Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sex and the City and Other Movies to Watch Out for in 2008

Get Carried away in 2008 as Sex and the City makes its way to the big screen.

For sure, I will. It will be a very exciting reunion with Carrie, Sam, Miranda, Charlotte and my girlfriends. I really miss SATC and those random afternoons of SATC marathons with my girlfriends at our HQ (former apartment). It's so fun to look back at those moments and as well as with all the fun and realistic characters of the hit series. Women can indeed relate to most of the episodes.

The movie is set to be released on May. I am not sure if it's going to be followed here in Manila but well, for sure, my girlfriends and I will drop anything for a get-together: a SATC movie date.

Meanwhile, to excite you more, here's the movie's teaser trailer:

Also visit the Sex and the City Movie Blog.
And watch more trailers at Yahoo's 2008's 10 Most Anticipated Flicks (Indiana Jones 4 not yet included).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Starting 2008 in Style

Got myself the #1 item on my Christmas wishlist: the Belle de Jour Power Planner.

I have to say that it's a must-have for Pinay women who like to strut in their heels.

For one, it is self-empowering. It has the tools that allow women to effectively organize their activities. Day-to-day to-dos can be managed by listing down the priority tasks to start on and finish. These tasks and other appointments can be separated into morning, lunch, afternoon and dinner. A budget and credit card expense list is also part of the monthly set of organizing tools.

Each month has a theme and a corresponding write up to promote awareness and women empowerment.

Dreams can also be turned into reality with BDJ's goal planning tools. Timeframe, steps and resources needed are part of the planning process.

As every hardworking woman-in-heels deserves her own taste of luxury, BDJ has a Vacation Planner and monthly Personal Treats to Enjoy to help her remember that she is also entitled to her own rewards. Aside from this, shopaholics will certainly enjoy the discount perks of having a BDJ planner. BDJ Girls can get 10 to 15% discounts from chic stores or freebies from some restos in the country. My personal ooh-la-la favorite is a FREE BRAZILIAN WAX at Lay Bare!

Other features of the planner include a Menstrual Tracker and a Birthday List.

Lastly, here's something about BDJ which really caught my attention. A percentage of the planner's earning goes to Tahanan Sta. Luisa, which is a center for street girls and sexually-exploited girls. For me, this is what makes Belle de Jour Power Planner the ultimate 2008 must-have for the IT girl.

BDJ Planners are sold at P548 in selected outlets. For more info, visit the Belle de Jour Power Planner website.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Proudly Pinay presents Janette Toral

Proudly Pinay

Janette Toral

PROUDLY PINAY recognizes all the Filipino women who, symbolically, walk their talk in heels and skirts. These are women who have made valuable contribution to society. They are the ones who make us truly proud to be Pinoys.

The second Pinay who makes it to Proudly Pinay is the woman behind the recently concluded Filipina Writing Contest. She is also involved in various internet-related policies, businesses and advocacies. Now let me present to you,

The void of a blackhole, the depth of an abyss--if there is just one place in the whole wide universe that the Filipino can get lost in, it is nowhere in the map. The address does not start with a number that's followed by a street's name, rather, the address starts with http:// and is followed by 3Ws. It's the cyberspace.

Now that the digital age is no longer an exclusive privilege for developed countries and for those who belong to the wealthier social strata, it is a relief that Filipino have taken a step forward to counter naivete, misconceptions and fears arising from those whose idea of typing results into kalyos and usage of liquid and carbon papers (both are not clean, white sheets). (Side comment: I can't believe that some people actually thought of the Y2K bug as something as a deadly epidemic.) One of them--I'm proud to say that I have met her, is Janette Toral.

As a writer, Janette shares her opinions as a columnist of Sun Star Cebu. Aside from this, she has authored and co-authored two books, respectively, DigitalFilipino.Com E-Commerce Workshop E-Book and Philippine Internet Review: 10 Years of Internet History (1994-2004). She has also conducted researches on the electronic field: IT, online banking, mobile phone usage, outsourcing, etc.

As an advocate, among Janette's most successful efforts are lobbying for RA8792: The Y2K and E-Commerce Law.; founding the Philippine Internet Commerce Society; and other projects which include the Filipina Writing Project and the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs Project.

She owns the DigitalFilipino.Com Club and the Philippine Software Process Improvement Network, which are both professional online communities. She does consultancy work and also conducts training on various internet and multimedia-related topics.

With all of these and so much more at her hand, Janette has empowered the lives of the digital Filipinos and Filipinas. Hence, we name Ms. Janette Toral as our second Proudly Pinay in the list.

Info based from her personal website.
More info available at JanetteToral.Com
Lady in Red has the permission to post her photo.

The Filipina Writing Contest

A couple of months ago, we were outraged by the FilipinaBride.Com, which is supposedly a spoof for the international perverts-or-hopeless con romantics who use the internet to look for their Filipina subjects.

While concerned groups have been successful with soliciting support and a couple of reactions from Filipinos, there weren't much efforts gathered for eliminating the "Filipina bride" impression of many on Filipino women. Most actions were geared towards the site owners; they were attacks to specific groups or individuals like the pervs that I was talking about in the first paragraph. None of them countered the real enemy: the negative perception of the Filipina.

Fighting this enemy is a big challenge. This is mainly because we are dealing with individual psychos...err... I mean psyches as well as a whole bunch of social constructions which have long been a mainstream for a significant number of ignoramuses.

Last August, another social barrier has been broken; another line has been crossed for the Filipino women. Janette Toral's brainchild, The Filipina Writing Contest, has the following aim:

"... to influence and change the impression about the Filipina by having relevant content appear in the first page of major search engines."

There were around 80 entries to this campaign and the awarding was held last 28 November 2007 at Ponciana's Kitchen along Timog Avenue.

