Design for the masses

Here’s something new and exciting from Bench.

rocco copy

After seasons of collaborating with the country’s design visionaries—among them, Joey Samson for Human and Randy Ortiz for Kashieca—Bench calls upon M Barretto for his own spin on stylish casual wear.


Inspired by photographs of Japanese fishermen, Barretto takes the brand’s basic styles and adds elements like patchwork and angular stitching, to bring up the brusque boy’s wardrobe up a notch or two—at democratic price points.


The result is a nautical-tinged collection with sportif leanings and an edgy slant.
Armadillo-like knee patches in tonal gray are sewn on contrast-cuffed pants, matched with striped pullovers.


Contrast piping and rectangular trim make blazers and button downs assertive and eye-catching.
Track pants offer a cool counterpoint to tailored pieces.


Styled by Noel Manapat and shot by Ronnie Salvacion at The Collective, M Barretto for Bench is worn by young stars Rocco Nacino, Joseph Marco, Johan Santos, Paul Jake Castillo and Carl Guevarra.
To see more of the collection, click here.

KIm Hyun Joong in Manila this Aug. 25-26

To celebrate its 5th anniversary in the Philippines, The Face Shop, Korea’s first cosmetic company committed to nature, brings Playful Kiss star Kim Hyun Joong to Manila this August 25-26, 2011.
The style icon and leader of the K-pop group SS501, Kim Hyun Joong rose to fame for his role as Yoon Ji Hoo in the hit drama series Boys Over Flowers.

Kim Hyun Joong

With his winning smile and impeccable fashion sense, Kim Hyun Joong represents The Face Shop’s clean and natural brand image, a niche that has won the company many awards, including Korea Grand Prize Brand Award, bestowed by the Korean president.
Looking back, it has been five years since the powerhouse behind Bench, Suyen Corporation, brought The Face Shop to the Philippines and introduced a Korean skin care and cosmetics brand made from natural ingredients.
The brand has gained a large group of fans, including Korean celebrities Bae Yong Joon and Gianna Jun, as well as their current endorser, Kim Hyun Joong.

The Face Shop

The Face Shop has branches at Glorietta, TriNoma, SM North Edsa The Block, SM Megamall, Bonifacio High Street, Global City, SM Mall of Asia, Shangrila, Rockwell, Robinsons Ermita –Midtown Wing, Robinsons Galleria, SM Cebu, Eastwood Mall , Alabang Town Center, Ayala Center Cebu, SM Pampanga, Festival SuperMall, SM City Clark, Pampanga, SM Fairview, SM City Bacolod, Shoppesville, Greenhills Shopping Center, SM Taytay, SM Southmall, Newport City, SM Novaliches, Abreeza Mall, Davao.

Now here’s a chance to meet and greet Kim Hyun Joong in Manila
(Not valid in THE FACE SHOP Abreeza, SM Bacolod, Ayala Cebu and SM Cebu)



My Lola Paying always served good food. It’s a good thing we used to eat at her house only once a week, otherwise I’d be a blimp.
At Lola’s house I ate crabs which I cracked with my bare teeth (I know right) and developed a taste for bone marrow.
They didn’t call it “bulalo” in my lola’s house; they called it “utak”, which means “brain.” (I know, gross.)
But Lola’s bone marrow was served in a beef sinigang soup which is to die for!!
When my Lola was too old to host lunches, I was glad my mom picked up the recipe, which she continues to serve for Sunday lunch.
Lola’s cooking was so good, she told me National Artist Fernando Amorsolo would eat at her house and give her paintings in exchange.

Lola Paying and I
Lola and I in her home on Data Street. She was an angel.

Now skip this if you’re vegetarian. I am helpless because it is close to midnight and I’m thinking of bone marrow. I’m trying to convince my friend Jude to serve bone marrow in his restaurant.
Bear with me as I go through people’s photos of bone marrow dishes around the world.

Antonio’s, Tagaytay

Beef Bone Marrow

Lolita at Tremont, Ohio

Bone Marrow - Lolita - Tremont, Ohio

Wayfare Tavern Bone Marrow with grilled sourdough, roasted brussels sprouts, sea salt, smoked olive oil

Wayfare Tavern: Bone Marrow

They used to serve this at Bon Apetit, Rustan’s. Sadly, no more

bone marrow pasta platter

OK, it’s past midnight and I have to stop looking at food pics as my next meal will be 12 hours from now.
I just tortured myself.

Thomas Sabo in Hong Kong

You may have seen the Thomas Sabo store at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell.
Young entrepreneur Cheryl Lee loved the German fashion jewellery brand so much, she decided to take it to Manila.
To date there are more than 200 Thomas Sabo shops and over 2,800 wholesale partners worldwide.

Thomas Sabo at Rockwell

I was in Hong Kong recently to witness the launch of their Fall/Winter 2011 collection held at the dragon-i lounge in Lan Kwai Fong.



As you can see the new collection draws inspiration from the Orient


From watches to all kinds of accessories


Thomas Sabo is know for Sterling Silver


Hanny Freund, Thomas Sabo’s Communication Manager for Asia, flew in from Germany to host the event.


I was super happy that the event was so easy and casual



There was a short video




and singer/actress/model Ella Koon


After which I made a store visit to Thomas Sabo at the IFC mall.
Yes, I walked here from dragon-i :)


You’ll be surprised how much money Thomas Sabo makes, which has eight stores in Hong Kong alone.

Thomas Sabo, IFC

The current collection in-store is called Pop Art with references to skulls and Rock & Roll.



