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Stella Abrera in Manila to perform with American Ballet Theatre
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Filipino-American Stella Abrera, prima ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre, will perform with the top eight dancers of the company at the Maybank stage, Bonifacio Global City on April 5, 6 and 7.
The three nights of dance, music and art are for the benefit of the dance scholarship program of CENTEX (Center of Excellence in Public Education), a subsidiary of the Ayala Foundation.

Stella Abrera, Photo Credit: Sarah Kehoe, courtesy of Capezio
Stella Abrera

Abrera, who made her Manila debut in 2014 in Ballet Philippines’ production of “Giselle,” will be joined onstage by Isabella Boylston, Blaine Hoven, Roman Zhurbin, Gillian Murphy, Jose Sebastian, Catherine Hurlin, Arron Scott and Joowon Ahn.

The show, titled “An Intimate Evening with Stella Abrera and the American Ballet Stars,” will feature music from history’s greatest composers.

Isabella Boylston, an ABT principal since 2014 and soloist since 2011, and Blaine Hoven, a recipient of the 2008 Princess Grace Award as well as the prestigious Chris Hellman Dance Award, take on John Philip Sousa’s Stars & Stripes (pas de deux).

Isabella Boylston, Photo Credit: Erin Baiano
Isabella Boylston

Blaine Hoven
Blaine Hoven

Roman Zhurbin, a Russian ballet dancer who trained under Michelle Mathesius, Joey Smith, Michele Benash and Eddie Shelman, joins Abrera to perform the concerto by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Roman Zhurbin, Photo Credit: Rosalie O'Connor
Roman Zhurbin

Johan Strauss II’s Bier Halle comes to life through the powerful artistry of Gillian Murphy and Jose Sebastian.
Murphy was awarded the Prix de Lausanne Espoir, as well as the Princess Grace Foundation Award.
Sebastian started his professional dance career at age eight. He trained under Fabrice Herrult and Olga Kostritzky.

Gillian Murphy
Gillian Murphy

In another number, Abrera performs with Korean ballet dancer Joo Woon Anh, who began his formal training in 2006 at Y.J. Ballet People Academy and Sun Hwa Art School. Abrera and Anh will perform a romantic excerpt from Romeo and Juliet as choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan.

Joowon Ahn
Joo Woon Anh

Catherine Hurlin, the 2007 Youth American Grand Prix NYC Final’s Hope Awardee, and Arron Scott, a soloist since 2015 and an ABT dancer since 2003, are featured in Flames of Paris. This will be followed by “On the Water” with Gillian Murphy and Blaine Hoven.

Catherine Hurlin in Swan Lake, Photo Credit: Gene Schiavone
Catherine Hurlin

Arron Scott, Photo Credit: Jade Young
Arron Scott

For the finale, the talented roster of award-winning dancers gathers for a tribute to Don Quixote. They will be joined by Steps scholars from the CENTEX Scholarship Dance Program.

“We’re so grateful and honored to perform for Filipino audiences, and we cannot wait to share with you the special numbers we have lined up for you for the two evenings,” said Abrera. “We do invite everyone to celebrate arts, culture and the love of ballet.”

An Intimate Evening with Stella Abrera and American Ballet Stars is co-presented by Ayala Group of Companies and Patek Philippe with the support of The Aivee Group, Distinqt and Nespresso. The shows are co-sponsored by Ayala Corp., Ayala Land Inc., Bank of the Philippine Islands, Globe Telecom, AirSWIFT, Raffles Makati, Seda Hotels, El Nido Resorts and Steps Dance Studio.

Tickets to the April 5 and 6 shows are sold out but you can still catch this once-in-a-lifetime ballet event on April 7.

For more information, visit ayalafoundation.org.

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WATCH: Diesel opens playful DEISEL pop-up on New York’s Canal Street
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Diesel secretly opened a fake-looking pop-up store called DEISEL on NYC’s Canal Street in time for New York Fashion Week last month.
Canal Street in New York’s Chinatown is the place in New York City to buy fake handbags, wallets, perfumes and watches.
The pop-up was very far from Fifth Avenue and the other fashion destinations, and was right in the middle of New York City’s most famed counterfeit fashion destination.
The unsuspecting shoppers probably did not realize then, but what they shopped for were actually one-of-a kind pieces specially crafted by Diesel’s design team disguised with fake Deisel branding.

DEISEL COLLECTION_MODELS SHOTS (17)
DEISEL COLLECTION_MODELS SHOTS (15)
DEISEL COLLECTION_MODELS SHOTS (9)
DEISEL COLLECTION_MODELS SHOTS (7)

The pop-up played into the modern viewpoint of logos as wearable status symbols.
The unsuspecting but lucky shoppers got to snag Deisel pieces, which are likely to become collectors’ items.
A quick check on eBay reveals only a couple items being sold at $170.

