Big Eyes, the movie

The boys are now 7, 12, and 13.
While Christian is still a kid—into Power Rangers and Lego—the older boys are growing up. They’re in that interesting stage where they still play Minecraft and NBA 2K15, but moving on from the kiddie stuff.
Markus doesn’t want to watch cartoons anymore and Ben is kind of deep; he appreciates subtitled films.
When we travel, we’ll hit amusement parks and toy stores, but I’ll also point out nice buildings, art, and furniture.

Ben and Mark at 21_21 Design Sight
The boys discover Tadao Ando in Tokyo

Last night was movie night at home.
After watching lots of trailers on Apple TV, I found Tim Burton’s Big Eyes, which we rented on the spot.
But what’s a movie without a snack? We ordered McDonald’s chicken fillets and fries and had a picnic on the floor.

Big Eyes stars Amy Adams as Margaret Keane and Christoph Waltz as the husband, Walter Keane.

Big Eyes

Having grown up in’70s, I have vague memories of paintings with big eyes that were kitschy and haunting at the same time.


Today, they are known to be works of Margaret Keane. But back in the day, at the height of their fame, someone else claimed to have painted them.
That person was Margaret’s husband Walter—a pretentious, delusional liar with the gift of gab and marketing.


Margaret was a single mom in the middle of a messy divorce when she met Walter Keane who was unsuccessful in selling paintings of generic Paris street scenes.

Big Eyes

He convinced her to marry him when Margaret’s ex-husband threatened to take custody of her young daughter, whose big eyes inspired the paintings.

Big Eyes

When Margaret and Walter started exhibiting together at a local bar, it was Margaret’s paintings that started to sell. That’s when Walter started to take credit for her paintings and sell them as his own.

Big Eyes

It was his marketing and commercialization skills—producing mass-produced prints and postcards—that made them rich and Walter famous. All the while keeping the real painter secret to the world—even to her daughter.

Big Eyes movie

The secret and lies start to eat her up.
It takes years of abuse before she finds courage to leave Walter and start a new life in Hawaii with her daughter.
She does a radio interview where she finally reveals the secret, which hits the papers and turns into a scandal.
What follows next is a court room circus that will put to rest who is the real artist among the two.
Watch the trailer.

“So what did you learn from the movie?” I asked the boys while brushing our teeth.
“That it’s bad to lie,” said Ben.
“That stealing is karmic,” said Markus.
Indeed, Walter Keane died penniless and probably friendless in 2000, while Margaret remarried and still paints everyday.
Plus, she has this great Tim Burton movie to tell her story.

Amy Adams, Margaret Keane
Amy Adams with the real Margaret Keane

Lego fans, don’t miss the first Lego Certified Store in the Philippines

The first Lego Certified Store opened yesterday at Park Triangle in Bonifacio Global City.
Its opening also marked the first time I would take all three sons to a media event. While Ben and Markus have outgrown their Legos and moved on to Minecraft, Christian is still very much interested in anything Lego.

Christian with storm troopers

Stormtroopers welcomed VIPs and media guests at the morning event. At 1 PM, the store opened to the public.
News about its opening traveled fast through social media.
This was how the store looked before the guests arrived.

Lego store at The Fort

Nice and spacious.

Lego store at The Fort

And this is how it looked pretty much for the rest of the day—on the outside

Queueing at the Lego store

And inside

Queueing at the Lego store
Queueing at the Lego store
Queueing at the Lego store
Queueing at the Lego store

“I don’t understand, is there a special discount today?” I asked the people.
Nope. They were all lining up for personalized keychains, basically a Lego brick (Php 179) that can be engraved for an extra Php 100.

Personalizing keychains

They are really cute, but we’ve had a chance to make them in Tokyo last year, so no need to line up for now.


Some folks were also lining up for the Php 50 Lego Spider-Man Glider sets—proceeds of which will benefit World Vision’s project of rebuilding classrooms in Malabon. I would’ve wanted to hoard, but only five pieces per customer.
LEGO will be selling 5,000 pieces of the Spider-Man Glider up to May 17, 2015.

