|(L-R) Chris Tiu, Iza Calzado, Nikki Gil and Chito Miranda are the Filipino endorsers of Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo. Photo from Uniqlo's Facebook page|
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
“Honor Courage Faith: A Corregidor Story” by Steve Kwiecinski tells the story of Staff Sgt. Walter Kwiecinski, an American soldier who became a prisoner of war in the Philippines.
The elder Kwiecinski was one of Corregidor's defenders, manning the last 12-inch mortar firing on Battery Way. After the fall of Corregidor 70 years ago, the US and Filipino soldiers on guard were taken captive by invading Japan forces. The Japanese rounded up their prisoners on the beach and were taken to various prison camps in Bilibid, Camp O'Donnell ad Nueva Ecija.
The war veteran told his son about his ordeal and Steve eventually visited the Philippines and retraces his father's journey through the prison camps of Bataan and Corregidor, uncovering a remarkable story of courage, faith and patriotism of young Americans facing the perils of war.
In June last year, Steve led five US congressmen, including Democrat Russ Carnanhan, on a tour of Corregidor, as part of a recess study tour of the Philippines as well as of Turkey and Iraq. Carnaham later co-sponsored of US House Resolution 333, which honors those veterans who fought on Corregidor as well as throughout the Pacific.
Walter Kwiecinski's recollections are vivid and full of detail. In one suspenseful episode, he recounts a raid by the enemy:
"When I came to Corregidor from Bataan, I was staying in a tunnel up on 'Topside'. I used (a friend's) bunk… but a sergeant said " you can't sleep here anymore…There's been some looting.
“One day…we were looking at a picture in a Popular Mechanics (magazine). We were looking at the car (in the picture) and whoosh, oh, shells were hitting the side of the building and blasting off… but one of the shells went through a window on this side. It just happened to pass through… and wham! When we looked at the bunk, the mattress … just fell apart. If I had been on (the bed) you know what would have happened. Because I couldn't stay on that bunk, I lived through it. There
“When that thing went off... you could hear some of the soldiers (screaming). There were five Filipino mess boys killed. A couple of Americans were injured. That put the fear of God in me. Before that, I wasn't afraid of the shells. From then on, boy, I was really afraid of them."
The defense of Corregidor is considered “the last heroic stand” of the battle for the Philippines in 1942 and the worst military defeat experienced by the US.
“Honor Courage Faith: A Corregidor Story” is now available at all National Book Store branches.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ barong Tagalog has certainly gone a long way since it was popularized as formal wear by late President Ramon Magsaysay during the 1950s.
The embroidered garment usually made of piña, jusi or banana fabric has been reinvented countless times, as seen on runways both here and abroad.
The trend seems to have been picked up by international fashion houses as well. Two items in Valentino’s ready-to-wear spring/summer 2012 collection, for instance, had a striking resemblance to the Philippine garment.
But instead of men, women donned the belted barong, which were paired with black lace skirts.
|This item in Valentino’s ready-to-wear spring/summer 2012 collection had a striking resemblance to the barong Tagalog. Photo from www.valentino.com|
Several Filipinos were quick to notice the similarities between Valentino’s pieces and the country’s very own barong. Among them is Ben Chan, the big boss of popular local clothing brand Bench.
“Valentino goes Filipiniana. Saw this at Valentino shop in Milan. Bravo Pilipino!” Chan said on Twitter.
Stylist Ferdi Salvador, for his part, said: “Here’s the barong in another stylized version. It’s so hot in the US. Valentino has two barongs in the current collection.”
Barong – Hollywood style
|Jeremy Renner wearing a barong with a pair of cargo pants|
If the Valentino fashion house paired the barong with a lace skirt, a Hollywood actor was brave enough to wear it with fatigue cargo pants in front of the Philippine President.
Last February, “The Bourne Legacy” star Jeremy Renner gave his twist to the country’s national costume during a courtesy call on President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang.
Renner and his co-stars were in the Philippines to shoot some scenes for the movie, which is the fourth installment of the “Bourne” film series.
The actor’s outfit became the talk of the town after a photo of him during the courtesy call was posted in social networking sites.
|Diether Ocampo wearing a black barong|
While some designers played with the barong’s style and suggested new ways to wear it, others experimented with the garment’s color.
Instead of the usual cream or white, the embroidered garment came in different shades, mostly black, in a fashion show held by Metro magazine last year.
Local celebrities like Diether Ocampo strutted down the runway in a black Barong matched with black pants and leather shoes.
The event, dubbed “Metrowear Filipiniana,” was an attempt at reinterpreting traditional Filipino wear such as the barong and the terno, which is primarily composed of a blouse and a long skirt.
About a hundred local designers participated in the event.
Others, meanwhile, used the barong to make a political statement.
|Teddy Casiño's FOI-inspired barong|
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño, for instance, turned to multi-awarded designer Edgar San Diego to create a “statement barong” which represents one of his pet advocacies, the Freedom of Information Bill.