Now ladies and gentlemen, the winners:

The judges' Most Liked Entries and won US$100 each.
The Funniest Filipina Vloggers
Ako si Pina.. At ito ang aking kuwento...
Superiority of Women in the Philippine Society

US$100 Winners in the raffle:
Filipina as Other (Betsy's!)
Two Popular and Unique Individuals, Both Filipina
The Filipina Campaign (Aiza's! Birthday gift!)
Filipina 2007

For the SEO competition part, the following won US$100:
Google -
Filipina (marhgil's)
Yahoo -
Filipina (marhgil's--lucky, lucky guy na nagrereklamo pa!)
Hindi lang Filipina Dating, Dating Filipina, Wow Filipina talaga!

For thoseShortlisted entries' prizes:
One (1) Customized Banner or Button (Thanks
Juan Karlo Licudine!)
Filipina Pride
Three (3) Wordpress t-shirts for entries with link to our partner (Thanks Noemi Lardizabal Dado!)
Filipina Ako. I am a Filipina
A Topless Filipina in Europe
Maria “Ria” A. Jose is a Filipina
Two (2) Strategic Problogging Audio E-Book (Thanks Manuel Viloria!)
Filipina Since Birth
Story of a Young Filipina Woman - The Fighter in Me
The following got a one-year individual membership in the Club.
A Different Filipina
Proudly Pinay: The Filipina Who Strut on Her Heels (wow! this IS mine!)
Macho I Love Yous
The Filipina in the Eyes of the World
Adobong Pinay
Ang mga Filipina ng Buhay Ko
Filipina works! Abroad
Podcast/Vlogs creation effort
Hot Filipina
The Portrait of a Japayuki as a Filipina
Google Suggested Pinay Scandal
What is a Filipina?
3 Things You Possibly Do Not Know about the Filipina

Congratulations to all (since I think everyone won a prize in the raffle)! And of course, congratulations to Ms. Janette!

To know more about the project, click here.
To know more about the winners and sponsors, click here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Filipina Writing Contest EB

My first EB. Ever.

The experience was fun: a yummy buffet, a lechon (that I was craving for a few days before), lotsss of cool prizes and most of all, lots of friendly, unassuming, down-to-earth people. I was lucky to have known Ms. Janet Toral and the rest of my seatmates at the LUCKY TABLE--Betsy, Jehzeel (tama ba?!), Aiza, Arbet (Loggins) and Mar. (Guys, if ever you find this post, please correct me if I got your names wrong.) Guess what? I won a $25-worth GC from =)

I'll be posting the links to the winning entries as soon as someone posts them.

L is for Lucky!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back-to-Back So-Hot Bachelors

The Lady in Red's So-Hot Bachelors...
Catch 'em while they're hot!

Bachelor # 1: Kimi Raikkonen

Sigh... Don't you just wanna be the girl on the passenger's seat of the 2007 Formula One World Champion's non-F1 car?

Now, even if the win took place last month, he still sizzles.

Photo from Formula1Sport.Net

Bachelor # 2: Prince Harry

Forget about the events that must have caused his split with Chelsy Davy. The fact is PRINCE HARRY IS NOW SINGLE. He's the type of guy I'd go nuts about: athletic, bad boy, do-gooder, serves in the military and most of all, a royalty. Rarrr!

Photo from CThings.Com (Change The World News)

Chic Finds # 1: The PLUEYS are coming!

Don't you just wanna walk in the rain on these?
Read more at:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Woman, what makes you think that you're not vulnerable to violence?

Has a date ever forced himself to you? Was it a wet, unwanted kiss that was planted on your lips or even all over your face? Ugh. I know. Face rape.

Was it a boyfriend, a fiance, a husband, a ka-cherva or whatsoever who took advantage of your drunkeness? Did he ever tease you or talk to you in a manner that was offensive and unwelcome? Did he ever slap you or grab you?

Was there ever a professor, a boss, an officemate or a client who insinuated sex for a favor or as an utang-na-loob? Were you offended?

Well, unless they are invited and unless you have a penchant for sadomasochism and role playing, then woman, I am telling you now:


A lot of women who are victims of violence do not even know that they are victims. If they know it, they would rather suffer in the dark: stifling cries and concealing bruises.

Sometimes,.we think that just because we belong to the privileged class (middle-class and up), it is a shame to be in this situation. Or sometimes, we are afraid of speaking up because we might make a fool out of ourselves or because we have to go through the painful process of demandahan and besides, it may cost us our job and reputation.

Break the culture of silence. Speak up. There are Women's Desks to provide you the assitance that you need. For a complete list, go to FemaleBattle.Net:Get Help

A White Ribbon in the Dark

Photo from White Ribbon Day Website

It is hard to be passionate about battling violence against women when one belongs to the privileged class. It is even harder to convince men and women from the same group to join in the movement--knowing that they are most likely to fall on deaf ears.

Sad to say that while many remain indifferent, the fact is women are vulnerable to violence no matter what their social orientation is. Sure, we get to watch them in the news or hear them whispered by your chismosa friend. It's not something new but at least for you, in all your Imeldiffic glory, it is a rarity.

I am sorry to say this, but, you're wrong.

Based on the statitics that Gabriela was able to gather from the Philippine National Police, 3 women and 9 children were raped everyday from January to September 2003. On the same period, 12 women and 5 children were battered everyday. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer Feb. 29, 2004)

I have heard of first to second-hand experiences of women who have been victims of date rape, attempted rape and boyfriend battering. One of them includes that of a girl who went to one of those upscale exclusive high schools and who was gang raped by his date and the friends of his date. The guys also went to another school of that sort.

The main reason why violence against women seems rare is because it happens in the dark: they happen in the night at the talahiban; they happen in a desserted school building; and worst of all, they happen behind closed doors at home. Women are ashamed of being victims. They are afraid of their perpetrators. That is why the victims have to stifle their cries, conceal their bruises and cover up for the bad guys. And because of this, the women continue to suffer; the bad guys go on with inflicting violence against women.

In an effort to eliminate VAW, the men in Australia, and in other parts of the world, support the White Ribbon campaign every 25th of November. It is good to know that men are now aware of their role in VAW and also in putting an end to it.

