Thursday, June 8, 2017

Jul B. Dizon, by Me.

When Anna Sobrepena asked me to write about Mom for the 30th Anniversary Issue of Lifestyle Asia, I was a bit apprehensive. I didn't know what else to say about her that people/writers have not yet written about. After much thought, I agreed. Perhaps this would also be therapeutic in a way. It has been 9 years since she left but it still feels very raw in my heart.

With a week to work on it, I thought I could take my time but on the deadline, I found myself with nothing. Every time I started to write something, I would tear up, wouldn't be able to see the screen. I would eventually stop and delay it. This happened every single time I tried to get something written down. 

I took myself to the last few days of Mom in this world. And there I started with my story....


     God took her away too early. There was still so much I wanted to learn from her, and I am sure that there was still so much she wanted to do. But what Jul B. Dizon wanted, she got. 

     By the age of 35, Mom already had five children. It would have been six if one of her daughters, Joan, did not pass away due to bone cancer at the young age of 12. I was six when this happened. I clearly remember my ate's last day on earth. She was on my mom and dad's bed, and the house was filled with so many family members who came to say goodbye. I was by her side and heard my Mom ask, "If you are to be reincarnated, what would you like to be?" Joan said, "A boy." 

      After this, my Mom told my other sister, Janina, and me to go to the alter and pray. It was her way of shielding us from having to see my sister draw her last breath. My older brothers, Chad and Cedric, remained by her side. A year after her death, on Christmas Day of 1978, my youngest brother Christoffer Jonathan was born. 

      It was also this year when mom wanted a shop bearing her own name. She was after all, trained by her mother, Paz G. Bañas, since she was 12 years old. Opening up her own shop was a way of moving on and fulfilling her dream of making a mark in the jewelry industry. 

      She was strict, the scary kind of strict. An hour-long lecture awaited us if she felt we needed some straightening out. When we were teenagers, we would be required to work in her office after school, whether it be making calls for her, doing inventory or typing up a letter. She was training us the way she was trained. Although back then, I didn't much like it because it is not what teenagers did, now, I understand why she pushed us to learn the ways of her business. 

    In 1984 to '85, she expanded her name and opened Jul B. Dizon Jewellery in Beverly Hills, California. She flew back and forth to Manila to make sure both branches were running smoothly. At the same time, she was a wife and mother raising four teenagers and a toddler without a yaya. 

      It was in 1990, after moving back to the Philippines with all of us in tow, when the business truly became a family-oriented one since we were now all fully-involved into making it what is it today. We also gained wonderful in-laws, who are substantial to its growth. 

    However, Jul Dizon's training did not stop there. She continually taught us the importance of integrity, honesty and hard work. She was not only a wife, mother and the boss, she now also took on the roll of being a grandmother. On the side, she worked hard on making the industry globally acknowledged, and at the same time, became a founding member of the Foundation for the Musical Filipino, a force in People's Patriotic Movement, and a silent philanthropist. 

    More than a dozen local and international design awards later, Jul B. Dizon Jewellery is now located in three 5-star hotels/resorts, namely the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel and The Peninsula Manila and Amanpulo Resort in Palawan. 

    Sadly, she developed cancer. I vividly remember watching over her in the hospital. When she would wake up, she would ask me to get paper and write down a list of names that we, her children, should thank for supporting and patronizing her jewelry shop. She made me repeat this list out loud just to make sure she didn't miss anybody before she fell back to sleep. 

     One night, she kept asking me if I saw the number three and eight written on the wall of her room. I repeatedly said no but tried to make sense of these two numbers with her. Perhaps, it was because it had numbers from my dad's birth year? Maybe it was because they were her favorite numbers? We couldn't figure out why she constantly saw these numbers in her mind. The answer was then realized by all of us when at 3pm of December 8, my mom, drew her last breath. She was 66 years young. 

     Often, before I sleep, I would think about our relationship. Yes, she was a strict boss but she made sure we experienced everything a wonderful life had to offer. It was her rule to not work on weekends because family time is a must, not just for her family, but also for her staff. She and my dad bought a mini bus so that when we go out of town, we are all in one vehicle. She filled our memory banks with so much love and compassion. Just before I shut my eyes, I realize why she trained us at such a young age. It was because she also left us early. 

