15 July 2014

#KIDSOFINSTAGRAM

Seeing your favorite kids on your Instagram feed never fails to put a smile on your face. Allow me to share with you the most adorable, lovable, cutest and most nakakagigil little boys and girls whose photos brighten my day!

Of course I need to start with my beloved inaanaks.



I am really loco over Roco!!!! Roco Pamintuan Gonzalez is the super smart, super guapo (biased Ninang) son of my brother JC and I can't get enough of his photos in our family Whatsapp chat group and on Instagram through the accounts of my brother @ziggydala and his wife @chochosmama!




Our family's little princess and Roco's little sister, meet Sabine Gonzalez! Just the cutest, sweetest baby girl who is the apple of our family's eyes. Always salingkit and gaya gaya with her Kuya Roco's activities, it is just a joy to watch her do anything. Don't grow up so fast, Beanie!




Viviana Gangoso Santos is beyond adorable! She is the daughter of my best friend @pepelsantos and wife @mstrissa. This photo was taken the same night she told her dad (who had a long day at work), "Daddy did you work hard for us today?" Gaaaah! Gigil!




My inaanak Diego Picazo Garcia is the incredibly cute unico hijo of my best friend @pampicazogarcia and husband @garciamaui. Always so sweet and often a ball of energy, he's sure to be the life of the party when he grows older.. just like his parents are!




This cutiepatootie is Camden De Jong Pamintuan, son of @tjpamintuan and @chardejong. His droopy eyes and funny smile (you should see the videos!) will surely make you say "aaaw!" A huge bonus are his adorable #OOTDs and #shoeselfies care of his momma.




This future heartbreaker will make you want to bite his cheeks off! Gavin Garcia Kramer, son of @dougkramer44 and @chekakramer, may be a heartthrob now but wait til he grows older! It is such a huge plus that he's a major sweetheart too.




The eldest of the bunch, it is crazy how time flies! Just feels like yesterday when Noelle Lagdameo Martinez, daughter of @mikaelamartinez and @chuchomartinez77 was born! Now she is into music, art, sports, is super smart at school, and gorgeous. Watch out for this super achiever!





But of course there are also kids who may not be my inaanaks but I am so crazy fond of!!!!




Tyler and Tiff Ablan Reyes, kids of JC's best friend @jayrreyes and wife @jenreyes08, are the absolute sweetest kids you will ever meet. Tyler is super malambing and playful, while Tiff is just so funny and bugay! Love these two balls of energy.




This baby supermodel is a walking doll! Celestia Mananquil Trillo, daughter of @rissamananquil and Paolo Trillo, feels like a baby straight out of a Baby Gap ad. Already a stunner, I'm sure Pao and Ris have to ward off the boys when this one grows up.




Lucas Cayetano, son of Ate @piacayetano, is a real charmer and maybe future politician! So personable, never shy, extremely hyper, this boy makes me so excited to see what he will be like all grown up! But not just yet, Lucas, stay a little boy first!




Another Lucas, Lucas Davila Sta. Ana, is the cutiepie son of @iamkarendavila and hubby DJ Sta. Ana. Always so malambing and even tags along with his mommy on work days, this super trooper is set to charm everyone with his ways in the coming years!




And yet again another Tyler, Tyler Martinez, yes little bro of Noelle, has got to be one of the most handsome boys in the country! Already a commercial model at his age, those eyes and that smile assure us we'll be seeing much more of him in the future.




Look at that darling! Lucho Santos Agoncillo, son of @officialjuday and @thatsmytatayryan can melt your heart with just one look. I swear I give an audible gasp everytime I see his face on my feed. With his parent's charm combined, Lucho is one little boy to watch.




Another living doll, Stephan Santos is the little brother of Viviana! My best friend Pepel told me he will tell Stephan when he grows older, "Son, Tita Bianca found you so cute that she asked if she can be your ninang too. I said yes!" Grabe sobrang cute!




And last but not the least, the country's favorite little girl slash Aling Maliit, will always put a smile on our faces with her sagad selfies. Hello, @ryzzamaechacha, Ryzza Mae!





So the next time you may be feeling a bit blue, check Instagram for these kids' photos. (Thank God for Instagram!) Hope they too put a smile on your face!



