Monday, June 28, 2010

wake up, fran!

that has been the battlecry for the last 24 or so hours on facebook since fran ribaño suffered an aneurysm then a massive heart attack late sunday afternoon. she fell into a deep coma, a condition she remains in. here is an update on her condition posted by her sister tere on facebook as of 1:30pm today:

Fran is still deep in slumber, not a whole lot of movement going on. She started having fever around 8:00 AM today (so the bedside nurse said) and has been consistently febrile since then. They started giving her Paracetamol every 4 hours and the fever's been held at bay but it's still there.

A repeat of the ECG and a 2D echo was done this afternoon. It showed pretty much what we knew from yesterday – that there were areas on the wall of her heart that had lacked oxygen and this prevented them from functioning properly, so her heart isn't really functioning properly, period. Her ejection fraction (amount of blood that is pumped from the heart to the rest of the body) is decreased – which means that the amount of blood that's circulating isn't sufficient enough. Which is why her other organs are getting affected, particularly her kidneys. Her kidneys, though not necessarily failing, aren't functioning as much as the doctors would like. Normally, a medication is given to help it out a bit (called dopamine), but that same medication is used to help the heart function well too; in Fran's case, we've maxxed out the drug so we're looking for alternatives.

The neurologist (Dr. Vince Macalintal) came by and the news didn't get any better. Apparently, instead of one side or one bleed, Fran has two – a grade 4 on the left and a grade 5 aneurysm on the right. Her brain is still swollen so again, they can't touch her. As for the medication to bring down the swelling, it unfortunately has been discontinued for now – her BP won't go up and the medicine needs to have the BP slightly elevated for it to be more efficient and to prevent hypotension. Dr. Macalintal is exploring other avenues to try and relieve the pressure. For now, an EEG is yet to be done that will tell us of brain function; what happens after that is anyone's guess.

So there it is. I wish I could have given you more joyful news but this is what's going on as of now. Our family have been persistent in urging Fran to fight this and to prove to the world how stubborn she really is. We're still praying and we're still hopeful And we are with you all in spirit, praying with you and beside you, for Fran to overcome this.

The doctors expressed concern as to the number of people coming in and out to visit Fran. I know we would all want to see and talk to Fran. But given that she started a fever, they would like to keep the visitors to a minimum. So we'll respect that. In the meantime, may we ask that people pray for her, continue to hold masses and prayer brigades for her but to refrain from visiting her. If you'd like to talk to her, we've been allowed to hold the phone near her so (as Erich was able to do earlier today) you can call her phone and we'll let Fran hear your voice. I'm sure she'd love to hear from you. We've also been reading to her all your text messages, your emails, and your FB messages and Twitter messages so keep 'em coming.
Again, thank you very much.

and if you are on facebook, join the We LOVE you FRAN RIBANO! profile and post your messages to fran, which are read to her by close friends and family members. if you know fran—and we're sure many of you do because everyone knew fran and fran knew everyone—please join us in praying for her full and speedy recovery, sending positive thoughts, and shouting out, wake up, fran!!!

PS: there will be a mass for fran tomorrow (tue, jun 29) at 5:30pm at the greenbelt chapel. please pass this message to friends of fran.

UPDATE: jun 30, wed: we got the text at about 1:30 this morning. it simply said "she's gone." it's heartbreaking and shocking when this happens to a person who was so energetic and lively, was always smiling and laughing, and regularly organizes parties and events where people can forget their problems for a while and enjoy themselves. there were so many sweet messages left for fran in her facebook profile, not a few saying that she must be partying now with the angels in heaven. she lived a full life. we can learn from her example. rest in peace, fran. it's going to be a little too quiet around here without you. you will be missed...

