Archive for August, 2010

BALI Break!

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

I have a long love affair with Bali, Indonesia.  I try to get to visit at least once a year.  My dear friend Frank, lives in Jakarta and we plan this annual August escape to the island. There is so much to love about Bali.  There is truly something for everyone.  Each year that I visit, something new and exciting sprouts up and I am often left impressed and inspired and invigorated.

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I was in dire need of an escape and this trip came in a perfect time.  September and August are the best times to go to Bali because the weather is fantastic, like Christmas in Manila.  Clear cloudless skies and cool evenings.  I was really happy to be here.

 The view as we were about to land!   The Island of Bali is actually really quite large!

The view as we were about to land! The Island of Bali is actually really quite large!

The lunch box in Garuda air.  They served us beef rendang which was quite decent.

The lunch box in Garuda air. They served us beef rendang which was quite decent.

My next entries will  all be about my old favorites and new discoveries.   Nix and I planned this trip more than 3 months ago and was able to purchase a promo ticket on PAL for 190US$ to Jakarta !!!!   I love flying PAL!  I do hope and pray that they will be able to fix their problems. It would be so unfortunate if they collapse.

A bonanza of Batik greeted me in the airport!    The dizzying array of colors and shapes could lead to future collections.

A bonanza of Batik greeted me in the airport! The dizzying array of colors and shapes could lead to future collections.

We took a morning flight to Bali and stayed at the Residence Seminyak.  I love the location of the Villa as it is quite central.  I also think that value for money, it is one of the best deals in town.  We headed out for some lunch at one of my favorite Greek tavernas in the Seminyak area called Mykonos.  I love eating there as it is consistently good.  They have arguably the best lamb chops in town.  We tried to get tickets for the 10th year anniversary party in KUDETA  but we all thought that the 142US$ price tag for entry ( with out any drinks) was a bit much and turned our group off!  I can think of many, many things that I can spend 142US$ in Bali with.  LOL!

 This is our pool in our villa!

This is our pool in our villa!

Nix is a happy camper!

Nix is a happy camper!

My favorite Greek taverna in Bali.  Mykonos.  It is located along Jalan Laksmana.  Seminyak.

My favorite Greek taverna in Bali. Mykonos. It is located along Jalan Laksmana. Seminyak.

A beauiful Mojito!

A beauiful Mojito!

 A sweet sculpture in stone.

A sweet sculpture in stone.

 Some grilled squid and humus to start.

Some grilled squid and humus to start.

Yummy pork chops greek style!

Yummy pork chops greek style!

 The KUDETA bar, was all decked out for their 10th anniversary party.  The theme was Alice in wonderland.

The KUDETA bar, was all decked out for their 10th anniversary party. The theme was Alice in wonderland.

We missed the party, but had fun somewhere else that night. LOL

We missed the party, but had fun somewhere else that night. LOL

A local scene outside a temple

A local scene outside a temple

This entry is about what we did for the first 10 hours.  I wish that all my friends were with us!

This is our BALI group!   Oliver, Charina, Nix, Jed, Frank and Uri!

This is our BALI group! Oliver, Charina, Nix, Jed, Frank and Uri!

 Olivier, Charina & Nix posing away!

Olivier, Charina & Nix posing away!

HUGS!

RAJO!

FALL 2010: SCI-FI AFRICA!

Monday, August 16th, 2010
I am so excited to show you our mood board for our brand new collection which will be out in about  4 to 5 weeks!  This collection  is called SCI-FI AFRICA!!!
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These are our colors!  Very rich and dramatic!

These are our colors! Very rich and dramatic!

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Each time I do a collection, it revolves around a story and this time, my girl is from the African continent.  However, she gets transported 100 years into the future and this is where the collection is placed!  I tried to imagine how she would be able to blend her sensibilities with the modern aesthetic surrounding her.
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 I love NAOMI!  She was the muse in mind for this collection!

I love NAOMI! She was the muse in mind for this collection!

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The collection is really about PARADOXES!  I was trying to fuse several disparate ideas and come up with a collection with this ideology. Imagine mixing the Hi Tech and the Low tech.  The slow with the fast. The raw and the refined.  The hard with the soft.  This balance was constantly being achieved as we were all designing the collection.
 Lovely prints!

Lovely prints!

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At this point we’re almost done with our prototypes and wer’e now in the process of editing the collection and finding new ideas on how to merchandise this.  As usual, we’re going to renovate the store and come up with a brand new space in order to present our ideas clearly.
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I just wanted to share this with all of you.  I will definitely keep you all updated as to how we’re going to launch this new collection!  I am so excited because we’re really preparing for this one!
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HUGS!
RAJO!

Home Sweet Home!