The Canal Street store experiment was caught in a video that celebrates the infatuation for designers’ goods at discounted deals.
Publicis New York, in collaboration with Publicis Italy, was behind this playful and cheeky pop-up.

In the Philippines, Diesel is exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists Inc., and is located at Bonifacio High Street Central, Greenbelt 3, and Power Plant Mall.

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Mi Authorized Reseller opens in Trinoma
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When Mi Philippines, the Xiaomi Authorized Reseller in the country, opened at the fourth level of Trinoma Mall in Quezon City, I was really shocked surprised to see long lines leading to the store.
I don’t normally do mornings, but I had to be there at 10 AM because the owner of this Mi store is my dad’s friend, and my friend too. It turns out it many of those in line had been there since 5 AM!

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma
Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma
Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma
Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma
Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma
Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma
Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma

Xiaomi is popular Chinese brand of cellphones and mobile accessories.
When a store is operated by the company, it is called Mi Store. If it is operated by a global partner, it is called the Authorized Mi Store (the signage will state Mi Authorized Reseller).

“We announced the event on Facebook. Xiaomi has a lot of fans in the Philippines,” said Mi Philippines brand manager Joyce Borlagdan.
It’s not that surprising, because when the Xiaomi Mi3 phone was first offered on Lazada Philippines, 3,000 units were sold in two hours.

The Trinoma store isn’t that big at 108 square meters but it’s not short on merchandise.
Mi Philippines doesn’t just sell mobile phones accessories like chargers, power banks, headphones and many others.
“We are a lifestyle store that carries well priced gadgets and other items,” said Borlagdan.
“The company’s business model is that it partners with other brands and companies. For instance, our lights comes from a well known manufacturer except that we offer it at a lower price,” she added.

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma
Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma
Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma

The company’s philosophy is “Innovation for Everyone” because inside the Mi store, you’ll see everything from gadgets to towels and suitcases.
Aside from smartphones, laptops and mobile accessories, Mi also carries other tech and non tech items such as towels, luggage, smart kettles, electric bikes, air purifiers, routers, rice cookers, an electric kick scooter, backpacks, shoes, web cameras, dash cameras and even a robot vacuum cleaner.

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma

Seeing the lines of people, I wondered if the Mi store could accommodate all the shoppers. Luckily they had trucks on standby that day so that the store would be fully stocked no matter how many people shopped.

The Xiaomi Redmi 4A is the most affordable Android-powered smartphone at the store.
The 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM version is priced at P4,795 and the one with 2GB RAM and a larger 32GB onboard storage is P5,350. Each handset has a 5-inch HD IPS display, 13 MP rear cam, 5MP front shooter, 3,120mAh battery pack and Quad Core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor.

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma

The Redmi 4A has been described as an attractive option for an entry-level phone.

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma

The most expensive phone at the Mi store right now is the Mi Mix, which is priced at P25,500.
It has an edge-to-edge 6.4-inch Full HD AMOLED panel, a 16MP rear camera, 5MP selfie camera, Snapdragon 821 processor, 6GB RAM and 256GB storage. The phone has received good reviews for its design and performance.

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma
Celebrity guests Charlene Gonzalez, Rowell Santiago, and Aga Muhlach visit the store opening

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma
L-R: Kai Javier, Terence Chua, Manuel Ormoc, Winston Chua, Crispin Chua, Dr. Menguita Padilla, Manuel Zamora Jr, Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez and Tony Lin

Xiao Mi opening at Trinoma
L-R: Sebastian Chua of Grimalkin Corp. with celebrities Aga Muhlach, Rowell Santiago and Charlene Muhlach

This March 17, the Mi Authorized Reseller flagship store will open at SM Megamall’s Cyberzone, and possibly a third in SM Mall of Asia soon.
For more information about Mi Philippines, go to

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Zacarias 1925 + Garapata launch special collaboration
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If you go out a lot in Manila’s fashion, art, and club scene, you’re bound to bump into Dex Fernandez, the interdisciplinary artist who created the iconic Garapata or fictional character inspired by fleas Dex remembers from his childhood.

Dex Fernandez and Garapata

You can spot Dex’s garapatas on tote bags, stickers, even the facade of Cubao’s underground club Today x Future.

Today x Future

Yesterday marked a milestone in Garapata’s history as it launched a very special collaboration with Rita Nazareno of Zacarias 1925, known for artsy handwoven bags.

Zacarias 1925 x Garapata

The collaboration was a long time coming, said Rita, who is Artistic Director of Zacarias 1925.
“Dex and I have been bumping into each other at shows around town in the last few years and have always said we should do something together. Last year, we finally set a date for him to visit the workshop. He came and met our fantastic weavers, and we started working on some things right there and then,” Rita said.

