long live olive

i am giriish

painter, writer,
designer, martial artist,

and these are my jottings...

ms. piggy, so?

i was in Zamboanga Sibugay for christmas and how rejuvenated was i. old folks were there and so were siblings, nephews and nieces, and even pets. i’ll post a video of a view of Sibugay Province from the capitol and an interesting “pets playing” vid later. i have to do some editing work on them first.


anyway, i’m @ davao city now for the homecoming of Ateneo de Davao University. I’m staying at my high-school-friend’s house in Woodridge and, speaking about pets, guess what greeted me at their gate?


this adorable pup whom the friendly maids called “Piggy.”


weird name for a dog, i thought, but then again she’s kinda cutely fat. perhaps she has already slimmed down from a heavier frame.


i’m loving this adorable dog (a pug/shihtzu) hybrid and missing my sweet dharma (a fawn colored chihuahua) back in cebu. i kept playing with piggy at the couch gleefully calling her by her unusual name oblivious to my host, tonette, who had entered the room and burst out in laughter:


“oj, you’re just like the maids. the dog’s name is Peggy Sue.”


haute cuisine plus haute couture happens tonight and I stole some shots of the clothes which will be unveiled later...


your blogger worked with the chefs of waterfront cebu city hotel to come up with a course that will emulate the elegantly austere style of Balenciaga. Other participating designers are jun escario doing an yves saint laurent soup, arcy gayatin doing an interpretation of coco chanel purse as pie, philip Rodriguez doing a valentino sorbet, albert arriba doing the christian dior main course and cary santiago doing a christian lacroix inspired dessert.

keeping fingers crossed,i'm hoping the gourmands will love the taste as well as the presentation of the food.

almost a wrap

i'm done with metrowear gala.
your blogger was second to present the clothes, which was just perfect since it meant that i could dress the models and then run out from backstage to watch the show soon after I had final-checked the clothes and accessories.

the night before the show, during dress rehearsals, someone from abs-cbn asked what the viewers should expect from my atelier this summer.

“this summer, my designs are, as always, very quiet. These are clothes that whisper elegance...”

thanks to my friend Tere Whymark, i am able to post these photos she took of the event.

the last fashion to-do this year is on the 12th of December. after "haute cuisine + haute couture," it's a wrap.

lull before the...

Gil, designer Arcy Gayatin, Edwin Ao and Cybill

I just had breakfast with my peers at the Heat, EDSA Shangri-la. Had loads of fun with Metro Magazine's editor-in-chief Katrina Holigores and Metro Soceity’s Raul Manzano. How pleasant katrina is and how handsome raul is in the mornings. This was fun time for your blogger, tonight can be chaos.

We were joined by Cebu designers protacio, marichu and ren for more laughs and more fun. There are actually more cebu designers than manila designers showing tonight; 11 to 8 respectively.

Katrina and Raul loved the camaraderie among the participants while we love how they take care of us (unlike some organizers who seemingly think that designers from outside of Manila are second rate)

 Keeping my fingers on my mala beads, I ideate on a successful presentation tonight. Hopefully, all my friends and some of you valued reader will be there to show some love.

...this is the proverbial lull before the storm

Are Diamonds Forever?

a faceted, stealthy back

stunning aesthetics meet unrivalled innovation in HTC Touch Diamond.  this 110 gram ultra sleek and stylish smart phone raises the bar in mobile communication, while retaining stark simplicity and elegant beauty at its core.

sleek front with animated phonebook

2.8-inch large touch screen housed within a stunning formation of brushed steel and flawless faceted edges echoes the durability and elegance of its precious namesake.  the touch-responsive user interface, TouchFLO™ 3D, makes your messages, list of contacts, favourite music, videos and photos not just an ordinary and uninspired line of text. With this feature, text messages, album artwork, video stills and snapshots of your friends’ and family’s faces are animated and easily respond to your finger gestures.

black is always beautiful

this phone uses Windows Mobile 6.1, has a 3.2 megapixel auto-focus camera, a 4GB internal storage for your files but what I like most about this phone are its ultra-fast wifi, HSDPA internet connectivity and its customized YouTube application for a variety of user generated video content. 

your blogger rates this phone with eight and a half black grosgrain ribbons out of ten but one question remains: are all diamonds really forever?