PS: fran will be lying in state at loyola chapels sucat starting 6pm today. novena masses will be held daily at 8pm. necrological services will be on saturday, starting with a holy mass at 8pm. internment will be on sunday, starting with a holy mass at 9am.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

RIP: viveka babajee

who doesn't know viveka babajee? the former beauty queen from mauritius was an important part of pinoy pop culture when, back in 1994, she made forever immortal the phrase "take it, take it!" she will go down in history as one of the few (the only?) foreigner to be involved in a philippine-awards-show scandal when she was coerced into reading another name (ruffa gutierrez) as the best-actress winner, instead of the actual one (aiko melendez) at the metro manila filmfest. she went on to become a top model in india and, sadly, ended her life last friday. here's a news item from

Viveka Babajee, 37, a former Miss Mauritius and Indian supermodel, was found dead in her Mumbai apartment late Friday night, reports Thaindian News. She was found hanging by a ceiling fan, according to One India.

Police suspect suicide and are still investigating the matter. One India reports family sources saying she was depressed after breaking up with her boyfriend, but no suicide note has been found. Thaindian News says Babajee was ”declared a supermodel in 1994 and was one of the most-sought after faces nationally and internationally in the fashion world.”

Babajee became famous in the Philippines after she was implicated in the 1994 Metro Manila Filmfest cheating scandal where she was caught on camera saying “Take it! Take it!” to fellow presenter Rocky Gutierrez, younger brother of Ruffa Gutierrez, as she handed him the envelope containing the name of the Best Actress winner. Babajee read aloud “Ruffa Gutierrez!” as the winner, supposedly to the shock of fellow presenter Gretchen Barretto, who had seen the name of the real winner.

“Ruffa Gutierrez and Gabby Concepcion were wrongfully given acting awards. The real winners were Edu Manzano and Aiko Melendez,” recalls “Investigation revealed that the award presenters—Babajee and Rocky Gutierrez—conspired to switch envelopes containing the real winners’ names with the other envelopes that were allegedly prepared by Lolit Solis, then Gabby’s manager. The fake envelopes contained Gabby’s and Ruffa’s names. Later, Gabby himself named talent manager Lolit as the mastermind of the scam.” Barretto emerged as the scam’s “whistle blower” when she exposed the truth behind the conspiracy between Solis and her talents.

Babajee, Barretto, the Gutierrezes, and Concepcion were all then handled by Solis, who eventually confessed to engineering the whole scam. Solis expressed her condolences to Babajee’s family upon learning about the tragedy, reports Gutierrez and Babajee were both contestants in the 1993 Miss World pageant in South Africa.

and here's an update from

Before hanging herself on Friday, Viveka Babajee spoke to two persons. One was her mother in Mauritius, whom she spoke to over the phone. “I am going far away” is what the deceased model is believed to have told her mother before committing suicide, the police said on Saturday. The other person she spoke to was her boyfriend Gautam on Thursday night.

Then she broke everything in her house that could be broken, shattering with her own hands the paradise that she had lovingly decorated when she had settled down in Mumbai, before hanging herself from the ceiling fan of her living room.

Viveka’s close friends, on condition of anonymity told DNA that when she was hit at the same time by twin crises — setbacks in her business venture and break-up with her boy friend Gautam — she snapped. “She possibly broke all the glasses that she had in her house.

She was definitely devastated,” says a close friend of Viveka.

“She destroyed her house before she took her own life. What we friends have heard is that she fought with her boyfriend Gautam the night before she committed suicide. They had been in a relationship for only a couple of months and things weren’t great between them. They were fighting all the time until one day they decided to break up,” the friend said.

Another friend revealed to us that her company, Vibgyor Entertainment, an event management-cum-modeling firm, was doing badly.

“She was going solo with her business and trying hard to do shows and get good work, but you know how difficult it is for anyone to survive in the entertainment industry. It’s cut-throat, and she wasn’t getting enough work. Her business wasn’t doing well and she was facing repeated setbacks. That too was piling on the tension for her, alongside an emotionally disturbing relationship.”

The friends also allege that Viveka had taken to alcohol lately.

“She was drinking quite a lot, way over what she used to. She once lost her cool during the rehearsal of an event recently. She shouted at people, asking, ‘Do you have any idea what I’m going through?’

She might have been drinking the night she killed herself. She might have popped some pills too but we don’t know what they were,” says the third friend.

