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Life & Leisure

Why we need the Senate

By Alfredo N. Mendoza V Governance has rightfully evolved from being an authoritarian system led by demagogues, or self-appointed individuals, to libertarian or socialist democracies led by the principles of freedom, due process, and consent. Laws, which once rose from the unbridled will of kings and despots, have now become the concerns of society—with the rich and the downtrodden, made not by dictators, but by a council of duly elected representatives called senators. It was the ancient Roman Republic that had laid the foundations of a democratic system that eventually inspired modern democracies that have followed. Rome created the idea of vetoing, the concept of checks and balances, elected bureaucrats called senators, the three branches of government, bicameralism, and even executive secretaries.  Rome was the inspiration for the formation of the United States government, which …

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Hot Havana

Text and photos by Mia Nazareno Where do you go when the best beach in the world is just an hour plane ride away from home? (Shout out to Coron, Palawan!) When Manila already enjoys the modern benefits of skyscrapers, trendy restaurants, and our favorite, Wi-Fi? I bet it wasn’t on your radar, but Cuba is the escape you need to detoxify from the comforts and stressors of a metropolis. Cuba is where to go to unplug, and simply marvel. Specifically, the city of Havana looks like the backdrop of a vintage film. Imagine pastel-colored classic convertibles and rundown Spanish-style buildings that look even more beautiful with age. Without a McDonalds, Starbucks, and credit card reader in sight, this is the getaway you didn’t know you desperately needed.  Planning Your Trip First, you’ll need a visa, so make arrangements with the Cuban embassy before booking any tickets. Before …

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How safe are you inside your car?

Images by Noel B. Pabalate When and why should you have your SUVs and luxury sedans reinforced with armor and thick, bullet-resistant glass? To car and gun enthusiast Abril Tolentino, the reasons are many, but his answer is short and simple. “If you can afford it, then you need it,” said Tolentino, a veteran in the luxury and armored car industry, and VP-sales of Manila-based Hi-Protect, the newest homegrown world-class company offering clients added protection by reinforcing their vehicles with Finnish-made armor and thick glass—between 21 mm and 39 mm—as well as outfitting them with run-flat tires. Run-flat tires are made of solid rubber, which are concealed underneath normal tubeless tires. They’re designed to resist the effects of deflation when a car’s real tires are punctured, say, by a hail of bullets. It allows …

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Hugs, Not Drugs At Self

“Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future.”   First some good news... “The Best of Aliw” will be on at the Resorts World theatre this Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. With “the Best” of its awardees like my favorites The Angelos led by George Tagle, Lea Salonga, Dulce, Gerphil, RJ Jacinto, Lisa Macuja, Spirit of ‘67, Jed Madela, Rico J. Puno, Halili Cruz Dancers, and Imelda Papin. All those great performers will be directed by Freddie Santos and will be for the benefit of the Aliw Welfare Fund and Christ the King parish. See you all there! Now  in the midst of our violent drug war which has claimed many casualties, caused many also to surrender and drug factories to be raided and shut down, we met …

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The Heart of Diamonds

Portrait by Noel Pabalate It’s easy to understand why Heart Evangelista loves to keep it simple when it comes to her earrings. Blessed with a lovely face, the actress-painter, who takes after her parents in her fascination with diamonds, doesn’t need anything more than a pair of diamond stud earrings to draw attention to her prized asset. But Evangelista never thinks of it that way. It’s simply her personal style, she said, to downplay her earrings and play up her rings by sometimes wearing as many as eight “lucky” rings stacked around her dainty fingers. And she knows her diamonds, which makes her an ideal endorser for My Diamond’s new Diamond Dream collection. “What’s nice about diamond jewelry is you don’t have to really go wild by buying everything,” she said during the …

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The Movies in her mind

Images by Noel B. Pabalate Video by Jay Bustamante and Angelo Alejandro “You handle glass like you handle men—loosely. Never handle them tightly. The more you tighten your grip on them, the more you  get cut.” Coming from actress-painter Maria Isabel Lopez, such words of wisdom gain more resonance. The former Binibining Pilipinas Universe, a Fine Arts graduate from the University of the Philippines before making a name for herself as a sexy star in the mid-1980s in such films as Silip, Isla, and Hubo sa Dilim, should know her art as well as her men. “Even with the bubog (shards of glass), if you make kalkal (go through them), you have to be gentle,” she says of her newfound love affair with mosaic art one afternoon inside her third-floor office, part of a modest Quezon City townhouse she shares with her …

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Best dressed

The ‘Best Dressed Women of the Philippines’ gave a toast to the beauty and elegance of the Filipina in its 13th annual awards ball held recently at the Rizal Ballroom of the Makati Shangri-la. This highly anticipated yearly event of the Philippine Cancer Society is the country’s longest running fashion for a cause. Angola Consul and event chairperson Helen Ong’s drive, enthusiasm, and hard work has elevated the Best Dressed Women of the Philippines to stand out from its contemporaries. The festivities commenced with a call for a moment of silence as a tribute to honorary chairperson Imelda Cojuangco, a philanthropist, recognized as the ultimate fashion icon, who recently passed away. Tita Meldy has always been my fashion idol, and has always looked so impeccably glamorous in our family gatherings when I was growing up; and I am proud to own some of her gowns, one of which I wore to this Best Dressed event. Tita Meldy gave generously to the church, and to people in need. With her thoughtfulness, compassion, humility, and …

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The Adora expression

Images by Noel Pabalate Video by John Alvin Veri and Angelo Alejandro No one at Adora would be so crass as to make a hard sales pitch of, say, a pair of Jimmy Choo pumps or a Chloe bag or JKJY sneakers. On the contrary, the retail staff who would escort you around the 2,500-square-meter multi-brand retail destination at Greenbelt 5 would ably and nimbly present you three or 10 options of what you’re currently looking for—across brands, styles, and collections. At Adora, you can either walk away with an item you intended to buy and leave; or you can linger, look around, and shop a little more. Odds are, 99 percent of the time, you will succumb a little more. “The sense of arrival at Adora is just like (entering) a cocoon for people who love fashion in different degrees,” says Bienvenido “Donnie” V. Tantoco III, Rustan Commercial Corporation (RCC) president. “You just walk around and you …

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Remembering Auntie Miriam

By Bambi Defensor  Images by Noel B. Pabalate She was feisty and fiery in public but among family, she was incredibly sweet and funny. The moment we would step in the door, she would greet us with a warm “Hello, sweetheart!” and a big hug. She was particularly fond of little children and that became all the more apparent when she started having her own grandchildren. When she was undergoing new therapy for cancer, one of her primary concerns was if she would be allowed to hug her grandchildren. Anyone could tell she was a woman of order and discipline, but there was another side to her that was equally warm, endearing, and even vulnerable. And that’s the side that we would always remember. When I was going through a difficult time, she immediately …

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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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