Each Thomas Sabo store has a centerpiece called the charm cake, which has the popular charms collected by many fans


These are great gifts that can be customized to suit anyone’s personality.




Aside from jewellery, charms, and watches, Thomas Sabo is also known for their fragrance.


Visit Thomas Sabo on the 2nd Level, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell (Tel. 896-9534) and opening soon on Level 3, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. 
To know more, go to

Who wants to be the next celebrity chef?

Calling all food lovers and aspiring chefs!
For the first time in Asia, the Asian Food Channel (AFC) is conducting a region-wide search for Asia’s next Celebrity Chef through AFC’s first-ever reality television series called the E&O Search for AFC’s Next Celebrity Chef.
Joining AFC in this search for Asia’s best shining new chef talent is luxury lifestyle group Eastern & Oriental Berhad (E&O), with interests in property development, property investment, hospitality and lifestyle.
Together, both organizations will join forces to put contestants through a series of culinary challenges that will test even the most seasoned chef or passionate foodie.


Auditions will be held in five countries: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. All aspiring chefs, individuals with culinary training, or those simply with the passion for and knowledge of cooking are invited to sign up for auditions and take up the challenge to be crowned AFC’s Next Celebrity Chef.

The winning chef will also be signed to an exclusive one-year contract as an AFC Celebrity Chef with AFC.
In addition, the winner will be awarded the opportunity of a year-long employment contract with the E&O Group, taking on the mantle of Creative Director and Head of R&D for the E&O Gourmet Group.

Auditions will run from 3rd to 16th August 2011 in the five respective countries.
Contestants who are shortlisted from the auditions will be put through a series of intense cooking tests and trials, to identify who has the right ingredients to hold the title of E&O and AFC’s Next Celebrity Chef.

Apply here.

The exciting eight-part series will unveil the top 12 finalists in its premiere episode.
Each week, one or more participants will be eliminated from the running based on the decisions made by the esteemed panel of judges.
AFC and E&O have appointed AFC Celebrity Chef and star of TV series Tablescapes, Chef Bruce Lim and Mr. Michael Saxon as the judges on this show.
Mr. Saxon, Director of Group Hospitality & Lifestyle of E&O Group, is not only a well-known hotelier, but also author of his famous professional memoir, Chef’s Tales.
A host of international and distinguished celebrity chefs will also be invited to make surprise guest appearances in selected episode(s) throughout the series as guest celebrity chef judges.

L-R: Mr. Michael Saxon, Director of Group Hospitality & Lifestyle of E&O Group and author of his famous professional memoir, Chef’s Tales; Mr. Hian Goh, Managing Director of the Asian Food Channel; Chef Bruce Lim, AFC Celebrity Chef and star of TV series Tablescapes

The entire series will be shot on location at E&O’s numerous hospitality and lifestyle properties such as the Eastern & Oriental Hotel and Lone Pine Hotel in Penang, the Martinique seafront villa and Straits Quay Retail Marina at E&O’s masterplanned township of Seri Tanjung Pinang, Penang, the St. Mary Residences in Kuala Lumpur as well as at some of the popular Delicious restaurants in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

The E&O Search for AFC’s Next Celebrity Chef series will have online updates and information, as AFC launches a microsite dedicated to the production of the series.
Visit for more information.

afc logo_green

The Asian Food Channel (AFC) is the region’s first 24-hour food channel dedicated to airing the best food and lifestyle programming from around the region and the world.
Based in Singapore, AFC’s wide Asian distribution footprint covers eight territories and 45 million viewers, on basic tiers of all the major pay TV platforms across Southeast Asia.
AFC broadcasts on:
– Astro Channel 703 (Malaysia and Brunei)
– StarHub Channel 435 (Singapore)
– First Media Digital 1 Channel 76 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
– Telkom Vision Channel 33 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
– Prime Indovision Channel 22 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
– Aora TV Channel 318 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
– now TV Channel 527 (Hong Kong)
– LIVE TV Channel 6 (Thailand)
– Skycable Channel 22 and Dream Satellite TV Channel 27 (Philippines)

Bea Valdes collaborates with Swarovski Elements

Bea Valdes has produced a unique and theatrical piece of artistry—the mysterious ‘Equus’—a specially commissioned jewelry show piece made with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS.
Bea Valdes is renowned worldwide for her bold and dramatic statement neck pieces and artisanal bags.
Her unique creations can be seen in the pages of Vogue, Tatler and Vanity Fair, as well as on global stars such as Kate Moss, Sharon Stone and Kate Hudson.
Referencing everything from science fiction to classical baroque, Bea Valdes pieces are made with exquisite precision and flair at her workshop in Manila.
Each item is complex, intricate and meticulously handmade, sometimes taking over a month to complete.
She starts with no formal plan, simply beginning with the materials and letting the concepts evolve slowly and organically.

Bea Valdes x Swarovski

‘Equus’, which made its international début at the SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS World Jewelry Facets exhibition in Beijing recently, is the result of this process.
Evoking the dark magnetism of a stallion, this stunningly crafted piece of body jewelry consists of a mane of jagged shards that fall from shoulder to hip in a sparkling cascade of crystals that reflect the colors of sun and shade.
With delicate detailing combined with raw strength, ‘Equus’ blazes with the light from hundreds of shimmering SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS.

Bea Valdes x Swarovski

Swarovski is proud to be associated with the extraordinary talent of Bea Valdes and looks forward to future collaborations that incorporate SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS and take these beautiful and versatile crystals to new creative limits.

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