Three years ago, Mulieris organized a talk which we entitled: GIVE WAY TO THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN. After a blow-the-whistle campaign in the morning (which was a call to break the culture of silence among women), we were able to gather 114 male and female students coming from various year levels and courses to listen to the testimonies of three victims of VAW and a presentation of Tinay Palabay, Gabriela's Secretary-General.

It is time that MEN be the white ribbon in the dark. It is the time for them to take an active role in eliminating violence against women.


For the guys, this is how you can help in the campaign: What Can One Man Do?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Proudly Pinay: The Filipina Who Strut On Her Heels

Forget about the stilettos by Louboutin, Blahnik and Jimmy Choo. For now, let us put the limelight on the high heels from Mendrez, Janylin, Sapato and all those that hail from Marikina—the modern Filipina stands tall and proud on them.

Knowing her worth, she struts what she has got in those heels.

Domestically, she has moved on from being a housewife to a homemaker who is capable of making and implementing decisions for her family. Out in the bigger world, she has walked through places to find her niche--her passion that opens even more horizons for her.

In politics.

Oh. A lot of firsts and hall of famers. There's Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino who is the first Filipina president. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, inspite of being vertically challenged, stands tall among the other women leaders globally as she was named one of Time's Most Powerful Women in the World.

In culture and the arts.

A coined word is finding itself in dictionaries worldwide: Imeldiffic. Coming from Imelda Marcos' many affinities, which include shoes for one, Imeldiffic is associated to those who share with the former first lady her passion for culture and arts.

Again, there are countless Filipinas who take the role of leaders in this field. As of writing, the directors for National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the National Museum are both women. Lisa Macuja, Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson and Lani Misalucha have also garnered respect and round of applauses for the Filipina talent.

In the environment.

Chin-Chin Gutierrez' advocacies for the environment made her become one of Time magazine's Heroes of Asia. She has used her talent and influence as an actress in promoting for this cause. Other women are also taking the lead in green movements. For instance, there's Chit Juan, Figaro's CEO and League of Corporate Foundations' President, walk her talk in promoting various causes, including the environment.

In the corporate world.

Many Filipinas have climbed through the corporate ladder, gaining the respect of men and recognition from people all over the world. Some hold key positions as managers, vice presidents and CEOs in the Philippines and there are also those like Loida Nicolas-Lewis and Gina Alexander, who are in command of big companies in other countries.

It is impossible to cite every successful Filipina in this write-up. This just goes to show that the modern Pinay is multi-faceted. Getting to know her is similar to the experience of entering a Janylin outlet where the shelves are filled with shoes of different colors, styles and sizes.

Thanks to all those who have advocated for the rights of the Filipino women—the modern Pinay gets to exercise her rights. Try to suppress them and expect a heel cut through your face—of course, figuratively. These days, it is harder to get away with chauvinism in the Philippines. Gabriela and other women's groups are vigilant.

What makes a Filipina proudly Pinay is her resilience. No, it's not about stifling sobs and crying behind closed doors; It's about her ability to endure being on stilettos and still sashay through her roles in life inspite of all the agonies of being a woman.

At the end of the day, the Pinay takes her stilettos off to perform a more noble role, which is to be a woman for others.

With all of these in mind, having the Pinay as the female face of the Philippines, makes us all truly proud.

Join the Filipina Writing Project:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Suffer for beauty, oh bitchy one

Across borders and throughout centuries, women's relationship with beauty is that of an S&M.

Back in our school days, we have read about tribal women who chisel their teeth, pierce their nipples, drill big holes on their ears and put huge tattoos all over their bodies. In the Victorian era, women endured breathlessness and pain in the middle section in order to attain the hourglass figure that corsettes gave. A thousand years ago and until the early 1900s, in China, women suffered the excruciatingly difficult process of breaking and binding the foot; a lifelong tremendous effort for beauty.

These days, women still suffer, though in less absurd ways. We spend hours in the gym motivated by the "no pain, no gain" mantra just so we can achieve the look or the feeling that we want. We lie on the derma's beds, which are actually beds of roses and thorns, as we stifle the screams of pain from the pricking and inserting of needles used in procedures to eliminate flaws or even change the way we look. In more simple events, many of us go for toners with the astringent effect or tend to sacrifice comfort for style like enduring the pain from dancing all night in sexy stilettos. And in some ways, we also have to repress the pain that our affinity for beauty causes to our pockets.

Speaking in terms of sex and bitchhood, I say that the quest for beauty is similar to losing one's virginity. Along the lines of pricking, waxing and threading; it always really hurts on the first time. But since it made you look and feel good, the saying that "once you pop, you can't stop" applies. It goes on to the point that you finally find yourself addicted to pain--living through and loving it; knowing that glory awaits the brave ones.

For hundreds and thousands of years, women have suffered in the name of beauty. While we maintain that to look good is our primary motivation, we leave in the shadows the reasons behind our sadomasochistic approach to beauty. Okay, we want to feel good about ourselves. But why? Can we not feel good even without having to go through such process?

I believe that the raison d'etre lies on the lines of acceptance. In an article on the Lotus Foot, I found this
:"The driving force behind this desire was complex: it had to do with marriage;
it had to do with sex; it had to do with status; it had to do with beauty; it
had to do with duty." (Footwear Fetish - An Erotic Tradition,

These days, it is not just fair for women to blame men for their sufferings. The quest for beauty has something to do with acceptance from the opposite sex or from persons within the ranks found in the social circles where we find ourselves in. It may be to appease the wants of a domineering mother; the conditions of a meticulous lover; the observant eyes of a discriminating social butterfly; or the requirements of a tyrannical boss. Beauty just seems to be a social requirement--where the requirement varies from one social circle to another.Vicky Belo, a world-renowned cosmetic doctor, has been capitalizing on these social requirements to encourage more women to be valiant about addressing their aesthetic insufficiencies. I do not intend to give her any negative associations for this because what she says is basically true!