Embroidered on his beige barong was a statement calling for the immediate passage of the measure.
President Aquino, meanwhile, had designer JC Buendia create a barong that bears the iconic yellow ribbon, which is closely associated with his parents and his presidential campaign.
He wore it when he was proclaimed the country’s 15th chief executive in 2010.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
MANILA, Philippines – Former supermodel and “America’s Next Top Model” host Tyra Banks seems to have taken a liking for Filipino creations.
A month after she got a best-dressed nod at the 4th Annual Blossom Ball for her Francis Libiran gown, Banks was seen wearing a beige and black dress by another Filipino designer, Rajo Laurel.
In his blog on fashion website StyleBible, Laurel said Banks wore his creation to one of the final episodes of “America’s Next Top Model.”
“I just saw Tyra Banks in my gown! I am shaking like a leaf as I type this as this feels like a dream! It’s almost surreal! I mean, I just watch the woman on TV and now she is wearing my work!” the Filipino fashion designer wrote.
“I am so grateful to my cousin Mike Carandang for pushing me and urging me and making all this happen! I am so very very very very grateful!”
Laurel added that they will continue to work hard to “make Philippine fashion world-class.”
After his blog post, Laurel received several congratulatory messages from his friends and supporters.
Among them is local celebrity chef Sharwin Tee, who said on Twitter: “I think Tyra Banks wearing Rajo Laurel is like Wolfgang Puck throwing a party catered by a Filipino chef.”
Laurel, one of the country’s most well-known designers, earlier said that he wants to make clothes for half-Filipina contestant Jessica Sanchez of the hit US talent search “American Idol.”
Sanchez told him it would be “cool” if Laurel could dress her up.
More int’l stars wear Pinoy creations
Aside from Libiran and Laurel, several Filipino designers have had their gowns and accessories worn by some of the world’s most famous personalities.
Last February, American pop singer Katy Perry wore the Shrine handring by designer Joyce Makitalo at the 2012 Inaugural National Football League Honors and pre-Super Bowl XLVI party in Indianapolis.
During the Grammy Awards, singer Kelly Price wore a sparkly rose-colored gown by Oliver Tolentino. The Filipino designer also dressed up “The Voice” judge Cee Lo Green.
Monique Lhullier, meanwhile, created the gown of Hillary Scott of the country group Lady Antebellum during the Grammys.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
MANILA, Philippines – Following a botched cover appearance for a fashion magazine allegedly because of her dark skin, celebrity model Wilma Doesnt said she is happy that morena beauties are now finally being “embraced” by media.
|Celebrity model Wilma Doesnt during a press conference|
for her Playboy Philippines cover
Doesnt, who appears topless on the April 2012 cover of Playboy magazine in the Philippines, recounted her brush with a publication which she claimed pulled her planned appearance on its cover because of her complexion.
“Before it happened sa isang magazine cover. Nalungkot ako kasi nabiktima rin ako nung magazine na ‘yon before,” Doesnt said during a press conference for her Playboy appearance.
“Pinag-shoot nila ako – isang maputi, isang maitim. Tapos ang katwiran nila, baka raw ‘di mabili ‘yung [issue] na ako ‘yung cover because I am dark.”
Her failed appearance on the magazine affected her confidence as a model, Doesnt admitted, but this didn't stop her from pursuing her goals.
“Hindi masama ‘yung loob ko, kasi point of view nila ‘yun. ‘Yun lang, ‘yung feeling ko, wala pala akong market sa mga ganitong klaseng magazine. So ‘yun lang ‘yung naging feeling ko. Hindi naman nasiraan ‘yung loob ko na ipagpatuloy kung anuman ‘yung gusto ko mangyari sa buhay ko,” she said.
“That’s why nung nag-offer ang Playboy sa ’kin, ‘Huh, are you serious? Cover?’”
'Space' for dark-skinned beauties
Doesnt, who is now a mother of two, said the offer came at an opportune time.
She said she has, more than ever, become confident of her self-image.
“Una kasi na-lessen na ‘yung insecurities ko, mas mature na ako, mas komportable na ko sa katawan ko, tapos the fact na komportable rin ako sa photographer. ‘Yun ‘yung mga factors na nakatulong kung bakit lumabas siya ng ganito kaganda,” the model said.
Morena beauties recently graced covers of magazines, among them TV host Bianca Gonzalez and actress Iza Calzado for Esquire, and Lovi Poe for FHM.
Asked about these covers, Doesnt said: “I am very proud. At least ngayon ine-embrace na talaga ng mga magazines kahit na dark-skinned ka. Basta alam mo lang ang mga dapat mo gawin at ang limitasyon mo, you are welcome."
“So please ha, hindi lang mapuputi ang maganda i-cover sa magazine. ‘Yung mga maiitim din may space!”