5-minute post

i have exactly 5 minutes to make this post and given the snail speed connection that I have, I doubt if I’ll make it…

brocade coat

these are sketches for the Metrowear Gala that this blogger will be presenting with other Manila and Cebu designers. i have started making the half-scale toile (mock up in muslin) and have worked on a life-size one for a client who will be wearing her dress this Saturday for the Inquirer Fitness Fashion gala at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel ballroom.

fluid, sculptural pieces

i’m hoping that she will allow me to photograph her so that i can post both the toile and the actual finished dress.

has it been five minutes already? i hope so, because i gotta go…

B R A V O ! R A J O

indigo taffeta and stretch tulle drape dress

Rajo Laurel’s tried his hand on draping and successfully came up with a  deluxe collection for his solo show at the second season of Fashion Watch Quartet. His prêt-a-porter collection for the holidays was noticeably unembellished and appealingly wearable. Marked by sensual fluidity which allows ease of movement and tasteful opulence. His clothes are sure sellers.

beetroot chiffon top, plum ball skirt

These dresses are choice picks from said collection. The indigo draped taffeta with chiffon sleeves is exquisite and the belted silver grey silk top with ribbed charcoal knit skirt is uncompromisingly chic. The bronze taffeta cowl-necked shift is sculpture-in-motion while the beetroot tank with embroidered bra and plum taffeta skirt is perfect for galas.

silk-satin toga

“I took inspiration from my old geometry notebook. Off the body, these clothes form rectangles, ellipses and triangles,” Rajo revealed.

rajo laurel

Rajo’s enthusiasm and friendliness is always endearing thus your jotter was one of the first to congratulate him when he won the much coveted Ernst and Young, SGV Small Business Enterpreneur award in 2007. To date, he is the only fashion designer who has been given such recognition. This collection, once again, proves that Rajo has found perfect balance between creativity and saleability in his clothes. 

draped silk-satin top, bondage skirt

Bravo Rajo.

Manila Wear @ L Manila

There’s a store in Greenbelt 5 called L Manila where you can shop for readymade original Filipino designer clothes which iconic designer Lulu Tan Gan calls Manila Wear.

queen of knitwear, lulu tan gan

What is Manila Wear? “It’s contemporary, Filipino-inspired resort wear. L MANILA is set to create a global Filipino lifestyle brand which takes inspiration from Filipino costumes, art, motifs, history and heritage. Rather than following fashion dictates of the international catwalk, we come up with one-of-a-kind, original Filipino designs. We take on a global view with relevant, fun & functional approach to retail fashion,” Lulu says.

tan gan's soft knits

L Manila features the Manila Wear of both upcoming and established designers along with the beautiful knitwear of Lulu whose innovative design and uncompromising quality remains unequalled in her field today.

Established designers such as Gerry Katigbak, known for his unmistakable elegant mix of Asianic details, and Barge Ramos whose ingenious use of print and pattern on Jusi continues to fascinate both the local and foreign fashion enthusiasts, are recent additions.  Also displayed are the upbeat clothes of Tippi Ocampo, the jersey innovations of Arcy Gayatin, Louie Claparols and this fashion blogger's pret-a-porter line .

puey's painted pineapple fabrics

Interesting and most saleable apart from Lulu’s cool knits are the Piña wraps of Puey Quiñones who simply cuts armholes into rectangular fabrics. This simplicity of pattern reveals his brilliance; no two wraps look exactly the same when worn. Adding novelty to his pieces are the hand-painted artworks rendered by inmates of The Muntinlupa Maximum Security Prison.

puey quiñones 

“I hold weekly design workshops for the inmates, giving them a chance to express their creativity through my clothes. They give my work fresh meaning and renewed purpose. It’s not just about glamour and frivolity anymore, it’s about helping other human beings, “he reveals.

