Mismo

 

 

Everyone’s talking about fun. Here is a board game that celebrates all things fun about being Pinoy. It was created a couple of years ago but I just received my game this season from one of the creators, Roby Alampay. Created by six Pinoy expatriates in Bangkok longing too much about too many things back home, Mismo! literally comes with its own supply of adjectives that capture every conceivable name, word, or concept in the Filipino psyche.

 

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Spin the wheels, which spell out unique questions (“Ano ang Malamig na Malagkit?”, for example, or, “Ano ang Maalat na Matibay”, or, “Walang-kamatayan ng Pang-Araw-araw?”). Players then match wits and sharp humor to play the answer cards that remind of all things Pinoy: from “Lolo” and “Lola” to “Boracay”, “EDSA”, “Galunggong”, “Nora Aunor”, “Durian”, “Cory Aquino”, “ChocNut”, “Pagkakaibigan”, “Sinigang”, “Siopao”, “Aswang”, “Ati-Atihan”, “Bahay Kubo”… and the list goes on. Mismo! has no less than 600 of these answer cards — words invoking touchstones of popular culture and long-standing Philippine traditions — to deliver in every box guaranteed laughter, learning, memories, and a celebration of the big and small things that define the collective Philippine comedy.

 

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On why they created the game: We miss the Philippines. We miss so many things and everything about it. We’re basically three couples here in Thailand, all OFWS, and everytime we get together we can’t help but just talk about everything that we had, tried, ate, etc. growing up.

 

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From Roby – One day (more than one and a half years ago), we were joking around a table, and one of our partners couldn’t think of a word for some food. “Ano nga yun ulit?” he finally said. “Yung malagkit na matamis?” We kept guessing, until I blurted out: “Malagkit na Matamis — Pagtitinginan yun eh.” Everyone laughed, and that became our running joke everytime we got together. We kept asking/challenging each other: “Eh ano naman ang __________ at _________…” And invariably we were laughing at each other’s jokes. Pinoy eh. After that it was just a lot of brainstorming, a lot of research about boardgames, and then we scouted for a manufacturer in the Philippines. Needless to say, this took up way too many of our weekends over the last 18 months!

Mismo! is available nationwide at Hobbes & Landes, National Bookstore, Powerbooks, ROX @ The Fort, Papemelroti, Kultura @ MOA and Megamall, 1/of Gallery @ Serendra, Handog Gift Shop (UP Diliman Shopping Center), Little John’s Cafe @ Camp John Hay, and select branches of Books for Less. For more info email letters@mismo.ph

 

 

Most precious cargo – breastmilk

 

 

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Cup-feeding a baby with donated human breastmilk at a relocation site in Cagayan De Oro.

 

I’m sorry for the lack of updates. I would use the holiday season as an excuse but the truth is I’m still stuck at December 17th. My next few posts will be about Typhoon Sendang (Washi) – stories I have to tell because of the kindness and generosity shared during critical times. Incredible things have happened. I will however insert some regular programming in between.

One of the many things UNICEF and it’s partners did in response to the Sendong/Washi flood was to collect human breastmilk donations. In emergencies, breastfeeding is a lifesaving response, especially when clean water and sanitation services are in short supply. UNICEF and partners give mothers all the support they need to continue breastfeeding during and after emergencies.

I sent out information about the breastmilk drive through Twitter. Thank you for the great response. However at one point had to deal with the harshest and ugliest comments (nevermind the negativity).

Dr. Mianne Silvestre of UP-Philippine General Hospital and  a supporter of the NGOs Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina and Team Unang Yakap sent this update, “Various private individuals are mobilizing their networks for what we hope will not be just distribution of donor milk but a series of “breastfeeding missions” like we organized for Ondoy years back. We hope that peer counsellors get involved for breastfeeding counseling, relactation, cooking lessons on complementary feeding, with the last resort being cup feeding of donor milk and wet nursing. Dr. Jessa and I are capable of helping with supplying donor milk through our linkages with the UP-PGH Milk Bank and private groups but really need your help with all the rest, on the ground.”

The call for donations of human breastmilk is still ongoing. There are two drop off points:

Quezon City/San Juan/Cubao area:
17 Green Grove Villa, Lantana Rd., Barangay Mariana, New Manila, QC (office of Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina, Inc).

