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Alex Y. Vergara

Tingting Cojuangco names 10 elegant Filipinas

What is elegance? To style maven, beauty icon, and author Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, elegance is precision. It’s about wearing the right dress, being groomed for the right occasion, and speaking softly with “a mother’s strict vocabulary.” Whatever a woman’s height and shape are – long and lean, or petite and curvy – she should stand confidently with her “shoulders squared and a tilt of a humble chin.” In an exclusive video shot by Manila Bulletin, Cojuangco, dressed in an off-the-rack pink silk dress, went on to give practical tips on proper dressing. When you find yourself constantly tugging at your skirt, then chances are it’s too short, she said. Even over-accessorizing like wearing several long strands of pearls to the office may be deemed inappropriate if they get in the way …

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Fun, fabulous, and fashionable

Good friends Chichi Atienza-Valdepenas and Fredd Alba, two of the three prime movers behind the newest concept clothing store in the White Plains area dubbed as F Boutique, aren’t exactly new to the fashion scene. Alba, for instance, has been designing haute couture dresses since 1989, while the 30-something Valdepenas opened her first home and fashion store soon after graduating from the De La Salle University. Apart from their shared passion for fashion, the two have a number of things in common. Both had to take a much-needed respite from their respective careers before deciding on opening F Boutique recently with Valdepenas’ good friend Astrid Asuncion. In Valdepenas’ case, she had to scale back and eventually close her thriving Nullah chain of stores to attend to motherhood. Alba, meanwhile, took a short break to reboot his …

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The Visionaries

Outsiders are spot on for equating Philippine fashion with fun, glamor, and beautiful, stylish people. But there’s certainly more to it than these rather limited and stereotypical impressions. Behind it is a thriving, multi-million-peso industry run by hardworking and competitive people who aren’t above forming cliques and rivalries. Such an unlikely scenario is simply fashion’s nature, as its practitioners seek to outdo and one-up each other in their desire to be the first, the original, and the best. It’s a friendly competition, yes, but it isn’t devoid of its fierce side. Images by Jun Arañas It was under this scenario that ideas man Keren Pascual and his collaborators thought of forming the Philippine Fashion Ball (PFB) six years ago. As ace stylist Noel Manapat, one of Pascual’s fellow organizers, puts it, PFB …

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StyleWeekend’s Ilarde bags PH Fashion Ball award

Liza Ilarde, editor of Style Weekend, Manila Bulletin’s weekly fashion and lifestyle supplement which comes out every Friday, is one of this year’s awardees during last Saturday’s Philippine Fashion Ball held at the basement of Bench Tower in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. “I’ve been in fashion and lifestyle publishing for 30 years, and I think this is the first time I’ve received an award for anything,” said Ilarde. “It certainly is an honor to be recognized by your peers.” Now on its sixth year, the annual Philippine Fashion Ball was conceived by organizers led by Keren Pascual as one big party to celebrate the accomplishments of industry people such as designers, makeup artists, photographers, stylists, and fashion journalists. Glass plaques organizers give out to awardees are simply dubbed the Industry Awards. Ilarde, a …

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Technology saves the day

There have been many studies done on the social cost of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) migration and single-parent families. Problems—from infidelity on the part of one or both spouses, to teen pregnancy and drug addiction among children of OFWs—have taken root since the Philippine government began institutionalizing the export of surplus labor to the rest of the world more than 40 years ago. But thanks to advances in technology, a more recent set of studies reveals that more Filipino families are now able to cope with the loneliness and even thrive despite the distances that separate them. “Ideally, we should all be together. But as long as our country can’t provide enough jobs for its citizens, relying on technology to bridge separated families is the next best thing. Nothing, not even …

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Kitchen confidential

Images by Noel Pabalate Ugen, the exclusive island-community development off Sorsogon, has partnered with high-end European brands Armani/Dada and Gaggenau in outfitting 16 “bespoke” villas out of a total of 68, which the Japanese-led company plans to build in the next two to three years. Clients and their interior designers can choose from and work around such themes as Pearl, Organic, and Raw to realize their dream kitchens. Andrew Sparrow, Ugen’s CEO, announced the partnership recently with Venus Ngu, CEO of Cocina Mobile, Inc., exclusive local distributor of Italian-made Armani/Dada countertops and modular kitchen cabinets at the Cocina Mobile showroom at Bonifacio Global City. Ugen is partnering with a different distributor to bring German-made Gaggeanau appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, temperature-controlled wine cabinets, induction hubs, microwave ovens, coffeemakers, and even plate warmers. At …

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Brand recall

Images by Noel Pabalate Kashieca, Human, and Bench—three of the country’s leading homegrown ready-to-wear brands—presented their respective holiday collections recently at Bench Tower’s The Playground. The event also doubled as a debut for the brands’ Benchsetters and Human Endorsers, two groups of young, attractive, and stylish achievers with strong social-media presence and daring fashion sense. For the first time in years, Suyen Corp. has tapped relatively unknown fashionistas instead of popular celebrities as its brand ambassadors. They are Angel Manzano, Emil Khodaverdi, Arisse de Santos, Matthew Custodio, and Kahlea Belonia for Bench; and Curtismith and Mau Schrijvers for Human. They may not be as tall as the show’s professional models, but what these teens and twenty-somethings lacked in height, they made up for in looks, stage presence, and attitude. Some of them are …

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Where baking Cheesecake is an art form

Less than a week after it opened at Robinson’s Place Ermita, Pablo’s freshly baked cheese tarts are generating long lines and wait times stretching up to three hours. Ben Chan, chair of Suyen Corp., expected the Japanese import to readily appeal to Filipinos after seeing for himself long lines leading to a Pablo outlet while in Tokyo two years ago, but he had no idea that it would be such a huge hit until last week. “On opening day, we saw customers buying as much as 10 boxes of cheese tarts,” said Anthony Yupangco of BV Cuisine, Inc., Suyen Corp.’s consultant on its food ventures. “By the second day, we had to limit it to three. Until we could increase our production, we’ve now decided to limit it only to one …

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Bohemian Rhapsody

Images by Noel B. Pabalate How often have we lived through the death of a loved one by giving way to the birth of a new passion as well as the rekindling of a long-forgotten one? For veteran PR woman Ginny Guanco, it took the death of her beloved ginger cat Simba and her immersion on social media to make her pick up her idle brushes again. Unknown to many of her friends in the media business, Guanco graduated with a Fine Arts degree major in Painting from the University of the Santo Tomas (UST). After more than 40 years since leaving school, she recently opened her first one-woman art show of 32 acrylic works at SM Megamall’s Galerie Y. The ongoing exhibit, which ends on Sept. 24, revolves around the theme boho …

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Kingdom beauty

Images by Noel Pabalate Drs. Z and Aivee Teo describe the newly opened A-Institute at Burgos Park Building in Taguig as an “accumulation” of what they have in their older beauty clinics. Yet the place, with its modern, French-inspired interiors featuring chevron-patterned black-and-white marble floors from Italy, a series of gold lighting fixtures by Tom Dixon, and streamlined furniture pieces from Fritz Hansen, looks totally different and much bigger than any of their other existing facilities. “It’s a different take from our Aivee Clinics, which primarily address skin conditions through various non-invasive treatments and procedures,” said Aivee. As a lifestyle and wellness center, the A-Institute offers a more holistic approach to health and beauty with several labs to address such concerns as hair, snoring, slimming, and even orthosports for amateur and professional athletes. Boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao is said to regularly go to the A-Institute’s …

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