I remember learning in my Theology class on Marriage and Sexuality that even the late Pope John Paul II says that love starts with attraction. And how in the world can a man single out a female in a room full of them without his own requirement?

In jobs, priority is usually given to the applicant who looks more charming--assuming that all applicants have the same credentials. The same goes with women in sales-oriented careers. The initial requirement is always a good and pleasing personality (which I think is really a good and pleasing appearance). Only after she meets this, will she get the honchos to listen to what she has to present.

Feminists have been successful with attacking the footbinding tradition in China and so are those who fought against other seemingly obscure practices like the stretching of mouths and sculpturing of teeth. But still, there are new traditions to contest and since most of them have become ironically acceptable, we leave them the media and the catwalks for their battlefields.

The "enemy" in the first place is not the men in general but rather, the social constructions made by men and women alike.

Note: The title was fed by a man who does not wish to be named. Published online on 22 Nov 2007.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Beauties for a Cause (When World Peace is Passé)

Bikini-clad bombshells with empty heads are now less likely to be hailed as queens of the planet.

In this millennium when “I want world peace” answers to Q&A are passé, pageants have been created and reinvented in order to escape the stigma and associations that were given to them. In 2001, Miss Earth has been created by Carousel Productions, Inc. with the belief that beauty queens would be a good and effective advocate of worthy causes.

Miss Earth candidates and winners take their time and heels off to participate in efforts to preserve nature. Tree-planting, beach clean up, UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) events participation and charity involvement are among the activities of Miss Earth.

I believe that the candidates are effective advocates and role models for environmental causes since people usually tend to follow the footsteps of women whom they admire and idolize. The causes can be relayed to people from almost all walks of life—little boys and girls, men and women, and the poor and the rich.

Because of its noble vision, we can now say that Miss Earth winners are worthy to be queens and stewardesses of the planet.

* * *

View the winners and the events in the 2007 Miss Earth Pageant:

2007 Miss Earth (Beauties for a Cause)

* * *

When Mulieris was conceived in early 2003, one of the Atenean women who helped me in planning was a Miss Earth candidate, who was awarded as Ms. Friendship. Colynn de Guzman (SOSE '05) was a beauty and brains in the making. She was a grade school classmate who went to Philippine Science High School for secondary school. (Gosh, the brains!) Colynn is also creative, religious, down-to-earth and very charitable.

* * *


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Mad About Lashes (A Review on Lash-Enhancing Methods)

Cliché says that eyes are the windows of the soul. I say that long, beautiful lashes make these windows worth looking into.

Long lashes, even in Jane Eyre’s time, were regarded as beautiful; an asset that only the fair ones possess. So it’s sad to say that if you are not gifted with such, it’s either you make the most out of your other features or remain sorry for the rest of your life.

Thank God that in the past two centuries, human ingenuity has paved the way for the creation of the mascara and the eyelash curler. This tandem enlivens dull eyes as the mascara makes the lashes thicker and the curler, aside from curling the lashes, opens up the eyes to make them look bigger and brighter.

Personally, I am settled on Clinique’s double lash effect mascara. It’s a yearly present from my aunt that I look forward to. Maybelline products are also tried and tested though I do not necessarily patronize them. (FYI, Maybelline manufactured the first commercially-viable mascara). L’Oreal’s 2-Step Volume Shocking Mascara was only good for some time. It takes a lot of skilled practice for one to actually enjoy it. Disaster usually strikes when the second coat is applied.

While we owe the creation of high quality mascaras to chemistry, we must thank technology for coming up with eyelash curlers that superbly and safely curl the lashes. For a longer effect, we now have battery-operated lash curlers that heat when we use them. Shu Uemura is undeniably the world’s favorite curler (another proof that Japan’s place in technology extends to cosmetology). At PhP 1,500, it takes just one careful press to give one’s lashes a pretty look. What sets it apart from the 100-bucks curlers on Watson’s shelves is that they are designed with ultimate precision for a perfect and safer finish. FYI, even the hinge is patented; to ensure that Shu is the only curler which has the right amount of pressure applied to lashes.

Hence, as any self-confessed kikay-slash-shoppaholic would say, the item—even if it’s expensive, is actually an investment.

However, one can never be satisfied with one’s beauty tools especially when beauty counters become wider and even more diverse and salons having longer menu of services—offering us girls with more and more options for looking good. That’s why when eyelash perm was introduced a couple of years ago, women flocked Piandre, Let’s Face It and every other salon which offers the service. For 300 to 600 pesos, depending on the salon, one can have semi-permanently permed lashes (usually lasts for a month to 3 months). That’s less hassle in primping up. A good mascara is just needed to compliment the work of the salon.

I loved the effect of perming on my lashes. However, the love affair was just short-lived. It subsided when one day, as I looked at myself in the mirror, I realized that my lashes have become thinner. When the perm wore off, it was almost impossible to curl my lashes. Sad to say, the same thing happened to my two friends.

That’s why I do not really recommend eyelash perming to anyone.

Another lash technology which has become so popular here in Manila is the eyelash extension. Say goodbye to false lashes that are hard to glue and scary to use (coz you do not want it to end up as a garnishing to your meal while you’re out on a date). Lash extensions last longer (for like 2 months) and as they are individually glued to your lashes, you won’t have to worry about your losing your lashes while bathing or while working out in the gym.

I haven’t tried this one but I’ve heard a lot of raves about it. The only problem about getting those extensions is that they have the tendency to stray from the natural direction of your lashes. So it requires frequent salon visits for re-touch.

The cost of getting extensions ranges from P1,500 to P2,500 depending on the salon and the length of the effect. Here are some tips that you should not dare to ignore:

1. Check the credibility of the salon where you are going to get it. I suggest that you rely on word-of-mouth; the feedbacks coming from persons you directly know, who got the same service that you are planning to avail of.
2. Make sure that the glue that they are going to use is safe. In Mikaela at The Fort, the glue that they use is US FDA approved.

