Birthdays and blessings, Part 3

As my dad said, all you need in life are five good friends.
While planning my party, I realised how many people I wanted to thank for their kindness, their time and generosity, and for being good to me and my family.
First to arrive were the DJs: Diego Mapa, whom I have known since 1990 when he was ‘this high’, and Melvin Mojica who has been my friend and collaborator since 1995.


The two older boys waited for the party to start with their iPads

The boys waiting for party to start
The boys waiting for party to start

While Christian had a blast with The Cure

Traffic was really bad, but the guests finally arrived after 8 (what a relief). Promise, there was no dress code, but almost everyone really came in black, white, or blue

Guests arrive

My sister Ana (and her boyfriend Carlos) came early and ruined my eye makeup with her letter and present


Jeroen and his mates: (L-R) Darren McDermott, Gerome Vizmanos (who was my classmate at Parsons NY), and Joris Spanhoff (a.k.a. the BFF)


Me wearing “The Dress” — with Poma Malantic, Kevin Ching, Janina Dizon Hoschka, and Dennis Robles

Poma, Cecile, Kevin, Jenny, Dennis

Friends from the Grocery days: Yodel Pe (who did my invitation), Jo Ann Bitagcol (our muse), and Fren Te (who managed Defect)


Newly weds Mikee Carrion and Nikki Luna

Mikee and Nikki Carreon

Hayden Kho was popular with the girls: Kerin Ching, childhood friend Lia Anonas, Rem de Vera (Kaladkarin of the Year awardee), Chiyo Tagami (who cuts my hair), Harriet van den Borne


Rita Nazareno

Rita Nazareno

Takatoshi Kimachi, who designed the Pepper Lunch and Yakitori One stores

Takatoshi Kimachi

Grace Velasco—proof that great friends can be met online

Grace Velasco

Friends from the ’90s: Tata Montilla, Melvin Mojica, Fren Te, Princesse Fernandez, and my sister-in-law, Charmaine Zamora


My cousins: RJ Galang, his wife Ana, and Robin Galang


Stop the monopod! More collaborators: Melvin Mojica, Garovs and Ryan Vergara, Kellyn See and Rex Gapuz, Tinay Villamiel


Dennis Robles, Jenny, Lucille and Candy Dizon, JP Singson


Melvin Mojica, Kerin Ching and Nicolo Manahan


Jeroen with my idol Lorraine Mabasa and her husband Johnby


Friends from the industry: Alexei Villaraza and Dinna Vasquez

Alexei Villaraza and Dinna Vasquez

Patty Betita

Patty Betita

Kissa McDermott and Kevin Ching


Feeling FIFA: Fumio Onishi


Jo Ann Bitagcol (left) Ginggay dela Merced (right)


Jasper van den Borne, Gerome Vizmanos, Lia Anonas, Van Porciuncula (who takes care of this site), Rem de Vera, Harriet van den Borne


Drea Zuleta, Ana Galang, Grace Velasco, Erika Tatad


Dancing to Hall & Oates: Judd Figueres and Melvin Mojica


Choosing dessert: Christian with Lia Anonas


Jay Diaz, Fumio Onishi, Harriet van den Borne, Gerome Vizmanos, Joris Spanhoff, Patrice Diaz, Jeroen van Straten, and Patty Betita photobombed by Jo Ann Bitagcol


Not everyone is here though. Some of my friends were traveling and some of the guests weren’t photographed.
I don’t get to celebrate every year, so thank you, Jeroen, for my party and to everyone who was there!

Jeroen van Straten

Special thanks to Patrick Diokno for the photos :)


Birthdays and blessings, Part 2

When was I younger my dad told me, all you need in life are five good friends. If you can count the number of good friends you have with one hand, then you are rich.
When I was planning my birthday party I wanted to thank the people who have done good to me, my husband, and my children through the years. I tried to keep it small, but the number swelled to 70.
I wish I had the budget for 100! But I had to keep the number down because of the cost.
From one long table, it became two.