Manila area:
UP-PGH Human Milk Bank, 4th Floor, Left Central Block (LCB) c/o Tina or Grace (during office hours) or the NICU Fellow (after office hours)

 At the end of this post is a document signed by the Department of Health, UNICEF, World Health Organization, Plan International, Save the Children, Department of Education, DILG and many other organizations supporting and explaining the importance of breastfeeding in times of emergencies. I know, based on the reaction in Twitter, that there are still a lot of misconceptions from well-meaning donors who give infant formula and breastmilk substitutes as part of their relief packages. Though your intentions are good, you may actually be causing harm by exposing infants to danger and possible death. Please read after the jump by clicking “More.”

Last December 23rd, the first delivery of human breastmilk arrived in Cagayan de Oro. Here are photos from the field showing how this most precious cargo was sent to Mindanao.

 

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The breastmilk is safely stored in a donated freezer.

 

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The breastmilk arrives at NAIA Terminal 2, at 5.00am, thanks to the Pepsi delivery guys.

 

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Being checked in by Philippine Airlines, hope it makes it safely.

 

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UNICEF Nutrition officer, Paul Zambrano, relieved that the milk has arrived.

 

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Loaded on to local pick up by Pepsi, CDO.

 

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Cooler arrives at Northern Mindanao Medical Centre where staff of the paediatric and neonatal department are waiting.

 

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The breastmilk is still frozen, so will keep for many months, if necessary.

 

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The team are relieved the first transfer went smoothly. All photos above, UNICEF/2011

 

Click “More” to read additional information on how human breastmilk saves babies’ lives.

 

(more…)

The gift of sight

 

 

Remember that OFW YouTube video commercial? I posted it when they only had 250 hits. Now it’s gone viral. Very successful campaign. We all cried buckets… over and over again. The story that touched me the most was Jose Marie Ballon and his father whose eyesight was failing.

 

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Just a few weeks before I had hosted the launch of American Eye Center’s new laser machine for cataract removal. I learned that vision could be totally restored by Alcon LenSx femtosecond laser surgery if the problem is caused by cataract (and not glaucoma). In fact during the launch, Dr. Cesar Ramon G. Espiritu performed live laser surgery on a 79-year old veteran who was already visually impaired. After a 15-minute surgery, the gentleman could see perfectly! I figured, if Mr. Ballon’s eye problem was cataract-related, then there was no reason for him to go blind.

Within minutes, I tagged my doctor from AEC in Facebook. See Alnette Lee Tan’s reply…

 

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That same night, I did a Twitter shoutout wishing we could find the elderly man and lead him to my doctor at American Eye Center. It reached Coke and the ad agency. They emailed me and here’s what happened…

 

Coke email

 

Here’s the reply for me –

Coke reply

 

And that’s how it ended for me. Another generous soul had found Mr. Ballon and offered to help him. It felt great knowing that there are good samaritans out there. A part of me felt that perhaps the one who found Mr. Ballon before I got to him was also one of my own contacts who was looking on my behalf. I had a good feeling about it. Meanwhile, Dr. Alnette Tan continued to ask me if I found Mr. Ballon’s contact info. I told her what Coke and ad agency told me. That someone is already helping Mr. Ballon.

American Eye Center didn’t stop the search. AEC’s Dr. Carmela Ongsiako, at a meeting with Ayala Foundation’s Vicky Garchitorena, got a lead to Cecile Alcantara, President of Coke Foundation. “When Dr. Ongsiako approached Coke, they even told her that Daphne’s MD was also trying to  locate Mr Ballon, only to discover that it was one and the same Center,” Dr. Alnette told me. So there you go! AEC found Mr Juan Ballon.

AEC flew in Mr Ballon and his wife yesterday morning. Here’s the sequence of events from the photos of Dr. Alnette Tan.

 

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The Ballon couple, interviewed at AEC by Dr Carmela Ongsiako. AEC flew him and his wife Julieta from Iloilo to Manila yesterday morning, picked them up from the airport and went straight to Greenbelt 5. He had to undergo a few tests to determine if he qualified for the laser cataract surgery.

 

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Optometrist Dr Cherry Ann Ferrer, checking visual activity of Mr. Ballon.

 

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Dr Sherman Valero performing retina exam.

 

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Julieta and Juan Ballon waiting for further exams before undergoing actual eye surgery.

 

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Dr Norman Aquino, glaucoma specialist, screening Mr. Ballon for any signs of glaucoma. He passed the test and was given clearance.

 

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Dr. Benjie Cabrera doing the last check before they enter the surgery suite.

 

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Dr. Benjamin Cabrera and Dr. Richard Kho peform cataract surgery.