Monday, April 16, 2012
MANILA, Philippines – (2nd UPDATE) Binibining Pilipinas 2012 candidate No. 18 Janine Tugonon has a shot at being crowned the world’s most beautiful woman as she represents the Philippines in this year’s Miss Universe pageant.
Tugonon has big shoes to fill, following the runner-up finishes of her predecessors in the past two Miss Universe pageants – Shamcey Supsup won third runner-up in last year’s competition, while Venus Raj placed fourth-runner up in 2010.
Here are some fast facts about Tugonon:
- Tugonon is 22 years old and hails from Balanga, Bataan.
- During the pageant’s question and answer portion, judge Jose Manuel Romualdez asked Tugonon the question: “Many women nowadays forego a happy family life for a successful career. How do you feel about this?” Tugonon replied: “I believe that women have the right to choose between what they want. But for me, you’ll have to go for what God has called you to do, whatever it is, between the two. You must do what your purpose is in this world. Just have a child-like faith and mature obedience, and everything will go smooth.”
- Tugonon is no stranger to the Binibining Pilipinas pageant. She placed first runner-up in last year’s competition, which was won by Supsup. Below is a video of Tugonon during the question and answer portion of Binibining Pilipinas 2011 which was posted on YouTube.
- Tugonon admitted that her family had mixed views on her decision to join the Binibining Pilipinas pageant for the second time. “Sobrang saya ko kasi joining again really is a big discussion in our family. Maraming may ayaw, pero meron ding may gusto. Talagang dito napatunayan ko na when God really plans something for you, it really happens,” she told ABS-CBN News. “Sobrang saya at the same time nervous din kasi Shamcey and Venus made it sa Miss Universe.”
- Tugonon is a pharmacy graduate of the University of Santo Tomas. She won in beauty pageants held in UST, such as Miss Thomasian Personality in 2010 and Miss Pharmacy in 2009.
- According to her Facebook fan page, Tugonon graduated cum laude from UST. It added that the beauty queen was a consistent honor student and is into ballet.
- Hours after the pageant, Tugonon attributed her victory to God. “My Savior fought and won the battle for me,” she said on Twitter. The beauty queen also turned to the microblogging site to thank her friends, fans and supporters.
The Philippines is still hoping to produce its third Miss Universe winner, with the first two being Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran.
Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. chairperson Stella Marquez Araneta said the Philippines is slowly reclaiming its “lofty stature as the beauty capital of Asia.”
“This batch is also considered as one of the most accomplished. I guess the back-to-back performances of Venus Raj and Shamcey Supsup really upped the ante for Filipino beauty pageants,” Araneta said.
This year’s Binibining Pilipinas candidates were composed of registered nurses, doctors, law graduates, and entrepreneurs, among others.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
MANILA, Philippines -- Actress-host Janice de Belen on Saturday was moved to tears moments after the interview of her son Luigi was aired on entertainment talk show "Showbiz Inside Report."
Luigi, who is de Belen's son with actor Aga Muhlach, in his interview said he wants to prove his parents wrong and show that he can be a good father. Years after his personal struggle with drug use, which became the cause of conflict between him and his parents, Luigi said he now better understands the challenges of raising children.
Having watched Luigi's interview for the first time, de Belen emotionally recounted the challenges of raising Luigi as a single parent. She also said she is proud of her son for having surpassed his personal struggles, and for being a good father to his children.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos are beginning to see marriage as an option rather than a requirement, a study showed.
International marketing communications company JWT, in a report on trends in brands and products in the Philippines for 2012, said there is a "growing acceptance of happily single mothers or single by choice professional women in their workplaces" among low- to middle-income segments.
"They loathe to publicly declare it being in a predominantly Catholic country. But it has been a long accepted reality that... women have been thinking of deferring marriage to avoid a potentially emotionally traumatizing mistake. They turn to their professional development which is something more under their control," said the report, which is based on surveys and focus group discussions of Filipinos from lower- and middle-income classes.
It added that a growing number of married women in their 30s and 40s want to experience "a few days of singlehood" with their unmarried friends, leaving the kids at home with their fathers.
The report also cited 2004 figures from the National Statistics Office, which showed that the number of Filipino marriages are declining and more marriages are being annulled. The Philippines is the only country in Asia that does not acknowledge legal divorce.
"A growing segment of women is taking an alternate life route, one that does not include marriage as an essential checkpoint," it noted.
NSO's figures in 2008 showed thatmarriage is losing its luster for many in the Philippines, with more couples starting families out of wedlock. More than 37% of the 1.78 million babies born in the country had unmarried mothers, 12.5% higher than in the previous year.
A study from the University of Missouri-Colombia last year, meanwhile, revealed that young adults are slowing the road to marriage with "stayover relationships," where they can enjoy committed relationships without living together.