Back-to-Back: Race for Life & King of the Road

Due to a strange and mysterious confluence of events (LOL!), I found myself signed up for consecutive races last weekend: Race for Life on Saturday the 24th, and Adidas King of the Road on Sunday the 25th. Race for Life had been moved from its original date in September due to Ondoy, but I still wanted to run it with my friends. I’d considered skipping KOTR, but then got a slot for free from my Action&Fitness; Magazine editor.

Race for Life

Race for Life: 2077
Bib No. 2077

I jostled for space at the very front of the pack, wanting to get a good start. I was competing against friends who were trying to beat their 5K times from last year, and even though I didn’t run last year, I was still determined to keep up with them.

Based on what my friends told me, the turnout this year wasn’t as big as last year’s. Whether it was because of Ondoy causing the race’s postponement, or because the Subic International Marathon was scheduled on the same day, or because KOTR was happening the next day, there weren’t too many elite runners signed up (and most of them had signed up for the 15K and 10K distances). That paved the way for me to winning the bronze medal in the 5K women’s category, with a time of 24 minutes and 41 seconds! Podium finish — therefore my racing life is complete. Ü I even got to share stage space with Rica Peralejo and Donita Rose, who hosted the awards ceremony after the race.

Race for Life: I Won 3rd Place!
Bronzer.

If running a 5K is like window-shopping (like Rose told me last Monday), I went and won myself some Nike Park gift certificates to shop with! I don’t know what I’ll buy with them though; I just bought a new pair of dance shoes and I don’t really like Nike’s apparel choices this season. Maybe I should just get a SportsBand to help me keep track of my mileage. Or not; I use LogYourRun to map my routes out anyway. I should just get new running tights; I found my legs fatigued quickly while running in short shorts. Would I still be able to run KOTR the next day?

Adidas King of the Road

I got home pretty late from Fashion Week and going out after, so I told myself I’d only take a short catnap, then get ready to head back to Fort for the 10K race, which was set to start at 6am.

I woke up at 5:30am.

King of the Road 2009
Noelle the Natural LATECOMER!!!

After jumping into the shower then into my race kit, I drove like a madwoman and would have been late by only 10 minutes — if I hadn’t run into a solid wall of yellow-clad runners making their way past an intersection on their way to Kalayaan flyover.

Feeling dejected, I parked and made my way to the staging grounds thinking I’d just collect my freebies. Then I saw someone start their run. I pulled myself together, got my bib checked, then ran out the gates as well. I didn’t bother to check how much time had elapsed on the clock before I started. The important thing was to run. After all, I didn’t want to waste my outfit. Ü

I was running against the flow of a steady stream of people already on their way back. Although I came face-to-face with some familiar faces, I was running the race pretty much on my own. But as I came around the halfway point, I started overtaking runners who had slowed down, spent from the earlier sprint off the blocks. I ran at a steady pace, not really pushing because I wasn’t chasing a personal record. I even had enough time and breath to yell, “Let’s go, Miss BB!” when I overtook BB Gandanghari (nee Rustom Padilla).

I arrived at the finish with 1 hour 16 minutes elapsed on the clock, but with a huge sense of accomplishment. Even though I hadn’t managed to beat the clock, I still felt like a winner. It was then I realized I didn’t run because I wanted to win a prize. I run because I want to, period.

Next time, though, I swear I will set four alarms to wake me up for an early morning race!

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The October Fashion Mega-Post

October has been one busy month — with so much going on, I’ve had to compile the blog posts by topic. This one is about fashion and modeling.

Philippine Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010

Fashion Week in the Philippines is held bi-annually. Designers showcase their looks for the upcoming season, and in this case I got to see what should be hot for Spring and Summer next year.

This is the third fashion week I’ve attended, and each time I feel a little more obligated to dress up for the occasion. Again thre were a lot of fashion do’s and don’ts among the attendees, and on the first day I attended (Thursday) I thought i was already “fashionably chic” (the dress code indicated on the PFW tickets) wearing an ensemble that looked straight out of Lookbook — tights, grey slouchy flat boots, scarf. Then I found myself standing beside people in impossibly high heels, outrageous outfits, and chunky jewelry. I vowed that for the Saturday shows, I’d do better. Which one looks more suited to fashion week?

