The Robredo Effect



I can’t believe August is almost over. So much has happened this month – the storms, the floods and the tragic death of Secretary Jesse Robredo. I have said so much in Twitter and Facebook, but words are never enough to express this great loss for our country. Secretary Robredo was able to achieve so much of what good governance is all about — something seemingly so impossible in 99% of this country. But he did it. He could have done more. I am grieving.

I met Sec Robredo through UNICEF this year. And even before I met him, his reputation preceded him within the international development circles. UNICEF always spoke highly of him and I finally had the honour of meeting him at the launch of the Children in an Urban World event which I hosted. Before he spoke about child-friendly municipalities he told us the important role of parents, specially mentioning his wife Leni, in providing a safe and healthy environment for children. He said his wife could have done a lot in development but focused on raising their three daughters at home. I thought that was so remarkable and it needed to be said.

Even the organization I used to work with in Canada before joining Philippine media in the late 90’s also mourns his death. Here is the statement of the Canadian Urban Institute. He was a supportive partner and ally. Urban planning and international development was my field before switching to Philippine media. In the years I worked as project manager of the CUI, I had never really seen a true success story in good governance. I’m not singling out the Philippines situation here. I worked in Mexico and managed programs in the Baltic states and Vietnam as well. I felt like everything I learned in urban planning just had to remain theoretical outside of Canada. It was frustrating. I quit. But Jesse didn’t.

Now that we’re learning about what Jesse Robredo achieved as Mayor of Naga which led to his winning the Asian Nobel Peace Prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, we’ve seen that it can all be done — transparency, no corruption, lower crime rate, a city run like an efficient business, citizens participating as stakeholders, no informal settlers and more. I don’t know when we can see another Robredo doing this in local government again.

But perhaps the deepest reason I am so affected by his death goes beyond the feeling of being orphaned and losing hope in what could have been a great leadership for our country. I am simply so so sad that Aika, Patricia and Jillian lost their most loving, dedicated and good dad. My heart goes out to the Robredo family. My deepest and most sincere condolences to Atty Leni and her daughters.



Zalora eZine



My friend Fiona Araneta invited me to the launch of her ZALORA E-ZINE. Fiona is the editor in chief of Zalora eZine, a bi-monthly online magazine featuring the season’s hottest fashion styles and trends. Located at’s home page, the key feature of the E-ZINE is its accessibility and convenience. It’s the first local digital magazine of its kind featuring items that can be purchased with just a click of the mouse.


1 - Cover
The Models Special features three of the most recognizable faces in the industry- Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez, Amanda Griffin-Jacob, and Jessica Yang.


4-Ask Z
And find out the must-have pet products for your little pooch in Ask Z.


For new eZines, click here.


Better, I hope



So PAGASA-DOST has revised the flood warning system. Thank you, Malacanang and DOST! Good to know we’re in the same wavelength.


Revised Pagasa Flood Warning
Finally, green is gone from the warning system. Orange is the the international colour for hazard anyway.


Last night I told my husband I’m afraid of the possible weather disturbance next week. Whether it’s a storm or not isn’t the question. Clouds that big signify rain. Then observe the movement of the Habagat winds in the south west. It could push the clouds to stay above us once it makes landfall. Or it could dissipate all together, I hope.


Aug 9
I’d watch out for the next wave…


The news guy asks me, “Why are you talking this way? And how do you know all this?” So I say, “I monitor the weather through the CNN satellite. It has motion graphics.”  Then he goes, “But how do you know what that means?” Me, “I don’t really know. But I can see the movement in the satellite. Besides, I still remember my high school geography class. We were heavy on climate and weather in Canada. And hello, I was an ABS-CBN weather girl. Remember?”

So everyone is an expert. Don’t listen to me. Get accurate reports.

For CNN satellite monitoring click here.

For flood risks, check the government’s new Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) here. For quick assessments from the head scientist, follow @nababaha on Twitter. He is Majar Lagmay and his twitter says he’s a disaster scientist. Yikes. But glad he’s onboard.

I hope everyone is ok. Our village just lost water supply.

This happens after heavy rains and every major flood (yeah, plural and repetitive). According to Maynilad because of the significantly high turbidity of raw water in Ipo Dam, it was necessary to reduce and shut down production until the quality of water gets better.

Not complaining. Will wait.

Hope you are all ok.




Kris Aquino’s necklace



I was woken last Monday morning to these fantastic tweets and instagrams by Kris Aquino (@aquinokristina). She posted photos of the necklace that Dr. Vicki Belo commissioned me to make.