Meanwhile, the autopsy report from Cooper Hospital, received by the police on Saturday has confirmed that Viveka committed suicide by hanging herself. Additional commissioner of police ( West) Amitabh Gupta said, “The post-mortem report has confirmed that she committed suicide by hanging herself in her sixth floor flat in Continental Tower at Bandra (West).” Police added that finger print experts who visited

Viveka’s flat after her death have also collected some samples other than those of Viveka’s.

On Friday night, Viveka’s neighbours, suspecting a cooking gas leak from Viveka’s flat, rang the doorbell of her flat but did not get any response. They then contacted the fire brigade and police who, after breaking into the flat, found her body dangling from the ceiling fan. The police seized her mobile phone, laptop, diary, sleeping pills and medicines for her depression, besides other articles that could be significant for their investigation.

Though no suicide note was found, some letters were found in the name of Gautam, the man Viveka was dating and had broken up with two months back. Police said that the break-up may have pushed her to end her life, and added that she had in the past attempted suicide three or four times.

The police made a videography of the post mortem at Cooper Hospital and handed over the body to Viveka’s elder sister Vineeta Parekh, a resident of Goregaon. Viveka had acted in the Hindi film, Ye Kaisi Mohabbat Hai, which flopped. She had tried to make a career in the south Indian film industry too, but did not meet with success.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

forever 21 for realz

now it can be revealed! just the facts, ma'am! remember how we posted a scoop on the REAL forever 21 finally opening in manila?? well, they contacted the fash pack and gave us an exclusive sneak peek into the store. and we were amazed!!! okay, we're getting ahead of ourselves here. first of all: location location location. the store is actually located on the second floor of megamall building A, right above the new levi's store, which is still being constructed. just go up the escalator and forever 21 is the first thing you see. there are two entrances: the main entrance is right next to watsons and the side entrance is by figaro. for now, the store is still boarded up:
when we went in through the "secret door", we couldn't help but gasp! woooooowwww... it's huuuuuuuge... here's a little hint of what you will see when you enter. off-white walls and ceilings, fancy moldings, charming chandeliers, and racks and racks and racks of clothes!!!
we were given a tour of the store, and tour is right because you might need a map in here! you go in, walk all the way to the back, make a U-turn and there's more! at over 2,800 square meters, it's the size of like six zara stores! (oops, didn't mean to mention a "rival" store...) but speaking of which, forever 21 is going to give all those high-street brands a run for their money because upon inspection of the price tags, there's NOTHING OVER TWO THOUSAND PESOS!!! how affordable is that??

okay, relax, relax... we swear, we were getting palpitations as we started checking out the merchandise. we can't post too many pix; after all, this is a sneak peek. but look at the way they style their mannequins, so chic! so funky! so inspired! we likey!
and if you're talking accessories, well, they've got it all! (hey that sounds like an SM tagline hehe ;-) we were especially salivating over the shoes :-P shelves upon shelves of the most ferosh shoes! remember, nothing over P2,000!
anim na tulog na lang! because, yes, forever 21 opens to the public on july 2, friday! be there bright and early because P200 vouchers will be given to the first 250 customers to queue up at the entrance! so file your leave naaaa!!!

PS: to get regular updates, add up forever 21 on twitter (forever21ph) and facebook (forever 21 philippines)!

Friday, June 25, 2010

beauty blog: products for men which we want for ourselves

okay, that headline says it all. we were sent samples of these new products by l'oréal men expert, but with this unbelievably humid weather lately (will it rain or not??), these will come in handy for *us* (and yes they smell as delicious as they look :-)

hydra energetic skin awakening icy cleansing gel (P205): 1. Wakes up and cleanses the skin without drying it out. Enriched with Cryo-Tonic™, this soap free, pH neutral formula:
• Refreshes and vitalizes the skin
• Deeply cleanses and purifies
• Helps remove impurities
• Prevents skin tightness
The skin is purified and feels reinvigorated.

2. Reinforces the skin's natural resistance. ADS™ Active Defense System, a powerful soothing active ingredient, helps to reinforce the skin's natural resistance against daily aggression. Results: less irritation, less tightness and more comfort.

