Philippine Fashion Week S/S 2011: The Boys&Girls from Ipanema

I’ve been attending Philippine Fashion Week for about two years now. While most people go for the clothes, for me it’s always been more about the spectacle. I love seeing what people wear just to attend the shows; it’s their chance to be a bit more avante garde in their fashion choices. Whether or not they look like a freak show is a different story. Hrhrhr.

I also love seeing how every show’s director can present the clothes and models in a different way. While the most usual change-up is the shape of the runway and the lighting/music arrangement, at the Resort Collection with Ipanema show on PFW Spring/Summer 2011’s Day 3 the director did more than that. Instead of the standard gait and pout, all the models who strutted their stuff looked and acted happy, skipping down the catwalk in their Ipanema flipflops and swimwear, sundresses, and leisure wear.

PFW Ipanema ShowPFW Ipanema Show
PFW Ipanema Show
they’ve got happy feet

Although some of the designs from various designers were predictable and/or inappropriate to be worn with flipflops and open-toed footwear, I loved the flipflop and sandal designs because they were colorful and looked like so much fun to wear (I blame the models!).

I’m not sure if they’re the current styles offered at Ipanema retailers (such as Shoe Salon), but I will be checking them out, particularly the women’s sandals. I need casual footwear that doesn’t look like tsinelas; I don’t often wear heels and I need to wear open footwear to allow my feet to breathe, especially after workouts and runs. Yet I still want to feel a bit more dressed up rather than looking like I just stepped out of my bathroom. “If the shoe fits, wear it,” people say, and I think Ipanema footwear definitely fit with my lifestyle and fashion choices.

By the way, I was photographed at the Ipanema event; my look was featured on Stylebible.ph’s PFW S/S 2011 Day 3 gallery. I guess I wasn’t one of those who looked like freak shows, yay!

Philippine Fashion Week S/S 2011 featured on Stylebible.ph
photo by Stylebible Digital

Why You Should Watch Amazing Race Asia (and Why I Won’t Be on It Any Time Soon)

I just flew back from a very relaxing All Saints Weekend in Boracay (yes, it’s my third time this year… I’m planning a mega-post next week about all my trips). I’ve always thought I could be a savvy traveler and even passed an application for the Amazing Race Asia Season 3. But meeting TARA4 Philippine teams last Thursday at the viewing party sponsored by Misibis Bay and the City of Legazpi confirmed that there’s something special about these teams. More on that later.

TARA4 Viewing Party: Group Hug!
Bloggers and TARA Racers Unite!

Ever since I switched away from SkyCable, I haven’t been able to catch an episode of TARA, so watching back-to-back Episodes 5 and 6 from the current season was a real pleasure. Episode 5 was the Philippines episode featuring activities around Legazpi City and Misibis Bay, which was the pit stop for that leg of the race. It was a great way to stimulate my interest in traveling to Bicol (with a little less stress and more time for sightseeing, of course). Episode 6 had the teams flying out to New Zealand from Misibis Bay.

What really struck me about “the Riches” Richard Hardin and Richard Herrera and “Party Girls” Lani Pillinger and Jess James (who couldn’t be at the viewing party) was their way of finding ways out of predicaments without freaking out. Basically, they were able to take the challenges on and have fun doing them. One incident that really stood out for me was when the Riches needed to get on an earlier flight in New Zealand, so they asked some people nicely if they could switch tickets. That shaved a precious three hours off their time and contributed to their first place finish for the New Zealand leg of the race.

Lani and Jess also worked really well together, being supportive instead of criticizing each other as some other teams would do. One of the bloggers present at the event commented that there was a lot of positive energy surrounding these teams. Rich & Rich and Lani were really nice as well, socializing with the bloggers by going around each table asking if we were okay, and saying the food would be coming out soon. (Hahaha!) Richard “Rampage” Herrera was even offering beer to bloggers. When I said I didn’t drink beer, he offered rum. I thought it wasn’t on the menu, so I said sure. To my surprise, he came back 5 minutes later with a rum coke.