Zacarias 1925 x Garapata

The Zacarias 1925 + Garapata collaboration consists of numbered limited edition pieces: there are three bag designs and four objects. Each design only has 10 pieces. Plus, there’s a unique a six-foot woven Garapata desk.

Zacarias 1925 x Garapata

The bags are called Cylinder Zacarapata, Bucket Zacarapata, and Payat Portfolio Zacarapata. Each one costs Php 18,000.

2018-03-02_06-54-27

The four objects are Bola Bola Zacarapata (Php 24,000), Pyramid Zacarapata (Php 18,000), Sheep Zacarapata (Php 18,000) and Loaf Bread Zacarapata (Php 18,000).

Zacarias 1925 x Garapata

The Gigante Zacarapata is a one-of-a-kind standalone art piece/desk is priced at Php 280,000.

Zacarias 1925 x Garapata
Zacarias 1925 x Garapata

“I think there is a certain wit in what we both do and that worked well together,” Rita said.
The collection is available at Aphro, The Alley at Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati City.

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Nespresso opens first boutique in the Philippines
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I’m not a coffee drinker but when I first saw the Nespresso boutique at the IFC in Hong Kong in 2011, I really wish I did.
Last September, Nespresso Philippines gifted me with my own machine, which I opened very recently. It makes me happy to have one in the house for my friends.
I quickly bought a transparent case shaped like a Nespresso capsule because presentation is everything.

Nespresso

When Nespresso formally opened its first legit boutique at the Power Plant Mall this month, what my friend Grace and I wanted to know was whether Nespresso global ambassador George Clooney would make an appearance.
Well, not exactly, but he at least appears on the store front.

Nespresso at Power Plant Mall

The opening of the boutique in the Philippines is the latest of its new openings in Asia, which now has a total of nine markets.
Occupying a 140 square-meter space, the new Nespresso boutique highlights a wide range of coffee beans from around the world.

Nespresso at Power Plant Mall

“We are delighted to expand and reinforce our partnership with Novateur (the company that brought Nespresso to our shores) in B2C (Business to Consumer), while accelerating the existing OOH(Out of Home) business. We look forward to sharing more inspiring Nespresso coffee moments with coffee enthusiasts in Philippines in home and out of home,” said Renaud Tinel, Nespresso-Head of Asia, during his welcoming remarks.

Nespresso Head of Asia Renaud Tinel
Nespresso Head of Asia Renaud Tinel

The boutique has dark wood interiors. There are separate Tasting Area, Machine Gallery and Accessories Collection. The colorful Coffee Wall of boxed capsules—a global design feature—is very Instagrammable.

Nespresso at Power Plant Mall

Nespresso at Power Plant Mall

“Nespresso speaks of passion, premium quality and innovation, and is a highly regarded global brand. In the past, Filipinos could only enjoy Nespresso on their trips abroad. But now we bring your favorite coffee closer to you,” said Patrick Pesengco, Managing Director of Novateur Coffee Concepts Inc. “Through this boutique, we hope to introduce you to a world of unique coffee experiences.”

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L-R: Power Plant Mall Senior Leasing Manager Tin Coqueiro, Novateur Coffee Concepts Managing Director Patrick Pesengco, Nespresso Head of Asia Renaud Tinel, Nestle Philippines CEO Jacque Reber and Swiss Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Mathias Domenig

Aside from Nespresso’s top-of-the line coffee machines and premium coffee collection, coffee drinkers and Nespresso fans can go to the Tasting Bar where they can try the different Nespresso coffee varieties and recipes. There are baristas to help shoppers choose which among the 24 Nespresso Grand Crus to get.
“There’s a whole range of options for different preferences, moods and tastes,” said Tinel.

Nespresso at Power Plant Mall

Nespresso at Power Plant Mall

Also present during the launch were Nespresso officials, including Regional Head of B2C Commercial Lai Ching Kok, Asia E-Commerce Director Aurelie Batmalle, Regional Marketing Manager Eliz Tan, Regional Sales and Marketing Executive Pei Hua Koh and Regional TQM Manager Simon Gigandet.
They were joined by media guests and Nespresso lovers, like actress Angel Aquino

Angel Aquino

Jonty Cruz, Chief Editor of Rogue Magazine

Jonty Cruz

Novateur Coffee Concepts Marketing Head Melissa Valdez and Nespresso fan, celebrity Marc Nelson

Novateur Coffee Concepts Marketing Head Melissa Valdez and Marc Nelson

If you’re wondering what happens to the aluminum Nespresso capsules, they are recycled. Nespresso’s global program encourages customers to return used capsules to the boutique. The coffee grounds are reused for fertilizer while the old capsules smelted and repackaged.
The Nespresso Boutique is located at R1, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati City.
You may also order your capsules online from www.nespresso.ph with free delivery when you spend Php3,000 or more.

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