3. Prepares the skin for shaving. The formula softens and prepares the skin for a smooth shave.

pure & matte anti-blocked pores exfoliating gel (P235): 1. Unclogs blocked pores. Dermatologically tested, this soap-free formula containing exfoliating micro-beads:
• Deeply purifies and cleanses the skin
• Dislodges impurities and shine
• Unblocks pores and effectively removes dead skin cells

2. Reinforces the skin's natural resistance. ADS™ Active Defense System, a powerful soothing active ingredient, helps reinforce the skin’s natural resistance against daily aggressions. Results: less irritation, less tightness and more comfort.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

separated at birth?

yesterday we finally received our US vogue subscription for july 2010. when we first glanced at the cover, we gasped! is that...?
it's french actress marion cotillard, quite an offbeat choice for vogue, which loves to put common-looking blonde, blue-eyed "actresses" who are sure to sell copies. but don't you think she looks like sarah meier??
this is a photo we took of sarah in beijing when we were there together for a shoot last november 2007. of course in this picture she's smiling, but look at the shape of the jawline and chin, the arch of the eyebrows, the sparkle in the eyes, the milky-white skin, even the nose and lips. they could be twins! gorgeous twins!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

real living is for real people

with the demise of domino magazine, no other shelter mag is worth spending money on—except when they're on sale hehe.. so thank god (or thank summit ;-) for real living, our favorite local shelter mag. every so often, they release handy little books that are themed to help DIY decorators (like us!) to improve their quality of living by beautifying their homes. so far, they've released four books and this evening, they launched their fifth book, "real home ideas 5: small space solutions." this will be useful for people who live in tiny condo units that are cramped and sometimes have weird layouts.
the well-attended event was held at the atrium of megamall. here is editor in chief rachelle medina, autographing books for her legions of fans (naks!)
we have been convincing rachelle to fix our flat, which is just dying for a makeover! then you can feature it on the cover haha! meanwhile, check out the real living blog, it's a fun read :-)

"real home ideas 5: small space solutions" (P195) is available at major bookstores and newsstands

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

cats around the world

tonight one of our good friends on facebook posted a status that her beloved cat was run over by a car outside their house. it's especially painful for her because she just lost one of her other beloved cats last year :-( we know how it feels to lose a pet that has become part of your family—it's a deep and real pain. pets show you unconditional love and we can't imagine losing our own beloved doggy. fifi, this post is for you. hopefully it eases your pain and makes you smile...

welcoming customers at a store in the khan el-khalili market, cairo, egypt:
hangin' with tourists at super paradise beach, mykonos, greece:
huli ka! keeping warm on top of the neighbor's car:
running away from a japanese restaurant in clark, pampanga. hmmm...
stray cat or master of the house?
stray cat in dasma:
sunbathing in sagada:
his version of a hot-stone massage in ilog maria, cavite:
standing guard at a store in haji lane, singapore:
this cool cat has expensive taste:
the pregnant cat in our parents' house:
sleeping cat outside our door:

Monday, June 21, 2010

diptyque + red collab

we live in an apartment building that's just a hop, skip, and a jump away from manila bay. unfortunately, our unit doesn't face the gorgeous sunset; instead, our view is the motel across the street. lately, because the temps seem a little cooler, we like to open our windows to let a little breeze in. unfortunately, the stink of the bay also breezes in. it's a combination of basura that's been baking under the sun, fishy smells, not to mention the pollution (both air and noise) from the jeepneys down below. ugh. so it's a good idea to have one of these at home!

above, the special-edition (diptyque)RED candle, which is part of the RED line of products that helps to eliminate AIDS in Africa, as well as provide medication for those with HIV. we haven't smelled it yet, but from the description, we're pretty sure it'll help mask that yukky "aroma" from outside:

Like the African soil, (diptyque)RED™ Special Edition candle combines all the elements of an evocative union. The candle’s soothing, spicy scents are derived from certified fair trade vanilla and is made up of Rooibos Vanilla that connote a distinct character with its bewitching, roasted and amber notes. Then come its herbal and tobacco accords as well as the sweetness of its light, powdery notes. Diptyque then blends these already enchanting scents with Indian and Madagascar vanilla for a spicier aura.

the candle is sold exclusively at rustan's stores for P3,600. sounds like a lot for a candle, but at least you know it's for a good cause. with each (diptyque)RED candle sold, diptyque will contribute 10% of its cost to help the global fund provide life-saving medication to those living with HIV in africa.