Since all the lash-enhancing systems above have flaws, it can be expected that none of them can satisfy the desires of the beauty-hungry. What’s close to perfection is the eyelash weaving extensions.

This is actually the most expensive lash-enhancing method but you know reader, when beauty calls, one must actually heed it (as long as it can be afforded). I got my first weave at Jackie’s in Paco, Manila. I LOOOOVED MY EYES INSTANTLY. All I needed was a bit of concealer, pressed powder and gloss for me to say that I am already made-up. The effect of the weave was that my eyes seemed to have a natural liner. The picture beside explains all these.

The process took around 2 hours and the glue kind of hurt my eyes for a day. Jackie makes the lashes of some celebrities and diplomats. She charges P2,500 for weaving but I was lucky that because of my girl friend, I got a pretty big discount. Yes, I really loved it.

Sad to say that it needs much effort to maintain these uber nice lashes because aside from the per visit cost of 500-bucks, I also have to travel all the way to Paco for a re-touch. So I decided to have them removed at Mikaela for P500.

I gave my lashes a rest for one month. Then, because I thought that my eyes looked bald without the weaved extensions, I decided to go back to Mikaela for the same procedure. It took them around an hour or less for the weave. My eyes didn’t hurt a bit since my eyes were pretty much behaved (no blinking). My lashes looked more natural though it’s really, reaLLY, REALLY NICE because they used human hair and not synthetic lashes like that of Jackie’s.

Copying from Mikaela’s brochure,

[Lash weaving extensions are] more durable and long wearing eyelash extensions. These extensions are attached using the “hair weaving” technique that is safer… and is more natural looking. Extensions are individually weaved to the eyelashes making it more durable and long-wearing. Now, you don’t have to worry about retouches done every so often and NO bald spots in your lashes or misaligned lashes…

The cost at Mikaela’s is more expensive at P3,500 and P50 per strand of hair for the re-touch. (They give a special price when you’re a regular). For maintenance, I have to be extra careful in washing my face—I totally avoid the eye area and clean my lashes every night.

My eyes enjoyed its new look for 2 months but I choose to stay away from any more lash-enhancing procedures. Though the lash weave is supposedly safer, still, it made me lose some lashes. I maintain that I am happy with the service and everything else, but unless you’re a movie star, maintaining such lashes is not practical. I am giving my lashes a good rest and when they’re back to their original state, I’ll be off to beauty bars!


Please also read this post: Mad About Lashes 2.
My post on eyelash transplant surgery: Good news to all who are just so mad about their lashes!

Shopcrazy also has a very nice feature on last extensions and weaving. Click here to check it out. Please read the article down to the very last comments. You might be dying to try the Mikaela Growth Conditioner. (Posted: April 10, 2008)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Proudly Pinay presents Chin-chin Gutierrez

Proudly Pinay

Chin-chin Gutierrez

PROUDLY PINAY recognizes all the Filipino women who, symbolically, walk their talk in heels and skirts. These are women who have made valuable contribution to society. They are the ones who make us truly proud to be Pinoys.

The first Pinay who makes it to Proudly Pinay is one who chose to take her heels off (now in a literal sense) to be able to advocate for environmental and cultural causes. A celebrated international actress; in fact, one of Asia's finest, beautiful and artistic, let me present to you, Ms. CHIN-CHIN GUTIERREZ.

Sustainable Dreams

Onscreen, Chin-Chin Gutierrez, one of the Philippines’ most celebrated film stars, has recently played a sophisticated villain in a popular national soap opera. In real life, she spends a third of her time campaigning for sustainable development – from warning against climate change to digging holes and composting rubbish – and has been hailed by TIME magazine as a hero for it.

The winner of both ‘best actress’ and ‘best supporting actress’ in the Asian Television awards, among other prizes – and with an extraordinary versatility of roles, including heroines and dramatic leads – she doubles as a leading activist of the Mother Earth Foundation, a Filipino non-governmental organization which has successfully campaigned for a national Clean Air Act and waste legislation. Earlier this year she appeared on the cover of the international news magazine as a ‘hero of Asia’, for ‘using her fame to spread a message often ignored ... that there are natural resources aside from beauty and talent’.

‘I am an actress and I traffic in dreams,’ says the 29-year-old Gutierrez, who broke new ground by playing her first anti-hero in the soap, Habang Kapiling Ka. ‘A dream can be a vision of tomorrow’s reality. I think it is the duty of every citizen of the Earth to dream of a sustainable future for their country.’

She was, in a sense, born into environmental concern. Her father was a botanist. Her paternal grandfather, a pharmacologist, used to walk in the fields in his bare feet, so as not to disturb wildlife. And one of the first modern environmental books – Our Plundered Planet by Fairfield Osborn, published in 1948 – was dedicated by the author to her maternal grandfather, Solomon Arnaldo, an early director of UNESCO’s office in New York.

But it was a typhoon that first sparked her activism. Six years ago she went to a sacred mountain, Mount Banahaw, south of Manila, to research a role before playing the head of a religious sect that lived there. The typhoon delayed the arrival of the television crew and the week she spent there changed her life.

She returned to the mountain again and again – eventually spending every weekend there – to work with the local people, planting trees and cleaning up the rubbish left by tourists, ‘reminding people of the sacredness of the mountain by protecting and restoring its ecological balance’. It became a focus for the Mother Earth Foundation, where she serves as chairperson for projects.

Earlier this year she took part in a UNEP workshop on sustainable development in Bangkok. ‘It really helped me a lot,’ she says. ‘It clarified and strengthened my ideas and beliefs on sustainable development.’ And she draws extensively on UNEP’s GEO3 report for educational work, visiting local communities to explain the concept of ecological footprints.

Global warming

For example she uses facts on the shrinking of the world’s glaciers to introduce climate change. ‘The indicators of climate change tell us that we human beings have no choice but to grow up. The Earth can live another one and a half billion years, but maybe the human species will not survive global warming. We have enough information, but do we have enough will to do what is needed?

