Why I don’t pressure my kids to get the highest grades
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I graduated at the top of my kindergarten class during the ’70s. I got a gold medal—just once, and then no more.
From a promising bright student, I became an average, mediocre student—although in all my years, I had only failed two subjects: Physics, where the teacher brought my 75 grade to 74 after I cracked a joke during class. And CMT (military training) after I cracked a joke concerning a military officer’s sword.
Truthfully, my jokes have gotten me so much trouble, I wish I didn’t joke so much.
In the end I did graduate with two degrees—in Journalism and Fashion Design. I like to think I didn’t end up so bad.

My student ID

In contrast, my Dutch husband Jeroen also didn’t do well in school but he was a happy kid. After school he would play Tarzan with his friends, climb trees, and fall in the mud. His mother was an angel who didn’t freak out seeing mud on the floor, or even when Jeroen fell from a tree and broke his arm (she was a nurse, after all).
At a very young age Jeroen knew he wanted to work with his hands and food. At first he wanted to be a lettuce farmer, but upon the encouragement of his parents, he became a chef.

Silveren Spiegel, 1995

Since both of us didn’t do well scholastically, we don’t pressure our kids to be the best in class.
In the beginning, Ben and Markus brought home high grades and honors, but as they grew older, the grades became average, sometimes barely passing. None of them—not even Christian—has ever flunked a subject and I thank God. Because after waking up early to beat the traffic, hours of school and tutor after that, all I want for them is to relax and feel at home.

Ben's graduation

How I wish they would hit the shower as soon as they get home, stinky and filthy from a day in school, but all they want to do is lie down and watch their iPads.
Video games are allowed only on weekends.
I really hate it when they’re given homework that need help from their parents, because even though I consider myself a hands-on parent, I am done with school. I don’t want to do my kids’ homework.
How I wish they had no homework at all.

My husband didn’t have homework but he had a stress-free childhood. And now he is the head of a company that employs hundreds. He didn’t end up bad at all.
So I’m sharing this Michael Moore video in hope that schools in Manila would take notice.
Homework isn’t all that. It’s about happy children, happy families, happy homes—which is, in the end, what really matter.

Forget Carrot Man. Meet the cleaner looking Muji Man
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When I first went to Rome as a teenager, my jaw dropped at the number of good-looking men on the street. I’m not talking about actors or models. I’m talking about ordinary people like newspaper boys and cops.
Italy has so many good-looking men, this is what a priest looks like. Note: this is a real priest featured in Calendaria Romano.

Roman priest

The same thing happens in New York. I can’t tell you how many good-looking men I spotted within five minutes standing outside the MoMA store.
Now the Philippines is a different story. While we have produced three Miss Universes, finding a cute guy on a regular day is next to impossible unless the Brapanese model imports are having a go-see at Greenbelt 5. (sorry!)

This explains the hysteria behind Carrot Man.
Last February, cake decorator and business owner Edwina Bandong was traveling from Benguet to Sagada, when she and her friends spotted carrot farmers on the road.
Among them—a dusky young man with long hair, dimples, wearing a soiled grey hoodie.
Her friend urged her to photograph him, which she posted on Facebook.

Carrot Man

The photos went viral. They called him Carrot Man.
Real name: Jeyrick Sigmaton.

Carrot Man

Some people—including a Korean TV show—compared his looks with Korean stars like Lee Min Ho.

Carrot Man

Soon he was all over the Internet and television.
He has appeared on TV shows like Sunday Pinasaya and Bubble Gang.
After an extreme makeover, he became an endorser of a local clothing brand.

Carrot Man

In a word: Afraid.
While I’m happy this kid can make much more money in showbiz than a lifetime of carrot farming, I’m afraid it will be a short-lived fantasy for Jeyrick.
I mean there are only a few roles he could possibly play with credibility:

1) Local version of Jungle Book

Jungle Book

2) Remake of The Son of Tarzan

Son of Tarzan

3) Or if he can do bold, Machete III


Carrot Man is not my type. I am really afraid!!
Now Muji Man is another story.
I was at Meal Muji in Tokyo last week to buy soft cream for me and Christian, when I spotted this cute cashier with gorgeous eyes.

Muji man

I suddenly forgot I am a mother of three. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
It was difficult to take stealth photos but I was able to do so with the help of my sons. (It made me miss my sister Ana who usually takes the stealth photos.)

Muji man

Don’t worry, my boys already know their mother is crazy.
So if you’re in the Yurakucho area, drop by the Muji flagship store next to the giantLoft.
Order soft cream, and don’t forget to look for Muji Man.

Muji man

Mark Nicdao and BJ Pascual shoot ad campaigns using Samsung phones
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As a blogger, I never leave home without a camera. I don’t feel complete without one, especially when I’m traveling. Now that camera phones have been invented, it’s a good think I’ll always have a backup whenever my camera’s battery dies unexpectedly.
Camera phones have improved so much that the pictures they take are good enough for blogging.

I’ve been a Samsung phone user ever since the first Galaxy Note was introduced. Right now I carry two Samsungs—a Note 4 and an S6 Edge Plus.
The most recent Samsung phone to come out is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, which they recently launched at the Green Sun Hotel.

Samsung event at Green Sun

What sets it aside from all other camera phones is its ability to take great pictures in the dark and underwater. Plus, you can use it with the Samsung Gear VR.

Samsung S7 and Edge

To prove its versatility, Samsung Philippines called on two of the country’s top fashion photographers to create ad campaigns using only a camera phone.
To demonstrate its lowlight capability, BJ Pascual photographed Georgina Wilson in a Patrick Nagel-inspired set and the theme “Own The Night”.

Georgina Wilson in Own the Night by BJ Pascual_1
Georgina Wilson owns the night

Patrick Nagel
Art by Patrick Nagel

BJ Pascual
BJ Pascual

Mark Nicdao tested the phone’s underwater capacity by shooting Solenn Heussaff underwater with the theme “Into The Blue.”

Solenn Heussaff in Into The Blue by Mark Nicdao_1
Solenn Heussaff: Into The Blue

Solenn Heussaff in Into The Blue by Mark Nicdao_6

“I was both hesitant and thrilled when I was first offered the project,” said Mark. “First, I haven’t done an underwater shoot, and second, I’ve never done a fashion shoot with just a smartphone. Combining the both was a real challenge.”

Mark Nicdao
Mark Nicdao

With these awe-inspiring stunts, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has make us rethink what a phone can do.
To know more about the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, click HERE.

Are checkered shirts a thing in Davao?
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When Erap was President, I remember everyone in his inner circle wearing jackets. I mean jackets were his thing.

Erap in jacket
Erap in jacket
Erap in jacket

As an avid Duterte watcher, I couldn’t help but notice the incoming President’s preference for checkered shirts.

Duterte in checks
Duterte in checks
Duterte in checks
Duterte in checks
Duterte in checks

I also noticed that his spokesperson Peter Laviña often wears checkered shirts.

Peter Laviña in checks
Peter Laviña in checks

Which led me to wonder: Are checkered shirts a thing in Davao???
Luckily, my friend Grace has Davao friends who explained:
“Checkered shirts are really a thing in Davao—preferably in red. My dad has lots. I think it’s because of all the Wrangler overruns sold in Gaisano. It’s a cowboy thing. Pag formal, naka tuck-in yung checkered shirt. Wearing a red checkered shirt in Davao means ‘This is a formal engagement!'”

So I guess change is coming to Malacañang. Instead of yellow gowns and barong Tagalogs, will we be seeing more checks at the Palace?
Bongbong and Chiz wouldn’t mind—just in case they are invited.

Bongbong in checks
Chiz in checks
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