Spiderman lego

We’ve had Lego sold in the Philippine stores for years but this is the first Lego Certified Store with exclusive collectors’ sets and product lines.
“A Lego Certified Store is a store that is designed by The Lego Group, and adheres to all the store fit-out and experience guidelines,” said Camilla Botke, RTM Senior Manager at Lego Group.
Camilla (L) welcomed guests at the opening with Mr. Jan Christensen, Denmark’s ambassador to the Philippines

Camilla Botke and Jan Christensen

Both carried commemorative Lego jeepney Legos in lucite boxes.

Lego jeepney
Lego Jeepney

Among the store’s special features are: the Pick A Brick station that allows customers to buy LEGO elements (sold per 100 grams) that they might need to finish their own creations

Lego store at The Fort

Build A Mini lets you build your own mini figures by choosing headwear, head, torso, legs and tools/accessories—very limited selection though; subject to what’s available.

Lego store at The Fort

The Monthly Mini Build program is a hands-on event where kids ages 6-14 are invited to create simple, seasonal and exclusive LEGO Store mini builds—no purchase necessary.
And while everyone was going gaga over the personalized bricks, here’s what caught my eye: the Architecture series, featuring the Imperial Hotel (Tokyo, Japan), designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Lego sets

and the Villa Savoye (Poissy, France) which looks like my future (flood-free) home

Lego sets

If I were a kid again, I would love to have this box

architecture studio

There are tons of Minecraft sets, which is amazing considering these used to be few and hard to find

Lego sets
Lego sets
Lego sets

Plus some really fun Simpsons sets, like the Kwik-E-Mart
kwik e mart
and the hosue
simsons house

Very pricey though. I wonder if they offer 0% interest?
The newly opened store is the most complete Lego store you will find in the Philippines—with Duplo for smaller kids; Lego Friends, Elves and Frozen for the girls; plus Star Wars, Ninjago, and Super Heroes for the boys.
Lego fans, don’t miss it.
The store is located at Park Triangle, 11th Avenue corner Rizal Drive Bonifacio Global City Taguig (beside Kidzania) open daily from 11 AM to 9 PM.

Signs of progress: Studioilse designs Cathay Pacific Lounge at NAIA Terminal 3

Remember that Cathay Pacific Noodle Bar you always look forward to at the Hong Kong International Airport?
It just opened in Manila, at NAIA Terminal 3.
What’s more, the newly opened Cathay Pacific Lounge was designed by Studioilse, the London-based design studio led by Ilse Crawford.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Haneda
Studioilse-designed entrance to Cathay Pacific Lounge in Haneda

Located at Level 4 near Gate 114, the new lounge adopts the new Studioilse design template—with the cherry wood walls and limestone floor, using warm, natural materials like wood and stone to soften acoustics where possible.
The design also features details such as glazed screens, green ceramic tiles at The Noodle Bar, bronze highlights at the main entrance, and brass in the Bar.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Haneda
Studioilse design template in Haneda with green ceramic tiles at The Noodle Bar

The Manila lounge measures 650 square meters—almost twice the size of the previous lounge at NAIA Terminal 1—with a seating capacity of approximately 135 seats.
The overall feeling is more like a living room than an airline lounge, with natural sunlight coming through the windows.
Designer furniture and lighting, bespoke chairs and side tables with in-built lamps and sockets offer a comfortable environment and understated luxury for First and Business Class passengers before boarding.
Three individual workstations offer the use of iMacs and printers, and free Wi-Fi is available throughout the lounge.

Cathay Pacific lounge
Wish this guy came with the lounge

Finally, the dining area’s signature Noodle Bar will offer a selection of Asian noodles like dandan mien and wonton noodle soup, freshly prepared by a chef.

Wonton Noodles

From the morning hours until 11 AM, an authentic Philippine breakfast will also be offered, and the Bar is where passengers can enjoy a wide selection of tapas, desserts, freshly blended cocktails and a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
PS. Is there Haagen-Dazs?
Makes me wonder what the bathrooms look like.
Now there’s another reason to fly Cathay Pacific.

