was Air Asia group CEO Tony Fernandes, who has recently been conferred with the Commander of the Legion d’Honneur award by the French government for his contribution to the Malaysian aviation industry and economy. Source.


Many thanks to Stephen Mahoney of Etihad’s Corporate Communications for sending me these photos. I recall he was telling me about the new service they were just launched – the Flying Nanny. I love the idea because we take our kids on long haul flights and I can’t tell you enough how important it is to keep them happy and preoccupied.


Here, more about the Flying Nanny.


What I wore: a black tulle and sequined dress I bought from a local line in Rustan’s many, many years ago, that rock crystal and white gold necklace I designed, and diamond stud earrings to keep the focus on the neckpiece. My hair and make up were done by Ria Aquino.



MAC Divine Night



MAC Divine Night


Mineralize Eye Shadow, Blush and Skinfinish pair rich, contrasting shades with the graphic impact of a limited-edition powder design. Fluidline in Macviolet and Stares & Speculation get you noticed, while Kohl Power Eye Pencil lines eyes with glittering shades of pearl. False Lashes sharpens with ultimate definition. Lips exude allure in matching shades of Cremesheen Glass and Lipstick, and glossy nails with a lacquered finish are fit to fire up everyone’s envy.


MAC cosmetics launched Divine Night at Whitespace, Makati last November 11.




MAC started the evening by announcing their P1 Million donation to UNICEF Philippines for Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan programs. The funds came from MAC’s Global Aids Fund which is supported by sales from Viva Glam. In photo with me is my good friend Mel Lerma, Country Manager of Estee Lauder Group of Companies which owns MAC Cosmetics.


Allison Harvard and MEGA’s Suki Salvador


ingrid go, pong niu, gretchen fullido
Ingrid Go, Pong Niu and Gretchen Fullido


ellen adarna
Ellen Adarna


coleen garcia
Coleen Garcia


cloie syquia
Cloie Syquia


Town & Country’s beauty editor Nicole Limos, events editor Manica Tiglao and Alicia Colby-Sy.


Stephanie Zubiri, Vicki Abary, Rosanna Ocampo


With Pauline Juan, Myrza Sison, Agoo Bengzon, Mel Lerma and Tara Santos


Sarah Labahti


Wendy Valdez and Kat Hermosa


nikki gil
Nikki Gil




UNICEF Auction for Action Year 3



We held the press preview for my third UNICEF Auction for Action last week. Lots of new developments since we first started in 2011. I can’t believe that in the two times we’ve done it, we’ve raised over P4.5 million pesos all in online auctions. This year, I have a bigger goal. Will you help me raise P5 million?

Auction for Action started as a small idea between me, Angela Travis (then Head of Communications for Unicef Philippines) and the fundraising team. Initially I relied on goodwill from friends and relationships I cultivated after years of focusing on design. Now we have a full team organizing the auction and we have partners approaching us to help and get involved.

It is a huge honour for me to be given the chance to get all my great loves together in a project that means so well — my love for art, design, media and children. I am so grateful for the opportunity to curate another auction of this magnitude.

Since it is held in October again, we are honouring National Children’s Month, with Auction for Action 2013 bringing together over 90 artists in art, design, furniture and jewelry. We are specifically raising funds to benefit a unique education program to provide children access to early learning: Supervised Neighborhood Play Program (SNP).

I had the chance to see Supervised Neighbourhood Play Program first hand when I visited Davao Oriental last March, 100 days after Typhoon Pablo devastated the area. There I saw a preschool teacher singing songs and acting out lyrics with her 5-year old students. It was the “raindrop song” – so simple yet so full of impact. These are kids who witnessed a scary storm that destroyed their town and killed people and animals. They need the raindrop song and other educational methods to help them cope with trauma.

This year’s Auction for Action will go live on on October 21 to 27. I will post links then. For now, feel free to read more here.


This year, we partner with Yuchengco Museum, who not only hosted the site of our press preview but will also host the public preview everyday at the Yuchengco Museum lobby.


This is my only shot of the Yuchengco lobby facade from the inside. It is accessible through RCBC tower in the ground floor. Admission to Unicef Auction for Action is free. You can see most of our auction items everyday up to 6pm except on Sundays.


Dr Will Dapgne and Tumoo
With me is Dr Willibald Zeck, UNICEF’s Chief of Health and Nutrition, who is also a published artist in Austria. He donated another one of his abstract works. Also in photo is Mr Tomoo Hozumi, Country Representative of Unicef. (The red painting is by Roceli Valencia, “Meditation in Red”. And the little guy is Hari Sonik by Elmer Borlongan).


I have to warn you that this blog post will overdose with photos of me. For some reason, that’s all I have in my camera and in the official camera. I promise to post detail product shots of the items at a later date.

A bit more about Supervised Neighborhood Play – It is a simple, low-cost and easy to organize home-based early learning program where trained day care workers or parent volunteers gather young children in a house, a shaded play area or under a tree for two to three hours, every day for at least ten months to help children learn through organized play. UNICEF supports the SNP program in remote, conflict or disaster-affected communities and in informal settlements located in urban and rural areas.


Dr Will and Daphne
Dr Zeck presenting his abstract painting. Also seen in photo is Raymond Legaspi’s “The Sack Race” and Olivia d’Aboville’s “Liquid Heaven”


Daphne 5
Domicillo Mirror and Jinggoy Buensuceso’s Moth chair. We have two, in black and this marigold.


Kinks and Curls lamp by Vikki Rodriguez for Accessoria.


