Lily’s favourite moment

 

 

Things have been so crazy for me lately. I’m not working on a big project or anything specific. But I feel busier than usual. It’s like everything from real life just piled up. I fill my hours and minutes doing so much at home, at work, at my kids’ school, I can’t seem to accomplish anything at the end of the day. Everything is half-done. This is the multi-tasker’s nightmare. Busy but feeling unaccomplished. How did this happen?

I told Patrick, I wish I could go on a long haul flight just so I could watch movies uninterrupted. Heck I’d be happy riding a P2P (point to point) bus from Glorietta to Trinoma just to watch one film in its entirety.

So we got to talking hypothetical situations. “What would you do if you didn’t have to work or do homework?” My answer was, “watch movies.”

Lily’s answer got me.

“I would sit on a rock under a tree, facing a lake or a pond. There, I will sketch and paint. Just like that time in Shanghai, Mom.”

Lily was referring to that time last April when I brought her to Shanghai with me while I filmed for AirAsia Red Talks. It was not the usual travel situation because it was for my work. I told her ahead of time, that the priority is to film Mama in specific scenes. So she would just have to cooperate.

My girl was more than cooperative. She was a real trooper. She walked patiently on The Bund while we waited for the light to change. She saw our team shoot a time-lapse of the skyline for what seemed like an hour, just to get a good 10 second footage of the sunset. Everywhere we went, she brought a book, a sketchbook, and a few pens.

 


This is the moment imprinted in her memory.

 


The rock. The little pond. The trees.

 


Lily sketched the trees in her paper notebook. But drew more details in her head. Today she still talks about the light and the pleasant weather.

 


I remember loving that moment too. That’s why I took so many photos of her while she was in her zone.

 

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Our candid moments were captured by some of our crew members.

 

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I valued that day too. This became my screensaver for the past six months.

 

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We had a lot of special moments during that work trip. This was our first night, shooting at The Bund. Lily was tired. She got sad and missed her sisters.

 

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Another sketch time. While waiting for the bus, she found a spot to sit on near the Shanghai Expo red building.

 

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When she was so afraid to step on the glass floor at the Oriental Pearl Tower, but I didn’t want her to miss the chance for a great photo. So we just sat together and got the shot.

 

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Another must photo spot on The Bund

 

I brought Lily as my “plus one” on this shoot trip because it was her turn. I already had travelled alone with Sophia. We went to France when she attended a two-week camp in Gerardmer and Paris. (Note, that after Lily got back and talked to her sisters about the great time she had with me, Sophia asked if she could go back next in line to travel with me too. She says the France trip shouldn’t count because it wasn’t so much a mother-daughter experience, she was focused on doing the camp experience. She’s right. And I can’t wait to take her on a trip next. And Stella too.)

I will write a separate story about why these one-on-one dates with daughters (or sons) matter so much. For now, I hope you enjoy this video from our AirAsia Red Talks series. There are six episodes in this series, which you can find in the AirAsia Facebook Page. This one documented my Shanghai trip with Lily, and it ends with a poem (not written by me) about why we travel.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

MAC SS2017 Trends

 

 

Not too long ago, I was whisked off to a lovely tropical destination for two days by MAC Cosmetics. They’ve done something similar before, a couple of years ago. They brought us (editors and bloggers) to Shangri-la Boracay. This time, we were invited to Shangri-la Mactan.

 

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I love flying over our islands.

 

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Welcome gifts in our room. The MAC Strobe Cream has become my daily pick-me-upper. Just dab a little bit on upper corner of cheekbones and you instantly look like you have inner glow and radiance.

 

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First stop, lunch at Cowrie Cove. Here with Geolette Esguerra of ABS-CBN publishing.

 

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Our first event was for the launch of MAC Shadescents.

 

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Six new scents were launched. Each represented a cult-favourite lipstick colour — Creme d’Nude, Velvet Teddy, Candy Yum-Yum, Lady Danger, Ruby Woo, and My Heroine.

 

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My Heroine is described as “an intoxicating and totally unexpected fragrance composed of rich and primal Cordovan leather.”

 

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The room was set up with six long tables. Each table represented a scent, which was interpreted with floral settings.

 

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The cocktail reception during sunset was so pretty, I forgot to take pictures. Each scent was also interpreted into cocktail drinks.

 

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MAC Shadescent ambassadors – Megan Young, Karylle, Stephanie Zubiri, and Tessa Prieto.

