Aldub, the BBC, and me

 

 

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Read the full BBC article here.

 

So Aldub was featured in the BBC website a couple of days ago. And yes, I was quoted a few times. I was actually interviewed by Heather Chen early this week. It was a pretty comprehensive interview that forced me to analyze the cultural and social (media) significance of Aldub. I’m sharing what didn’t make it to print.

The part of the BBC article where I explained the concept of “love team” and “kilig” –
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From the BBC article where I talk about why the Filipinos reacted this way in social media
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Here’s the back story of how the BBC found Aldub newsworthy. BBC presenter Rico Hizon had been seeing my Tweets about Aldub and Kalyeserye. So he sent me a tweet saying he’s been watching Aldub episodes and finds it funny. Here’s our exchange…
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During the airing of #AlDubEBTamangPanahon on October 24th, I was monitoring the show online. I couldn’t watch it live on TV because I was shooting a TV special. I was actually invited by Eat Bulaga management to watch in Philippine Arena. I took a rain check instead. So yes, one day I will be going to Eat Bulaga to watch them in person.

I posted some praises about KalyeSerye in my Facebook Page. I said, “not only have they changed the entire TV landscape and viewing habits, they even rocked the advertising industry by dictating ‘no commercial gaps’ – instead, they did product placements and live mentions. Thats power. And theyre building libraries.” That little bit made the rounds in Twitter and Facebook, and landed me in the GMA Network news. Click on the photo to lead to the GMA News site.

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Here are the notes I sent to the BBC –

What is “Aldub”?

‘AlDub’ is the nickname given to the popular onscreen love tandem of actor Alden Richards, and showbiz newcomer Maine Mendoza, whose character’s name is Yaya Dub.

They are the most popular “love team” in the Philippines right now. A love team is the usual formula that TV networks and movie productions have used since the beginning of the Philippine entertainment industry after WW2. These actors and actresses are paired up in all their movies and fans hope they end up together in real life. It’s been a formula in the Philippine entertainment industry for a long time. What’s different about AlDub tandem is that it was not a creation of a TV network or movie production, it just happened accidentally on live TV.

The name of the show is Eat Bulaga! – a popular daily noontime show that’s been running for 36 years. The format includes dance contests, singing contests and comedy skits that involve the show’s hosts (a group of established actors and comedians, young and old) and a live audience. The show has been enjoying a loyal following for almost four decades. They’ve had the same format. The hosts and producers later admitted that having Aldub was a surprise, an accident, a gift.

Aldub appears in the segment of Eat Bulaga called “All For Juan and Juan For All” (‘Juan’ being a play on the popular Filipino man’s name.) In this segment, three of the comedians would go out on remote locations, usually in crowded urban communities and interact with the people. Much of it was improv and instinctive. The result was always funny and endearing.

Early this year, the producers realized that the segment needed a boost. Jenny Ferre, SVP for Creatives and Operations of Television And Production Exponents Philippines Inc (TAPE, Inc.) and producer of Eat Bulaga!, looked for new talent. She saw Maine Mendoza, a 20-year old graduate of Culinary Arts from a top private school, appearing in her FB timeline. Maine’s hilarious Dubsmash videos had gone viral. Jenny saw something in this girl. Maine was asked to audition. She was asked if she could sing or dance, the answer was no. She said she had no performing talent. But the producers saw something in her quirkiness. So two days later she was offered a small role in Eat Bulaga! She had no speaking lines. All she had to do was lip synch and dub movie lines. She played the role of a Yaya (caregiver) to a rich old grumpy Lola (grandmother), played by a bald male comedian (Wally Bayola) in drag. The Yaya Dub character was introduced to Eat Bulaga! on July 4, 2015.

For almost two weeks, Yaya Dub’s character remained in the sidelines with the occasional comic Dubsmash. Then on July 16, the “magic” happened. While Yaya Dub was “dubsmashing” complete with facial contortions, she looked at the monitor and saw Alden Richards (one of the segment hosts) was looking at her. She got self-conscious, lost her character and became herself – a 20-year old fangirl who had a crush on this actor. The other studio hosts clued in and teased her. Everything happened organically. Nothing was scripted.

How did the social media phenomenon happen?

What’s amazing with this Aldub social media phenomenon is that none of it was previously planned. It’s not like they hired social media experts to strategize about how they would handle this. Eat Bulaga had an existing Facebook Page with a relatively small online community. They would upload snippets of the daily show. Now they upload the whole KalyeSerye segment.