Monday, August 16th, 2010
A few weeks ago our humble little flat was the subject of a photo shoot for one of my favorite magazines, TOWN & COUNTRY! NAKS!!!!  I really do not consider myself  town and country material but I was so flattered and honored that they asked to feature our tiny apartment!  Mind you the place is a one bedroom affair and is less than 100 square meters.
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Regardless of the limited space, I love my apartment and I love the fact that Nix and I constantly move things around and make the whole place cozy and warm.  Our place is a like a curio cabinet filled with mementos from our travels.  I like picking up doodads and strange objects from markets all over the world.  Nix has the unenviable task of editing this down and find some sort of order from all the trinkets we pick up.  This is no mean feat given the size of the unit.
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I took a few photos of how our flat looks now as I have a feeling that it will be changing again very soon!  LOL!  I actually love this flat as I have lived here for more than 7 years.  Next year, Nix and I will be moving to a new place because we seriously need more space and a spare room for friends who visit!  I am already too embarrassed to always give them an inflatable bed!  LOL!  I just want to share with this with all of you!
The main room is like organized chaos!  LOL!  It is filled with items from our travels and adventure.
The main room is like organized chaos! LOL! It is filled with items from our travels and adventure.
Nothing is nailed down as we move things around every few months.

Nothing is nailed down as we move things around every few months.

 The apartment used to be a fiery red but now it is this soothing green!

The apartment used to be a fiery red but now it is this soothing green!

 This is home sweet home!

This is home sweet home!

HUGS!
RAJO!

The Ateneo Art Awards!

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I recently had the chance to be at the ATENEO ART AWARDS! The competition is one of the most prestigious art competition in the land. I heard that this year’s batch was really spectacular. I accompanied my friend Malu Gamboa to the Shangri-la mall. We entered just minutes before the winners were announced. Talk about perfect timing! I swiftly moved around the fantastic exhibition. I am such a strong believer of the level of talent in the Philippines that I was really prepared to be blown away!

 The theme and title of the contest.

The theme and title of the contest.

Cool LCD screen.

Cool LCD screen.

MInutes before we arrived, they started to announce the winners!

MInutes before we arrived, they started to announce the winners!

After moving around the several artworks, I was not only blown away, I was moved and mesmerized! There were so many beautifully haunting works on display – each piece evoking a fresh voice and vision. I was also so happy that there were 3 finalists in the competition that have ties into fashion. Artists like Patty Eustaquio, who is also a fashion designer as well as superb artist. Micheline Syjuco was also a finalist and she is a very talented accessories designer too. Lastly, we have Leroy New who presented my favorite collection in last season’s Philippine fashion week. This merging of fashion and art is just a beautiful example of how fashion and art are seamlessly related.

 Lots of brand new and exciting art!

Lots of brand new and exciting art!

This is the work of Leroy New.   Very provocative.

This is the work of Leroy New. Very provocative.

More Leroy New!

More Leroy New!

 Kiri Dalena, installation.  Dark, eerie and hauntingly strange.

Kiri Dalena, installation. Dark, eerie and hauntingly strange.

 I loved this dramatic installation!

I loved this dramatic installation!

 Micheline Syjuco's work.  I like the usage of the Manton de Manila!

Micheline Syjuco's work. I like the usage of the Manton de Manila!

 Patty Eaustaquio's work.

Patty Eaustaquio's work.

 This is another of Patty's work.

This is another of Patty's work.

The winners of this years Ateneo Art Awards were: Paw Martinez, Leslie De Chavez and Mark Salvatus. Mark my words that we should be watching all of these winners as well as the rest of the finalists closely because they are the stars of the Philippine art landscape!

Kidlat de Guia's work was one of my favorites.

Kidlat de Guia's work was one of my favorites.

 Paw Martinez's work had this beautiful strangeness about it.  I loved it!

Paw Martinez's work had this beautiful strangeness about it. I loved it!

Sculpture's galore!

Sculpture's galore!

 I would love to have this sculpture in my house!

I would love to have this sculpture in my house!

Very cool!

Very cool!

I for one was just lucky to be there and I strongly suggest that you head to the Edsa Shangri-la mall and experience the talent of these brilliant artists.

Congratulations to the winners and to all the finalists! MABUHAY KAYO!

HUGS!
RAJO!

Thank you Pam Quinones!

Friday, August 13th, 2010
I love my  the Filipino habit of  the PASALUBONG!!!  LOL!  I just recently received a lovely  package filled with goodies from my super stylish friend Pam Quinones!  I got close to Pam during Project Runway season 2 where she served as stylist to all of us!  She is one of Manila’s most in demand stylist!  She recently arrived from a well deserved vacation/sabbatical!  She was so sweet to send me some yummy chocolates, magazines and a really nice perfume from Europe!  I just want to say SUPER THANK YOU!!!!
 I smiled when a saw this chic shopping bag in my office!