 

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With the editors – Liza Ilarde, Mia Borromeo, Raul Manzano, and Tessa Prieto.

 

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The lovely guests.

 

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On the second day, MAC provided us with makeup services in the comforts of our own rooms. My regular makeup artist, Ria Aquino, did an express 30-minute face for me. I love it. That lip colour!

 

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She did a quick set up in my room. For those of you who want makeup services, they do this as a package in all MAC counters — for P3,000 or P5,000 all consumable, you get free makeup services.

 

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For the SS 2017 trend report, MAC set up at the tent in Shangrila Mactan. In photo with Vicky Abary, Tessa, Mia, and Liza.

 

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So in love with the setting… our prints weren’t so bad either. My shoes are from Melissa.

 

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Inside the tent, MAC Artist RB Changco assisted the bloggers and guests in choosing our own makeup shades.

 

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The editor gang.

 

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Director of Makeup Artistry for MAC Cosmetics, Gregory Alt with the four Spring Summer 2017 looks — Warm, Wet, Real, and Free.

 

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There is an overarching tendency for makeup to lean toward the (apparently) nonchalant this season. This ranges from the literal “bare face” – aptly described by Diane Kendal as “grooming for girls,” and Gordon Espinet as “next to nothing, but not literally nothing” – to stronger looks that are specifically finished to give the impression of belonging to the individual (as opposed to applied by a makeup artist). An essential feature of modern makeup this season is appearing, in some way, “broken down.”

This direction is a direct reference to the real makeup that real women wear: Brazil nut brown or residual black on the eyes, a remnant of lipstick (or at least one that doesn’t look highly perfected), clean, ostensibly bare skin. “Everything feels very easy, unforced,” says Val Garland. “It’s not about being conceptual,” agrees Sam Bryant. “It’s about looking hyper-real.”

Worn-in and worn off: this is makeup that migrates. It is corporeal; it lives and breathes, thanks to what Lyne Desnoyers describes as “malleable textures” – creams and glosses that wrap around and into the features. These finishes have a humanity to them that breaks the powdered and perfected convention of “sophistication.”

Which is all to say that this unstudied effect is the height of modern chic. As Terry Barber perfectly summarizes: “True beauty is all about style, not physical perfection.”

 

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Gregory worked the “Real” trend on Steph.  – the enduring appeal of the real – unfiltered realism to beauty that lives and breathes as women wear it, worn-in and enhancing, never heavy

 

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Dynamic and vibrant, colour has a free-form feel for SS17. Elated, vivid and always worn against nothing else – so that it feels abstracted and spontaneous – the free spirit of SS17 plays into the movement for “individual” makeup. It ignores any rules on placement, proportion or convention and deliberately declares itself as something singularly adorning. “It is a marking rather than a classic beauty gesture, which enhances the features in a non-traditional sense,” says Alex Box.

“It is playful, not serious,” says Val Garland. “The opposite of taking yourself seriously and filtering your selfies.”

Naïve in effect, if not technique. “Seeming spontaneity is much more difficult to craft than perfection,” points out Terry Barber. Free makeup is about “precision and play in equal measure,” adds Box.

As much as this quality of makeup makes a joyous expressionist statement, they are mesmerically beautifying, too. “These colour accents energize the face,” says Lyne Desnoyers. “They break apart ‘good taste’ to better define it for now.”

 

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The look of Free on Karylle – stamps and slashes of expressionist colour that provide an inspiringly abstract moment in the art of SS17 makeup: energetic, gestural and refreshingly unconventional.

 

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The art of mimicking light on the skin (and replicating a radiance coming from within it) is an enduring preoccupation for makeup artists. The reason is simple: “There is a modern simplicity to shine that is also incredibly flattering,” says Val Garland. This season, artists are captivated with light and reflection in its purest sense – as a texture. “Glosses, oils and shines look authentic, as if they come from within the skin,” continues Garland. “Shimmers and powders always tend to look more like makeup.”

As the fashion industry’s response to the very filtered and tuned approach to mass-culture beauty, this tendency is all about the exploration and celebration of how balm, oil and emollient texture works to enrich and humanize makeup. Gloss can look clean, groomed and pure or equally nod to a sweaty, worn-in urbanism. “Gloss brings out the athleticism in the bone structure but also enhances the individuality of makeup by breaking it down,” explains Lynsey Alexander. “Anti-perfection looks very modern,” adds Tom Pecheux. “Luxury now has real identity to it.”