Here are the main factors that contributed to the social media hype

  • Filipinos culturally are social beings and community-centric. Our smallest form of government is the barangay – the village. People like to congregate in the town plaza or barangay hall. TV used to be a communal activity – neighbours would watch through windows. Now, there are viewing parties when there’s a big event. There is a strong connection between an individual and his community or home town. If there is a Manny Pacquiao boxing fight, the barangay chairmen would organize communal viewing parties. If a local beauty pageant contestant wins in a larger stage, the victory is shared by all members of the town/community. The same is happening with Eat Bulaga on Saturdays, Filipinos in the grassroots (it’s core audience) can really relate and feel a sense of belonging with the show. There are communal viewing parties for Eat Bulaga when Aldub is on. It was just natural for Filipino fans to go on Twitter and share their experiences.
  • The producers of Eat Bulaga realized that they captured a new audience, a younger and social-media savvy one. So weeks into the Kalye Serye, in August, they encouraged viewers to tweet using hashtags that change daily. Example #AldubMostAwaitedDate and recently #AldubEBTamangPanahon with 41 million tweets which beat Twitter’s all-time record of highest number of tweets for one event, beating the World Cup finals.
  • Studies have shown that the Philippines has a very high rate of social media penetration. Of our 101 million population, there are 44.2 million active internet users (44% of the population). According to We Are Social 2015 study, the Philippines ranks highest in the region for time spent on the internet. In the Philippines, internet users spend an average of 6.3 hours per day on the internet, followed by the Thailand at 5.5 hours, Vietnam at 5.2 hours and Indonesia at 5.1 hours. For context, Japanese internet users only spend 3.1 hours a day on the internet. The Philippines also ranks highest in Asia Pacific for the number of hours a day spent on Social Media. On an average social media users in the Philippines spend 3.4 hours a day on social media (Facebook being the most popular site). For context, social media users in Japan only spend 0.3 hours on social media. I could talk endlessly an totally geek out on this.
  • Back to the love story of Alden and Yaya Dub. This appealed across all sectors of society,  rich and poor, young and old. The basic and overall reason is “kilig” – the overwhelming feeling of giddiness about young love.
  • In this digital age where everything is fast and instant, the KalyeSerye brought back old and lost Filipino values such as love is worth waiting for, the harder you work for something the more you will value it, respect for elders, living up to one’s word, patience, persistence, setting goals, and the concept of “Tamang Panahon” — everything happens properly in due time. Or literally it’s translated as ‘the right time.’ The theme of giddiness (kilig) and old fashioned courtship resonated well with the young and not so young. Example, when Lola Nidora gave her blessings for Alden to court Yaya Dub, she invited Alden to the family mansion. She gave a few conditions, one of them was “no touch” and stay one foot apart. The audience went wild and took to Twitter to share in this “kilig”.
  • The concept of Kalye Serye, a live reality TV series much like a soap opera that is set in the streets (kalye means street), evolved organically after Maine Mendoza reacted to Alden staring at her via split screen. This was new to the produers and longtime viewers of Eat Bulaga. And it also won over a new breed of viewers – including myself. I’d never watched Eat Bulaga prior to this. The producers realized they had a new audience. They worked on the new genre while keeping the values that attracted the core audience for almost 4 decades.
  • The producers also recognized that people consume media in different forms now. The show airs daily Mondays to Saturdays from 11:30am to 2:30pm. They continue to dominate the existing TV viewership during that time. But they also got the working crowd and overseas Filipinos watching via Facebook uploads. Their own social media team would edit the daily episodes into digital video packages.

Why I’m a fan of ‘AlDub’

I am not your typical Filipino TV audience – though I spent almost two decades working as a TV presenter and producer of my own shows. I barely watched local television except to monitor my old lifestyle shows F and Urban Zone. The variety show, talent show, and soap opera formats were not appealing to me. And in the past few years, I would consume video via mobile and laptop, not on live TV.

But when Maine Mendoza, the girl who plays Yaya Dub, fainted during one episode of Kalye Serye in Eat Bulaga, I saw some curious posts appear in my Facebook feed. I clicked, then clicked some more. And then I got hooked. The characters of the old grandmothers (in drag) were hilarious. And I found myself laughing at night before going to bed.

I appreciated it at first from a producer’s point of view. Because I knew the creative, writing, logistical, technical inputs were pretty intense. It was almost genius-like. Sure the teasing and attraction happened spontaneously, but the producers and senior hosts of Eat Bulaga knew what they had, and they handled it very carefully. That was not a fluke anymore. They maneouvered this KalyeSerye to be something that people waited for and talked about – by simply delaying gratification. While their characters had to wait for the right time for love, so did the audience.

I’m also impressed that they’ve added a social responsibility aspect to the program. Last Saturday at the Philippine Arena, all proceeds of the ticket sales were committed to building libraries across the country. (Figure is something like P14 million, we have to get exact). That’s a big thing. I like that they are using their fame to affect social change. But I hope they stay away from politics. We have a presidential election coming up in May 2016).