Table setting

I always get a warm fuzzy feeling from Margarita Forés’ food. We always get good service and the feeling after that the party was a success.

Table setting

Bawal ang chafing dish!!

Food by Margarita Forés

First, I wanted a pizza oven for freshly baked pizza on the spot.

Food by Margarita Forés

On the buffet were Spaghettini al Burro Pasta Flambé in Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel with a choice of toppings

Food by Margarita Forés
Food by Margarita Forés
Food by Margarita Forés
Food by Margarita Forés

Handmade Pappardelle with cream truffle mushroom paste

Food by Margarita Forés

Norwegian salmon baked in salt crust

Food by Margarita Forés

Batter-fried halibut fillet and chips in cones

Food by Margarita Forés

Grilled prime ribeye cooked on the spot and served on dul dul salt blocks

Food by Margarita Forés

Julienned wing beans

Food by Margarita Forés

Insalata de Cesare, tossed in a Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel

Food by Margarita Forés
Food by Margarita Forés

Cebu lechon, and more.

Food by Margarita Forés

Plus drinks and dessert station with Crepe Millefoglie and cakes by Mara de la Rama and Mrs. Yulo

Food by Margarita Forés
Food by Margarita Forés

Photos: Patrick Diokno

(To be continued)

How Geraldine Mapa’s work ended up in Time magazine

By Gian Cruz

A washi tape is a decorative Japanese tape that tons of crafters are obsessed with. Call it a fancy masking tape. We have no idea how the washi tape came about and suddenly became trendy. Washi tapes are used to decorate everything from scrapbooks to gift wrappers and tea cups.

Washi Tape

Washi tape isn’t something one would easily associate with portraits, but artist Geraldine (“Ge”) Mapa can tell us otherwise. Her very first washi tape project was in November 2013 for the Bloom Arts Festival.
It was comprised of three 18” X 18” acrylic sheets with the portraits of Garovs Vergara, Twiggy, and Andy Warhol.

Khismet with Twiggy in wash tape
Khismet Maralit with a portrait of Twiggy

Last May 2014, Heima home and lifestyle store invited Ge to do a live washi tape demo at their craft event, which led to the creation of Margot and Richie Tenenbaum on clipboards.

Wes Anderson_11_Margot and Richie

The event drew a lot of interest whether the artworks were for sale, which eventually led to Heima and Ge doing more portraits. So, for the 5th anniversary party of Heima, a Wes Anderson tribute was agreed upon, which led to Ge doing an additional ten more of Anderson’s characters, including Bill Murray in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Geraldine Mapa
Geraldine Mapa

Geraldine Mapa washi tape portraits

Meanwhile on Facebook, Ge Mapa got tagged by a friend about an exhibit of Bill Murray artworks, which was open to anyone in the world. Ge gave it a shot and submitted a photo of her work.
A week later, her artwork ended up in a Huffington Post article on the exhibit, but sadly not to her credit, so she contacted the curator and the Huffington Post.
The curator replied that the matter should be fixed, with the good news that her artwork was going to be part of the exhibit. On top of that, Ge also found out that Time magazine had made an inquiry about the piece.
And that’s how she ended up in Time.


The Bill Murray Art Show takes place on August 8, 2014 at Public Works in San Francisco, CA.
For more information, go to
To contact Ge Mapa, email her at

Special thanks to HEIMA for the photos :)

A MasterCard exclusively for online shopping

“Mommy, before there was Amazon, where did you shop?” my son asked me a few years ago.
“We went to the store,” I laughed.
The question made me realise how much online shopping had become part of our lives.
Amazon was the first online store I ever shopped from. In fact, this was my first order.

My first Amazon order

It was 1999, before I was married. I ordered a book and two VHS tapes.
Fifteen years later, while VHS tapes have become obsolete, online shopping has only gotten bigger.
Even though many global brands have been opening in Manila, I still prefer to buy things online for its convenience. No traffic and no “out of stock”.