‘I dream of the curse of poverty being lifted from the majority of Filipinos. Poverty is the biggest obstacle to sustainable development. The tragedy of environmental deterioration in the Philippines is compounded by the realization that it is the majority of the population that lives below the poverty line that depends on biodiversity for food and shelter. Thus – to adapt a thought by Paul Hawken, one of the writers who has most influenced me – the environmental movement in the Philippines must transform itself from a struggle to save the Earth to a struggle to defend human rights: the right to food, the right to livelihood, the rights to culture, community and self-sufficiency’

Article copied from the United Nations Environment Programme website. Click to see the article:

Photo by Olivier Laude.

More about Chin-Chin on

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Relationship Stock Market

When some ladies from my office's marketing department learned that I am out on the market, I was surprised to see them turn into instant brokers and traders. It's like I just announced that SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) has just declared me as a listed company.

Sounds fun when you know that buyers are out for you. But because I do not think that I should be the company with stocks to sell, allow me to take the role of the investor.

My boss has just proclaimed herself as Financial Advisor. She began issuing assignments to her apprentices--some licensed stock brokers and seasonal market traders, to ensure that I will invest on the best, most promising and most profitable companies.

So the listed companies. Who makes it there?

Well, since I'm the one who's investing, I believe that I have the right to make my demands even more demanding. Hmm... How about an all-in-one package? Maybe someone similar to the Amex Peso Platinum--the best card for luxurious shopping, travelling and dining (dare not disagree, I was in the industry) or someone who's like your mid-range 3-in-1 instant coffee--comes with creamer and sugar?

The rule of the thumb: you have to be a risk taker.

Have I been a risk taker? Most of the time, yes. But I always had room for dark thoughts. I have indeed ruined possibilities for good investments because of fear and great amounts of suspicion. Oh crap, am I such a lousy risk taker?

The thing is, I have millions in myself. I am not pertaining to a fat bank account. But I am referring to all the intangible stuff I have. You know, like a well-kept body, a fairly sensible mind, a good heart and lots of good lovin' (kapal but so what?). But will I invest these millions over someone who's not a certainty?

My index works but sigh, fails most of the time. I've made a lot of negative return on investments. The profitable ones barely make it to half the acquisition price. Now, if I'll compute all the losses I've made in the past 5 years... Oh honey, give me some ice. I am having a headache!

Surges of happiness, kilig moments, selos and buckets full of tears are all part of being a stock player. One can profit, lose or well, just have a break-even. In the stock market, you can't say that it's not about the results but how you played the game. No. The stock market is very much result-oriented. It's about playing the game right to achieve the results you want.

I do hope for a bull market for 2008 since I have THREE (3) friends who have announced their wedding dates for the said year. But I do not think I am ready to join the married women's club yet. I just have so much to do in my single blessedness.

The relationship stock market sounds fun when you can afford to lose. However, for someone like me who has other priorities to consider, it's no longer as exciting as it was when I was young and childless.

Note: I am not into stock trading so forgive me for the misconceptions. I just thought it's fun to write about the parallelisms of the market to dating.

Blast from the Past: Women Making Cigars

Title: Women making cigars, Manila, 1920-1930
Date: 1920-1930
American colonial period / Philippines / Manila / Alhambra factory
Tobacco: Cigars, three women making cigars, Alhambra factory, Manila.
Adult / Female / Laborer / Tobacco industry / Laborers / Cigars
Call Number:
Is Part Of:
Wisconsin Philippines Image Collection National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Philippines Image Collection 350- Bureau of Insular Affairs SouthEast Asian images & Texts
U.S. National Archives
McCoy, Alfred W.: University of Wisconsin--Madison. Center for Southeast Asian Studies.
Local Identifier:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Life Giving Breast

Author's Note: For my featured post this October, I wish to enlighten everyone about their basic asset: the breast. Big or small, it's about the purpose it serves.

A fact that you can confirm from your guy friends:

most men fantasize about having a girlfriend with 34-C sized (if not 36-D) breasts.

A fact that you can confirm from your girl friends:

most women wish their boobs are at least a cup size higher.

The desire for bigger breasts is present among both genders. Men want big boobs for their sexual cravings. Why else would they want them? (If it's because they wish to have one, then we're talking of a different gender already.) Of course, they want to conquer and fondle a bigger territory! Women, on the other hand, yearn for bigger boobs not only for them to feel good about themselves but also to satisfy their partners' cravings.

It is a rather sad note that because of too much aesthetic and erotic value being attributed to a woman's breasts, their purpose has been limited to serve the male libido. It is evident in pornography and every other product that is targeted towards the male market like magazines, booze, cigarettes and cars. Promotions of these products always include big-busted women in cleavage-baring outfits gracing print ads, TVCs or shows where they work as promo girls.
Most of us seem to have forgotten the breast's biological purpose or in other words, its life-giving purpose. God created our breasts so our babies will have a source of nourishment. While breastfeeding campaigns have become more abundant nowadays, it is still undeniable that most women, especially those who are working, do not have the patience to nurse their young.

(I shall have a separate entry for breastfeeding but for now, let me just focus on another breast-related topic.)

Anyway, the main reason why I thought of writing an article on BREASTS is because it is October. Aside from October, being the month of Holy Rosary, it is also the BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH.

It is a must that I inform you, my dear sisters, about this dreaded disease because as the word association suggests, it is the leading cause of death among Filipino women. In fact, as some of you might have heard or read, cancer ranks third among the mortality and morbidity rates of Filipinos. (It comes next to infectious and cardiovascular diseases.)

In Asia, the Philippines has the highest reported incidence rates of breast cancer: 47.7% among 100,000 females. This rate is even larger than the rates in Eastern European countries.
While 86% percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer belong in the 35 to 50 year-old age group, it does not mean that you, being young, pretty and carefree, can take this for granted. The fact is, YOU MIGHT STILL HAVE BREAST CANCER IF NOT NOW, AS PART OF THE REMAINING 14%, THEN PROBABLY YOU ARE AT RISK IN THE FUTURE.