What I don’t like about it, is the same thing that people love – it’s popularity. It’s a little scary to see this level of almost-mass hysteria and “fandom.” There was one episode where the Grandmothers and Yaya Dub were in the streets, hosting the show and I could see the crowd closing in on them. It was very scary. They’ve had to adjust their format a bit now. They no longer film directly out in the streets, they just go to safer locations outdoors. I suppose this is why the heads of Eat Bulaga are trying to play it carefully and slowly by adding a social good aspect.

Fore more reference, here is my first blog about Aldub, which made the local news.

Social media saturation in the Philippines

We have yet to see the full power of social media engagement in the Philippines. We are a population of almost 102 million people. There is a 42% penetration of active users of social media. That’s 42 million social media accounts (not unique users).

It’s interesting to note that internet service providers had started selling social media in pre-paid bundles. Example, Globe Telecom first introduced the concept of unilimited-Facebook sold on a flat rate daily basis. This certainly contributed to the growth of social media use.

Social media savvy Filipinos

Though the social media community in the Philippines is very dynamic – with the Philippines ranking highest in the number of hours spent on social media and internet use, it is still in relative infancy in terms of reach and mobile use compared to neighbouring Asian countries. This is in part due to the still-developing mobile and broadband internet providers.

The Philippines has the second slowest internet connection in the Asia Pacific region. South Korea is the fastest with 25.3 mbps. The Philippines has 2.5 mbps and India, the slowest at 2 mbps. (Source: We Are Social).

 

 

Neri & Hu

 

 

 

I first met Lyndon Neri in mid-2014 in Cebu. We had both been invited by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce to participate in their Design Week celebration and Salon Talks. Lyndon spoke about his work as an architect, Professor Dan Boyarski of Carnegie Mellon spoke about design, and I moderated the discussions.

Lyndon is one half of the extremely talented and celebrated Shanghai-based architectural firm Neri & Hu, together with his wife Rossana Hu. Born in the Philippines, educated in the United States, and now living and working out of China, Lyndon considers himself a citizen of the world. He is of Chinese ethnicity and his family’s roots are in Cebu, where his parents still reside. He was actually born in Ozamis.

Lyndon received his Master of Architecture at Harvard University and his Bachelor of Architecture at UC Berkeley. Rossana received her Master of Architecture and Urban Planning at Princeton University and her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at UC Berkeley. They are also designing products for brands including BD Barcelona Design, Classicon, Gandia Blasco, JIA, LEMA, Meritalia, MOOOI, Parachilna, Stellar Works, and neri&hu.

 


At Maison et Objet Asia 2015, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu were one of the keynote speakers and were awarded 2015 Designer of the Year.

 


Lyndon and Rossana talked about their work as architect and designers based in Shanghai. They draw inspiration from everyday life on the streets of Shanghai, “We like to stroll, observe and examine objects, furniture and buildings. We are sensitive to the crossing of different design disciplines.”

 


Our paths crossed again this year at Maison et Objet Asia in Singapore last March. Neri & Hu Design and Research Office was awarded 2015 Designer of the Year. “In our quest for the Maison&Objet Asia Designer of the Year, we seek out designers who represent the essence of Asian culture, Asian roots and with an international approach to their works. Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu have distinguished themselves through their work and also with numerous international accolades. They exemplify the very qualities we seek,” said Mr Philippe Brocart, Managing Director, Maison&Objet.

 

Here is my conversation with Lyndon and Rossana of Neri & Hu. We talked about restoring buildings, being an Asian designer, working with your spouse, having Filipino roots, and Lyndon’s deep sense of spirituality.

DAPHNE: Congratulations on winning Designer of the Year. How significant is that to you both?

LYNDON NERI: I think all awards, no matter where it’s coming from is definitely an honour. It’s a humbling experience. We didn’t expect it. Some people thought that maybe we would have predicted this given that we were inducted into the hall of fame and that we won the Wallpaper Designer of the Year, but to be honest with you Rossana and I never really look into all the award categories and say, “This year, I think we’re going to win this or not,” I think we spend a lot of time focusing on our projects. So it was a pleasant surprise, but more importantly definitely a humbling experience for the two of us.

 

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The ZISHA tea project “We removed the traditional dragons and snakes from the Chinese teacup to magnify its original natural material: purple clay from the Jiangsu Province.”

 

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The MING COLLECTION and UTILITY COLLECTION for Stellar Works. The Ming Chair is a play around the iconic chair. The design was tweaked to make it stackable and painted it imperial red, whereas traditionally the wood is left dark. The Utility Collection is a combination of “old style” leather and simple metal curves. This line of chairs is an ode to the industrial boom of the 1920’s, a transitional era that saw decorative furniture take on a more utilitarian aesthetic.

