The dazzling Jean Dujardin

Bit of trivia: back in early ’80s my mom had vast VHS collection of old movies that my aunt in California used to send over. That’s because my mom had a home-based Betamax business back then—she supplied movies to rental stores at Virra Mall.
My summer job was to edit TV commercials from the tapes and got paid Php 15 per tape I edited—not bad :)


I used to logged in all the movies I watched in a planner. I would watch 3-4 movies/day on average in the summer and whatever I could watch the rest of the year. I must’ve seen 2,000 movies during that period of time.
I loved Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Doris Day and Rock Hudson, Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart, Audey Hepburn, James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Lana Turner, and all that.
During the mid ’80s when Imelda Marcos had her Manila International Film Fest, they would show all these foreign movies on TV and I lapped them all up.

I don’t consider myself a movie snob, in fact I also love Tagalog movies from the time of Susan Roces and Jose Mari Gonzalez, to the time of Dina Bonnevie, Sharon Cuneta, Ruffa, Aiko and Carmina. I’m not picky but I am also jaded.
These days it’s hard for me to fall in love with a movie, because many times I can predict the plot, the next line or the outcome, especially in Tagalog movies.

I was disappointed in the movies nominated in this year’s Oscars—up until last night when I slept very late watching Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist.
At first I didn’t want to see it when Grace said it was a silent movie. I couldn’t imagine sitting through something that sounded like a long art film.
But last night I was in bed at 1:30 AM and didn’t want to sleep. The Artist was sitting in my downloads folder. I thought of starting it. If I got sleepy I could just watch it in doses. But I wanted to see it because it won the most awards in the 2012 Academy Awards.

The Artist

It had me right from the opening credits.
The story takes place in Hollywood, between 1927 and 1932, about the relationship of an older silent film star and a rising young actress, just when silent cinema falls out of fashion and is replaced by the talkies. (Wiki)
That is all you need to know.

The Artist

As a lover of fashion, cinema, and nostalgia, I was dazzled by the costumes, the set design, the story and most of all, the character George Valentin, played by multi-awarded French actor Jean Dujardin.

Check out all his awards for this particular role:
• Academy Award for Best Actor
• AACTA International Award for Best Actor
• BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
• Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award[15]
• Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
• Hollywood Film Festival Spotlight Award
• Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
• Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
• London Film Critics Circle Award for Actor of the Year
• Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
• Santa Barbara International Film Festival Cinema Vanguard Award
• Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
• Étoile d’Or Award for Best Actor
• Women Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screen Couple (with Bérénice Bejo) (Wiki)

The Artist

No wonder George Clooney predicted the Best Actor speech would be delivered in French when he was interviewed on the Red Carpet at the Oscars.
The role of George Valentin, while any actor’s dream, isn’t something just anyone could portray.
First of all, Jean Dujardin had the right face and facial expressions, even the correct hairline for the era. Second, his smile is so sincere and disarming, it just makes your heart melt. Third, he can dance.
At first I couldn’t stand the looks of the actress who plays Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), but she actually grew on me as the film progressed.

The Artist

Won’t say any more except if you love cinema and have the patience to watch an almost silent movie, don’t miss this one.
I couldn’t take it for the first 15 minutes and then I got over it and saw the most amazing thing I have seen in a very long time.

Official Website

Baby Clic at Mothercare

I don’t think it’s fair that cute baby stuff comes out every year—make that each year I can no longer have a baby of my own (but I can still adopt!).
It’s not funny how they’re producing baby things that I would design myself. I get so frustrated thinking of the choices we had ten years ago when I became a mom.
I just discovered Baby Clic, a Spanish manufacturer of chic baby furniture and accessories at Mothercare. Here in the Philippines, they carry the collapsible baby cribs and the baby sofas.

The Baby Clic sofas come in three colors and are nicely priced at Php 2,795
Baby Clic
Baby Clic
Baby Clic

The baby cribs are priced at Php 16,495 and come in this portable tote.
Baby Clic

The assemble into these modern cribs. Not sure what colors are available here, but they sure are pretty.
(They never had black cribs when I had a baby.)
Baby Clic
Baby Clic
Baby Clic
Baby Clic
Baby Clic
Baby Clic
Baby Clic

Find them at a Mothercare store near you. For more information, click HERE.