20 June 2014

#THENEWBIANCA



 Because I can't imagine myself with my old hair style (just long and straight), the team of Vidal Sassoon Philippines, my hairstylist (of 14 years!) Alex Carbonell, and I decided to collaborate to create possible "next" looks for me! The VS team decided to put the decision up to a vote between the textured bob and the disconnected bob.

Thank you to all my social media followers who took time to like and vote! The winner - by a landslide - was the textured bob!




It was a bright and early Saturday morning at Studio Fix in Century City Mall. As I walked to the salon I was both excited and anxious. Not so much scared because I knew how liberating it was to chop it all off last October, but anxious to see what the new style would look like.





Of course, the first step, shampoo! Vidal Sassoon shampoo, syempre.




I sat on the salon chair as Alex started to work his magic on my crowning glory!




He started cutting from the back, to get the length he wanted to achieve. The cut is asymmetric with it being shorter at the back and longer by the front.




He then started flicking his razor to cut the rest of the sections of my hair! Not scissors, just a razor! "Razor cut," Alex called it. It gives the textured look more lightness as compared to if it were cut by scissors.




Quite interesting that given my short hair, this much hair was still cut from it!




Once the cut was done, I had to document! This cut is without blowdrying, would you believe?! I was so happy because I instantly knew the cut was wash and wear, super low maintenance!




Then they started the coloring process. Alex is a master colorist too, and he describes my hair color to be "an alternate of caramel golds and khaki brown highlights on a light brown base, with khaki reflect."




After coloring and washing with VS shampoo and conditioner, it was blowdried and Alex made a few more snips here and there to finish the look.





After styling and curling the ends, tadaaaa! I just had to take a selfie with my dear Alex! Alex is the Creative Learning Director of Bench Fix Salon, literally the one who trained every single staff member nationwide! He also has his own chain of salons for the Bench group of companies, Studio Fix.


BEFORE
AFTER: #TheNewBianca







I loved how light the cut felt and how it framed my face. It isn't true that you can't have short hair when your face is round or your cheeks are big! For every face shape, there is a specific cut for you. In fact, the layers can even frame your face!




You can #getsassooned anywhere you want. You can try Studio Fix or Bench Fix Salon, you can go to your favorite suki hairstylist, or try a new one you've been wanting! You literally don't need to worry about maintaining or styling your new look every day when you use Vidal Sassoon products because it makes it so easy to fix your hair.

So to every girl (or gay, or guy!) reading this, if you've been thinking of chopping it all off, NOW is the time!!!! Remember, long and straight or big wavy curls are no longer the "standard" of what is beautiful! Go for any hair style you want and carry it with confidence. That's beautiful.





03 May 2014

STUDENT OF LIFE


I'm so thrilled to see a lot of people asking me about the short course I took! It is awesome to know that so many people want to keep studying too! 


My sister Aissa took my photo every morning before leaving for school! Day 1 (upper left) she says was full of anxiety and nervousness, while day 5 (lower right) was all happiness and confidence! Haha!


It has really been a dream of mine ever since I was in college to take my Masters. I started working while on my Junior year in college and before I knew it, its 10 years since I graduated college and I never got to pursue the further studies I always thought I'd end up doing! So when I finally had a two week break from work (my longest time off from work in over a decade!), I decided to take up short courses to at least give me the fulfillment of being a student again, never mind that I can't finish another degree yet.

Everything fell into place because I decided on visiting my sister Aissa who lives in London, and at the time of my scheduled visit, Central Saint Martins was offering many different short courses! 


My tumbling shot on campus!

The gorgeous interiors of CSM


I decided to take something unrelated to my work, just so I can learn something new and something that will take me out of my comfort zone. I decided on Data Visualisation. It is a course on gathering numbers and data (FYI, I hate Math), organizing it, and making it relevant to your audience.

Working on my final project!


What is data visualisation? Here is an example: a visualisation of drone strikes in Pakistan.

My short course proved to be an AMAZING experience.

My instructors Angela Morelli and Tom Halsor are PURE BRILLIANCE. Angela is an engineer and Tom is a statistician, and both of them ended up in the business of making data visual. They empower journalists, marketers, social entrepreneurs, NGOs, changemakers, to get their message across with maximum impact. (You must watch Angela's TED talk on the Global Water Footprint!)