 

DAPHNE: A lot of Asian designers, and I’m sure Western designers as well, look up to you as the new breed of designers. How does it feel to sort of set the standard for the new direction of design?

ROSSANA HU: We are not quite conscious of how others perceive us. In some ways we almost have to not think about it or not look at it. Like Lyndon said, it’s more important for us that each project is better than the last. And for us, focusing on the project will just be better for our own work and our own growth. What we want to spend time to nurture and focus on is just that the project will hold its own integrity. That we continue to grow as designers. Whether or not the position is good within a larger context, or how people see us, we try our best to pay back through lectures or participating in various events. Particularly there has been a lot of different mentorship that we are participating in like the Lexus Award Mentorship. So these things bring us directly in contact w a lot of young designers And that’s what we like to do.

LYNDON: I’m more stressed out whether the work we are doing now is done well. So often times some of the projects that we are doing now, some people might not understand or people might feel frustrated that we have changed direction. But I think we have to be true to ourselves. If we are trying to do things to please the general public or a particular group or set of designers or set of media thinkers, then if we are not true to ourselves, then eventually it would not be significant.

 


JIAN collection for Gandia Blasco. This hybrid collection of outdoor furniture was inspired by the Chinese character Jian, meaning “in between”. This poetic living space seems to float between time and space.

 


The Camper Showroom, Shanghai. “Drawing inspiration from the surrounding urban condition, the Camper Showroom / Office in Shanghai recalls both the spatial qualities and the vibrant activities characteristic of life in a typical Shanghai alleyway, called a “nong-tang.” The exterior lane extends into the showroom creating a physical sectional cut of the new house and a gathering space used for presentations and talks.” Source: Neri & Hu website

 

DAPHNE: Lyndon, you were born in the Philippines. How Filipino are you?

LYNDON: That’s a very good question. I was born in Ozamis. Then I left when I was five years old for Cebu. For my first 15 years, I was practically a Cebuano. I speak the dialect and I went to a Chinese school. So within that context…. That’s a very good question. When I went to America, after many years, some people ask, “How American are you?” Then we went to China, after 10 years, I’m very much Chinese, obviously, and they ask, “How Chinese are you?” So there’s really no sense of home for me, as much as I like for all of them to be my home. But in many ways, that’s a blessing in disguise. Because I do believe that the problem we are solving today is a global one, and not a national one. However having said that, I then become very sympathetic with things that are very much Spanish or Latin-based just because I’m from the Philippines. And often times people say, “My goodness you are not so Chinese – you know, the way you express yourself it has that La Bamba spirit.” And of course when they find out I’m from the Philippines, they go “I got it. Ok.” And yet when I go to the Philippines sometimes they say, “Why are you so serious? Why do you think too much? Why are you such a conceptual thinker? Too much like an American.” So there’s always that tension. And it depends. Some of my Filipino friends would probably say, “He’s very Pinoy” some of my Chinese friends will say I’m very Chinese. Some of my American friends will say I’m very American. And vice-versa. I don’t know. I think I am who I am. And people will have to judge who I am. I’d like to think I’m a person of the world.

 


With Lyndon at the 2014 Cebu Business Month hosted by Cebu Chamber of Commerce. Lyndon was invited to give a talk by Cebu-based designer Debbie Palao, head of the Creative Industries Committee of Cebu.

 

DAPHNE: Can the Philippines claim you as a “Filipino” designer?

LYNDON: I would hope so. It’s very interesting. I’d  love to work in the Philippines. I’d love to have projects there. But you know there’s a saying that says you’re never loved by your own country until you’ve proven yourself elsewhere. And there’s some truth to that. It’s not just the Philippines, it’s everywhere. The towns that great thinkers are from are often times are ignored until they made something out of themselves.

 


Design RepublicCommune is located in the center of Shanghai. It is  as a design hub, a gathering space for designers and design patrons alike to admire, ponder, exchange, learn, and consume. The building was once the Police Headquarters built by the British in the 1910s. The project took somewhat of a “surgical approach” to renovation. “First, gently removing the decaying wood and plaster, then carefully restoring the still vibrant red brick work, while grafting on skin, joints, and organs onto parts that needed reconstruction. And finally with the attachment of a brand new appendage which, like a prosthetic, enables the existing building to perform new functions, the nearly abandoned building begins its life again.” Photographed by Pedro Pegenaute. Source: Neri & Hu website

 