Congruent with the omnipresence of wet texture is the continuing appeal of “natural” skin in its truest sense: the cliché that “less is more” has never been truer, as the treatment that Gordon Espinet describes as “#nofilter” has become the new fashion standard. In short, concealer where necessary with skincare stepping up as the modern replacement for matte or reflective foundations (Val Garland’s favourite recipe:
Mineralize Timecheck Lotion for a velvet matte finish, Prep + Prime Moisture Infusion to mimic plump hydration, Care Blends Essential Oils on the cheekbones). The role of powder, too, has been given a rethink: today it deliberately enhances and amplifies shine by being placed against it. “Like applying all-over foundation, the idea of homogeneously powdering the entire face is old-fashioned,” confirms Lyne Desnoyers.

Hence, the story of gloss this season is super strategic. “It all looks massaged in, not artificial and is very specifically placed,” says Barber of the way that gleam works on the eyes, cheeks, lips and temples. “It’s about exploring different weights and depths
of reflection. Building up considered layers, from skincare glazes to points of vinyl shine.”

The best tool? “Your fingers,” says Alexander. “Their warmth helps gloss become one with the skin.”

 

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Megan sports the Wet trend – the visceral beauty of wet gloss – from sweat to humidity, the perennial fascination with how light fits and flatters a face is explored as a texture, from vinyl shine to emollient sheen.

 

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WARM

This is beauty at its most feminine. Sunned, summery and inspired by the brighter side of nature, artists are pulling from an organic palette, applying these heated shades in soft
washes and tints. “These colours are designed to enhance and mimic really great skin condition,” says Terry Barber, emphasizing that texture is vital to this point: “The modern
way to wear them is in textures that have an affinity with the complexion.”

Which means you should see the skin through them, and give it a bit of a sheen or gloss, as SS17’s preoccupation with shine extends to this tendency in makeup, too.

“These are very classic beautifying tones,” says Lyne Desnoyers of the optimistic, flora-inflected palette. “But what makes them interesting and feel new is all in the finish we give them; most notably, what the application of an oil or gloss does to the way they bring life to the face.”

From a flush to a blush to a bronzed skin and myriad pinkish to peach tints on the eyes and lips, think of these shades as a means to heighten nature rather than cover.

“Peach, pink and tan look alive and fresh when applied with transparency,” says Mark Carrasquillo. “They are what I call very heightening colours.” So while shine textures are the way to update rose and apricot tones for today, there is nothing complex or conceptual about this ultra-feminine leaning in makeup. “It’s not about transforming the face,” explains Tom Pecheux. “It’s simply about making it look more beautiful.”

 

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Gregory works the Warm trend on Bianca Manalo – a palette drawn from the heat of the environment (the sun, the beach, petals, terracotta, crystals, the earth) worn with a simplicity that renders it modern.

 

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The boundaries between the four tendencies are distinctly blurred – characteristics of ease, broken texture and elements of gloss are innate to them all. Which is indicative of the fact that there is no strict prescription to makeup today, no hard and fast rules that delineate one makeup direction from another. Wear them your way.

 

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Magic hour in Mactan

 

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For our last night, there was this fabulous beach party set up.

 

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With Gregory Arlt. A day after this he was back in LA with Gwen Stefani.

 

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White party.

 

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Our MAC loot included a selfie light.

 

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Testing it.

 

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Canadian Education

 

 

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My graduation day at the University of Toronto.

 

It is that time of the year again when I talk about the value and importance of my education in support EduCanada’s Study in Canada Fair. In the past, and in my book CHIC: Tips on Life, Style, and Work, I have shared how my high school and university education in Toronto armed me with skills and gave me opportunities that went beyond the borders of my home town. This year, I participate both as an alumna and as a parent of future Canadian students.

First, let me start with my usual disclosure. I was not a foreign student whose parents sent me to get a degree in Canada. I am Canadian. I was living in Toronto where my whole family still resides. Now I am here in my motherland, the Philippines. My choice to study in Canada’s premier post-secondary school, was instinctive. I was following the natural path. As early as when I was 13 years old I set my eyes on going to university. And thus began my lofty goals and aspirations of getting a degree from the University of Toronto, or U of T as it is fondly called, one of Canada’s top universities. Competition was tough, so I worked hard during my high school years in order to get in to my university of choice.

 

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The day I got my degree. In front of University College, University of Toronto.

 

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Whenever I’m back in Toronto, I always return to U of T. This was in the summer of 2015.