TARA4 Viewing Party: With the Riches and Lani
photo by Azrael Coladilla

Overall our Philippine teams have great personalities and star power; it’s hard not to watch when they’re the ones on-screen. And, needless to say, they are all so pretty to look at!

The reason I shouldn’t be on the show is that during my flight back from Boracay, our plane was supposed to be diverted to Kalibo. I threw a fit, which may be good TV drama but isn’t really something I would like to see from someone representing the Philippines. Eventually we were able to check into an earlier flight which would leave from Caticlan — and on that same flight was Rich Hardin! I was so ashamed. I guess I need to keep watching more TARA4 to see great examples (like our teams) for how to deal properly with travel pressure.

Now if only Destiny Cable carried AXN so I could keep watching TARA4.

Vanity, Vanity: A Vanity Fair

Two weeks ago my friend Liz Lanuzo from ProjectVanity.com invited me and a host of other bloggers to “Vanity, Vanity: A Vanity Fair” at SM North EDSA Sky Dome. It was the third day of the event, which was supported by several major beauty and health brands.

Vanity, Vanity: Body Shop MakeoverVanity, Vanity: Face Shop Makeover
Face Shop and Body Shop offering makeovers

I’m not really a beauty and fashion blogger although I do appreciate good grooming. (It’s why I’m the Kikay Runner.) It was a bit intimidating to be among these stylish bloggers; coming over on the MRT I noticed one girl who was wearing something very LookBook-ish, and true enough she was also at the event!

We had a little game of Blogger Scrabble, where we were separated into two groups, all wearing two letters from the words “BLOGGER” and “I AM VAIN”. After a slow start, my group won and we took home bottles of acai berry juice! I’ve heard good things about the vitamin and nutrient content from this juice, so we shall see if it really works. I’ve been feeling a bit run down lately…

Liz also gave a talk about the Top Ten Tips to Level Up Your Beauty and Fashion Blog. Much of it was common sense, realy, but she presented them in such a way that it would be easy to remember and apply to each blog post made. They’re also actually good tips to apply to any kind of niche blog. Ü

At the end of the afternoon, the winner of the door prize was announced. Each of us bloggers had been asked to write down answers to two questions: “How vain are you?” and “When are you at your most beautiful?” So guess which question I won the prize for. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but it went something like this:

“I am so vain that everything I do comes from concern about my appearance. I started working out because I was concerned about gaining weight; now I’m a group exercise instructor. I started running because I wanted to tone my legs; now I’m a host for a television show about running. I started putting on make-up because I didn’t want to look shabby; now I’m invited to events such as this. Yes, I am that vain.”

For that honest answer about my vanity, I won a pot of Mosbeau underarm and inner thigh whitening cream.

Vanity, Vanity: Mosbeau Underarm and Thigh Whitening Cream
My mom was happy to receive this from me.

That was on top of all the other loot bloggers received. I had to bring all these bags onto a crowded MRT, and there was just so much stuff that I could bless my friends with (sometimes I don’t get around to using stuff I’m given). Definitely a well-supported event.

Vanity, Vanity: SeriAsia Moisturizer
SeriAsia Ganoderma Moisturizer

Vanity, Vanity: Loot Bag
Clockwise L-R: NaRaYa bag and pouch, SkinFood whitening gift pack, Acai Berry, NuDerm Supreme White Soap, Dermclinic pen

Thanks so much for inviting me, Liz! I feel a yearning for a make-up post coming up soon… (Or maybe, on my friend’s blog Bless My Bag. *wink*)

G Live: The BODYJAM Main Event

Over the last four years I’ve written again and again about BODYJAM, a pre-choreographed dance party workout I teach at a local gym. In the years since I’ve become an instructor of the program, I’ve written about it less and less, simply because as an employee of the gym I don’t want to let too much of the mystique out of the bag (and because any occasional whining about work conditions might get me called to “the principal’s office”).

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, which is teaching BODYJAM. Last week, I had one more reason to love my job more, and that reason’s name is Gandalf Archer.