glamour on high gear

girls with the Jaguar Roadster 

last friday, this blogger headed for SM city cebu for the grand lauching of THE NORTHWING via GEARS & GLAMOUR-a show featuring rare car collections of the PERFORMANCE & CLASSIC CAR ENTHUSIASTS CEBU and clothes by FASHION COUNCIL of CEBU. there were cocktails @ the atrium before the unveiling of cars and clothes. 

this blogger's velvet dresses

participating designers were asked to design clothes inspired by the cars and films where the cars came out. i was assigned to echo in my design, kenneth cobonpue's 1961 Jaguar  E-Type Roadster which is billed s “the most beautiful car in existence.” unfortunately, the film where it was featured isn’t the most beautiful film in existence, much worse, i have not seen any of the austin powers series. admittedly thus,  although this film tops most people’s list of funniest films , i remain clueless.

maria callas "la divina"

i focused instead on my favorite tragic heroine (i named my last pet DIDI after her) who remained an unchallenged star throughout the 1960’s, Maria Callas otherwise known as "La Divina". I imagined this diva on in the roadster, decked out in a simple velvet dress. 

la divina's unique voice, as well as her moods and the scandals, kept her name in the headlines throughout the 60’s. Many women saw in Callas a role model, because she had transformed herself from an overweight, ugly duckling into a beautiful, black swan and, as a reward, she had won shipping magnate aristotle onassis as her life companion. Yet, it was he whom she lost so publicly in 1968 when he suddenly married Kennedy’s widow Jackie ending the  greek romance. Onassis left Callas with a generous legacy in his will, but that was not enough to make her happy. Callas died at the age of 53 in Paris, reputedly from a broken heart. 

Enough with tragedy... here's what makes life exciting!

the cutest car owners:

glen socco with his porsche spyder

kenneth cobonpue with his porsche 356 convertible

and the best designed clothes:     

cary santiago

arcy gayatin 

jun escario 

vania romoff

if i

fanny serrano

... were an NBI agent, i would track down this syndicate preying on fashion designers. The main scammer is a nondescript female in her early forties who goes around Manila applying (and, apparently, effectively getting hired) for a secretarial position. Previous to the latest victim, Jun Escario, there were already at least two other well-known designers who fell prey to her scheming. Sources say that to get out of a six- digit debt that she scammed from Fanny Serrano, she even feigned death by having herself photographed inside a coffin. She also tried to get her hands on Joji Lloren’s coffers but fortunately, Joji called Cesar Gaupo and Mike dela Rosa whom she claimed to be her previous employers. There’s been talk that she also stole a seven-digit amount from Cesar who rightfully advised Jojie not to take her in, whoever she was. 

inno sotto

...owned Rustan’s, I would bring in additional top Filipino designers such as Pepito Albert, Cary Santiago and Lesley Mobo to display their luxurious prêt-a-porter at the floor for designer labels. Clothes and accessories (leather goods and jewellery in Pepito’s case) from these designers would make for a wonderful addition to their already-impressive line-up of foreign and local brands. OH...and, if you happened to pass by Ayala Avenue and you noticed how the show windows of Rustan’s Makati are looking cleaner and more eye-appealing (like Barney’s or Sak’s in New York), it would come as no surprise to you that no less than premiere fashion designer Inno Sotto (Rustan’s current Creative Director) has his elegant hands and elevated taste stamped on the store’s visuals.

embracing the moon

This standing meditation called “embracing the moon” is practiced before one begins the taiji forms to totally relax the body and bring the mind to pristine focus and absolute clarity. Externally, the lower body (from the waist down to the tip of the toes) is strengthened while the upper body (from the waist all the way up to the crown of the head) is suspended in vital relaxation. Internally, the organs are warmed up, joints are unlocked, mind achieves clarity and focus.This posture harmoniously unites the external (physical) and the internal (mental), the upper body (heaven) and the lower body (earth).