I had classmates from the UK, the US, Norway, Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, Argetina, and many other places!


The #dataviz14 class!


I highly recommend taking any of the 5-day courses in CSM! The campus is amazing, the students are so diverse, the teachers are inspiring, I could go on and on!

Here's the Central Saint Martins website if you want to check out their short course offerings.

Cheers to us nerds!!!!
 


17 April 2014

WHEN GOD CLOSES A DOOR, HE OPENS THE AIRPORT



February this year, I lost a job. The morning show I worked at - UKG - reformatted, and I was no longer part of it. I went through an existential crisis. At 31 years of age, I had another "quarter life crisis". Questioning whether I am in the right line of work, what my purpose is in life, if this is the job I am really meant to do, and if I even have a place in it anymore. That self-doubt people go through when crisis strikes.

As the weeks passed, and after many talks with my family and friends and management, I was at peace with my situation. I accepted it, realized that this happens to everyone (no exceptions), and instead I looked forward to doing other things I've always wanted to do and pursue other dreams I've always wanted to pursue but had no time to.

1. I've always said that since I started working in 3rd year college, I have never had a vacation longer than 10 days.. but have always wanted to.

2. I've always dreamed of taking my Masters (In college I was convinced I would go to film school after graduation) but since I am blessed to have work I love doing already, I know that being away for 2 years isn't possible for now.. but I still have always wanted to.

3. I love traveling and really save up and set aside money for travel and take the chance to leave every time I have free time. 



Putting all that together, I consulted my loved ones and I decided to:

1. Finally take that 2 1/2 week vacation I have been longing for. I decided to go to London because my sister lives there. Aside from it being an amazing city, going somewhere where you can stay with family is huge savings because you don't have to pay for lodging.


Me, my sister Aissa, and Timmy Bear



2. Finally "study abroad" by taking two short courses. It is by no means a real "degree" but if all I have is a few days of learning a different point of view and getting out of my comfort zone, then I will take it. I took up a 5 day course on Data Visualisation in Central Saint Martins and a 3 day course on Lifestyle Journalism in London School of Journalism.


Taken on the first day of my class at CSM


3. Make the most out of my trip and take mini trips with my sister within my trip. We decided on Stratford Upon Avon just an hour away from London, and Edinburgh in Scotland, 4.5 hours away from London by train.


Sisters adventure in Edinburgh




So I fixed all my documents, fixed all my work schedules that had to be moved and asked permission from work I would be leaving, and set my trip for March 20 til April 6. My longest vacation (well, half study trip, half leisure trip) ever. 

Little did I know that before my 6AM flight on March 20, the biggest surprise of my life has been planned and was about to be revealed to me. 


#theproposal

It was a jampacked 17 days. Within the 17 days, I attended 2 short courses, took 2 out of town trips, saw 2 concerts, 1 musical, and 1 improv night, had a fitting session for a bridal gown, went to every spot in London I wanted to see, had dinner out with friends more 10 times, and took 3 travel tumbling shots. It wasn't a "rest" trip at all! It was an action packed, trip full of new adventures with amazing new learnings I will bring with me for life. And at the end of it all, I had what would be the start of a beautiful future to be planned waiting for me. 

My handsome sundo at the airport

Life is not just what happens to you, it is what you make of it. 

So really. When God closes a door, He not only opens a window.. He opens the airport and the world to you. When a door closes, it is your choice whether to be defeated by it or to take charge of the situation and make it work for you. 

And the most important lesson I've learned.. no matter how much you plan your life according to what you think will make you fulfilled and happy, God has plans for you that are far better than anything you can ever dream of. 






30 March 2014

#JCANDB



There are so many family members, friends, and NAIA Terminal 2 staff I am so thankful to for coming together (at 4 in the morning!) and making the most magical day of my life possible. But most of all, I am thankful to my fiancé JC (aaaah, fiancé!!!!) for being so amazing. I thought I knew him well after 3 years of being together, but I guess this goes to show that he can and will be pulling surprises out of his sleeves for the rest of our lives. I am really the luckiest girl in the world.

I would like to share with you two very personal videos sent to me by our good friend Mikaela Martinez, who was right there beside me that morning.