G Live: Gandalf Archer
otherwise known as “G”

No, this is not Gandalf from Lord of the Rings (although I think he’s just as cool =p). G is the program director, choreographer, and worldwide face of BODYJAM. He’s based in Auckland, New Zealand, and travels every quarter to take the experience of BODYJAM to instructors around the world.

This month, on his way home from those travels, he dropped by Manila. He’d been hearing a lot about how passionate we are about the program, and how Filipinos love to dance. So, last Monday night we BODYJAM instructors had a little meet-and-greet with him.

We usually get choreography for BODYJAM through DVD, and many of us had only seen him on our TV screens. So meeting him in the flesh was a completely different experience. My mind is still in denial, actually. It all feels like I was watching it on TV.

G Live: Photo Op
OMG. OMG! *hyperventilates*

I had my copy of BODYJAM 43 (my training release) signed by him. It was strange because I was starstruck up until I walked up to him and started talking to him. And then something switched on in my brain and I was just chatty all of a sudden. I was with a fellow instructor, Ryan, who had been having posters autographed for the past few minutes.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi. Sorry to bother you…
G: Oh, it’s not a bother.
Me: (holding my hand out) I’m Noelle, and I think you know Ryan. He’s back with another poster, I think he’s gone into business selling them…
Ryan: (laughs)
G: Well, it’s going to be a short-lived business, like, it’ll be over in five minutes.
Me: Would you mind signing my training release?
G: Sure. (scribbles)
Me: It was ten releases ago.
G: That’s a lot of releases.

We had a question-and-answer period; my trainer Arnold Warren told us to make it interactive, so we had to think up of some questions to ask G.

The YouTube ID of _T9KvDMXyJw?fs=1 is invalid.
I asked him “the hardest question” (4:07)

And then he wanted to dance with us a little. Once the music started playing, we just went wild, and we just lost ourselves in the experience.

The YouTube ID of -yE0k3CWLCU?fs=1 is invalid.
dance, dance like it’s the last, last night of your life

That wasn’t the end of it. The next night, we had arranged for a big event, called “G Live: The BODYJAM Main Event”. People could buy tickets to enter what we had billed as a two-and-a-half hour dance workout, led by G. He taught the upcoming release, BODYJAM 54, plus something he billed as “55” but was actually a freestyle routine. Fan-freaking-tastic.

G Live: Kicks
kicking it

G Live: Dancing
dancing up a storm

G Live: When the Beat Drops
hit it!

There was a part of me that had gone to sleep and had just been going through the motions. It took an encounter with G, someone who lives a really creative life bringing BODYJAM to life, to wake me up again. The time he spent with us told us that we do matter, we do make a difference, we have something to be proud of. It was something I badly needed, and since then I’ve been supercharged.

The Philippines loves you, G. Come back soon!

No Need for Lasers

Last Wednesday, I found myself at one of Makati’s night spots, lit up with flashing lights, drinking cocktails, and listening to awesome house music.

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus: Society LoungeClinique Repairwear Laser Focus: Moet
TOOGS TOOGS TOOGS

There’s nothing too odd about that, except it was 2 in the afternoon, there was no alcohol in the cocktail, and we weren’t there to party, but to learn about Clinique’s latest anti-aging serum.

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus
Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus

I have dermatologist friends who use lasers in procedures to lighten birthmarks and spots on the skin, even out acne pockmarks, and reduce the depth of wrinkles. This happens because the lasers lightly “wound” the skin at the cellular level, jumpstarting the healing process and thus producing more youthful-looking skin. Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus seeks to produce similar effects without the commitment and cost of laser procedures.

The serum’s threefold action of jumpstarting repair with antioxidants, boosting collagen with peptides, and strengthening skin with enzymes enhances the skin’s natural repair ability. Clinique promises visible results in 12 weeks: softening of lines, wrinkles, and sun damage.

Tita Jane, Tita Noemi, and Liz were also present at the event, and even as I joked that I needed the serum soon (being in my late 20’s and frequently engaging in outdoor sports isn’t doing my skin any favors), I was glad that there was such a product already on the market. Who knows, maybe in 5 years I’ll snap this up off the counter. It certainly beats being on the lighted end of a laser wand.