Last month Dr. Belo asked me to create two necklaces, one for her and the other for Kris. Both were to have the images of Mother Mary, Jesus and St. Joseph (Holy Family). It wasn’t easy, as the medallions are quite rare. But everything seemed to fall into place.


aquinokristina Beautiful necklace w/ the Sacred Heart, Mother of Perpetual Help & St. Joseph from Dra Vicki Belo
Here is the necklace I made for Kris. Dr. Belo gave it to her last week. On Monday morning, Kris posted on her instagram: @aquinokristina Beautiful necklace w/ the Sacred Heart, Mother of Perpetual Help & St. Joseph from Dra Vicki Belo.


@aquinokristina Accompanying certification
From Kris’ instagram. @aquinokristina Accompanying certification


kris aquino
That first night, Kris and I had a Twitter conversation. She told me she’d wear the necklace religiously “starting tomorrow until forever!”


kris aquino
There was so much I wanted to say, but I kept it short. I love it when the new owners of my pendants have this passionate reaction about them. Kris isn’t the first. But her tweets were something else!!


Still amazed to see @aquinokristina wearing the necklace.
And she did wear the necklace on her show Kris TV everyday this week.


As expected when a Kris Aquino mentions your product, you get flooded with requests for prices and potential orders. Just to explain a bit, the medals are very rare and everything is crafted by hand. The price of gold is also a bit insane. Here’s what it looks like when I’m creating them.


This is the piece I made for Dr. Vicki. I thought Our Lady of Perpetual Help should have a frame of red roses around her. I used garnet. And the image of St. Joseph with baby Jesus has round cut peridot to play up the green on the stems of lilies. The leaf frame is inspired by antique Philippine jewellery like “tamburin” necklaces. Dr. Belo texted me, “What I love is that your pieces are so beautiful and intricate and with fine workmanship. It’s really a labor of love. When I wear them the energy is so good.”


For Kris, I gave her pink sapphires as she is known to love pink. And the amethyst is her birth stone. I try to give the pieces a little personal meaning to add to the iconography.


I don’t actively sell the medallions. I don’t have a price list. Every piece is custom-made.

It’s a very personal thing for me. Something I feel doesn’t need explanation. Those who love and appreciate the pieces know what they’re about – whether its the art, the craft, the devotion or whatever meaning they find. Vogue Italia asked me about them last December. If you haven’t watched the interview, click here.

These are gifts I wish I could share to everyone who wants them. But at the moment, I’m going to have to beg for your patience. I’m trying to figure out a system to address the interest. Thanks everyone!!



Lily and Stella’s joint birthday party



Lily’s and Stella’s birthdays are just two days apart. Every year we’ve given them joint birthday parties plus smaller individual celebrations at school. This year, we decided on just one party, a joint one. As usual, I procrastinated. I planned everything in 10 days. Yikes. Needless to say, this isn’t one of those huge theme parties.

Lucky that my tried and tested party planner, Events By Daisy, was available and ready with ideas. The challenge was to come up with a party that had very little decor (I didn’t want to spend on decor, haha) but reflected the themes that each girl wanted. Stella wanted a fairy party and Lily wanted a fairy tale. We also didn’t want a major production or show because this was to be a small party with just 20 children – cousins, neighbours and a few friends. I handled the giveaways myself – tote bags filled with snacks and useful goodies plus the two Booths Republic. Everything else was from Events by Daisy.


As always, the 3D Me booth was a big hit. Kids got their photo taken, and within minutes each kid got their face on a stuffed animal pen.


For more information on 3D Me by Booths Republic, check out their Facebook page.


Another very useful and cute giveaway, iStickers. These are fancy and waterproof. Check iStickers in Facebook here.


I did away with designer and custom-made cakes. I just ordered from one of those chain bakeries. So Stella got her Pixie Hollow cake.


And Lily got her fairy tale princesses cake.


Kids always love balloon art.


We had a lovely party host who had the sweetest voice. She told stories and sang songs for the kids.


Age-appropriate games.


Events by Daisy took care of the prize buffet table!


Among the prizes are some books…


Magic wands…


And pixie dust.


Because it was snack time, we had very easy food. In addition to the fried chicken and kiddie spaghetti we had pizzas, burgers, fish fingers and two types of pasta.


A big plate of sushi. My kids love California Maki.


It’s amazing what a few balloons can do.


The princess and the fairy had so much fun. Their thank yous (letters, drawings and words) won’t stop.