Five years ago, not a lot of Filipinos shopped online. This has totally changed.
Last year, MasterCard made an Online Shopping Behavior Study of 14 Asia Pacific countries. They found that while the number of Filipinos that shopped online remained constant at 40.2% compared to 2012, those who made at least one purchase in the last three months grew by 2.6%.

Music downloads (41.4%) and app downloads (37%) were the Filipinos’ top online purchases.
They also spent for personal, educational and professional development websites (27.6%), travel (27.2%), computer software (26.8%), airlines (26.4%), home appliance and electronic products at (25.6%), fashion and beauty (24.2%), personal care and beauty care brands (21.6%).
Entertainment is also popular with purchases from movie theatres, restaurants, and food delivery service (at 22.6%).

The three considerations for online shopping were security of payment facility, price, and convenient payment methods.
Other factors included the reputation of the website or seller, delivery or shipping costs, speed of transaction, and a good exchange or return policy.

Mastercard online shopping

One card program that addresses online shoppers’ need for a convenient, secure and quick way to pay online is the MasterCard Virtual Card.
A MasterCard Virtual Card is a MasterCard account number that is issued to a MasterCard credit or debit cardholder.
This allows you to manage a separate card account number for Internet use only—and you limit credit line and amount of purchases.
You can provide family members with unique accounts for online purchases and track online and retail purchases separately.

Unlike a physical plastic credit, debit or prepaid card, the MasterCard Virtual Card will not be accepted for face-to-face purchases or at in-store card payment terminals.
This was designed to protect your primary credit or bank account details from identity thieves by not having to expose information while making payments online.

So convenient, you can even apply for a MasterCard Virtual Card online or through its partner banks:
Security Bank

One of the setbacks I’ve had with online shopping is that one of my main credit cards always flags down my online purchases as fraud. They decline the order and bug me on the phone at odd hours to check if I made an online purchase. By getting a MasterCard dedicated to online shopping, I can avoid this inconvenience. :)

Have tea with Kate Spade at Raffles Makati

Raffles Makati puts a stylish spin on afternoon tea with its Prêt-à-Portea series.
To launch the series, Raffles Makati teams up with Kate Spade New York and its latest collection this July 14 to September 14, 2014 at the Writers Bar—available daily from 2:30 to 5:30 PM.

Kate Spade New York Pret-A-Portea at Raffles Makati

Enjoy a three-course spread of savoury sandwiches, chocolate-chip scones, and sweets decorated in the brand’s signature colours, bag styles and prints.
Receive a special gift voucher from Kate Spade New York and enjoy the afternoon tea experience with a variety of premium teas or a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne.
The Kate Spade New York Prêt-à-Portea is good for two people for just Php 1500++.
Add Php 1,000++ to upgrade with a glass of Rosé Champagne.

For more information and reservations, call Raffles Makati at 555-9840, or email
Follow Raffles Makati on Facebook or Twitter.

What Glenda did

I didn’t sleep last Wednesday night. I swear.
I spent the night in bed watching TV shows while playing Free Fall and listening to scary sounds—from the wind howling, rain pouring, and metal doors slamming. So scary.
Power out at 3:30 AM. My husband woke up at 4 and wanted to go upstairs to the roof deck and turn on the generator. I stopped him because it might be dangerous. So we waited.
At 5 AM, the driver came up to turn on the generator by himself, then electricity came back on around 6 AM.
I still couldn’t sleep, even when the entire household was awake. Our helper Mariza told me to go to sleep, but I couldn’t.
My husband biked to the neighbour’s house to deliver a saw and took these photos.

Joeri cutting the tree in front of his house

Every time there’s a super typhoon a car gets crushed in our village. Best to park away from trees.

Vale Verde
Vale Verde

These were taken at the park

Vale Verde park
Vale Verde park
Vale Verde
Vale Verde
Vale Verde

Thank God, no serious damage at home, except for water leaking in a couple of windows.
I fell asleep at 5 PM and woke up at 9 PM, hungry. My husband and I drove to the nearest McDonald’s for a burger. Went home, slept at 3 AM and life is back to normal.

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