Early detection leads the best way to cure breast cancer. So have yourself checked annually or administer your Breast Self-Exam.

I got this 5-Step Breast Self-Exam from Here it is:

Give life. Save a life. Forward this to your friends. Awareness helps countless women to give the best to their babies and also to combat breast cancer.

VIEW: Breast Cancer in the Philippines by Dr. Emer
VIEW: Keep Abreast (WACOAL Pink Ribbon Campaign) 2007
VIEW: Breast Care Info by I Can Serve Foundation
Breast image taken from

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Courtship in the Time of SMS: A Piso Investment

Courtship through the decades:

70s: Visiting Victor regularly visits the girls house with varying gifts of flowers, fruits and delicacies (live chickens included).
80s: Telebabad Tom calls the girl's house every night for a 2 to 3-hour chit-chat. Occassional butting ins from party line may ruin Telebabad Tim's timing for asking the girl out.
90s: Pager PJ covers his mouth as he dictates the word "I love you" to a pager operator while a queue waiting for the pay phone is behind him

And now, we have Texting Tim. You catch his fancy one gimmick night at let's say, Warehouse. He asks for your number and the next day, he'll send you a message to let you know that well, he is interested. His thoughtfulness is manifested by his piso-a-day investments, checking on you by sending you messages like "gawa mo?", "sup?" or "musta?".

Sometimes Texting Tim's thoughtfulness may become an invitation for a casual get-together by sending you "gmk?". If you're out, it's likely that Tim's going to drop by and officially meet your girl friends. A more formal Texting Tim may ask you out by sending you a message like "wanna watch a movie on Friday?" or "r u free 4 coffee tonight?" But the worse that Texting Tim can ever text you is "stl up?" because most of the time, if Texting Tim is not looking for a late night confidante, he is looking for a late night booty call.

We have seen how courtship has changed over the decades. Our lolas and moms were courted differently which explains why they demand more from our guys. Most of the time, they even expect to be courted as well. Of course, we cannot blame them for thinking that way. They were raised by a different set of norms and moreover, they consumed adolescence in the absence of SMS, IM, e-mails and iMax cinemas. (The latter explains why it's a crime for them when they find out that we have went to the movies alone with a boyfriend.)

Hi-tech courtship is convenient. For one, it is so easy to be connected. One can easily check how someone is doing just by texting. Dates can be easily re-set and cancelled with just one short message. Avoiding someone takes very little effort through hitting the silent or reject button everytime the persistent manliligaw calls.

While it is good that torpes will finally find it easier to make a move, the real issue on courtship in time of text is, are we willing to sell ourselves cheap?

Most of us--even the fairest of us all, have met guys who are market traders when it comes to dating and courtships. Babaratin ka until you finally give in. For them, they wish to maximize their profits by exerting very little (but safe) efforts to get what they want from you. They are among the many Piso Investors who find texting as the only way to your heart or to your pants (ehem!).

But you know, it's up to you. If you are going to give a good Return on Investment for guys like Texting Tim, then you have to be sure that it is not a boyfriend you're after for. Otherwise, it's best to just let them lose their money.

The False Teachings of Cinderella

Author's Note: For this entry, I am referring to the version of Cinderella that was popularized by Disney. I thought about writing this after watching Repertory's Cinderella musical with the pre-school kids of the foundation where I work for.

I feel bad that Cinderella was written for the kids.

Okay, okay. I sound like a fairy tale's wicked step mother for writing this down. But please, allow me to share my thoughts about the fairy tale that most of us loved as kids.

Fairy tales are among the most influential tools that shape the way we see the world. As a little girl, I thought that Cinderella's tale was sweet. But as I grew older, I realized it was silly and as a result, I wanted to blame the fairy tale for all my love-related misfortunes as a teenager.

I dislike the way Cinderella teaches kids about love at first sight. In the old times, men attend balls for them to meet brides-to be. But now at this age of wild bars, suave moves and cheesy pick up lines, the tale of Cinderella can mislead so many young girls into thinking that the men they meet at bars are up for serious relationships. (Hmm... So now you can relate, huh?)

Aside from this, Cinderella, among other fairy tales, stereotypes step mothers and step sisters. Nowadays, they are not a rarity. As a result of divorce and single parenthood, they exist in more homes than one can imagine. So I don't think it's best that kids, with their bright, young minds, think of a step mother or sister as someone who's out to oppress kids.

What is even more dislikeable about the tale of Cinderella is the part when Cinderella's misery is ended by marrying Prince Charming. It is silly to teach kids that marriage is the answer to their woes. Because it just isn't. Marriage can even lead to more agonies if it is not done for the right reasons.

Cinderella was oppressed yet, she followed the orders of her step mom. It is again, good that the fairytale teaches the value of obedience. But it is awfully wrong to teach children blind obedience to the point that they become doormats. It is time that kids are taught about their rights and the presence of agencies like DSWD because as we know, many children suffer from domestic violence.

I just think that Cinderella needs to be updated. This story may be a good basis for understanding yesterday's social situation. However, since fairy tales are the most influential pieces of literature made for kids, it might be better to create wise and proactive heroines similar to Mulan and Anastacia.

On the other hand, Cinderella must be enjoyed as a myth and as a children's fairy tale. It shows that good things can happen to people with good hearts. It teaches us to dream and to hope. Because if we're good, then boppity-bippity-bop, our wishes may come true.

Breaking the Booze and Women Go Together Notion

For the typical, chauvinistic Juan, the good times cannot be complete without booze and women. It is evident in the kind of TVCs being aired in the country.

The scenario is always the same: a group of men is having a round of drinks in a bar when all of a sudden, a sexily dressed woman enters the bar and gets everyone's attention. Who could ever forget the Sabado nights commercial that popularized Ina Raymundo in the 90s? Kris Aquino broke her stereotype by getting a bit bolder and sexier in a commercial for the same company that featured Ina Raymundo. Two summers ago, we laugh at the luck that some losers got over having a bottle of liquor slip from their grip. Bilog nga naman talaga ang mundo. They had the time of their lives when centerfold beauties partied with them. The most recent one is that of Katrina Hallili, being a show-stopper as she drives through the crowd in a motorcycle and charms the men among them.