    Yes, it may have been too early, but we were prepared. Jul B. Dizon knew what she wanted. She always got what she wanted and that included having us continue her legacy even after she was gone. And that, is exactly what she is going to get.

Thank you Lifestyle Asia, specially to you Anna, for always paying tribute to
Jul B. Dizon, the most wonderful mother ever.

Grab your copy now!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

KASSA by Karen Santos.

 “The eye has to travel,” Diana Vreeland famously said. In the case of Karen Santos, the eye has been traveling all her life. 

 The fashion designer-turned-curator of beautiful things for the home, from table linens and accessories to unique furniture pieces, credits her stint in Europe as a student in England, Switzerland and Italy, for her early exposure to period furniture. “I saw how people lived contemporary lives with furniture from different periods. They were house-proud; their home was alive with the things they loved and used on a daily basis. 

 “The home, I realized, is the centerpiece of one’s style and individuality. It’s the ideal platform for self-expression.” 

 As a fashion designer in the 80s, she entered retail when she launched the Kashieca line of clothing, which was eventually sold to Bench around a decade ago. 

In 2014, she harnessed her creative talents once again to create KASSA, a line of table linens at once timeless and modern, inspired by Philippine embroidery traditions. “It brought me back to my passion for working with fabrics, and reignited my creativity.” 

 In between Kashieca and KASSA, Karen built a successful stone flooring business. While it may at first seem an incongruous fit, stone in fact is an unusual but fitting complement. “Like fashion, linens and furniture, the appeal of stone is visual and well as tactile, and the construction and finish, not to mention installation, are important components of any project, otherwise the beauty of the raw material is not shown to its best advantage.” 


 It began with the renovation of her home over a year ago. “I was looking for furniture and accent pieces and I realized there was a niche in the market. I wanted in particular 18th and 19th century pieces, as well as midcentury furniture, European pieces which I couldn’t find locally. So I decided to source them myself and bring them in.” 

 Once again, her eye travelled to Europe, reveling in discovery, chancing upon exciting finds and special sources, and meeting designers, dealers and collectors, as well as other like-minded friends who shared her passion for beautiful pieces, each with a story, thatone could easily and live with, whether the provenance was lofty or lowly. 

 Karen is drawn to the versatility of European furniture, no matter the period. “There is a substance and solidity to it. In a way it’s a reaction to the disposability of modern life. With my furniture as with my linens, I try to create some permanence with pieces that are not discarded after a season.” 


 With her business expanding from stone to linen and now furniture, Karen also works closely with designers and architects, some of whom have become mentors to her, sharing their expertise. She, in turn, absorbed their advice and continues to learn from them, refining her eye and picking up a few trade secrets along the way! 


 That said, it’s all about individual expression, with the home as a personal theater. Karen often plays with fabric and color to bring out the youthful spirit of a period piece, making it fun and young and very much of the moment while remaining essentially timeless. Think of a “lola” chair, for instance, jazzed up with a tiger-print fabric. “The fun part is finding unique things in different iterations that people can integrate into their homes.” 

Let your eye travel and discover KASSA by Karen Santos. 

 KASSA by Karen Santos is on show at NEST along Jupiter Street, Bel-Air, Makati City, until June 15th. 

 For enquiries, please contact: Email Instagram @kassabykarensantos

Thursday, May 25, 2017

My Love Life in a Nutshell.

So, funniest thing that happened to me last week was when my cousin, CVS sent me a screencap of a comment made by this certain Joey (who has so many points with me) in a blog called Oh my buhay

Anyway, I haven't gotten around to reading this blog because life has been quite hectic lately but I do want to share this while my status is still the way Joey has described it. 

Now, before I post the screencap, allow me to thank Joey for his kind words. Chuvaness also asked me to thank him on her behalf. There are, however, a few corrections to be made. First of all, I have TWO daughters. When I showed them the post, they were arguing as to who that daughter Joey was referring to. Everything else that he said about me is true. Sad, but true. 

Ms. Annie, are we really neighbors? QC people rock!

So Joey, whoever you are, you literally made me laugh out loud for days!!! 

Please, read the whole thing to maximize enjoyment. 

He really had to mention my love life TWICE. I am dying. 