My birthday 2015

It’s not my thing to celebrate my birthday every year, but I’m getting old and I can afford to throw a party now. Sort of like my Dad; he celebrates every year. So maybe I get that from him.
I wasn’t supposed to celebrate this year. I was 50-50 on pushing through, but sort of last minute, I decided to go ahead and just do it.
But I didn’t want to spend as much as I did last year. That meant scaling down the party and inviting less people (sorry!!).
I didn’t have time to hire Saga Events, I just planned with three people: my friends Melvin Mojica, Yodel Pe, and Anthony Prudencio.
In planning a party, you start with a theme. I wanted to have airplane food, sort of like this.
I thought it would be fun to serve airplane food

Cathay Pacific Meal

So I ordered rush invitations online


I had a couple of meetings at Lusso with Anthony Prudencio to talk about the food.
It was supposed to be at Lusso, but I felt it would be be cramped, so we moved it to Whitespace instead (thank you for you kindness, Cris Villonco and staff).
The weather cooperated (no thunderstorm), though it was a bit warm inside the venue. They could add another aircon to the foyer.
From the outside, you could see the space was illuminated in KLM blue


And this is how it looked when guests arrived. There’s your inflight movie

Dinner setup

What’s a party without the drama?



My birthday balloons

Melvin hired a wonderful DJ, Chie Castañeda, who was probably a kid in the ’80s, but totally gets the music mixed with Burt Bacharach and other retro tunes.

Chie Castañeda

This was Melvin, me and Chie before the guests arrived. The outfit is from Dover Street Market Ginza

Melvin Mojica, Cecile van Straten, Chie Castañeda

There’s the satellite bar

MIni bar

A pizza oven churned out freshly baked flat bread for arriving guests


This is the guy who paid for the party, hehe


First to arrive: Patty Betita, Jeroen van Straten, Joris Spanhoff, Gerome Vizmanos

Patty, Jeroen, Joris, Gerome

Nikki Luna and Mikee Carrion

Nikki & Mikee Carrion

CJ Cruz, Rita Nazareno, Grace Velasco, Kevin Ching

CJ, Rita, Grace, Kevin

Denise Peralta, Mikko Sison, Tata Montilla

Denise, Mikko, Tata

Patrice Diaz, Patty Betita, Grace Velasco, Tina Tagle

Patrice, Patty, Grace, Tina

CJ Cruz and JP Singson

CJ Cruz and JP Singson

Behind the scenes, Margarita Forés’s team was busy plating (that’s Anna Lopez and Anthony Prudencio)

Behind the scenes

And they’re good to go

Food trays

With Margarita’s team, you get first class service

Behind the scenes

And dinner was served


Yodel Pe designed the logo. First course was dinner rolls, truffle pasta, and Caesar salad

Dinner is served

Can’t help but Instagram it

JP Singson

Second course was surf and turf: pan-roasted sea bass in a box with Lusso’s Entrecote Bearnaise, Malagos goat cheese potato torte, and buttered rice

Dinner is served

And for dessert there was creme brulee, caramel cupcake, lychee sorbet and customized Machiavelli chocolate in salted caramel

Dinner is served

My siblings played pusoy dos

Pusoy dos

Penny Ong and Rita Nazareno had some catching up to do

Penny, Rita, Grace

To be honest, I was not prepared for the cake that appeared. This has to be Anthony’s idea

Behind the scenes

I wished that Manny Pacquiao would win…

Blowing the candle

Later that night, Fumio Onishi took over the DJ booth

Fumio and Melvin

While Ryan and Garovs Vergara milled outside

Ryan and Garovs

My people: CJ Cruz, Jujiin Samonte and JP Singson

CJ Cruz, Jujiin Samonte, JP Singson

The highlight of my evening had to be Jujiin’s Comme des Garçons Mexican cowboy boots

Jujiin's shoes

Thanks to all for a wonderful evening, including those who worked behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes

And thank you Anthony Prudencio and Luther Abcede for the photos :)

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