Xi’an Westin Museum Hotel. “In an ancient capital of China, Neri&Hu Design Research Office’s design of the Westin in Xi’an emerges as a tribute to both the city’s importance as a hub of burgeoning growth in the region, as well as its long standing status as a cradle of Chinese civilization. With 3,100 years of history embedded in the layers of the city, Xi’an is not merely a formidable backdrop to the building itself but has provided the architects with design inspirations that inextricably link its past to its present and future.” Photographed by Pedro Pegenaute. Source: Neri & Hu website

 

DAPHNE: At your talk last year in Cebu, where I moderated, you talked about your involvement in preserving and working with older buildings and preserving the character of the city. I realized that that’s what we need in the Philippines. You were living in Shanghai, a city that was rapidly destroying traces of the past. Currently in Manila that’s been happening and there seems no end to it. And it seems the only conservation that people know is museum-fication. Very little in terms of the way you guys do it — stripping a building but keeping the integrity. How did you, a global architectural firm, influence the mindset of cities, governments and people.

LYNDON: I think the problem is there’s money involved, unfortunately. With everything that deals with projects in general, there’s money involved. The natural instinct to make fast money is to tear down the old and start new and to have greater FAR (floor area ratio), and to build taller buildings, to sell as many. But we know in the long term, that’s not going to do a country justice, nor a city good. Because once you erase part of the history, a lot of what keeps the spirit of that particular city will disappear and we have to think far, instead of be short-sighted about the whole process. How do you convert people? It’s going to be very hard. People need to have a certain conviction. Developers need to understand that in life, it’s not just about making more and more and more. Sure they’re going to be making more and more. But they need to understand that there is meaning in purpose in the short life they live in this world. They have to decide whether they want to give back or they want to continually take. For developers who want to continually take and take, no matter how much we convince them it’s not going to get through to their head. Because to them its all about the P&L (profit and loss), it’s all about that final number. And I’m not even going to try to convince them and say, “If you have good design, you will make more money.” Because in reality, maybe you wont. But what you get back is something that’s intangible. What you get back is something will give people joy and certain happiness that this world can never give.

 


The Waterhouse Boutique Hotel at South Bund in Shanghai, China. “We created this hotel in an abandoned warehouse. Enhancing the natural original materials was our way of emphasising the importance of preserving traces of the past in urban projects.” Photo by Pedro Pegenaute

 

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Lyndon placed a very Filipino antique furniture — a gallinera bench — in the lobby of The Waterhouse. Photo by Pedro Pegenaute

 

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Neri&Hu was also responsible for the design of the hotel’s interior, which is expressed through both a blurring and inversion of the interior and exterior, as well as between the public and private realms, creating a disorienting yet refreshing spatial experience for the hotel guest who longs for an unique five-star hospitality experience. Photo by Pedro Pegenaute. Source: Neri & Hu website

 

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Another example of the blurring and inversion of the interior and exterior, as well as between the public and private realms. Photo by Derryck Menere

 

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The Waterhouse in South Bund, Shanghai. This was once an abandoned warehouse, adaptively re-used as a five-star boutique hotel.  Photo by Pedro Pegenaute

 

DAPHNE: Is there a point where a building is too late to be saved?

ROSSANA: Of course. It’s not like we believe that every building should be saved. If that’s the case, then there’s no progress. I think it’s about balancing what you keep. And even within one building, you don’t necessarily need to keep everything. So being able to accept that life is about fragments and these fragments – some have value some don’t, some are worth saving, worth keeping, some are not. You just have to cut them away and throw them away and put new stuff in it in place of what used to be there. And that fragment of the past are ok in a city. And hopefully we build our future on our past. And that’s why we have to save some because otherwise there’s no memory of what happened in the past for our next generation to see.

LYNDON: But what’s also important, Daphne, is the fact that you just have to do good work. And you have to have a certain conviction in what you do. So you could preserve all you want. If you don’t do it with much conviction it is another form of Disneyfication. That’s what I call it. So it’s just another replica of another past. So it becomes a decorative exercise. Now, there are new buildings that are built by very good designers with good conviction. They add value to the city that we are in today. So I’m not all for progress at all (sic). In fact if there’s the right opportunity you need to build new buildings. However what we’re saying is that there’s a lot of good old buildings that could be re-used and have this new adaptive renaissance within its old structure.

 

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The Cluny House, a private residence in Singapore, shows Neri & Hu’s modern take on the Chinese courtyard house.

 

DAPHNE: You showed us a lot of your projects. Could you describe your own home?