In its efforts to mobilize support for the recently launched BORN HIV FREE, The Global Fund has created this campaign with a single goal where no child is born with HIV by 2015. Each time you buy a (RED)™ product or service, the partner company is able to give up fifty-percent of its profit to buy and distribute antiretroviral medicine to our brothers and sisters dying of AIDS in Africa. The (RED)™approach is uniquely inspired and daringly different. “Buy (RED)™, save lives” is an optimistic declaration that transforms an altruistic action into a beautiful story, giving everyone the power to fulfill their shopping desires while helping people.

and because we love prints, we love the unique packaging: the box looks like african fabric. it celebrates the textile technique that africa is known for, which drips wax directly onto fabric in intricate patterns that is then dyed different shades. and the colors are beautiful!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

SATC2-inspired ice cream!

Grab some ‘us’ time with the ladies with Häagen-Dazs’ irresistible summer deals!

Busy women have one thing in common: the need for the ever elusive ‘me’ or ‘us’ time. This can be in the form of a relaxing spa session, shopping, movie date, or simply indulging in her favorite comfort food without the distraction of a long to-do list. Such moments are a rarity in these women’s lives, and in this day and age, are experiences one would be hard-pressed to find time for.

Super premium ice cream brand Häagen-Dazs offers you the chance to enjoy well-deserved, intimate ‘us’ moments with your closest girl friends through four of New York’s most sought-after ladies—Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda—via the much awaited film Sex and the City 2.

Based on the popular American cable television series that was partially based on author Candice Bushnell’s book of the same name, Sex and the City 2 tackles the lives of four American women, three in their late thirties and one in her forties. The movie serves as a sequel to the 2008 film Sex and the City, which concluded with famous character Carrie Bradshaw marrying Big in New York City Hall.

Häagen-Dazs offers followers of the cult series the chance to live out the lives of their four favorite women with sweet and irresistible summer deals. Purchase any selected Häagen-Dazs products available at choice supermarkets, hotels and restaurants nationwide from May 1 to June 30 and you can get a free Sex and the City 2 journal (with discount coupons valid for use at select Häagen-Dazs shops), in which you can chronicle your adventures, thoughts and to-do’s in a fun and exciting way.

Another way you can get a Sex and the City 2 journal is by purchasing any Sex and the City 2 dine in creations worth Php420 at selected Häagen-Dazs branches (SM Mall of Asia, SM Mega Atrium, Robinson’s Place Ermita) starting May 15 until June 30. Choose from Luscious Quirk (also available for take-away), Chocolate Blush, Lust for Words and Smart Piece of Cake, which are as exquisite as the women that inspired them.

Frequent any of these three branches and buy your favorite Häagen-Dazs Sex and the City 2 creations and you even get a chance to win an exciting local shop prize—enjoy a delicious brunch at Spiral, located at the prestigious Sofitel Philippine Plaza (SM Mall of Asia branch), a sumptuous dinner at the award-winning La Cocina de Tita Moning’s (Robinson’s Place Ermita branch) or a blissful spa session at the famous Chi Spa in the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel (SM Mega Atrium branch).

Best of all, the prize of a lifetime awaits participating Häagen-Dazs customers: a trip to New York for two (2)! Don’t miss the chance to experience the thrill and hustle and bustle of the Big Apple with a close friend for a weekend to cherish forever.

Take pictures at Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment and Charlotte’s SoHo gallery, check out Carrie’s favorite shoe brand Manolo Blahnik, grab a cupcake at the famous Magnolia Bakery and even stroll through the Meatpacking District where every designer worth a mention has a store. Finally, get to enjoy the swanky Manhattan nightlife—glam up in your trendiest outfits and make it a swinging evening with cocktails, dinner, maybe even a Broadway show.