Daphne 4
Stunning oil painting by my classmate from elementary, Sandra Fabie Gfeller, who is a celebrated artist. You can also see Stanley Ruiz’s Wheelbarrow. I have a Daphne Chair in the lot too. All the auction pieces come with a commemorative brass plate this year. See the man with the magnifying lens? He is looking at a miniature water colour by Gregory Raymond Halili.


Foreground, Seb Chua sculpture. Olivia d’Aboville’s Anemone table lamp and behind me is Michael Cacnio’s Sweet. Candy Crush fans would love that one.


Transformer earrings  copy
TRANSFORMER earrings by Janina Dizon Hoschka. These dangling earrings consists of a brilliant cut blue topaz with green tsavorites and a pear shaped amethyst top in yellow silver. The middle part are bezel set amethysts with white sapphires in the double happiness symbol. Bottom danglers are made with icy blue amazonite drops in silver. These earrings can be worn five ways.


Tomoo Hozumi checking out the detailing of Kawayan Tech’s bamboo bike. The world is catching on to this bamboo bike technology. Even Marc Jacobs designed one here.


Mr Hozumi trying the Kawayan Tech bike. You can see in the background – Leeroy New’s Entropy, Hamzah Marbella’s Catching Fish , Dominic Rubio’s Father and Two Sons, Pete Jimenez’ Play it by Ear , and Manuel Baldemor’s Filipino Family.


National Bookstore
National Book Store donated 10 signed books. We’ve decided to auction them all individually. Stella wants to bid on the Eric Carle’s “The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse.” You can see a beautiful carved ostrich egg lamp by artist Danny Rayos del Sol.


And our major highlight, Kenneth Cobonpue’s sculpture Coral. Kenneth has not shown this piece to the public yet. It makes its debut here at Auction for Action. That gorgeous blue and white painting is by Popo San Pascual. He never fails to amaze me. The desk lamp is by Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo of Firma Makati.


We have an impressive collection of jewelry and accessories from – Amina Aranaz, Kristine Dee, Paul Syjuco, Janina Dizon-Hoschka, Jewelmer Joaillerie, Joyce Makitalo, Ann Ong, Ana Rocha, SC Vizcarra and Nicole Whisenhunt.


A closer look at Leeroy New, Kawayan Tech push bike for kids, Hamzah Marbella and Mitch Shivers’ Log-in.


Grateful to Patty Laurel for attending the press preview with her lovely mom and sister. Thank you to my Bench family for my pretty dress from Karen Millen.


Bid for one-of-a-kind pieces from notable Filipino artists and designers and help make a difference for children. The auction goes live on October 21-27, 2013 at

For a preview, visit or go to the Yuchengco Museum from October 3 to 26 at the RCBC Plaza, Makati City.

This year’s auction is made possible through the generous participation of the Philippine Star, Yuchengco Museum, Summit Media, Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation, EBay Philippines, Citem and Manila Fame.



The Legends and the Classics



Lunch with the Legend - prima ballerina @lisamacuja. Watch The Legends & The Classics on Oct 12-13 at CCP with Lisa Macuja, Lea Salonga and Cecile Licad.
It was a pleasant surprise to get a call from Lisa Macuja-Elizalde’s team inviting me to have lunch with her last Friday.


Wife of Russian Ambassador to Philippines and Lisa Macuja-Elizalde (Ballet Manila)
Last time I saw Lisa was when she guested on my ANC talkshow in 2006! This was taken one month before Lily was born. Here’s Lisa with the wife of the Russian Ambassador to Philippines. They were then promoting the touring Bolshoi Ballet then, which I got to see at the CCP. I remember thinking, maybe my baby will grow up to be a ballerina because I relished every single move and sound. True enough, of all my girls, Lily is the dancer. Untrained. But still, she really feels music run through her veins and isn’t shy to express it with her free-style moves.


Lisa Macuja in TLTC 2012
Lisa is the Philippines’ first prima ballerina having been the principal dancer of the prestigious Kirov Ballet in 1984 (originally known as the Imperial Russian Ballet).


Lisa hasn’t slowed down one bit. Throughout lunch she was receiving calls from her dance company regarding administrative and creative issues. This is a crazy month for her. Because of the storms, three productions are overlapping – Carmen, Tatlo Pang Kuwento Ni Lola Basyang and rehearsals for the return of The Legends and the Classics.


Icons of the performing arts – Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Cecile Licad and Lea Salonga.


This October, this rare gathering of three iconic performing artists will be happening again. For those of you who missed the first one last March 2012, here is another chance to see the top three artists perform together again. The winner of last year’s Aliw Award for Best Concert Collaboration, it returns to the stage as The Legends and the Classics Encore, on October 12, Saturday, 8 p.m., and October 13, Sunday, 5 p.m., at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Presented by the Manila Broadcasting Company and Ballet Manila, the concert will highlight individual spot numbers, including medleys of Broadway hits and romantic standards from Salonga, immortal piano pieces from Licad and lyrical ballet numbers from Macuja-Elizalde. But what will make it even more unforgettable are the triumvirate’s collaborative performances combining song, music and dance.

The Legends and the Classics Encore will also feature Ballet Manila, the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga and cellist Ed Pasamba. Roxanne Lapus directs.


Cecile Licad, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Lea Salonga in The Le


Tickets for The Legends and the Classics Encore are available at all TicketWorld outlets. For details, or call 891-9999.

For more info, check out Ballet Manila on Facebook.