PLANT Magazine!

I am so thrilled and excited to share with you the images of PLANT magazine where I am on the cover of their fashion issue.  It’s a double issue featuring an insiders featuring the hottest in Fashion and Dining in the Rockwell mall.    The magazine is really quite excellent with super cool tips and a wealth of information.

The best thing about this is that the magazine is FREE!!!!!  I just wanted to share with you the fantastic photos of Joseph Pascual as he really made look pretty decent.  I also loved the words of Jed Gregorio as he really got into my psyche and my world.  I would also like to thank Raymond Ang for putting this all together.  I really appreciate it all.

I suggest you all head over to The Power Plant mall in Rockwell and get your free PLANT magazine!  Some of the best things in this life are indeed FREE!  LOL!

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Saucony Originals!

When I was growing up my favourite pair of shoes were my Saucony’s!  I remember asking my parents for a pair and they only would give it to me if I had good grades.  I remember having a grey pair with these bright colours.  On a recent trip to Italy I noticed a really cool guy sporting a pair and memories of my childhood rushed in and I told myself that I would like to have a pair.

Imagine my surprise when I got home to Manila that they have a store here!  Located in Glorietta 3 mall in Makati.  I did a bit of research and found some amazing pairs that looked exactly like the shoes that I grew up with.  Take a look at these beauties and tell me if they don’t make you all excited.  LOL!  I have my eye on one or two pairs!   I think that I spot a huge trend developing here.

 

 

HUGS,

RAJO!

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Loving Local in Singapore!

What I love about visiting Singapore is I have a couple of dear friends who live there and I always take it upon myself to call and pay them a visit.  This time I wanted to visit my friends Anna and Tom.  I met them several years ago in Shanghai and have developed a real and caring friendship.

Anna is often in Manila while Tom has been to the Philippines before but I intend to have them come over more often.  Tom and Anna know me very well as we all love to eat.  I like eating “local” and there is always such an abundance of good eats in Singapore. This time Anna made plans for us to meet in the Tiong Poh area which is very charming and has so many of these art deco homes that have been preserved by the Singapore govemenent.  We had a great Singapore seafood extravaganza which began with some bamboo clams and ended with the famous Chili crabs!

After dinner we walked around the lovely residential area and marvelled at the difference between apartments that were left alone and those that were upgraded into these amazing spaces.  We ended up having drinks at the PS Cafe in the area.  http://www.pscafe.com  I love the PS Cafe and I am a great fan of their concept and their spaces. This one however was a pizza take out bar where everything is take out but you can also eat there.  The whole space has bottles of wines that you can just go over to the counter and drink. I loved the concept and all of us had a  great time.

Just wanted to say thank you to Tom and Anna for a lovely evening.  It was great to introduce my darling Bernice to all of you!  See you all soon.

When in Singapore always eat local.

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Singapore Swing!

I recently had a quick trip to Singapore.  I went there for a couple of meetings.  I stayed at the Iconic Shangri-La Singapore and had most of my meetings there.  Every time I travel I like to visit as much hotels as I can as this is very valuable to my work.  I used this as an opportunity to do a bit of research in terms of trends in interiors and space design.

Singapore is arguably the most sophisticated and affluent countries in the South East Asian region so they are ahead of the game in many fields of hospitality.  I had a great time moving around all the 5 star properties around the city and I was really quite pleased that I was able to do so much.  Singapore is really not that big but because they don’t have the kind of traffic we have in Manila I was able to do all my tasks in one day.

I just want to share with you my experience and perhaps give you an idea on what is happening in Singapore at the moment.

I love the Arroz Caldo in The PAL lounge! It is really comfort in a bowl.

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OTTO E MEZZO BOMBANA!

On a recent trip to Hong Kong my friends Leo & Marielle Po invited me to lunch at  Otto E Mezzo Bombana http://www.ottoemezzobombana.com  I have heard only amazing things about this restaurant and I was really excited to try experience the food.

We had a late lunch reservation and began the lunch with  a drink in the bar while waiting for our table.  This gave me enough time to  peruse the menu and to develop an eating game plan.  The restaurant cuisine profile is modern Italian and I hear the chef is extremely talented.  The restaurant is not very large making you feel all quite cozy.  The interior design is sparse and stark celebrating the extremely large landscape windows allowing plenty of natural light to flow into the space.  It is one of the most popular restaurants in Hong Kong and it takes a while to actually get a table so if you plan on heading over do call ahead to book a table.

The entry will be truly all about the food.  To say that we all had a great experience is an understatement.  It was really a glorious lunch that I can compare to a brilliant opera, having an exciting start a rich beginning with a sweet end. One of the most memorable meals I have had in a really long time.  Thank you Leo and Marielle for having me.

Stark and simple interiors of Bombana 8 1/2 !

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Delightful Dumaguete!

Dumaguete will always have a soft spot for me.  I spent the summer of my youth here.  A time when it all stood still and my only care in the world was what adventure awaits.  Every summer until I was in my Teens me and the rest of my Manila cousins would be sent over to Dumaguete  and for two months lead an existence akin to the “Lord of the Flies”.  LOL!

We were watched over our grandparents of course given enough adult supervision but since the estate was so large one could be very well do as what one pleases.  Sadly I have not been back for what felt like 5 or 10 years.  If I did go back it was so quick that no memories would last.  I would probably spend just the day and be back to the grind of Manila by night fall.