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Open Letter Re: Bonifacio High Street Parking

Dear Ayala Property Management Corporation,

I am a regular patron of Bonifacio High Street, one of your properties within Bonifacio Global City. Aside from its accessibility and availability as a training ground for runners, I also just love spending time shopping at its establishments and enjoying its park-like atmosphere.

When you raised parking fees last June from P25 for 3 hours and P5 for succeeding hours to the current rate of P30 for 3 hours, P10 succeeding, I continued to patronize the open parking area despite no improvements made to the parking facilities. (In fact, you decreased the total number of paved parking slots and charged the same increased rate for the unpaved parking areas around BHS.)

However, recent events have given me cause to write this open letter, because I have been overcharged for parking not once, but twice already. Tonight, as I exited the elevated parking area behind R.O.X., the cashier charged me 50 pesos for 5 hours of parking. I do not normally distrust cashiers, but after I paid and left, I checked my parking stub and realized I had only been parked for 4 hours.

BHS Open Parking stub
my parking stub

I had entered the parking area at 1744 hours (5:44pm), and exited at 2135 hours (9:35pm). At 6:44, that was one hour of parking. At 7:44, two hours. 8:44, three hours. I had exited before 9:44, but that fraction of an hour counts as one hour. That’s a grand total of FOUR hours. Why did the cashier charge me for FIVE hours?

Your cashier does not know how to count. I should have argued with her, since this is not the first time one of your cashiers has assessed me an extra hour of parking.

The first time this happened (some time in July), I was on my toes and feeling combative, so I argued with that cashier and paid the proper amount. Tonight, however, I was off-guard. When I realized the mistake, I wanted to go back to the cashier and ask for my 10 pesos back.

Instead I chose to sit down and write this open letter because I am sure other people have fallen for the same thing. I believe it’s my civic duty to expose this practice and make people aware that they may be getting overcharged and scammed at your parking facility.

There is one reason this problem occurs time and again. Manual, non-computerized ticketing and charging.

  1. Upon entry, the parking cashier handwrites the plate number and time of entry on a ticket stub, which has been manually stamped with the date.
  2. Upon exit, the cashier writes the time of exit on the stub, mentally counts the number of hours the car has been parked, and requests an amount for payment.
  3. Upon payment, the cashier tears off half the parking stub and gives it back to the car driver. There is no written record on the parking stub of the amount that was charged.

One would think that with the parking fee increase, Ayala Property Management Corp. could afford to use a computerized ticketing system. If not, you could at least educate and/or screen the people you hire to be your cashiers to make sure they know how to compute parking correctly.

There are two implications should you allow this practice of overcharging to continue.

  1. If you are not aware that the cashiers are doing this, and you argue that the cashiers pocket the extra hour’s worth of parking charge, know that your company’s name is on the line. People will still think that you are complicit.
  2. If you are aware of this practice, you will most certainly be pocketing the extra money. That makes your company’s parking practices dishonest, and that is unacceptable.

I think your company can afford to use a register that prints receipts recording the amount being charged, at the very least. I hold Ayala commercial areas in high regard and know you will do the right thing, which is to put into place safeguards against overcharging. We are willing to pay, but let it be the correct amount.

Sincerely,
Noelle De Guzman

On the Radio, Oh Oh Oh

I don’t think you’d remember, but I auditioned for RX 93.1’s “Radio Idol”, back in 2007 — you know, it’s a yearly competition where the winner gets to be a DJ for the radio station. Anyway, I crashed out in the second round because I got asked to talk about OPM, which I know nothing about. I opened my mouth, and no words came out. Oh, well. There went my chance for DJ stardom.

Radio Idol: internalizing
Hello? Is this thing on?

In the past three weeks though, I’ve had the chance to live out my radio dreams anyway. I was asked to guest in “Fit Radio” on 99.5 RT two Wednesdays ago to promote my TV show, RunnerSpeak and talk a little bit about the running scene in the Philippines. It was a very short but sweet segment, but I have to say the radio mics do wonders for people’s voices.