I smiled when a saw this chic shopping bag in my office!

My pasalubong came with a super touching note!

My pasalubong came with a super touching note!

Oooh!  I love the scent of this perfume!  Very FRESH!!!!!  Can't wait to try it!

Oooh! I love the scent of this perfume! Very FRESH!!!!! Can't wait to try it!

HUGS!
RAJO!

MOROSO!

Friday, August 13th, 2010
In a few weeks I will be previewing my new fall collection!  I will be doing this in the MOROSO showroom in Ortigas.  I paid the showroom a visit a few days ago and I fell in love with the place and the beautiful pieces that they have.  A lot of the furniture pieces there are already in museums and it was really exciting and inspiring just to be there.
I took a couple of photos just to show you where the preview will be!  I won’t tell you what i am up to yet because I want this to be exciting!  LOL!  However the spirit of the new collection can actually be seen already in the pieces that you see here!  So in the mean time, I leave you with these images.  I actually wanted to buy one or two items already but held back because I have nowhere to put them!  LOL!
 I loved the graphic walls!

I loved the graphic walls!

 This chair was a dream!

This chair was a dream!

Weaving detail!

Weaving detail!

Moroccan style ottomans.

Moroccan style ottomans.

 Super cool Sofas!

Super cool Sofas!

Nice detail on the lounge.

Nice detail on the lounge.

 I have seen this chaise lounge in a museum before.

I have seen this chaise lounge in a museum before.

HUGS!
RAJO!
MOROSO showroom
Lobby Burgundy Empire Tower
ADB Ave. Ortigas center
Pasig City, Metro Manila
tel. 02-4701089

VENUS RAJ!

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

I was asked by a leading broadsheet a few days ago to do a really cool task! What if I were to design the Philippine national costume and the evening  gown competition for our candidate, Venus Raj, in the upcoming Miss Universe competition!   I was like….OMG!!!!  Of course!!!!  The Miss Universe pageant is like my own personal SUPER BOWL, NBA FINALS, WORLD CUP and OLYMPICS all rolled into one!  LOL!!!!  Apart from the Academy awards, it is the only time that I allow myself to not go to work and camp in front of the TV and just really enjoy and relish the experience!
I am also very excited for our candidate this year because I really believe in my heart that she can win the coveted crown!   She is stunningly beautiful and has all the right elements that would make her a MISS UNIVERSE!

If given the chance to dress her up for the events of the competition these are the designs that I came up with.
1.   National Costume – I wanted to capture the ethnicity of the Pintados and mix it up with the exuberance and verve of the Ati-Ati han!  So I came up with a sheer body suit with a tattoo design and traced with jet black and gold beads and lots of crystals. I would then ask my super talented friend Arnel Papa to create massive layered cuffs for her in gold.  I would also ask him to do some major earrings in gold with onyx stones.  Then I would do a gold and black belt with black ostrich plumes!   She then will be carrying a gold lame’ and silk organza electric pleated overskirt that would playfully move as she walks on stage.

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2.   Evening Gown – I want Venus Raj to be in really pale, opalescent colors!  I am thinking a really pale blush pink or a really pale sky blue.  I want to do something ethereal.  I am suggesting something in silk chiffon with several layers.  I want her to look like a goddess when she walks the stage.  I do not want something typical of pageant gowns so I want it loose and fluid.  I designed 2 variations for this purpose.

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Evening long gown competion B003
My hopes and prayers are with Ms. Venus Raj as she competes!  I truly have only good feelings for her and I cannot wait to watch this year’s Ms. Universe pageant because I know she will do extremely well!

HUGS!
RAJO!

ROMULO CAFE

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

I have been really dying to try the ROMULO Cafe restaurant for a really long time now.  The thing is, the location just seems so inconvenient for a Makati folk like myself.  I really had to plan my visit carefully to brave and withstand an almost 2 hour traffic trek to get there.  I have been hearing glowing reviews about this place and I was really psyched and happy to have been finally able to go.

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The restaurant, I assume, used to be the Romulo residence.  I am actually not 100% sure.

The restaurant, I assume, used to be the Romulo residence. I am actually not 100% sure.

The occasion was a coming home party for one my “Ate’s”,  Jenny Zapanta.   Jenny is part of the famed Zapanta sisters, composed of Joanne, Judith & Joy.  We all grew up together.    Jenny was visiting from the States and I decided to gather everyone up for some a major catch up moment.  Since I knew that it would be a long car ride, we all drove together and had a great time chatting away in the car.