I was determined to make new memories giving myself a full day and half to do so.  LOL!  So right after arriving from Siquijor  we made a road trip to one of the most beautiful scenic rides available in the Visayas.  In less than an hour from the pier you were literally in the mountains.  The temperature dropped a couple of degrees, which promoted me to take out a thin jacket.  There on top of the viewing post was Lake Balinsasayao.  I would have taken a small kayak and pushed on forward but we were on a tight schedule so this activity would have to be done on the second trip.

On the way up the mountain we were regaled with visions of wild greens and plants wishing  we had a knife to get a few samples.  It was really so cleansing just to be surrounded by green lushness.  We spotted a small restaurant called AZALEA which was empty but extremely beautiful.  Opting for a seat in the foyer we enjoyed our coffee and tea and the wide open vista of Sibulan.  Sadly we were not able to have dinner as we already had made plans to eat in HAYAHAY which has been around for almost 2 decades.  This haven for seafood is home to several restaurants that serve the gamut to inventive sushi, to fun Mexican fish tacos all the way to original dishes such as SINUGLAW (which is like a kilawin dish topped with grilled pork)  or Dumaguete express which is a seafood dish composed of shrimps, fish and cuttlefish all  brought together by ginger and coconut.  We also ordered some delicious spicy chill crabs that was just incredible. I also consumed copious amounts of baked oysters which could be the reason why by towards the end of the dinner my stomach stated to get painful.  Other than that it was  a truly marvelous  meal.

Rode up to see the views of the beautiful lakes.

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Scintillating Siquijor!

More now than ever  I have grown to appreciate and love travelling around our beautiful nation. I am actually proud to say that I have been around many places in the Philippines but there are still places that I haven’t been to. I decided to join my friend Rosan Cruz for her birthday in Siquijor.  I have been to Siquijor once before as it is very close to Dumaguete.

My mother is from Dumaguete and I have spent my childhood and my summers in Dumaguete. Siquijor is just an hour away by Ferry and is quite accessible.  We took the 8am flight to Dumaguete where we were met by my childhood friend Ton-Ton Roxas who really has a heart of gold.

He prepared a brunch feast that brought out all my childhood in one table.  We had Dumaguete Choirizo, Ukoy, Danggit which was special as Dumaguete does it differently it’s not that salty and we leave a bit of meat on the fist therefore apart from the crunch there was also some bite in it.  Ton also prepared some fresh fern salad plus his very famous empanadas which is arguably the best in the region.  It is so good that he usually runs out of stock by 9am each day!  We ended the meal with some Bod-bod which our local suman made from bird seeds served best with local chocolate and a side of the sweetest mangoes.    It was simply my idea of the perfect meal.

Dumaguete style brunch courtesy of Ton-Ton Roxas!

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COUSIN’S NIGHT OUT!

I come from a huge family!  I have 27 first cousins from my father side alone.  Growing up we always spend holidays and weekends together but as we got older we started to spend less time together.  However every now and then once in a blue moon so to speak we do get together and have a lot of fun.

Most of my cousins still live in the Philippines while some have moved to Vancouver, New York and London.  When my cousin Kathy came home we all saw this as an opportunity to get together and catch up.  I am the eldest of all the cousins so I really wanted to be there.

It was really good to see everyone and see how everyone is doing.  This recent night out was the closest we got from being complete and we are all grateful and blessed because of it.  After that night I told myself and my cousins that we should do this more often.  We should not wait for Christmas or a holiday to get together but try to see each other as much as we can as we are family and this is what family must do.

I just wanted to document this in my blog as a reminder to myself and perhaps to those who read my blog what really matters most.

They were called the Tres Marias as they were born in the same year. Bea my sister Venisse and Kathy.

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I LOVE JUL DIZON!

I am a HUGE fan of the the Dizon family!  For more than 3 decades they have consistently been on top of their game. Creating the most exquisite pieces of jewellery that in my opinion belong in museums.  However the artistry that they put in every piece is made available to all those who seek and desire it.

Each time I see a piece that they do I am left with admiration for the  thought, skill and technique that each piece goes through truly makes it an heirloom. I just wanted to share with all of you some images of their newest collection worn by the luminous beauty that is Lucy Torres Gomez.

Congratulations to JUL DIZON!  May your family continue to be strong and create these masterpieces that make people like me dream!

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SONA 2014!

The SONA or the State of the Nation Address means so much to many people.  In my world it simply means that we get to work. I am deeply grateful for this as it really ensures that my team has work!  I was had a TV interview about my work for the SONA and they asked if there is any “political” messages in the dresses that I make?

That the colours have meanings and messages?  To be honest that did not even cross my mind.  I am here to make my clients beautiful.  The designs that we make for them are all very personal and special.  The SONA for me is important because it gives us designers the opportunity to celebrate our heritage and our culture. It is very rare nowadays when we get to wear our Filipino attire.  Ask yourself?  When was the last time that we wore something FILIPINIANA?

Because of this I choose to concentrate on celebrating our artisans and craftsmen like our bearers, embroiderers, cutters, sewers, ironers and many more. Every person that has touched these garments are all Filipino.  It is a celebration of who we are as a people and this is what I was concentrating on when I made my SONA gowns.

I am sharing with you some of the gowns that I did because I am extremely grateful and proud of my team for being able to make these ideas and dreams come true.  I am also deeply thankful for the ladies who have trusted me in making these dresses for them.  On that note enjoy the red carpet and see how amazingly creative we Filipinos are.  Because we’re really good!

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