I felt something was up, but I had NO idea what was in store for me. Until, this moment:


video

I saw behind me my closest friends and JC's closest friends, JC's family (and apparently my family being updated every second via a Whatsapp chatgroup) at 5 in the morning, all also with a rose each. I could not stop the tears streaming down my face.

video

Sorry for the bitin video, the clip really ended there and Mikaela started taking photos. Thank you for this, Miks! 

JC and I are really both very private people and aside from the occasional Twitter or Instagram post about what we do or when we travel, we really don't share much about ourselves except to family and friends. Until now, I still really have no idea why JC chose to propose the way he did, but I don't really want to question it anymore because I just really feel lucky and blessed!!!!

What I can share and would like to share, that maybe other couples may be able to relate to, is a few things JC said when he was standing in front of me in the middle of the airport.

Just like in the movies, really. Photo by Mark Intal


He said, "Last night, you asked me how much I love you and I just said a lot. But, this," he looks around, and says, "this is my answer."

He added, "I love that you aren't perfect, and I've come to love your imperfections." 

This means the world to me. When we girls are single or in the start of a relationship, there is always this pressure to look somewhat perfect, to act somewhat perfect, to avoid mistakes, to avoid screwing up, to impress or keep the guy we like or the man we love. But we all know that we can't be perfect. And this man decided to love every imperfection of mine, and I really, really cannot be any luckier.

It was really all a blur at that moment, I just couldn't stop crying! Photo collage by JR Intal

To be honest, until now I cannot stop staring at my ring and when I try to recall that morning, I really cannot believe that happened to me!!!! Thank you Lord for this wonderful man! I keep saying that I must have done something amazing in a past life for me to deserve this.

I've asked the question, "how do you know he is the one?" And I've heard the answer, "you just know it." To be honest, I didn't know it. JC and I have both been in relationships that we thought was for the long run but wasn't. But what I can share is, and this I realized from something my good friend Mariel mentioned to me, is that you know that person is the one when that person loves you the way you have always wanted to be loved. 

This is a photo we took before my boarding call, that we sent to our private barkada chatgroup, and we had no idea our friend Cheska would post it online, so please do excuse me for that face. I was just so happy!!!!





I do wish I had put on lipstick, and I wonder about how agaw-eksena that backpack is, but how would I have known this would happen.. and at 5 in the morning!

Thank you again to every single one of our loved ones and even those who we have never met for the overwhelming love and support you have shown JC and I.
Cheers to new adventures and new chapters!!!!  




16 March 2014

#10QUESTIONS WITH RAJO LAUREL



RAJO LAUREL
("In my head I am perenially 28 years old")
Fashion designer and entrepreneur


A rare Rajo #selfie for the love of Lupita and her headband


One of the biggest names in the Philippine Fashion Design scene is also a major mogul with a number of businesses and collaborations to his name. He is one of the most generous souls, always ready to be fairy godmother to friends in need. He loves to travel the world and also loves to take foreigner friends (read: Sarah Jessica Parker included) around the country. Know Rajo more in 10 questions:




1. Do you remember every single dress or outfit you've made? Any one particular favorite?

I do have a vague recollection of each dress I have created although there will always be unforgettable ones. These are the wedding gowns of my sisters that are really close to my heart. What I remember clearly is what they looked like seconds before entering the church, that I will hold very close to my heart.

2. How many percent of a good design is product of formal school and training and how many percent of it is pure talent and creativity?


I believe that proper technical know how is extremely important in the execution of good design. Obviously talent is very important, but if there is no foundation on how the idea will be properly done then this will lead to failure. I always say that beautiful poetry can only be achieved only if one properly learns their ABC's.

3. Dream Hollywood client?


Cate Blanchett.

4. What one place do you love taking foreign visitors to here in Manila?


I would take them to a proper seafood "dampa" experience! There is nothing like an amazing Filipino meal that would make one trip extremely memorable.

5. One important business tip you would give a starting entrepreneur?


Know your numbers.  Proper accounting practices will be the best foundation for your business to grow.

6. When your creative juices aren't flowing, what do you do to get them flowing?


I try to escape and feed my desire to wander. Escape can mean just taking a break from your daily routine or a weekend get away. This practice clears my mind and gets me creative.

7. What is the sweetest thing your boyfriend Nix has ever done for you?


Nix's gift to me is laughter. He really makes me laugh. Although I remember him renovating our apartment while I was on a trip and coming back to a brand new apartment was really a fantastic surprise.

