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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.

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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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VATOS Korean/Mexican-American restaurant opens in BGC
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When Vatos Urban Tacos first opened in Seoul in 2011, the lines were so long that the wait sometimes lasted for three hours.
Even CNN called Vatos “a near miracle” in Seoul because of the perfect combination of Korean and Mexican cuisine. The restaurant has three locations in Korea now and two in Singapore.
Vatos finally opened last January 2018 in the Philippines, at the Net Park Building, 5th Avenue in BGC.

Vatos BGC

My sister Diday is the Philippine business partner of Vatos. She and her husband Leo discovered the restaurant in Singapore, where two of their children live.
We sat down with Shinhan Sid Kim, one of three Korean-American co-founders of Vatos, who explained how Korean-Mexican fusion isn’t actually strange and how the two cuisines are similar.

Vatos BGC

“I grew up in California where my father owned an appliance store and he had some Mexican employees. My father would bring his Korean lunch prepared by my mother and the employees would bring their lunch, too. They’d share their lunches. I grew up eating kimchi with almost anything, including tacos, burritos and other Mexican food.”

Copy of Vatos food table

Koreans and Mexicans both like wrapping their food. Koreans eat meat wrapped in vegetable leaves while Mexicans have their tortillas and taco shells. Both nationalities love chilies.

Lunch Set table

Vatos’ first location was a dilapidated building in Itaewon, Seoul. The interiors were hip and trendy, with lighting coming from different angles—but nothing too bright or too white. The walls are red bricks that seem to be falling apart. The tables have reworked faucets on the side where you can also hang your bags.

Vatos BGC

“Vatos has been designed as a place where people can eat, drink and chill. The interior have to be awesome but the food has to be even more so, because people won’t come back if the place is cool but the food is bad,” said Sid.
The look for Vatos’ interiors is the same, whether you’re in Seoul, Singapore or Manila.

Vatos BGC

Among their bestsellers are Carnitas Kimchi Fries, or fries covered with braised pork carnitas, sautéed kimchi and melted cheese with sour cream, hot sauce, cilantro and onions as toppings.
Sid said the dish was inspired by two Korean dishes—Gamja-tang or pork spine stew, which is cooked with potatoes, and samgyeopsal or grilled pork belly, which is enjoyed with kimchi.

kimchi carnitas fries

The Honey Tequila Chicken Wings is Vatos’ version of the popular Korean fried chicken. Chicken wings are coated in sweet and spicy tequila sauce and served with battered jalapenos and blue cheese dipping sauce.

Copy of honey tequila chicken wings

The Wagyu Galbi Short Rib Tacos are marinated short ribs, ssamjang aioli, Asian slaw, cilantro, chopped onions and roasted sesame seeds.
Vatos has a full menu that includes tacos, quesadillas, salads, burritos and burrito bowls. They even have a dessert of Nutella Tacos topped with vanilla ice cream.

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Definitely worth mentioning are the drinks and cocktails at Vatos.
There are Vatos’ Ritas (they’re served with an inverted beer bottle), Authentic Margaritas, Frozen Margaritas, Makgeolitas (tequila with makgeolli, a rice wine) and local and imported beers.

Vatos drinks

Vatos is not a bar nor is it only a restaurant.
“One thing about Vatos is that it caters to all kinds of people. We get young people, families with children and even grandparents,” said Sid.

Vatos Urban Tacos is at Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
For more information, call 246-9069 local 186 or follow them on Instagram @vatosphilippines.

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LOOK: Kardashian and Jenner sisters in new Calvin Klein Underwear global ad campain
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Hey! I’m back!!
Happy new year! Sorry for the absence. I’ve been going through A LOT. But doing just fine. I’m feeling very positive about 2018 for a change.
In 2017 my biggest achievement was to lose 22 lbs. from August to December.
I’ve had to give away much of my wardrobe (from medium-large, I am now a small-XS).
I’ve had to buy new clothes, including underwear.
I’ve been obsessing with underwear because I prefer boyish underwear. That’s why thought this was worth publishing. I’m not a fan of the Kardashian lifestyle and shows, but I really love the new Calvin Klein underwear.

calvin klein underwear

I’m a huge fan of typography in fashion, so I appreciate the Calvin Klein logo on the elastic bands.

calvin klein underwear
calvin klein underwear

Of course the Internet is going crazy because Kylie Jenner’s tummy is covered in a blanket, which fuels the rumor that she is pregnant

calvin klein underwear

I’m loving the black underwear though

calvin klein underwear

Shot by photographer Willy Vanderperre, the new campaign features sisters Kim Kardashian West, Khloé Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner.
The styles worn by the siblings are available in stores and online now, including CALVIN KLEIN Modern Cotton and the new CALVIN KLEIN Body range.

In the Philippines, Calvin Klein Underwear and Calvin Klein Jeans are exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists, Inc., a member of SSI Group, Inc.
Find Calvin Klein Underwear at Greenbelt 5, Shangri La Plaza, Robinsons Midtown, Bonifacio High Street, Rustan’s Makati, and Alabang Town Center.
Calvin Klein Jeans is located at Greenbelt 5, Shangri La Mall, Robinsons Midtown, SM Mall of Asia, Trinoma, and SM Megamall.

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