 

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Dr Richard Kho doing LenSx procedure on the right eye of Mr. Ballon. In layman’s terms, this femtosecond laser surgery zaps out the cataract and replaces it with new Alcon lens implants which are US FDA approved. So after a few minutes of surgery, the patient ends up with PERFECT vision.

 

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Mr Ballon sees his wife Julieta after his cataract surgery, “Claro na! Kita ko na asawa ko! (Pointing through the glass windows). Ang laki na ng apo ko.” He spoke in Ilonggo, while anesthesiologist, Dr Arlene Hernandez translated.

 

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An emotional reunion, Mr Ballon sees his son Romulo and daughter in law for the first time. Romulo (not the same son in the Coke video/commercial) is also an OFW in Saudi Arabia. He’d just arrived in Manila last October and hadn’t seen his parents for over 5 years.

 

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Juan and Julieta Ballon with son Romulo’s family. Lots of tears… of joy.

 

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Jose Marie got the good news by phone in Saudi Arabia. Just last Christmas the elder Ballon suffered a stroke and stayed in the ICU for 17 days. Jose Marie helped pay for the medical expenses. After their brief reunion (for the youtube video shoot), Jose Marie said he would save up money to help his father deal with is ailing eyesight.

 

Now, through the help of American Eye Center, Mr Ballon has received the gift of sight. May God continue to bless the hands of the surgeons at AEC. This is such a wonderful gift.

 

 

 

 

 

Speechless

 

 

Necklaces...
I started collecting antique handpainted medals in 2005. Then in 2006, I made them into charm necklaces.

 

Daphne Necklaces as seen in Metro April 2006
It first got featured in my old TV show F in 2005, then in Metro Magazine April 2006

 

UZ wearing K&Company
Then I acquired new medals (not antiques) from a craftsman in Europe and worked on the most ornate frames in Manila myself. I never stopped wearing my charm necklace. I liked piling them on. This was in 2008.

 

Handpainted enamel, 14k gold
In 2009, I made them in 14k gold earrings upon the encouragement of Ingrid.

 

For MP
I created custom-made pieces for those who really loved them. These are all in 14k gold. Medals come from Europe while a local goldsmith worked on my designs for the 14k gold frames here.

 

Made my first bracelet.
Then this year I made my first 14k bracelet.

 

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Last week, I shot at home with Xeng Zulueta doing my makeup, Felicity Son groomed my hair and Dix Perez shot the photos and videos. I wore my own charm necklace.

 

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Before I went retail in 2008 at Accessory Lab, 2nd Floor Power Plant Mall Rockwell, I had this photo taken by Marlon Pecjo. Makeup by Xeng Zulueta.

 

While having my morning coffee, I saw this. Hanneli Mustaparta styled the new Dolce & Gabbana fine jewellery collection for Vogue.

 

Hanneli Dolce & Gabbana

 

I am speechless.

Same wavelength?

 

Click “More…” to see some of my old work.

(more…)

Meeting Yves Carcelle

 

 

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At yesterday’s cocktail reception to meet Yves Carcelle, Chairman & CEO of Louis Vuitton at the newly opened Louis Vuitton store in Greenbelt.

 

It was a very intimate event. And like I said I was very surprised and pleased to have been invited. It was attended by the country’s top magazine editors and publishers. It was a rare opportunity to meet the chairman of the most one of the most recognized luxury brands. Mr. Carcelle is credited to have transformed Louis Vuitton from being a trunkmaker into a “luxury behemoth” selling diverse products.

A couple of months ago, news broke out that Mr Carcelle will leave his post as Chairman and CEO to become the president of Louis Vuitton Foundation by 2013, a Frank Gehry-designed museum outside of Paris that will house the group’s art collection. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA appointed Danone executive Jordi Constans to succeed the 63-year-old Mr. Carcelle who will remain on the executive committee.

 

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With Jean-Baptiste Debains (President of LV Asia Pacific), Yves Carcelle and Rhea De Vera (country manager of LV Philippines) unfortunately Edouard Faure, General Manager for Micronesia and the Philippines was cut off from the photo. The kind gentleman who took the photo couldn’t figure out my camera; it was zoomed in.

 

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The LV Manila team. It was a reception-slash-working visit for Mr. Carcelle who did the rounds, met with Ayala executives and checked the back rooms. He was only in Manila for 6 hours. Like I said, rare opportunity.

 

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I had a fashion crisis. The invite said, Attire: Business. I don’t do corporate well at all. Luckily I remembered this old dress. Does it look familiar?

 

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Can I just say that I love my Olympus PEN EP3 and my Soft Set curls? It’s been a week and it’s holding up real well. Hee hee.