Who’s Bogart the Explorer?

When my friend Lia visited this morning, she asked if I had seen Bogart the Explorer on YouTube.
“Is that a dog?” I asked her. The only Bogart I know (besides Humphrey) is Carlos Celdran’s dog.
Bogart the Explorer, says Lia, is the Filipino Crocodile Dundee from Davao who makes videos about all kinds of Filipino species—from the taong grasa to the coño kid.

The first video I saw was too corny for words, about the coño kid. The coño was miscast—doesn’t Bogart know any tisoys? The faux designer bag/prop looked like it was purchased in Quiapo, not Greenhills. The coño forgot to pop his collar, etc.
After watching a couple more videos, about the Philippine Epaloid and the Taong Grasa, I started cracking up with my two sons. I was literally crying with tears, laughing.
I was amazed at Bogart’s Aussie accent, grossed out with his jiggly torso, and wishing he would make an episode about the Philippine Fashion Blogger.
When my Dutch husband came home, I showed him the videos which did not amuse him, so I realized maybe they are funny only for Filipinos. Jeroen thinks they are funny for kids, just like the Annoying Orange videos, which my son loves.
Watch and tell me what you think.
P.S. Please don’t mention the other YouTube “sensation” who makes fun of Filipino accents. I had a Twitter fight with him last week and would rather not discuss. Thank you :)

Message from Ms. Gina Lopez

Haven’t been able to get online this entire day as I had a visit from Lia in the morning, lipo-cavitation and RF after lunch, meeting with Yodel in the afternoon, plus dinner and exercise with Grace in the evening.
This afternoon I received a friendly call from Ms. Gina Lopez, whom I blogged about after the #WhyMining forum at the InterContinental Manila last week.
After hearing each other’s sides, I asked her if she would like me to take the post down, which I did this afternoon.
Following is her email to me, which I also promised to publish.
Comments will be closed for this entry. Thank you :)

Gina Lopez
Photo: BBC World Service

Dear Cecile,

The videos you have on your blog are snippets of me talking about eco tourism.
I have five eco tourism projects in Puerto Princessa—one of which is offering sashimi to the tourists that go see the dolphins. Dolphins eat the same food as tuna—so when one views the dophins one can also eat sashimi on board.
The Glamping—Glamour Camping is one of our eco tourism tools we will be using in Brookespoint. This means camping at the foot of the mountains, enjoying the splendour of nature and paying a good amount of money which will all go to the community. Glamping is done in Africa and it is very popular.
All efforts are meant to benefit the community. It is totally unethical to take snippets of me talking, edit it and distort it to mean something else.
If the mining industry does not agree with my views on conserving the beauty of nature, they should stick to the issues – and not hit below the belt.
Cecile because the videos are a very unfair distortion of the Truth – I would very much appreciate it if you take it out of your blog. Thank you for your understanding.

Gina Lopez

Lucy Hale’s Manila diary

I first heard about Pretty Little Liars on Twitter, when one of the American celebs I was following mentioned it (can’t remember which one). I got hooked on Season 1.
Season 2, I started getting exasperated from all the stress going on with that show (who the hell is A??). And then the last few episodes, I started to get hooked again.

Pretty Little liars

The mystery/thriller stars four of today’s prettiest stars: Troian Bellisario (the chicest one, at left), Ashley Benson (the blonde), Shay Mitchell (at right, who is half Filipino), and Lucy Hale, who also happens to be the newest Bench girl.

Lucy Hale for Bench

Lucy was in town last month as a special guest of BENCH CEO, Ben Chan. She flew in with celebrity hairstylist, Scott Cunha, who has also styled the likes of Miley Cyrus, Nicole Richie, Emma Roberts and Diane Kruger.
It was her first time in Asia, confessed the 22-year-old star, who flew in via Hong Kong from Los Angeles.