PFW: Take OnePFW: Take Two
Thursday vs. Saturday looks

While girls like me tried to outdress one another with ever-higher heels and striking silhouettes, all it took for guys to look fashionable were slim-fitting jeans, brightly colored skate shoes or chunky military boots, and a snazzy tee or button-down shirt. Sigh.

I attended shows both at the SMX Convention Center and at the Mall of Asia Atrium. Shows at SMX featured couturiers either in group or solo shows. The Luxewear show that had 14 designers sharing the time and space was uneven in terms of quality of design and material. Some designers really did wow the crowd, but there were other designers whose clothes seemed like a rehash of things already seen before and found in the department stores (yikes!). Premiere Collection B was markedly more uniform in excellence, with the five designers featured better able to stretch themselves creatively because they could show more clothes each. Puey Quinones’s first solo show was beautifully conceptualized and executed, and the clothes really showed off his eccentricity and design aesthetic.

I was also able to attend the Project Runway Philippines final runway show, featuring the three finalists’ designs. They really are greenhorn designers (which showed painfully in what they decided to put out on the runway), but here’s to hoping that the best one wins. I can’t wait to see the finale show, but will have to wait for the two-parter in November! Argh.

The Atrium shows were pret-a-porter brands and had more razzle-dazzle in terms of set production, choreography, and celebrities — things to catch a mall-goer’s eye. The Lee 120 Anniversary show featured Robin Padilla and Phil Younghusband, while the Dickies show featured early 1990’s matinee stars on the ramp (Tonton Gutierrez! Onemig Bondoc! Lorna Tolentino!) and sexy stars and bands giving musical performances and interludes.

One Hot FABE Fashion Show

Just two weeks before Philippine Fashion Week, FABE Clothing also had its own little runway show. This was my second time to be on a catwalk; the first time was in 2007 for a WetSHOP mini-show held at Fitness First Ortigas. This was a really big venue, though; Technowave on Tomas Morato is no small space, and 700 guests came to watch!

I was assigned a dress and a swimsuit to wear, and I was relieved to see that my fellow models were of different shapes and sizes, not simply just the stereotypical ramp model look (tall, lanky, thin). I was super-early at the venue for the final rehearsal; the choreography was complicated because not only did we have to come out onstage, but we had to walk down three steps crossed by huge electrical wires and circuit the whole room before going backstage. Just my luck, I was the only one to fall down the stairs! Thankfully it didn’t leave a mark, and I finished the show without incident. Here are some photos and a video I edited of my walks down the runway. Ü

One Hot Fabe: Silver DressOne Hot Fabe: Gold Lounge Swimsuit
FABE Clothing

My interest in fashion hasn’t done wonders for my already-overstuffed closet lately (a subject for another blog post entirely), but my wardrobe has been asking for an overhaul, with shoes wearing out, clothes falling apart, colors fading… Whether I buy from a name-brand store or a tiangge takes second importance to finding and wearing outfits that are classic and won’t quickly go out of style when the next fashion week rolls around.

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After the Storm, “Bangon Pinoy”

“Wait a minute! Isn’t ‘Bangon Pilipinas’ Eddie Villanueva’s political party? Ay, yung sa Globe, ‘Bangon Pinoy’ pala.”

That was the first question in my head when I was invited to the media launch for Bangon Pinoy, Globe Telecom’s program to rebuild communities affected by typhoons Ondoy (Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma). Its main beneficiaries are Globe subscribers and business partners from those communities. Globe also aims to restore, upgrade, and/or relocate their equipment and installations damaged by flooding.

Globe pegs their affected cellular subscribers at 1.6 million total (prepaid and postpaid), and broadband subscribers at 14,000. That’s a lot of people, and Globe is about to spend approximately 150 million pesos on consumer offers for them. Broadband subscribers are set to get rebates on their service from September 26 until the date service is restored, or they can be migrated to Globe’s WiMax service (wireless broadband) with a 50% discount on their first month. Globe also offers free replacement for damaged modems.