Diaphragmatic Breathing: Relaxing Your Mind and Body Through Breath

Inhale through your nose. Expand your lower abdomen (like a little baby); slowly and gradually taking in a full breath. Exhale through your nose. Squeeze your lower abdomen; slowly and gradually pushing all the air out through your nose until you feel a total void in your abdomen. Then repeat for the rest of the breath cycles. The lower abdomen is very important, this is the location of your “tan tien” (center/generator of energy). The “tan tien” is your CORE.

I. Beginning: Connecting with your Internal Energy

Standing with both feet together, knees unlocked and hands down on the sides. Relax your shoulders then relax your elbows, wrists and the joints of your fingers. If it helps, smile on all these joints to help them relax. Relax your spine starting with the neck area, visualise all the joints relaxing downwards to the chest area, the waist area the hips area, and all the way down to the tailbone. Relax the thighs, unlock the knees, and relax the ankles and all the joints of your toes.
Shift your weight on the right foot then bend your left knee and bring your left foot out to the side about shoulder width away, toes touching the ground first. Slowly bring your heel down and distribute your weight on both legs. Now lower your body to the ground by bending your knees and curling your tailbone into a neutral spine position. Rotate your shoulders bringing your hands forward and up to no higher than chest level. Make sure your shoulders stay relaxed. Sink down with your elbows, rotate your wrist to make a circle with your palms facing you.

III. Meditation: Emptying Yourself into the Posture

Settle into this posture known as “embracing the moon.” Take ten to twenty diaphragmatic breath cycles (later on, with practice, you will find that you are able to extend this to the hundreds). Focus on every in-breath and out-breath. Feel your body relaxing with every breath you take. If it helps, smile at all your joints and imagine a string of light coming from heaven connecting to the crown of your head. You are dangling on this string of light, weightless, ethereal, ...empty. This part is the most challenging and consists the longest part of the process. you should stay in this meditative state as long as you can. If thoughts arise and blurr your focus just bring your mind back to your breath.

III.Ending: Storing your Vital Energy

To end the taiji meditation inhale then exhale pressing your palms against each other. Inhale while separating your palms bringing them to shoulder width apart only, then exhale pressing them together again. Repeat for three cycles. Then take longer and deeper breath cycles by bringing your hands farther to the sides without straining your shoulders, drop your elbows lower then exhale by using your shoulders to compress your arms bringing your palms slowly back to pressing position in the center. Repeat three times then inhale, rotating your wrists to make the palms face downwards. Exhale lowering your elbows, allow your wrist to follow until fingers point down to Earth then rotate your wrists turning your palms outwards. Inhale; use your shoulders to raise your hands to chest level, rising slowly as you do so. Bring your hands higher until both palms are above your head. Inhale slowly then exhale extending your spine upwards as if you’re being pulled up. Hold your breath and this extension for two to three seconds then exhale slowly lowering your hands back to chest level. Inhale bringing your hands to your sides, then exhale bringing your hands down to the sides of your thighs. During this movement it is important that you visualize your vital energy (chi) returning back and settling down unto your core or “ tan tien”.
Shift your weight to the right foot. Bend your left knee, lifting your left foot and bringing it next your right foot. Slowly distribute your weight on both legs then rise up without locking your knees.

ode 2 e

having recently been invited by havaianas to design my own pair of slippers, i dutifully went to sm north mall here in cebu last friday and came up with the pair below.

thought i wanted to wear them with my blue-black, frayed linen slacks, thus the metallic indigo color. didn’t want them to look too ‘designed’nor too blah, so I decided to dress them up a bit with the available studs. how drawn was i to these skull and crossbones studs.

must have been thinking subconsciously of my friend e because my havaianas are manifestation of my mind’s vision of his silver sandals (refer to his post: the chronicles of e, September 14). i felt bad that he almost died of an overdose but on hindsight i see the benefit of his actions. i'm just not sure if the benefits outweigh the suffering my friend has brought upon himself.