8. Your favorite song to sing in karaoke?


Creep. I like the message of the song and I can really give my lungs a work out when I sing this song.

9. Would you consider having children in the future?


I am blessed with beautiful nephews and nieces and my desire to have children have been taken over by their presence and love.

10. Is there really any ultimate fashion no-no?


I really appreciate all kinds of fashion and I don't believe in rules.  Fashion is a means of expression and for me this means that we should all enjoy it.  The only thing that I would be cautious about is appropriateness and this is something that one should always consider and think about when dressing up.



Rajo x 2 for his National Bookstore collection


Til the next #10Questions!



HOW I CELEBRATED MY BIRTHDAY WITHOUT CELEBRATING


Time really friggin flies. In my head I'm still 25 years old then all of a sudden I wake up and I'm 31

I am really not one for parties during my birthday. I always prefer just having quality time with my loved ones and enjoying a good meal (usually Japanese or Sonia's Garden, yes, every year!) and that's it. The only "party" I ever recall having was when I turned 1 and when I was 2nd grade, thrown by my parents. And when I was a PBB housemate, thrown by the staff. Other than that, I really prefer quiet birthdays.

This year was different because I may not have thrown any party, I had 6 intimate and meaningful mini celebrations thanks to special people who surprised me with the ultimate birthday symbol.. a cake! 





First was a box of cupcakes surprise from my Earth Faces team, in Coron, Palawan, the weekend before my birthday. We were shooting part of our advocacy campaign with Facial Care Center and they were so sweet to make a way to suprise me, with matching Happy Birthday song by the Lobster King singer of the night! (And a song while we were swimming in the Twin Lagoon earlier that day, so cinematic I wish I had a video of it!) Thank you Anna, NJ, Niccolo, Anton, Dwight, and Kaye.



On the stroke of midnight on the anniversary of my birth, March 11, I was surprised to wake up to the sound of my boyfriend JC singing me a happy bithday with matching cake and candle! With hair standing and probably muta in my eyes, I made a wish! He knows I am not one for big celebrations so this thoughtful surprise really meant so much.



On the morning of March 12, we had an editorial line up meeting for meg magazine, and after the "work" part was done, they surprised me with not just one, but two cakes!!!! Thank you to my girls Ning, Rain, Portia, Guia, Bea, Tin, and Ionne for the thoughtfulness. (They also gave me coloring books and crayons as a gift! I love it!)



On the afternoon of the 12th, I met up with a group of girlfriends for a crafternoon! It is basically an afternoon of DIY fun where we learned rubber stamping and basic calligraphy from Alessandra Lanot. In the middle of our class, I was surprised with the famous Choco Yema cake of Slice! Thank you Slice, and thanks to my friends Rina, Trisia, Trina, Marion, and Alessa!



On the evening of the 13th, I had taping for my show Cinemanews, and there, I was pleasantly surprised by not just the staff of the show (thank you Ate Kitty for arranging everything, and to my bosses Sir Ronald and Sir Amboy for the love and support), but my beloved Biancsters. Thank you Kate, Monica, Karen, Ate Juliet, Mabel, Eliza, Cay, Christine, Caroline, and Calc (who was there in spirit!)



On the afternoon of the 14th, I had my annual celebration with school kids in Taguig, and this time, Mayor Lani, the principal Ma'am Tess, and all the teachers and students of the 6th grade of Taguig Elementary School sang me a birthday song and gave me a cake! I really tried my best to hold back the tears kasi ang pangit naman kung ang drama ko. But it DID make me very emotional! Thank you Ate Lani for all the love, always.





So for a girl who doesn't really celebrate, 6 mini celebrations were really so much more than I could ask for. The funny thing though? Every single time I closed my eyes to make a wish before blowing the candle, I had only one wish in mind. And that wish, I would like to keep for myself. Haha. 

I admit I had the birthday blues. Questions on if I really am where I'm supposed to be at this point in my life, where am I headed, what should I do.. but I've accepted that as all part of growing up. I may have many worries, but I still am overwhelmed by and thankful for all the blessings and it feels selfish to even ask God for anything more. 

Thank you to everyone who extended their well wishes and birthday greetings!!!! I am humbled and blessed to be the recipient of such wonderful words.