While postpaid cell subscribers get one month free, prepaid cell subscribers will automatically receive one week’s worth of load (amount dependent on how much they usually purchase in a week). I’m not sure exactly how Globe can track all the affected prepaid subscribers. Globe doesn’t have their place of residence on record, so they are doing this with a computer algorithm that determines the last few times where the SIM was last loaded and where the SIM usually is active. But what if you work and shop in Quezon City but go home to Marikina? Hopefully Globe can also address situations like that.

I wasn’t directly affected by the typhoons, but I and many friends in Metro Manila experienced deterioration in Globe cell signal in the days after Ondoy. During the Q&A; portion, I asked why Globe lost service, but other cell providers didn’t. CEO Ernest L. Cu answered my question and said one of their elements was in an area that flooded, which took down 150 cell sites in the Pasig and Cainta area (nationwide, Globe has 6,000 cell sites). According to the chief technical officer, wireless networks are now at 99%, while 92% of wireline facilities (broadband and landline) have been restored.

I may not feel the benefit of any of these programs Globe has unleashed on a select subscriber base, but I am sure that subscriber base will appreciate all the help they get. There are also lots of community building efforts in Metro Manila and Northern Luzon Globe is sticking its pie thumb into, so kudos to them.

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Running the QCIM — Vicariously

Yesterday my future brother-in-law got stuck in traffic for an hour due to the first Quezon City International Marathon. The city government and police closed down some major thoroughfares until about 10am, causing massive traffic jams throughout the city.

Today at the gym I caught a woman (a very toned, tanned one) wearing a QCIM singlet. Since we were sharing the same mirror space, I asked her how yesterday’s race was.

Her name is Rose, and it turns out she ran the full marathon (well, about 36 kilometers of it per doctor’s orders) as a tune-up run. I can barely manage 10K without my legs feeling like mush the next day, and here’s a woman who’s serious about marathons! (On a side note, it just irks me when people say they’re running a marathon, and then it turns out they just signed up for the 5K side event at a marathon.) She told me about the Kenyan runners who had come to the Philippines just to race, and their amazing 2-hour time on the marathon. (It takes a normal human being around 4 hours to run 42 kilometers!)

I asked her if the QCIM was a well-organized one because I’d heard about the chaos it brought to the city roads. As far as races go, it seems it was a good one; she was all praises about the entire Quezon City police department that had deployed for traffic and crowd control. The 42K route passed through the La Mesa Dam in some parts, so Army personnel had been deployed there. The downside, according to Rose, is that the 6 kilometers inside La Mesa had no water stops!

She asked me if I ran, and I self-consciously said I only did 10km at most since I got impatient if running took any longer. I had on my running shoes and was clutching my iPod in one hand, about to do 5 kilometers on the gym’s treadmill. I hadn’t run since Ondoy and I was just trying to ease back into running in preparation for this Saturday’s Race for Life and Sunday’s King of the Road. (Yes, I’m running two races this weekend; yes, I know I’m crazy.) She smirked good-naturedly and said, “Parang nag-window shopping ka lang.”

Looks like I’m going to have to increase my mileage in the next few months. Ü

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Reading Too Much Into It

(Please be forewarned; there’s a bit of a rant in this post.)

The Philippines is the text messaging capital of Asia, and a lot of vital information useful for the flow of business and commerce passes through those SMS gates. Even more so, a lot of person-to-person interaction occurs in those 160 characters.

What’s missing in texting is nonverbal communication — the tone of voice, the look in a person’s eye, facial expression, body language. I’m sure expats who live in the Philippines will agree that this is a culture with an indirect way of talking. Around here, it’s not what you have to say, but how you say it, that matters to people. Filipinos are an emotional lot, too; if you can rouse emotions, even if what you say is unimportant people will remember you for how you made them feel. Because smileys are so inadequate at getting that sort of information through, people reading text messages just fill in the blanks.

Imagine the many ways that can go wrong.

Imagine a corporate setting when there is a snafu. Person A, upset, sends a text to Person B trying to get to the root of the problem. B construes it as being angry and directed at him. (B has been involved in previous snafus.) Problem is resolved when B explains what happened to A, yes? B also tells A to be careful with his tone — despite there actually being no vocal tone to a text message.