 

I graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts, Specialist in Fine Art History, Minor in Urban Studies. It is one of Canada’s biggest universities with three campuses across Metro Toronto. I chose the main campus in downtown Toronto, St. George campus. Because the school was so big, it was further divided into smaller colleges, by which students from the Arts and Science faculties chose an affiliation. I chose St. Michael’s College, because it was the Catholic college. My courses were spread out across campus though, so there were times I had to walk across Queen’s Park, our provincial legislative building, just to get to Sociology 101. My network of friends and classmates were registered in different colleges.

The St. George campus is beautiful. Architecturally, it has some of the most historically significant buildings like the Romanesque and Byzantine-styled University College, Tudor-styled Trinity College, peacock-shaped post-Modern Robarts Library, and the modernist concrete block of Sidney Smith Hall. My centrally located campus was a block away from Chinatown and the posh shops of Yorkville. My local neighbourhood reflected the diversity and multiculturalism of Toronto. I also benefited from my internship programs at the Royal Ontario Museum where I studied East Asian Art and at Toronto City Hall, where I interred for a city councillor and learned more about urban planning, public participation, urban development.

 

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Downtown

 

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Nathan Philips Square. This was my view from where I interned at the new City Hall. Toronto has a beautiful mix of old and new buildings.

 

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The Royal Ontario Museum or ROM, with the new facade by Daniel Libeskind, was walking distance from my residence.

 

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I did an internship at the ROM. Now it is one of my kids’ favourite spots in Toronto.

 

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Roncesvalles

 

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In Canada there is never a shortage of vast open spaces…

 

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… and public art.

 

Student life at U of T, was and is what you choose to make of it. There are so many different clubs and organizations to choose from. In my freshman year, I joined Pi Beta Phi, the oldest women’s fraternity in North America, dating back to 1867. In Pi Beta Phi, I found a community of dynamic women who strove for excellence, and we shared leadership and philanthropic goals. Instead of living in an official campus residence, I chose to live at the Pi Beta Phi house on Beverley Street. I also got to try off-campus housing in a more colourful part of Toronto. Let’s just say, my social life was very active during my university years.

Whenever I go home to visit my folks in Toronto, I always bring my husband and daughters for a walk through my old campus. It is still so beautiful there. My daughters feel like they’re in a Harry Potter set. A lot of movies have been filmed at the U of T downtown campus — Incredible Hulk, Mean Girls, Good Will Hunting, Anne of Green Gables.

 

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Hart House, University of Toronto.

 

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My eldest, Sophia, at University College, U of T.

 

As the mother of three girls currently studying in a Philippine school, I also hope that one day my daughters choose to study post-secondary school in Canada. I am rooting for my alma mater in Toronto, of course. But we are open to exploring other excellent schools across Canada that may fit their fields of interest more. Canada is the home of some of the world’s top research facilities and academic institutions. There are medical breakthroughs, great inventions, and new innovations from Canadian schools that we read about in global news. There are Nobel Laureats among Canadian alumni and professors.

Like any parent, I am concerned about the cost of a foreign education. It is something we have to plan and prepare for even if they study in the Philippines. Here is an interesting fact though, Canada offers the lowest tuition rates for foreign students compared to the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. And because I am Canadian (and so are my kids), I got my globally-recognized education at a fraction of what it would have cost us in a private American university. The good news for foreign students is that they can actually work and study at the same time in Canada.

My Canadian education not only gave me skills and qualifications that are valued around the world, it also gave me very balanced and fair view of the world. We take pride in the fact that Canada is a multicultural society. We are not a melting pot. We have what is called, a cultural mosaic, where people are encouraged to celebrate their uniqueness and diversity. I know what it’s like to be in a healthy and safe community where equality and respect for human rights are respected.

My university experience was not just about the books and the grades. It was about the friendships I forged with students from my field and the women I lived with. It was about living independently in a beautiful, well-planned, dynamic city like Toronto. These are the reasons why I wish for my daughters to study in Canada. And because we want to raise them to be strong, fair, well-informed, unafraid, and involved future leaders, creative thinkers, down right amazing women, a high-quality education in Canada will surely open doors for them wherever they choose to live and work.

 

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ePoster - Manila Cebu

 

The Embassy of Canada in the Philippines will take the EduCanada Fair on the road next week.
Representatives from 37 Canadian institutions will meet with prospective students and parents to discuss opportunities for studying in Canada at the K-12, college and university levels at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu City (Wednesday, October 19) and the Shangri-La at the Fort at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig (Saturday, October 22). Admission is free.