LYNDON: Our home is constantly under renovation. We’re now on our third stage. We’re in an old house. Old lane house. We didn’t show a lot of images because we made a pact ten years ago that our house will be private. And so our children live in a house that is very much black and white with a lot of paintings and etchings by great masters. (Rossana: Furniture is everywhere.) And initially when they came with their friends, often times their friends always say “Wow the ceiling is so high” or “Wow this is a really strange looking house. And so when they were young, they were really conscious because they feel like their house is so different. Perhaps non-traditional. So they were really concerned. But my youngest son who is 12 now told me the other day in the car, “you know actually all my friends really find our house very interesting. It’s cavernous. It’s very unique so now all of a sudden there is a sense of pride. Is it crazy? A part of it is. And we are continually developing it. This last stage will probably be our last. We are renovating it right now. And it’s probably going to be the craziest addition.

ROSSANA: It’s very much like one of our projects where we took an old house, an old lane house. We sort of gutted the inside. So the interior feeling is quite modern. But you can’t see it from the outside. So it’s like a lot of our projects.

LYNDON: So from the outside it’s this three-storey lanehouse and nextdoor is one and it grows ivy all over it. So in the spring time there is no resemblance of a house. The whole project is dematerialized. It’s this green thing. Absolutely gorgeous but hard to maintain, beyond belief, because there’s a lot of bugs that crawl into the wall. And for a certain conviction there’s a lot of pain. But what we’re trying to do, is now they’ve grown older, so after this last phase we might actually show part of it to the public.

DAPHNE: And who is designing that?

ROSSANA: Whoever has time. That’s why it’s never done because we never have time. And its our last priority. Clients are more important.

LYNDON: We do have time. The little time we have in our house, we argue like mad. We agree on certain things, while other things, it’s hard for us to agree on.

DAPHNE: You work together, you’re a team, you’re collaborators. But who does what and who’s the boss?

LYNDON: Oh she’s the boss. Good question.

ROSSANA: We overlap on many things.

LYNDON: What’s needed at the moment will have to be taken care of. She writes a lot more. Although I also write. Because every project needs to have a definition in order for the core to be done properly. I tend to sketch more maybe. But she does sketch as well. So there’s a lot of – both of us come up with the basic concept. I might be spending more time on the schematic part of a project, she comes in on the design development side of the project. But obviously in the end when we come in and we do the detail, we do it together.

 


Lyndon Neri & Rossana Hu. Photo by Andrew Rowat

 

DAPHNE: Lyndon you seem to be always grateful. There is a spirituality about you that you are not embarrassed to show. What is that all about?

LYNDON: Uhm, what is clear to me is that what is given to us today… I know for a fact that what is given to both of us to day, is from God. Without a question. I was fortunate enough at a young age to be introduced by my father to have a relationship with God. So I read the Bible every day. And that to me is the most important thing in my life. Every thing we do today is not us. (Lyndon’s voice starts to break. He pauses.) Sorry, I’m just a little emotional. But there are a lot more people more talented than we are. There’s a lot more people more connected than we are. There’s a lot more people more educated than we are. But I think Rosanna and I are given a platform. And this platform is a responsibility given to us by God. I think it’s easy for us, in the height of adulation and when we’re given a certain accord to start saying maybe we work very hard, we went to the right school, or maybe we were talented, or we maybe because we made the right strategy. Seriously at the end they all came from Him. And if we don’t acknowledge Him, while these blessings are being poured to us, then we’ve really missed the point. That to me is the end. And it goes without saying I think people often forget this, and when I add that aspect of this story, sometimes people say, “Lyndon you’re always asking, you know. You’ve worked hard enough, you’ve done this.” Well that all is true but there’s also a lot of people who work just as hard. There are people who are also talented or more. People who went to the right school. But Rosanna and I have been given this platform. And we have to remember that this platform is a blessing that has been given to us. And we have to be able to give back. Because if we don’t God will use other people to do it.

 

 

Click here more information on Maison et Objet Asia.

Options Studio Timog

 

 

This is great news for those living in Quezon City. Options Studio opened its fifth branch just across GMA-7 studios along Timog. I hosted the official launch and blessing of the studios last week and saw the prettiest pilates studio ever. The decor felt very glamorous in a contemporized neo-Baroque way. It has generous windows and mirrors giving a view of “downtown” Quezon City. I also spotted some major TV stars from GMA-7 enrolled for pilates in this specific location.

For more information on the five Options Studio branches in Metro Manila, visit www.options-studio.ph

 

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The private room.

 

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Cardiolates class.

 

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It was wonderful to see former colleagues from my broadcasting years. GMA’s COO and Chief Financial Officer Felipe Yalong, whom I first met when we were both in ABS-CBN. GMA SAVP for Alternative Productions Gigi Santiago-Lara, who was behind the creation of my old show Proudly Filipina, GMA VP for Entertainment TV Marivin T. Arayata, Mrs. Fel Yalong, GMA SVP for Entertainment Lilibeth Rasonable and GMA Executive Reggie Magno.