Lucy Hale and Scott Cunha
Lucy instagrammed on the plane with Scott Cunha

Lucy Hale
Arriving at our beloved NAIA

During her three days here, Lucy toured and shopped at several Bench-owned stores (including Aldo), sampled Filipino, Chinese and Thai food, enjoyed fresh mango shake, and tasted ube for the first time.
She bought Ilog Maria lotion at the Echostore, plus pearls and trinkets in Greenhills, along with makeup artist Chechel Joson.

mango juice
Trying mango juice for the first time

Scott Cunha and Lucy Hale at Bonifacio High Street
Strolling at Serendra

She marveled at her giant billboard and tweeted, “This is crazy!” after seeing her likeness on a massive Bench window.

Lucy Hale

this is crazy

On her first night, she popped in at the Secret Fresh x Bench T-shirt launch at Greenbelt 5.

Lucy Hale
L-R: Egg Fiasco, Lucy Hale, JJ Zamoranos

Friday night, Ben Chan hosted an intimate dinner at home where Lucy and Scott met Bench friends and family: Liz Uy, Georgina Wilson, Paula Taylor, Isabelle Daza (Photo: Raymond Gutierrez)


She was introduced to American Idol’s David Archuleta, who is also the newest face of BENCH.

L-R: David Archuleta, Ben Chan, Lucy Hale

On Saturday afternoon, Lucy got to meet and greet her fans in a special event at SMX where I got to sit down with her for a brief interview.
I carefully selected my outfit for the day knowing the petite actress and I are the same height (we are both 5’2”). I was excited to meet the star of the show I’ve been following up-to-date for the last two seasons.
My friend Kevin and I arrived an hour early for our 4 p.m. time slot and killed the time sipping Haagen-Dazs milkshakes at nearby SM Mall of Asia. At 4 p.m. we were back at SMX just in time for to meet the young star in a private room.
At the scene were familiar faces such as Bench’s Lawrence Cua and Jojo Liamzon, photographer Patrick Uy, makeup artist Chechel Joson, and reporter Gretchen Fullido. Also present were her manager Strand and hairstylist Scott.
Lucy wore a Bench T-shirt and jeans matched with Aldo shoes and accessories to the interview.

Lucy Hale and Kevin Ching
Lucy and Kevin at SMX

Me: Ben Chan called you the sweetest, most down-to-earth celebrity he’s ever met. Can you tell us why you call him Daddy Warbucks?

LUCY HALE: He’s given me a lot of things; he’s been so kind to me. We had lunch at Peking Garden and one of his friends was wearing this gorgeous bracelet that I liked and he tracked it down and gave it to me at a dinner he hosted for me.

What made you say yes to Bench when they asked you to be an endorser?

I love the whole international aspect of it, it was overseas, and then I saw the clothes and then it was a no-brainer because they’re so affordable and yet they’re really cute.

I saw you went shopping with Scott at Bench the other day. What did you guys get?

You mean, what did I not get? I got swimsuits, underwear, bras, jeans, shirts, hats, skirts, and this jumper thing. And Scott got all the men’s underwear, every single pair — maybe 20 pairs of underwear (laughs). He seriously needs to be the next endorser for Bench Body.

Your beauty is much appreciated in the Philippines because you’re a brunette and petite. What fashion and beauty tips can you give to a petite girl?

I know for me, I can’t wear certain lengths because of proportions, like I can’t wear over-the-knee boots cause I want to appear taller. So I guess it’s all about finding what works for your body but at the same time — and it all sounds contradictory — but don’t be afraid to take risks, don’t be afraid to try new things. That’s sort of like my motto.

What’s the real score between you and Ian Harding and who is your closest friend on the show?

Ian in real life is a goofball, he’s extremely sweet and a dear, dear friend and we are definitely just friends. He’s one of the people I’m closest to and like the most genuine person you’ll ever meet. He’s such a nice guy… My closest friend is Keegan Allen, who plays Toby on the show. His body is ridiculous, too. He can do Bench Body, I should tell Ben!

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