Unfortunately, culture plays deeper into it. In an informal setting, B discusses A’s behavior with C and D, interpreting it as rude. C and D, who do not normally interact with A anyway, discuss this with E and F and G and so on. Notice that poor A has no idea what is going on, and that the entire alphabet has started to label A as an A-hole.

So when A gets in touch with L regarding a collaboration L is backing out of, and texts something without smileys, L is more likely to read this as having an aggressive tone. L tells A to be careful with his tone, once again, and warns A that other people have noticed this. “You have a point, but you are rough and rude in speech.” All that reading from a text message, despite A not even being physically present to be rough and rude in actual speech.

How could A have phrased his text messages better? Should he maybe have written in textese (“hellur powh”) so that there would be less emotional impact to his words than fully-spelled out direct questions?

The lesson to be learned here is not to conduct serious discussions over text media. (In that case, even email is suspect.) Never, if you want people to know exactly what you mean by how you are saying it. So if they say you are an A-hole, at least you know you really are one, rather than just being thought to be one. At least you can insult them deliberately rather than unintentionally.

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2009 Philippine Blog Awards: The Requisite Post

I was nominated at last year’s Philippine Blog Awards for my travel blog, Trippin’ with Noelle De Guzman, but wasn’t able to go. So this year, when my friends Ade, Bim, Fritz, and Marck were nominated, I made it a point to attend the awards night on October 9.

This year’s theme (chosen months in advance) was “One Blogging Nation”, which was highly fitting since bloggers were a major source of information and mobilization for relief efforts in the wake of Typhoon Ondoy. Gang Badoy of Rock Ed Philippines, who was the keynote speaker for the night, also organized a collection of donations in goods on the night itself. It felt good to be part of a celebration of the power blogs have in giving people a voice.

The awards show was also broadcast live over Flippish. Kring, the director of the broadcast, got Ade and Marck to be interviewed (check out Ade’s tongue-in-cheek recap of what occurred) while I sat in the back row with Madz and Marcelle (both nominated) and behind Ade’s fellow Comicgasm writers (also nominees). Marck ended up winning two awards, and Marcelle one.

The back row turned into a sort of heckler’s gallery, where we felt free to fling side comments at the stage, cheer winners on, and even sing “Happy Birthday” to Roch, who won Best Culture&Arts; Blog (incidentally, she and I were classmates in UP). But why am I writing about this when I can just show you video?

In the days leading up to the PBA’s it became a sort of running joke that someone might Kanye an awardee or two, but since there were no acceptance speeches that night (too many awardees), nobody got up to the task. There was, however, a Kanye West there:

2009 Philippine Blog Awards: with Peter "Kanye" Juan
He let them finish.

Congratulations to the nominees and winners!

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Strike a Pose

I’ve been modeling for fun since the beginning of the year. I love getting makeup and hair done, then trying to find the best pose, something to show off both the clothes and the model. (That’s probably why I have a lot of self-portraits on my photostream lately — so I can do it all myself.)

My first ever location shoot was for Jay Romero‘s “Rainy Day Glamor” concept. I found myself and three other models at La Mesa Ecopark on a rainy Saturday in August (weeks before Typhoon Ondoy hit). I brought my own clothes and styled myself, while Peechi Dadula did my make-up. Here are my favorite shots:

Cold Stormy Nights

B&W Rainy Day

Sepia

Aside from that, I’m also involved in One Hot FABE, a fashion show on October 12 by the clothing brand I’ve modeled for. I sat for Vic a few weeks ago and worked with a new hairstylist and makeup artist — George Delfin and Nanan Villalba. I must say, I love how telenovela kontrabida I looked in the photos:

Behind the Scenes Glare

Funny thing is, I got my first full-page photo in a magazine without modeling for it. UNO Magazine‘s September issue put me on the front page of their Metroplex (events) section. It’s a photo of me accepting a gift bag during the magazine’s Bloggers & Contributors Night.

I'm in UNO Magazine this month. UNO Magazine Sept. '09

Which of these looks suit me better?

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