 

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With founder of Options Studio and pilates master Ole Eugenio, pilates enthusiast Irene Marcos-Araneta, and Options Studio Timog Managing Director Krish Yalong. I was wearing a new pilates outfit and cover up from Mulawear which is sold at Options Timog.

 

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Me and Krish in their custom-made porter’s chair.

 

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President of GMA-7 Gilberto Duavit Jr.  and TAPE Inc.’s Tony Tuviera

 

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The very talented actress Jennylin Mercado, who was about to have her private pilates session, in photo with Jod Penson and Krish Yalong.

 

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The new generation of TV stars Janine Gutierrez, Kylie Padilla, Julie Ann San Jose.

 

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Gigi Lara with actor Alden Richards

 

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Mrs. Yalong with Camille Prats, who is looking so good with her short hair.

 

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Macy Espiritu Tan, Cara Martinez, Andrei Coronado, Karol Usis, Krish Yalong

 

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And there’s me, demonstrating some poses on the reformer. I don’t remember how many reformers they had, but I count eight in this photo. Options Timog is the biggest studio among the five Options branches.

 

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Pilates instructor Alain Buenaventura, guiding me through the Stability Chair.

 

For more information on prices, classes and schedules, contact:

Options Studio Timog
6th Floor, GEMPC Bldg, 132 Timog Ave, Diliman, Quezon City
Tel No.: 0917-771-6549

OptionsStudio – Makati
#103 G/F Nobel Plaza 110 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati
Tel No.: 553 – 3314 / 585 – 1404
Email: ph@options-studio.com

OptionsStudio – Fort
2201 NAC Tower
32nd St. Corner 9th Avenue, BGC,
Taguig City
Tel No.:(632) 403 – 7154

OptionsStudio – Podium
Podium Mall, Level 4, Ortigas Center, 12 ADB Ave., Pasig City
Tel No.: (632) 695 – 3263

OptionsStudio – Greenhills
3rd Flr, 101 Connecticut corner Missouri Streets, Greenhills, San Juan del Monte
Tel No.: (632) 623 – 8449

 

Read about my pilates journey here and here.

Fresh new start at home

 

 

One of the easiest ways to refresh your home in this new year season is by updating some accessories. Instead of going for a specific look that’s on-trend, you can try sticking to a specific colour. This way, your range of styles will be wider, and you won’t get stuck with a look that may eventually go out of style. While going around SM Home at The SM Store, I found some the neatest blue accessories. Blue has the effect of calmness and serenity.

 

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This pitcher’s shade of blue is a great addition to any home. It has a nice rustic carafe shape but the handle gives it more practicality. I also like the double lined plastic mason jars. I’ve been using glass for my juices. But this is great for the kids’ drinks.

 

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This sofa will work well in a condo or in a family room. It looks so inviting that you just want to plop yourself in the middle of that crease. SM Home also has a wide selection of framed wall art. You may consider a seasonal rotation of framed art.

 

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I love the simple lines of this chair. And that blue fabric upholstery just gives it a modern Scandinavian vibe.

 

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I’m loving these storage bins. They really make it easy to stay organized. And I particularly love these blue and white striped version.

 

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Serve ware that looks like expensive cookware.

 

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A little rustic, a little country. Perfect tableware for breakfast.

 

How are you approaching this fresh new start to 2015? Any new updates or plans for your home? Share your stories with me by using the hashtag #practicalhomesolutions #practicalhomeinspirations

Follow SM Home via Facebook at SM Home, Instagram @smhome, and Twitter @SMHome_PH for more information and inspiration.

 

 

The homefront

 

 

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It’s been a while since I posted stories about my home and my family. I have to admit that this blog has taken on a different turn from what it used to be like. I remember when my blog was still Daphne’s Diary and only a handful of people were blogging, it was filled with random little nothings about my life. And you were all there to keep me company. As the blog grew, it somehow became a product of my “work” like part of the official brand DAPHNE®. Collaborations came in and with top retailers! The luxury bed linen line with SM Homeworld and Our Home, my furniture line that retailed in Rustan’s and Dimensione, and of course my pride and joy, the DAPHNE x Bench collaboration. I am so grateful and still floored that all that happened and continues to happen. Hint, hint.

Somewhere along the line I feel like I detached myself from the blog a bit too much though. Or am I over-analyzing? Maybe it was because Instagram became too accessible that all my little random diary entries went there instead of here. I didn’t find time to sit down and actually write. Heck, I even stopped using my micro four-thirds camera and DSLR. Today I am drowning in press kits, product samples, event invitations which I appreciate but I also feel like that’s not just what Daphne’s Diary is about. Yes, I talk about products, but I used to share more stories about things I’ve discovered or learned without any marketing or PR activity involved. All authentic stuff. I feel like I owe it to you and myself to get back to my roots. At the very least, all my marketing campaigns are identified. And I also have not partnered with nor supported any campaign that didn’t fit in with my aesthetic and principles. I have declined quite a few.