There is always an element of surprise. And it is these women made to portray the "hot chick" image which cause the surprise and hence, bring life to the party. Oops, wait. Maybe I should say bring more life to a party that is already in its full swing.

Now, how about those commercials which are downright provocative? White Castle commercials are famous for its white horse carrying on its back the country's sexiest celebrities like Nanette Medved, Anjanette Abayari and Roxanne Guinoo in a red two-piece bikini. Currently, they have launched a nationwide search for the next White Castle girl.

The Search for the Next White Castle Model is a competition of women who not only have the looks but also the talent and the brains. It is sad that these women's worth are belittled by this senseless campaign. Why would these women need to be talented and intelligent when they will just be models who will adorn White Castle Whiskey's calendars and be nothing but mere sex objects to men. Oh, tell me they don't. Tell me they are works of art. If they are, why can't we have a Search for the Next White Castle Macho?

Emperador and Generoso brandy deserve an acknowledgement for moving out of the box by showing commercials with different themes. Emperador Brandy shows Eddie Gutierrez with his sons who all toast for "sa totoong tagumpay," stressing that the handsome patriarch has taught the values of sipag, tiyaga and determinasyon. Meanwhile, Generoso Brandy print ads show a group of friends having wholesome fun by social drinking. A couple of years ago, one of my favorite TVCs was that of a barkada's reunion where the women were anticipating for the arrival of their best-looking guy friend. Apparently, to their surprise, that friend turned out to have made a commitment to celibacy.

Commercials like these show that the good times can happen without all that machismo involving cleavage-baring women. The Emperador Brandy might be a bit macho but I appreciate it for depicting good father and sons bond rather than a father teaching his sons how to dominate their women.

Commercials, in as much as they depict realities, also have the power to shape perceptions. The media has become an avenue for change that involve ways of thinking and living. Most of the time, the change is aimed to respond to trends and issues that we currently face.
It is good that companies are learning how to become socially responsible. I hope that media, being a powerful tool that shape minds, will be used more adequately to portray wholesome ways to have fun and at the same time, improve the society's perception of women.

MEET THE BRAZILIAN--My Brave Encounters with Waxing Down There

As a woman, I am quite ordinary but unconventional. I have used tampons when everyone else thought it was a sin to use them. I am a single mother and I do not keep it a secret. And well, just recently, I got acquainted with the Brazilian.

Brazilian waxing may have gained popularity from bikini-clad models and beach demi-goddesses, however, there are still those who are not open to it. Women who have themselves waxed down there are labeled as wild, sexually-active and even perverted. While these labels may be true to some extent, still, I beg to disagree.

I had my first encounter with the Brazilian before I went to Boracay this summer. It was not because I was looking forward to one night stands and make out partners in the island paradise, but it was purely because I did not want any of my pubes to peep through my white bikini. Though I considered shaving and trimming, I still went for the excruciatingly painful process of Brazilian waxing. And the reason? I tried shaving before but I got bumps and cuts and it became so itchy when the hair grew once again.

I was supposed to have it done with a friend. However, since I just left my job then, I hardly had time to leave home. And so, I went to the nearest mall and had my first Brazilian waxing alone at Let’s Face It. I was asked to wash myself first. Then I went back to the private room and laid down with my eyes wide shut! The process at Let’s Face It was very hygienic. Everything was sanitized and they used disposables. The lady trimmed my hair first then okay, the waxing began. Starting at the uppermost part of me, she spread hot wax and then peeled them by hand as soon as the wax cooled. Since it was extremely painful, she told me that I can still opt for the classic bikini waxing. However, I did not go for it since it forfeits my purpose. There will still be pubes that may peep through my bikini. Since I made that decision, well, there’s no turning back. The whole waxing came with so many “ahhs,” “ouches,” and whatnots but the good thing was I survived them after about an hour. I felt so brave and happy after shelling out 600 something bucks for the waxing.

By the way, a tip for first timers, never ever delay the peeling once the wax has been spread. Otherwise, it’s going to cause you more pain that may be quite unbearable.

My next encounter was at Neo Spa in the Fort. It was more expensive at around a thousand bucks. But I was so happy with the ambiance and the service that I did not mind it all. Since it was a spa, I was able to shower first. I was given a disposable panty so I felt even more hygienic. I got a back massage and afterwards, the waxing began. It was more bearable this time. But still, I let out around 15 variations of screams—some of them sounded so weird. The lady who worked on me was really good. She used the clean and easy wax procedure—one where she had to use a cloth to peel the wax off with the hair. It could’ve been less painful and less stressful if I did not make the hair grow so much. Well, that’s another lesson learned.

Learning well from previous experience, I decided to have myself waxed at Lay Bare at the 5th level of Rustan’s Tower in Makati. It was just a small salon and I was surprised that they did not have a washroom. I had to make a wild dash to the nearby washroom and good thing was I bring a bottle of feminine wash with me all the time. They were less hygienic. They did not even spray or wipe sanitizer on me before they started. But everything else was disposable and I was quite happy because the process took only around 30 minutes without any “ahhs” nor “ouches.” And I must say that the waxing covered more parts that the other two so I am pretty much more hairless. I paid P755 but I am not so sure about coming back because of the fact that they did not have any wash area.

Based from my Brazilian experience, I have learned that the first time really do hurt. If you wish to maintain it, less hair means less pain. So trim or book yourself another appointment while there is not much hair yet.

I am quite obsessed about being hairless since I find it more hygienic. It’s easy to wipe myself clean after peeing at a public washroom and I am less susceptible to feminine itching. It’s quite a thrill too. You know, like having a secret which nobody else knows. While some may do it because their boyfriends or husbands like it, I do it for hygiene.

To each her own. Or as my good friend Rachelle says, your body, your rules.