What is heartwarming?

The assistant of the Secretary of Tourism emailed me during the holidays, asking if I would be free to meet with Sec. Mon Jimenez on January 5th.
At first I thought it was a prank when a venue in Serendra was suggested. When the meeting was moved to the Department of Tourism instead, I knew I had to get up in the morning and be there.
The day before, Carlos Celdran had already met with Sec. Jimenez about the new ad campaign they are launching for the Philippines. Yesterday it was mine and Anton Diaz’s turn.
I arrived early for the 11 AM meeting and had time to go around the building. Guys, this is not the Fullerton Hotel, this is the Department of Tourism.


It may look good on my Canon S95, but the building is really dilapidated. My heart sank as I entered the restroom and saw conditions that make NAIA’s toilets look like the Four Seasons. That said, I understood there really was no budget there.
I went up the stairs to the fourth floor and found Anton Diaz at the reception area outside the Secretary’s office.
To pass the time, Anton and I talked about our blogs. Having never been to Boracay, I asked Anton to explain the meanings of Stations 1-3, which he happily did.


Map of Boracay

After nearly an hour, we moved into the well-appointed office Secretary’s office and was grateful I wore a long cardigan (read: winter).



Prior to the meeting, I had spoken to my dad, my uncle Greg Garcia, my brother-in-law Leo Riingen and my sister, who all had good things to say about the Sec. Jimenez. So even though I have all these negative thoughts about local tourism, I decided to just listen to what he had to say.
And so, he blew me away.

L-R: Anton Diaz, Sec. Jimenez, Ren Sapitan (Executive Assistant to the Secretary)

There were some things said in private, which gave me an idea about where the Secretary was coming from. And there was the campaign that he explained to us, where it was coming from, the low budget they were working with, the bureaucracy, the frustrations and the limitations. With that, I decided to support before fighting for changes (that’s for later ;))
Eight ad agencies were invited to bid. In the end, BBDO won with a simple campaign that sells an idea instead of a rhyme or an adjective. That idea is fun.


Because of the low budget, the local campaign will rely on social media like us who are on blogs, Facebook and Twitter, hence the hashtagged campaign, #1ForFun which is currently trending on twitter.
The real budget will be spent mostly on an international campaign, and expect many creative ideas to appear abroad such as




After the meeting I was really psyched to help DOT in any way I can. Sec. Jimenez said they would send us the campaign materials as they come. We said goodbyes, Anton and I took the stairs going down.
Past 1 PM, I told the driver to take me to Café Adriatico for a solo lunch. Unfortunately, Chicken ala Kiev is no longer there, so I had Lola Ising’s Adobo Rice, which no longer had its “kick”.


Without my favorite dish, it didn’t make sense to come back to this place I have been going back to since 1987


Outside there were many hip foreigners such as this couple wondering what to order


Malate still has a few tourists going around with maps and confused looks, enjoying the sun in their shorts, sleeveless tops and slippers and I wonder, can we make them come back and multiply and will you help?

To know more about the campaign, click HERE.

Diptyque opens at IFC

HONG KONG—The story of diptyque reminds me of the store in Greenbelt 5 called AC+632.
Whenever I walk into AC+632 I see all sorts of things brought in by Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo from their travels abroad. You could say there’s something very French in that store.
Diptyque, on the other hand, began in Paris in 1961. It was opened by three friends with a passion for travel and design.

L-R: Yves Coueslant (The Stage Designer), Christiane Gautrot (Designer), Desmond Knox-Leet (The Painter)

The store on the bohemian side of 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain became known as a kind of “chic bazaar” for fans who loved their avant-garde fabrics, decorative items, wooden toys, and all kinds of knickknacks the trio brought back from travels to the Far East and Africa.
In 1963 they introduced colored and scented candles, which were such a hit, it eventually became the main focus of their business: the diptyque label was born.


Today, 50 years later, the diptyque brand is synonymous with world-renowned fragrances and scented candles. It counts among its many fans Karl Lagerfeld, Philippe Starck, Andree Putman, Jane Birkin, Christian Lacroix, Manolo Blahnik, Ines de la Fressange, Pierre Herme, and John Galliano.


John Galliano x Diptyque

Found in 40 countries around the world, diptyque recently opened its first stand-alone boutique in Asia at Hong Kong’s International Finance Center or IFC Mall. The 270-square-foot space was by designed by “couturier of interior design” Olivier Lempereur.

diptyque store_01

diptyque store_02

Eric Cauvin, Commercial Director of diptyque showed us the entire product lines which includes 38 scents of candles, 13 kinds of eaux de toilette, bath and body care products, and home fragrances.

Eric at Diptyque

Lunch followed at Lane Crawford’s Café Costa

Costa at Lane Crawford

Stanislas, Sophie, Eric
L-R: diptyque’s Stanislas Le Bert (Area Sales Manager Grand Export), Sophie Lambert (Chief Operating Officer), and Eric Cauvin

At night the official opening at the IFC store was highlighted by a ceremonial lighting of candles headed by Sophie Lambert, Mr. Clement Yang, managing director of Vitel International Company; and Elisa Barthelemy, wife of the Consul General of France.

Ceremonial lighting of candles, Diptyque IFC

Also spotted (from L-R): Stanislas Le Bert, Sophie Lambert, Cheuk Wan Chi, Fan Chiang, Barney Cheng, Lisa S, Clement Yang, Mme. Elisa Barthelemy, and Eric Cauvin


diptyque is at Shop 1080, Podium Level 1 ifc mall, No. 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong.
In the Philippines, it is available exclusively at Rustan’s department stores.

To know more about the products, go to http://www.diptyqueparis.com/.

What’s new: Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2012

The transparent Lockit bags and clutch in sheer nylon voile, with a smaller Monogram canvas purse inside


2 transparent Lockit_JMC


3 transparent Lockit EW_JMC
1 transparent Clutch_JMC


The Speedy in bleached denim, woven with silver thread


14 speedy GM bleu_JMC


13 speedy MM bleu_cc_JMC
11 clutch bleue_JMC

A new Zippy wallet


For men there are the wooden sunglasses




The lucky red sneaker

The leather shoes




The pajamic look for traveling in style + comfort (if you ask me)


Plus, the traveler’s shoes that pack flat, they’re amazing

If only all shoes could do this






Philippines featured on History’s ‘Hidden Cities’

Via: abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – History Channel host Anthony Morse spent two weeks here last August to shoot an hour-long episode of Hidden Cities, a show that aims to take a look at a country’s forgotten treasures.
The episode, which will be aired on History at 9 PM, Wednesday (January 4), will feature Manila, Corregidor, Palawan and Kalinga, and an interview with former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

Hidden Cities 3

Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks, who toured Morse around Intramuros and other parts of the city, described the episode as “a very good portrayal of our side of the country.”
“It’s a good way of selling the country… Some people have only seen poverty and the Manila bus crisis, which are not too pleasant,” Dy told abs-cbnNEWS.com.
“I hope they will have more features on the country’s history and culture,” he added.
Asked how it was working with Morse and the rest of the production staff, Dy said: “It was fun… It’s a very popular show with a huge following… It’s not really that formal. It shows an insider’s perspective. It’s one of my favorite shows.”
Hidden Cities premiered last November 23, 2011 with an episode on Vietnam. The show aims to cover seven different countries across Asia this season.


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