So I will attempt to balance — business and real life. And please let me know how you feel about it. This is not and never was a mommy blog. So I’m not going that direction. I’m also not an expert on food but admittedly, I am in the process of discovering my inner home-cook talents. Join me on that discovery process. Travel is also a big part of our lives now. Though my 10-week stay in Toronto last year almost went un-blogged. There’s so much I didn’t share about that trip because I was so busy living life at the present moment. Design is still in my vocabulary especially since we are working at doing more home tours. Health, wellness and spirituality make up a huge chunk of my new life now. I won’t preach, but I may tell stories from this journey. Then there will be little anecdotes about my daughters. When I started blogging, I had only one kid. I was pregnant with my second baby, Lily. Now these girls are growing into their own versions of themselves. I’d like to include some of their stories in my blog. Of course security and privacy is an issue, so I can only do so to a point that we are comfortable with.

I guess what I’m saying is, there’s a lot of noise out there. I want this site to continue to be my happy place so I’m regrouping and things are going to change. You are always welcome here.

I just did a fun shoot at home with Xeng Zulueta as the makeup artist and Sandro Paredes as photographer. Xeng and I have worked with each other for a long time. She did some of my most amazing cover shoots. This was totally random and fun. We didn’t even have a hairstylist. I just washed and dried my hair myself. Sorry for the unkempt hair.

But this is what real life is like at home — minus the false lashes.

 

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This is the hallway where my girls’ little feet stomp all over. The house is never quiet when we are home. It is filled with voices, footsteps and laughter. All three daughters are wearing Gingersnaps. My dress is from Sfera, shoes are Repetto.

 

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My masterpiece. Haha. I worked with Rafael Calero of Kitchen Studio. He executed all the ideas I wanted and presented me with more options that I didn’t know existed. I’m loving my kitchen floors. These are treated wood from Matwood. Rafael stained them a certain way so they wouldn’t look too red. In real life they’re lighter. I’m particularly proud of my ceiling. I had this brilliant idea of knocking down the existing ceiling and exposing the roof and beams. But at the time, I didn’t know what lay beneath the ceiling lining. Surprise, surprise… a beautiful structural beam. Oops, it’s hardly in photo. I must show it to you at another occasion.

 

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My kitchen took forever to finish. The reason was because my sink had to be brought in from Kohler, Wisconsin. Yes, Kohler is not only a brand but also a place. It is beautiful. Here are stories from when I visited the Kohler sites in Kohler, Wisconsin. My sink is made of enamelled cast iron. I absolutely love it. P.S. We had to make adjustments to the cabinetry in order to make the sink fit. We initially didn’t know we could have this sink, until I had a “love affair” with the brand officially. My windows are pretty special too. It’s a huge treat to have new windows like this. These are tempered glass and PVC from a German brand called Veka from Fourlinq. As many of you know, the rest of the house has wooden capiz windows. Balance and irony. Haha. Oh, if you’d like to see the video of my kitchen renovation, click here. Top from Sfera, jeans from Uniqlo, shoes from Repetto.

 

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My throne. Seriously. Because every woman must be the queen of her home. Ha!

 

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This Raina chair was a special birthday gift to me by Vito Selma. He sent it to my house right after he showed it in Manila Fame, March of this year. It is, by far, the largest present I’ve ever received. Look at it going through our door on Instagram. I love it! And I adore Vito!  P.S. Dress is from Sfera.

 

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Oh dear, the kitchen beam is still not visible in this photo. Oh well. Here are my three bunnies. We purposely bought three un-matching stools. You can see a bit of a mess behind me. Proof that the kitchen is not “for show.” It’s a real working kitchen. Perhaps only Pinoys will know what I mean about that. Haha. So we dressed up a bit in this shot. I’m wearing a silk dress I bought in Bali from Magali Pascal. Sophia is wearing Rajito by Rajo Laurel. Lily and Stella are wearing Gingersnaps.

 

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The most photographed part of our house is the red door. Every time I have press people over they think they have the “money shot” with the red door. I have to disclose that it’s been done many times. I can actually do an entire series just filled with red door shots! Hmmm, that’s an idea. Future blog entry perhaps. Well, the story here is that the house is really old. It’s the house my husband grew up in. And when we got married, we wanted to give it a bit of a facelift, but slowly. So we began with paint. I wanted red from day one. We also played with colour inside the house — pink hallway, green living room. My advice is, if you don’t have much budget but you want to give your home a boost, start with paint. Don’t be afraid of colour.

 

All photos by Sandro Paredes.
Make up by Xeng Zulueta.