thus, here, an ode to E:

couldn't stop giggling,

both mind & body laughing

@ E's bitter pills

pills to heal attachment to pleasure

pills that conjured his silver sandals.

this pair i wear

conjured by friendship,

heals my mundane attachments.

my indigo slippers

E's happy, profound legacy.

chez lloren

after watching ito curata’s show at shang makati, your blogger met up with jojie lloren and some more friends from the art and fashion circles at his atelier. i took candid photos of them while we talked about everything from ito’s collection to the man made wonders of dubai. this was fun evening, felt like i was back in college hanging out with my schoolmates. something about this shop’s architecture and surrounding artworks reminded me of U.P. Diliman.
jojie @ chez lloren

dorla villalon, one of my muses was with me. if you remember, i was with her at ito’s show (refer to the last pic on my previous post). dorla is a treasured friend who inspired this blogger to create a jacket based on the alvar aalto chair below. we were admiring the lines of his furnitures which were on exhibit at the ayala museum sometime ago. i should post some pics of that eggshell colored, raw-silk jacket; if she allows me to photograph it, that is.
alvar aalto chair

darling dorla is a meticulous designer herself with impeccable taste for the elegantly subtle. she’s been all over the globe to study photography, art and many other creative pursuits. it was through her export company Tribal Genius that I first found creative expression in creating candleholders and napkin rings in the 90’s. the designs that she created herself are beautiful and timeless. i have a few pieces of her fish candleholders which i keep for posterity.
dorla villalon, inspiring

james reyes who was past president of the young designers’ group (YDG) was also there. he is funny, witty and very good at his craft. i love the surreal black and white clothes he did for metro magazine some seasons ago. he had recently lost a pet dog, had him put to sleep. i could totally relate to such loss since my shih-tzu died late last year after i returned from a trip. poor doggy got sick and thought i wouldn’t come back. she just gave up but waited long enough for me to see her off. i told her that she was a good pet and that it was okay to go, "you'll be back to help humans in your next life." didi gave one deep, sigh and spent her last outbreath looking at me.
james reyes
paolo who just returned from dubai is so much prettier now than he's ever been before departing. refined, wealthy and well-educated, he must have left a trail of broken hearts in that distant desert. surprisingly he revealed that he only had one boyfriend. He showed photos and admittedly, with a boyfriend like that, one is really all you need.
pretty paolo

albert avellana, art-dealing culturato, was there too. He showed me the latest exhibit @ his f.b. harrison, pasay city gallery: eight atists doing anything that’s got to do with eight showed thought-provoking, retina-pleasing works. i wanted to stay longer but i ate too much of the fresh steamed vegetables that jojie served (sans the kare kare sauce and ox tail of course). had to head home immedeately.
albert avellana

Ito's Coup

cascading cape in silk organza with a high-neck shift

Ito Curata, one of the presidential designers for her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo showed an ultra glamorous collection for Fashion Watch Quartet. His guest of honour, the president of the Philippines herself, showed up five minutes before the show, sat at the assigned table with Ito’s mom and lifetime partner Bob, and immediately left after the presentation.

nuances of elegance from day to evening in variants of luxurious raw silks, silk chiffons and crepes.

One of my journalist friends wanted to throw what would have been a very awkward question at the president regarding her attending the show despite the recent MILF bombings in Lanao. Personally this blogger had questioned the propriety of such query considering that said friend wasn’t even a hard news journalist. A fair reportage on the clothes was what she owed her readers, it was what was expected of her as a fashion writer. Evidently, protocol did not allow her to raise such question as PGMA left promptly sorrounded by her presidential guards.

red-carpet ready gowns

Ito created one of the most elegant collections for the Fashion Watch Quartet Series. I loved the soundtrack. His main theme, Vuelvo al Sur, heightened the tres, tres chic and golden-age Hollywood charm of his clothes. One can imagine Sharon Stone, a client of his when he was residing in the states, walking the red carpet in one of Ito's latest ultra-glam looks.
DORLA VILLALON, ITO and BOB with this blogger