P.S. Rajo, you travel like it's your first job. Tsk tsk tsk. Hahahaha! #alamna

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Kindness Is Simple.

SIMPLE, Face Care That’s Kind to Skin, Is Now In Manila Famous for their gentle, skin-loving yet highly-effective products such as their award-winning micellar water and micellar cleansing facial wipes, the United Kingdom’s #1 face care brand, Simple, has finally landed in the Philippines.

 Simple champions the belief that face care is not just about how skin looks from the outside. Rather, it is about how it feels—because it is always about how women feel about their own skin that truly matters. With that, the brand offers a range of products that gently hydrates while providing superior makeup removal and skin cleansing, specifically made for women with sensitive skin.

 Kind To Skin, Kind To Body, and Kind To Others To deliver the best results, Simple only uses skin-loving ingredients that are kind to the skin and to the planet. Sourced sustainably, it is free from color, fragrance, and other harsh ingredients that can upset the skin. Still, it delivers its promise of leaving skin thoroughly-cleansed without that tight or dry feeling. Each product works in harmony with the skin for a calming and hydrating effect. At the end of the day, face care should always be as fuss-free, gentle, and as effective as that.

 After all, #KindnessIsSimple

 Five Skin-loving products for Filipinas Five of the brand’s most well-loved and multi-awarded products are now available in the Philippines. Filipinas can look forward to finally experiencing the power of the Micellar Water, Micellar Facial Cleansing Wipes, Moisturizing Facial Wash, Hydrating Light Moisturizer, and Dual-Effect Eye Makeup Remover.

 The Simple Micellar Cleansing Water (P499/200mL, P799/400mL) is the most advanced facial cleanser to date, yet is gentle enough even for the most sensitive skin. It contains micelles, which are clever cleansing bubbles that work to lift away makeup and impurities, unclogging pores while instantly boosting skin hydration by 90%. It’s non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and dermatologically tested and approved. This product is a cult-favorite in the beauty industry—aside from having a strong following, it was also part of Glamour UK’s Top 15 cleanser and Allure’s Best of Beauty 2015.

 For those who still prefer facial wipes, the Simple Micellar Cleansing Facial Wipes (P299) is perfect to refresh and nourish your skin, remove tough make-up and is soft enough for use on delicate or sensitive skin. It contains a perfect blend of the purest possible skin-loving ingredients and added vitamins. They’re also convenient, quick-to-use and a fantastic addition to any makeup bag, perfect for when women on the go.

 For a deep and thorough cleanse, there is the Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash (P299/150mL). Unlike other harsh cleansers in the market, it can get rid of oil, dirt, and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. It’s made of only the purest ingredients and skin-loving multi-vitamins to keep sensitive skin clean and hydrated. It’s also 100% soap-free, so even those with the most sensitive skin can benefit from it.

For makeup lovers, there is the Simple Dual-Effect Eye Makeup Remover (P499/125mL). It effectively dissolves even the toughest eye makeup without irritating the eyes. The two-part formula consists of oil and purified water for maximum effect—no eye-rubbing required. This means that even women who wear contact lenses can use it without having to worry about their eyes turning red. The best part? It also cares for the eyelashes, at it leaves your fringes hydrated and nourished.

Finally, the Simple Hydrating Light Moisturizer (P499/125mL) is the moisturizer of dreams—it’s actually the UK’s #1 moisturizer. It’s created with the perfect blend of multi-vitamins, glycerin, and borage seed oil to keep the skin hydrated for up to 12 hour, as it instantly doubles the skin’s hydration levels. It’s made with triple purified water, making it perfect for the most sensitive skin.

Available in Watsons and leading supermarkets. 

TRESemme Runway Ready 2017

On its third year, TRESemmé Runway Ready is back—this time allowing you to get up close to witness the season’s hottest hair trends, meet gorgeous TREsetters, and experience an exciting collaboration between the most sought after hair stylists and designers. 

With Manila’s fashionphiles and stylesetters, the salon-grade and stylist-approved brand takes you to the country’s most awaited backstage-to-runway show, as it presents the creations of celebrated fashion designers Mark Bumgarner, Ivarluski Aseron, and Jerome Lorico. All inspired by TRESemmé’s Keratin Smooth range, the country’s leading hair professionals Lourd Ramos, Victor Ortega, and Henri Calayag, also interpreted the latest hair trends and partnered with the featured designers in a collaboration like no other. 