When we got to Romulo, the place was BUSY!    I liked the laid back attitude of the place and somehow, the interiors reminded me slightly of the Viceroy in Palm Springs.   We were soon escorted to our table.  It is advisable to make a reservation as this restaurant is super popular.  The room we were in was very lively with lots of families and friends enjoying their meals.  I noticed the wall with the photographs of Carlos P. Romulo with very famous people!  I was happy to see a photo of him with my Lolo Jose P. Laurel.  That wall was a really nice touch.

 The walls lined up with vintage photographs.

The walls lined up with vintage photographs.

 The patterned floors were also interesting.

The patterned floors were also interesting.

I immediately took charge of the ordering, since I have been researching about this restaurant for several months now, I kind of knew what I wanted to try.  I took a “photo record’ of each of our orders.  LOL!   We also had a bottle of their house red wine which went perfectly with the meal.

 We started out with some Pinoy Nachos.  It was just ok.  Some of the chips were soggy and makunat but the others were nice and crispy.

We started out with some Pinoy Nachos. It was just ok. Some of the chips were soggy and makunat but the others were nice and crispy.

The cheese tuna spread appetizer was good, everyone liked it.

The cheese tuna spread appetizer was good, everyone liked it.

The verdict?   ROMULO IS A WINNER!!!!!!   The food is really heartwarming, instantly bringing me memories of family dinners.  I love how they gave a slightly new twist to certain dishes but still retained its authenticity.   My personal favorites were the baby squid dish and their award winning Kare-Kare.   If not for the traffic I would be dining in Romulo weekly!  LOL!

IMG_4479  We had to order the prize winning KARE-KARE and it was PERFECTION!!!   I will brave more traffic jams just to have a taste of it again!  LOL!

IMG_4479 We had to order the prize winning KARE-KARE and it was PERFECTION!!! I will brave more traffic jams just to have a taste of it again! LOL!

The Chicken Galantina-Relleno was a classic, reminding me of how my Dad would serve this in his  home!

The Chicken Galantina-Relleno was a classic, reminding me of how my Dad would serve this in his home!

Sigarillas and Gata was also very good!

Sigarillas and Gata was also very good!

This was my favorite dish!  The baby squid with garlic!  Soft tender and just beautiful to eat.

This was my favorite dish! The baby squid with garlic! Soft tender and just beautiful to eat.

Boneless Crispy pata with bagoong relish.  A fresh take on a classic pinoy dish!  Tell me who can resist a perfectly crisp piece of pork?

Boneless Crispy pata with bagoong relish. A fresh take on a classic pinoy dish! Tell me who can resist a perfectly crisp piece of pork?

The evening was everything that I was looking for: fabulous friends and an equally fabulous meal!  If it’s authentic Pinoy comfort food you’re looking for, ROMULO is you best bet!

 This was our dinner gang!  (Clockwise) Me, Nix, Judith, Jenny & Joy!

This was our dinner gang! (Clockwise) Me, Nix, Judith, Jenny & Joy!

The bathroom was quaint with these sweet design flourishes.

The bathroom was quaint with these sweet design flourishes.

One last look at Romulo, it was foggy and rainy that day making the place extra mysterious!  Like Gen. McArthur....I SHALL RETURN!!!!!

One last look at Romulo, it was foggy and rainy that day making the place extra mysterious! Like Gen. McArthur....I SHALL RETURN!!!!!

HUGS!

RAJO!

P.S.  Our waiter was excellent as well and this made our visit even more enjoyable!

Fashion Manang!

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

I just stumbled upon the most intriguing set of images while I was surfing the net today!  I visit  a whole lot of blogs!  One of the blogs that I visit every now and then is [email protected] I like how random his posts are and I can really feel his dedication to his fashion and to his style!  I had to share the images that I found on his site because I found them so amusing and interesting.

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The subject is a MANANG that was made into a full-on fashion editorial!  I really enjoyed the styling and the photography of the creators of MANANG!  Kudos to Enzo Mondejar and Eric Poliquit for creating such stunning images!  I can already see this as a short film or as a fantastic COUTURE editorial!  I just wanted to share this with all of you fashion folk!  Enjoy the pictures!

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HUGS!
RAJO!

Save dessert for first!

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Are you the type of person that skips on the main course just so that you can enjoy dessert?  Are you the type of eater that just zeroes in the dessert menu?  I sometimes get that way as I have an incurable sweet tooth!  Well if you are, then I suggest you make your reservations for this unique and absolutely brilliant dinner engagement!   I have had the pleasure of enjoying Chef Gillar’s work and it is TO DIE FOR!!!!!    I for one will definitely be there!  Albeit, I have to do some major work out pre and post this dinner but I know it will all be worth the calories! LOL!   See you all there!

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HUGS!

RAJO!