Thursday, May 17, 2012

Iza, Nikki chosen as Uniqlo endorsers

(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

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Fast Retailing Philippines Inc. has chosen Filipino celebrities to endorse the Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo, which is opening its first store in the Philippines next month.
On Wednesday night, Uniqlo revealed its "Philippine cast" composed of Kapamilya actresses Iza Calzado and Nikki Gil, basketball player and TV host Chris Tiu, and Parokya ni Edgar vocalist Chito Miranda at a party at the InterContinental Hotel in Makati City.
The celebrities will be seen in advertisements ahead of the June 15 opening of the Uniqlo store at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
"I never thought they would get endorsers for Manila, that's why it was such a shock for me," Calzado said. 
"I realized it was the real thing when the contract came. Of course, I'm very honored and privileged to endorse such a trusted brand, and to be among the first to represent it here in the Philippines, it's a really great honor," Gil added.
Tiu, meanwhile, said on Twitter: "Still feeling high from last night's Uniqlo launch party. Another pictorial today."
Uniqlo said it believes the four Filipino celebrities exemplify the brand's "made for all" philosophy.
Fast Retailing Philippines Inc. is a joint venture between SM Retail Inc. and Japan's Fast Retailing Co., the world’s fourth largest apparel retail firm.
Uniqlo has been coming up with several promotional activities to increase awareness of the brand, including setting up an activity wall at the SM Mall of Asia.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New book remembers fall of Corregidor

MANILA, Philippines – The son of a World War II veteran who served in the Philippines has written a book recalling his father’s experiences during the fall of Corregidor.
“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.
Vivid recollection
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

Quiambao apologizes over gay comments

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Former beauty queen Miriam Quiambao apologized to the the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community on Sunday after a Twitter war erupted over her comments about homosexuality.
"I'm sorry LGBT. Perhaps I was too harsh with the words I used. Will do my best to be more sensitive. #respect #nobodysperfect," she said late on Sunday in her official Twitter.
Quiambao found herself in the hot seat after she aired her opinions about the LGBT community on the Saturday episode of “The Bottomline.”
Quiambao, who was among the guest panelists on the Boy Abunda-hosted program, gave her take on the issue of religion and its relationship with LGBTs.
“I’m not a pastor, I’m definitely not an expert but the way I understand it is homosexuality is not the one that makes you a sinner. Actually, sexual immorality is what makes you a sinner,” Quiambao said.
She further elaborated this view in her Twitter account, saying it should be the sin that should be hated and not the sinner.
“Hate the sin. Love the sinner. We have all sinned... Forgiveness comes from God. Grace comes to those who believe. Peace,” she tweeted.
“Homosexuality is not a sin but it is a lie from the devil. Do not be deceived. God loves gays and wants them to know the truth,” she added.
This, however, drew a lot of negative reactions from netizens.
“Most, if not all, homosexuals know wrong from right. So don't say that we are gay because the devil dictated it to us,” said JoiJoifulness.
As for MOSHreyes, he said: “Wow I didn't think @miriamq is a homophobe! She thinks were blinded by the truth. You're the one who's blinded gurl welcome to the 21st century!”
Twitter user @dbostik also said: “@miriamq I've been trying to come into terms with my religion and now I feel like I'm back to square one since I look up to you. NEVERMIND!”
“After watching "Bottomline" I feel sorry for you @miriamq. Alamin mo muna ang at tama at totoo bago ka manghusga ng buhay ng iba,” @Homerspirit posted.
While several netizens don’t agree with what Quiambao said, there were also a number of people on Twitter who were supportive of the beauty queen.
Twitter user @terriyaKBoy said: “@miriamq is one hot topic in the gay world right now. Simmer down now, Gurlzzz! She's entitled to her own opinion/say.”
@tjbrewed, on the other hand, said “Im so happy to see @miriamq in #Bottomline last nyt. Ppl will say 'don't bring religion,' but wer not bringing any religion but Christ alone.”
As for @samuraix23, he said: “@miriamq just finished watching Bottomline about LGBT. Kudos for standing up for the Truth! May God continue to bless u!”
‘Not against LGBT’
At the end of the show, Quiambao stressed that she is not against LGBTs because everyone is equal in the eyes of God.
“God made us all for a purpose. I don’t understand why God made him that way. I feel though that in my knowledge of God, God never makes mistakes and He is not a liar. So however He made him, that’s who he really is,” she said.
“However, because God has allowed this to happen in his life, perhaps there is a purpose and at the end of the day, he will be the one to face God,” Quiambao added.
Quiambao also said she never meant to offend anyone with her tweets.
“No offense to the LGBT but the Truth is the Truth that comes from God. Take it or leave it. We will all face the judgement seat of God,” she said.
“Mahal ko ang LGBT. That's why I am sharing with you the truth. If you are not ready for it, please don't shoot me. I am just a messenger,” explained the beauty queen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Modern Etiquette: Dealing with Annoying Co-Workers