At Häagen Dazs, personal time for oneself or ‘us time’ with the ladies will always be occasions to remember. With these exciting summer promos and to-die-for prizes, you can enjoy indulging in Häagen Dazs’ delectable super premium ice cream products while earning the chance to treasure more intimate moments with your closest gal pals.

chocolate blush:
luscious quirk:
smart piece of cake:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

segunda-mano shopping

somebody once said we decorate our house the way we dress (of course, we use the word "decorate" lightly). and we think that for people who are into both fashion and interior design, this must be true. that's why we love that TV show "dress my nest" hosted by ex-queer eye thom filicia. it also reminds us of a section in the now-defunct domino (huhuhu) called "can this outfit be turned into a room?" so getting back to our decorating/dressing style, that would mean mixing old and new, cheap and expensive, and a whole lotta prints and color. of course this is mostly in our fantasy because our flat in real life is messy, cluttered, and completely devoid of any style. haay... but we try... we love going to segunda-mano shops and browsing, taking pictures of stuff we like but won't necessarily buy, and engaging in more fantasizing... our problem must be commitment: we like that chandelier, should we get that chandelier, is it too expensive for a chandelier, is it too big for the hall, too small for the room, is it the right color, can we wake up every morning and look at that thing and not go eww, hmm we don't like that chandelier, never mind. see what we mean...?
so aside from our usual haunts of evangelista street and makati cinema square, this time we headed north to QC. of course everyone knows kamuning, which has several thrift shops. this is where we found an original fl/y lamp by kartell and a few other charming and unique lamps. and if you're in the market for vinyl (we used to call them records or LPs or, in tagalog, plaka), they have a wide variety here from all decades!
we also found a place on edsa called remar, a yellow building located right before nepa-Q-mart (if you're coming from makati).
they sell second-hand furniture, home decor and accessories, and clothing from europe and the UK. and all proceeds supposedly go to remar, a christian charity-slash-"rehabilitation center for drugs and alcohol." some of the items we saw:
they also have another branch, also on edsa, but across, which sells pretty much the same things.
we also went to dapitan and we were shocked! the last time we were here—which was of course over 10 years ago—the vendors sold everything on the sidewalk and the prices were dirt cheap (literally!). now it's a roofed tianggehan. but be sure to walk down the street because there are more stalls. there are lots of items made of ceramic, resin, wrought-iron, and native materials. most of the stuff here strike us as rejects or over-runs of products made for export. we were able to buy a wrought-iron hat/coat rack, which is not easy to find in this country!

Friday, June 18, 2010

cute and classic penguin

five years ago, we helped dear mother go through the family's old clothes and stuff to sell them at a garage sale. while going through our kuya's closet, we found a couple of penguin polo-knit shirts. we thought, ooh, maybe we'll keep these... but after trying them on and finding them too big for us, we tossed them back into the "sell" box. two weeks later, we changed our mind and decided we wanted them, so we asked them back from dear mother. only to be told that they were sold!!! grrrr we were so mad at ourselves for being so wishy-washy!! and that, dear reader, is one of our big fashion regrets in life. so when we saw this tarp up in power plant mall last january 2009, we were once again hit with nostalgia. huhuhu...
this penguin by munsingwear store has been open for a while now, but had its formal launch just last wednesday at rockwell tent. they outfitted the venue with "traditional" things that hark back to more "innocent" times, like a combi, a vespa, neon lights, and staff on rollerskates.
they even got the bloomfields to perform retro-pop songs by the beatles, the rolling stones, queen, and even the knack! (we remember how cute these guys used to be when they first exploded in the scene. mukhang tumatanda na rin sila just like everyone else...)
we spotted some pretty gals with their dates/hubbies/friends sporting the classic penguin-embroidered shirt (hmmm we wonder how much these shirts cost here):




there was a fashion show, of course, with mostly men's fashion, but, hell, we didn't mind!!
and can we just say, other models should take a cue from ria bolivar. in any fashion show we've attended and photographed, ria's photos on the catwalk always come out the clearest. that's because she knows how to stop at the end of the runway and hold her pose for like a second and a half—that's just enough time for amateurs like us to get a good shot out of our point-and-shoot:

the original penguin by munsingwear also has branches at shangri-la plaza, mall of asia, megamall, marquee mall, bonifacio high street. soon to open at trinoma, newport city, ayala center cebu and davao