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)