Anyway a friend of mine, Vince Golangco, asked if I were free to come on his show on Mellow 94.7 called “The G-Spot” to do a segment called “Edumacate Me”. Since I liked being on radio so much the last time, I accepted the invitation gladly, and showed up at the station today.

Radio Guesting on Mellow 94.7Radio Guesting on Mellow 94.7
All we hear is radio gaga

We talked about my website, KikayRunner.com, and about the things you need to do when you start running. In between all of that I was able to insert some plugs for the magazines I have articles in this month: Runner’s World and Total Fitness. It was really so much fun, especially since I knew what I was talking about in general.

I guess that’s the trick to being successful on radio: you’ve got to be a little bit knowledgeable about a lot of things so you can talk your way through. You’ve got to be a wide reader and brush up on pop culture. I’m just lucky that running is a part of pop culture these days. Ü

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Tired of the Nightlife

For the past two years I’ve had the opportunity to go out clubbing on an average of once every month. While initially it was a heady rush, at some point the party life just starts feeling like the same night over and over again, like “Groundhog Day” except I don’t look like Bill Murray and the music playing on the sound system isn’t “I Got You, Babe” by Sonny and Cher.

What drew me to it in the first place? Well, it was an opportunity to get dolled up and wear my most outrageous heels. Most days of the month I live in flipflops and sneakers and don’t feel remotely glamorous. And sure, I got to hang out among beautiful people and bump elbows with celebrities and feel, just a little bit, like some of the glitz rubbed off on me. But in hindsight, I’m not sure how glamorous it is to come home smelling like smoke, with dark circles under my eyes from staying out so late, and have awful drunken-looking photos uploaded onto Facebook the next day.

Initially I also went out clubbing to dance. I teach BODYJAM in the gym and always like taking some of the moves out to the clubs and see if they actually can be used without people laughing. Unfortunately, club culture (at least in the clubs I go to) have people just bouncing around or bobbing their heads to the beat, occasionally singing along to familiar tunes. Nobody actually dances any choreography. Additionally the floors are usually over-packed with people, like sardines in a tin can. Good luck trying to find space to execute a flashy arm combo without smacking someone in the mouth.

These days I like being home before midnight, and I get to dance as often as I want when I teach BODYJAM anyway. I don’t know if this is me getting older, or just getting wiser. I’d rather make a night of meaningful memories breaking bread and getting deep into discussions about life’s meaning with friends than wake up the morning after clubbing to stories of embarrassing exploits that I can’t even remember because I was too drunk.

Not that I won’t go out anymore; of course I still will to hang out with people whom I won’t have opportunity to be with otherwise. But I’ll get my kicks from their company, rather than the nightlife culture itself. I’m over it.

The Trouble with Mall of Asia

I live in the Q.C. (Quezon City) and it has everything a girl like me would need: shopping malls, parks, restaurant rows, etc. So I very rarely make my way to the other end of EDSA and that imposing structure known as the SM Mall of Asia.

I’m only here when I need to a) see some friends for whom MOA is the closest/most convenient mall; b) attend Fashion Week or any other event held at the SMX Convention Center in the MOA complex; c) attend work-related meetings at Fitness First MOA; or d) visit a specific store not found in any other mall in Metro Manila.

It’s for Reason D that I’m at MOA right now, having made my way through the 2-hour traffic jams caused by payday Friday (and I should note that it’s Friday the 13th as well). I’ve brought my entire mobile office with me as well, since I don’t want to pop into the store, get what I’m looking for, and then leave MOA to go work somewhere else on my articles.

So here I am ensconced in my little corner of Coffee Bean counting the reasons I don’t come to MOA more often.

Reason #1: It takes too long to get to MOA! I live about 15 minutes away from SM North EDSA, and 10 minutes from Trinoma. Today it took me 2 hours to get to MOA. One hour into the trip and I was only on EDSA-Santolan.

Reason #2: MOA is huge! While I appreciate that there might be more shopping choices in a mall of this size, most of the stores also have branches in other malls in the metro, and since stores of similar pricing and products aren’t located near each other, it can be quite tiring to window-shop in MOA. In fact, it’s making me tired just thinking about it… And good luck if you’re trying to find a specific store but don’t know where it’s located: there may be touch-screen store maps around the mall, but some of these terminals aren’t working anymore, and the listings may not be updated.