The Know-it-All. Negative Nancy. Larry Loud-Talker. The Over-Sharer. The workplace is filled with all kinds of personalities, each with their own unique (and sometimes annoying) habits.
While you can't choose your co-workers, you can choose how you handle their annoying behavior. Your best approach will largely depend upon your circumstances, and the level of annoyance.
For example, if your co-worker's habit hampers your ability to do your job, you'll need to take care of the problem even if it means going to your supervisor. However, filing even a "verbal" complaint should always be your last-resort. Meanwhile, you may want to look at your own workplace behavior which, unknowingly, may be offensive to others.
Tips for Resolving Conflict
Remove yourself from the situation: If you find yourself focusing more on your co-worker's annoyance than the work in front of you, take a break. Even a few minutes in a restroom or break room will clear your head and calm your nerves.
Find an outlet for your frustration: A 20-minute power walk or "vent-session" with a trusted friend is another option. Once you've released the built-up tension you'll find you have a new perspective on the situation.
Find your focus: If deadlines prevent you from removing yourself from the situation, create a place of calm in your own mind. Any technique that helps you create a "clear headspace" will provide a sense of control and calm. Try noise-canceling ear-buds or mentally repeat a mantra, like "focus" in your mind.
Go to the Source: If all your attempts fail and your work is still suffering be respectful and pay your co-worker the courtesy of addressing them directly. Explain the problem (e.g., it's hard for me to concentrate) and, together, find a solution that works for the both of you.
Last resort: If the problem persists you have no choice but to bring your concern to a supervisor. Who knows, you may not be the only one in the office having a problem with this co-worker.
Taboo Workplace Topics
Even the most friendly workplace conversation can sour when people discuss ‘taboo topics.' To avoid office friction, don't brooch the following ‘hot topics;' and if raised by co-workers opt-out of the conversation.
Salary: Your salary was determined by you and your employer. It's proprietary information and should stay that way.
Medical Woes: Only you and your family care about your medical problems. Keep your aches and pains to yourself.
Relationship Problems: Failed romances and other relationship issues belong in your personal life, not in your professional life. No exceptions!
Sex, Religion Politics: These ‘big three' hot button topics are non-negotiable. They are called hot button topics because they are polarizing and run the risk of alienating, even insulting, colleagues. Discussing sex, religion and politics is always off-limits and inappropriate in the workplace.
Examine Your Own Behavior
As you go about your workday pay attention to your interactions with others. Do you interrupt colleagues while they're working or engaged in conversation with others? Do you discuss business matters with co-workers or do you bring up personal issues, about yourself and others? Do you complain about problems in the workplace but fail to offer any viable solutions?
Remember: It's always easier to find fault with others than it is to see our own problems.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Reinventing the barong Tagalog

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

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.

Black barong

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.

Statement barong

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

Tyra Banks wears Rajo Laurel creation

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

Morena cover girls make Wilma Doesnt proud

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

Fast facts about Bb. Pilipinas 2012 Janine Tugonon

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

Janice recounts 'tough love' for son Luigi

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

Marriage becoming optional, study says

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.