Interested students and parents are invited to register at www.educanada.eventbrite.com.

For more information on studying in Canada, including admissions, scholarships, student life, immigration, and more, visit the EduCanada website.

 

 

Discovery Shores Boracay

 

 

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Kids have been back to school for a month. The rains are here. Even though we had the longest summer break, I don’t know where our “summer” went. We didn’t do any major long trips. We did Tokyo on the last week of July, but for most of the summer break we were just home. June was the most action-packed for us, with my sister Johanna and her family visiting us for three weeks.

The highlight of my sister’s visit was our trip to Boracay. We wanted pure tropical bliss and an easy and safe destination for our kids. Discovery Shores Boracay was all that and more.

 

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Very nice Discovery Shores welcome

 

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Foot bath in our room, with 5 minute foot massage for each of us.

 

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We stayed in a one bedroom suite.

 

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Coffee machine and a nice kitchen counter.

 

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The living room was huge, with a balcony that led to our bedroom. Here is Sophia, receiving her welcome foot massage.

 

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The kids slept on the daybeds at the living room.

 

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The kids never stopped doing their art.

 

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My sister and her family stayed right next door. We kept our door open and shared our huge living room.

 

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Discovery Shores Boracay is very well-maintained.

 

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The second-floor corner room was our room. It had a wrap-around balcony.

 

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Sandbar during the day.

 

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I loved the landscaping, especially with these anahaw plants.

 

It is the service and personal touches that make a hotel special. The décor and maintenance of Discovery Shores Boracay were superb. But it was the service of the very well-trained and happy staff that made our stay most memorable.

 

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Every night they made these towel sculptures.

 

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Turn down service was lovely.

 

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And all over the resort, the staff was pleasing, knowledgeable, hospitable. They offer face sprays while you’re lying on the beach. Very refreshing.

 

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They give chilled cucumber slices for your eyes, which Lily loved.

 

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And they also offer to clean your sunglasses!

 

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At the pool, there are free snacks for all. We had muffins, cookies, halo halo!

 

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Free halo-halo

 

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Every afternoon the kids have activiites.

 

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We particularly loved the T-shirt painting activity.

 

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While the kids played, we did our thing… happy hour.

 

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The location of Discovery Shores right on the beach at the end of Station One makes it one of the more exclusive sites with the ultimate luxury of having the softest, whitest, finest sand in Boracay.

 

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Boracay is beautiful no matter what time of day. I particularly love how silvery the beach gets during midday.

 

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My lovely sister

 

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This is my favourite “attraction” in Boracay. When everything and everyone slows down for the greatest sunset show on earth.

 

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Magic hour glow.

 

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My nephews.

 

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Night scene, lighting design is beautiful at Discovery Shores.

 

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Lighting is everything.

 

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Food in Sands Restaurant was so good. We always looked forward to their impressive breakfast buffet – with continental, oriental, Filipino dishes.

 

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I loved this incredible chicken pork adobo. Oh my. I don’t know how many hours they slow cooked this. It was soo good. Best adobo I’ve had ever!

 

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Seriously!

 

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The kids’ meals were generous. Most of them were shareable sizes.

 

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Burger…

 

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Lechon kawali…

 

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It’s always Happy Hour when you’re on vacation.

 

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Room service was fun too. We loved the hotdog and fries! Comfort food!

 

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Discovery Shores Boracay’s Indigo Restaurant was featured twice in the Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurants List, and shortlisted for the 2010/2011 MIELE Guide to Asia’s Best Restaurants.

 

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The other half of the resort fronting the beach is Sandbar.

 

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Sands Restaurant and Sandbar.

 

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Back to Indigo… They prepared a wonderful dinner for us by the beach.

 

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This was our view.

 

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Dinner at Indigo, Discovery Shores Boracay with my sister, the boys, and our family.

 

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The servings are big, family-style. Plating was so creative.

 

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Comfort and great service even til the end.

 

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Our boat transfers to Caticlan.

 

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The boat ride was just five minutes long, and the attendant made sure we were comfortable. She offered water, cookies, a cold towel.

 

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Three nights in Discovery Shores Boracay. Perfect.

 

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Thank you, Discovery Shores Boracay.

 

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Transportation: Air Asia
Accommodation: Discovery Shores Boracay