Reason #3: MOA is crowded! You’d think a mall of this size would have ample space for people, but during certain times of the day you won’t be able to find a place to sit down or even stand in line at the restaurants and fast food chains. There are always throngs of people here no matter what time of the day as well. Don’t these people have jobs they need to be at? Or maybe they’re all freelance, like me?

Reason #4: It’s too hot to walk around in MOA. Apart from the main mall, which is fully air-conditioned, getting from store to store involves walking along a non-airconditioned corridor. I know boardwalks are vey popular in other countries, and MOA is built right on Manila Bay with that boardwalk feel. Unfortunately, this is the Philippines and “al fresco beside the ocean” translates to “sticky and sweaty”.

Still, it’s always an adventure to come here. I just always need a whole day — and comfy shoes! — to take it all in.

Allergy!

Over the many years I’ve been alive, I’ve discovered and dealt with many allergies — from the milk formula I had as a baby, to a period in my prepubescent years where my parents had to put me on a prophylactic medicine because they couldn’t figure out what I was allergic to, to learning I could never fearlessly eat shrimp, crab, or lobster again. In medical-speak, I’m “atopic”, which means my body reacts to small allergens in a big way. They’ve always been rather temporary incident, however, and I’m thankful to God that I’ve never had to undergo desensitization because the things I’m allergic to are easily avoidable.

The past two weeks, though, I’ve had to deal with a new allergy. It’s not one that has me scratching at hives, or struggling to breathe, as in previous instances. It’s not even an allergy that’s immediately visible.

Not many of you know that I grind my teeth while I sleep. To keep my teeth from grinding down to a pulp (eww!), my dentist had a mouthguard custom-made for me. In order to keep it from becoming a harbor for bacteria (another eww!), the manufacturers treated it with an antibacterial agent.

The first month I had that mouthguard, I had nightmares regarding teeth falling out, but I reasoned that it had something to do with my brain adjusting to having something in my mouth while I slept. Now that I think about it, though, it might have been my subconscious telling me there was something wrong with that mouthguard; my body had started reacting in small ways to the material it was made of and/or the antibacterial agent it was treated with, until it finally could take no more.

Two Mondays ago, I woke up with swelling in my gums and my mouth’s inner lining, and my tongue felt burnt. I initially thought it had come from using a strong breath spray. It was so bad that I couldn’t chew or swallow anything solid without pain. I stopped using my mouthguard and waited for my mouth to heal, which it did by last Sunday. In the back of my mind, though, I had a nagging suspicion that the swelling had something to do with my mouthguard, since all the areas that had swollen had been in contact with it.

Last Tuesday evening, I put the mouthguard back in for the first time. Four hours later, when I woke up early Wednesday morning, the swelling was back. I knew then that it was an allergy. It was so bad that I had to take two corticosteroid tablets, and people thought I’d undergone collagen lip injections. (LOL!) And then began another cycle of being unable to eat. But since the second allergic reaction happened so close to the first one, it was even worse this time around. Even drinking water to moisten my tongue brought tears to my eyes, and talking was definitely out of the question. It got to the point where I actually began wondering if my mouth would ever return to normal.

I woke up this morning with the pain lessened just a bit, so I know the worst is over — and I’m never using that mouthguard again!

You may wonder, why would God allow me to go through the whole painful experience twice in a row? And why couldn’t this allergy be dealt with as painlessly as the previous ones?

Well, I do believe it was no coincidence. I work with words for a living, but sometimes I don’t realize how powerful speech is. Due to my enforced silence, I’ve realized a new economy of words. I’ve learned how much of my side of a conversation could be pointless or unproductive or just hampers other people from speaking their minds. I’ve also learned to listen more, and that it’s okay not to have to entertain people with “witty” yet fruitless conversation that, at its worst, is a series of sarcastic put-downs. Let’s not waste words, but instead use them to encourage, inform, and empower each other.

If I learn this lesson well, my pain for the past two weeks will not be for nothing. Ü