BOLD TWISTS Mark Bumgarner takes modern elegance to a whole new level with softly structured ensembles in red and nudes with his signature feminine touch. Perfectly represented by actress and host Sarah Lahbati, his pieces—much like the bold twist hair trend of the season—can look just as gorgeous off the runway and in real life. Top hair professional Lourd Ramos completes the look with various renditions of the very wearable yet incredibly chic modern twist. Gorgeously smooth, straight hair is gathered and twisted low on the nape, or on the side to frame the face to create a romantic yet modern look. All this is made possible by the TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner, which are formulated to leave hair salon-smooth for up to 48 hours, for the runway and beyond. “Soft, smooth, feminine, long… my pieces take inspiration and are made to match the season’s bold twists,” says Mark. 

CITY SLEEK Known for his geometric and architectural designs, Ivarluski Aseron brings his City Sleek vision to life with striking black pieces. Style star Martine Cajucom dons his perfectly structured designs, which complement the simple yet stunning straight, long, and sleek hairstyles of the season. “Black, structured, and designed with mesh… my pieces are inspired by the clean lines and sleek look of the gorgeously long and straight hair trend,” says Ivar. Top hair expert Victor Ortega breaks out the flat iron to achieve this look, which entails healthy and protected hair to look great. He protects hair by using a dollop of the TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Activated Treatment, which has thermal technology and Keratin to protect the hair before styling into the straight and shiny City Sleek look. The product is made to protect hair against heat, and work with the heat of the flat iron in transforming unruly hair into salon-smooth strands. 

MODERN EDGE Inspired by the modern and sleek pompadour that ruled the runways of many a fashion label, designer Jerome Lorico creates stunning textured metallic ensembles in a futuristic palette of silver, platinum, and black. “There is a sense of confidence with having your hair swept up from the forehead. Kings have crowns, lions have their mane, and some birds have huge plumages. It invokes pride and power. For me, it conveys a certain energy that makes the person not just sleek, but daring and more modern,” says Jerome. As fierce as his muse Joey Mead-King, his pieces clearly reflect the edgy feel of the modern edge trend that’s tempered with a polished finish. Top hairstylist Henri Calayag works the TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Treatment Mask on the hair before creating a bit of volume on top on the head, and TRESemmé Flatiron Smoothing Spray to create gorgeously salon-smooth tresses. 

RUNWAY READY TRESSES From the Front Row—together with M.A.C, which help complete the Tresetters’ looks---TRESemmé #RunwayReady2017 allows you to own the trend, own the front row and achieve gorgeous salon-smooth hair with TRESemmé Keratin Smooth.

Hosted by the very hot Raymond Gutierrez

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Simbolo in Northern Living.

A great big thank you to NoliSoli, (April 2017 issue) for featuring Simbolo! 

Dinner With Designers.

This dinner happened months ago. Just after Ms. Universe happened. 

I know. I am so bad at blogging on time and more often. 
In all honesty, I got sick of it for a while. For 2 years maybe. But perhaps there is this feeling of comfort that I can always go back to it when I am ready and have more important things to share. Actually, I have tons to post but I just delayed doing it because life got pretty busy.

Getting back to this dinner, I would like to thank Rajo and Nix for hosting such a fun evening in their home. I loved everything about it especially the laughter and stories that enveloped the Ms. Universe 2017 event. 

We also celebrated the birthday of Rhett Eala, who we all know dressed up Ms. Philippines. 

Ivar Aseron, Rajo Laurel, Patrice Diaz, Dennis Lustico, Rhett Eala and yours truly.

The spread.

A bit of their beautiful home. 

And the dessert. 

Mega's 25th Birthday!

It's been a while since I last put on my 4 inch heels but I didn't want to miss the 25th Anniversary event of Mega Magazine. 

Thanks to my old House of Laurel gown that's does not need spank or a corset, I was able to eat and enjoy the evening in comfort. 

Always happy to see a few of my friends that I haven't seen in a while. 

Sorry for my super late post folks. 

Congratulations MEGA, especially to Ms. Sari Yap. You are an amazing force in the industry.