IF you know me, you’d know that I’ve been a fan of Korean pop culture for a long time and the first K-pop act I saw live in 2010 was Super Junior. My daughter was just a teenager then and I got to bring her along. This started her love for K-pop, of which she’s still a fan of to this day.
ONE of the biggest beauty trends in 2022 was the glowy blush. Think Charlotte Tilbury’s Beauty Highlighter Wand in Pinkgasm, or Benefit’s now discontinued Bella Bamba which is similar to NARS Orgasm.
WHEN openly queer social media celebrity Sassa Gurl was named the calendar girl for a well-known liquor brand in 2022, the move was met with a lot of positive reactions online but the decision was not without its bashers. The brand saw it as opportunity.
LIKE many tourist destinations in the country, Boracay was hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Because tourists stopped coming, resorts, restaurants and cafes closed down. People lost their jobs and many business owners simply cut their losses and left.
IT is not really difficult to believe that I used to be one of those people who bought makeup that was created for the Pantone Color of the Year, or the Lunar New Year.
Technology is everywhere, even in fashion and beauty, but a new product from French beauty giant L’Oreal, which uses software and hardware to give hope to those who have limited mobility, is truly groundbreaking. I have always wondered what to do if I became too old and feeble to apply lipstick and do my brows with my own hands. I know it’s not that important in the larger scheme of things, but it’s a question I always ask myself. If I become too old to apply lipstick on my own, it is part of the natural order of things. For a 21-year-old who wants to wear makeup but is hindered by physical challenges they were born with, it is a real challenge.
THERE is no doubt that two of the most popular beauty products in the world are eye cream and concealer, and it’s not a coincidence that they’re both for the undereyes.
Work-life balance is not a new phrase but at the height of the pandemic, when most people stayed home, it was something most of us wanted to achieve.
ONE of the things that changed in the 2022 beauty landscape was that it wasn’t enough for an influencer to say, for instance, that this lipstick was good. They had to try the lipstick, test it by eating and drinking, film the process, and upload the video on social media, usually TikTok.
THE Farm at San Benito has established itself as the best destination for health and wellness within the Southern Tagalog region, and earned a good reputation in other parts of the globe.
BEFORE going to The Farm at San Benito, I had to complete a form which asked what my reason for going was. I ticked the box that said “stress management.” By my second day at the holistic health and wellness sanctuary, I was so relaxed that my blood pressure was at 110/70 from my usual 110/80 or 110/90.
EARLY this month, Google revealed the Year in Search 2022, a compilation of lists including trends, news, personalities, shows, and more that Filipinos searched for the year.
EVERY year, I try to come up with a beauty year-ender, which is basically a list of what I think are the best products of the year. This year is slightly different. My list includes some of my best beauty discoveries for 2022 and I enjoyed using every one of them.
THERE is no doubt that students suffered so much during the pandemic. They were forced to stay at home. Those who lived in congested areas were not even allowed to play outside. It is true that the pandemic really messed with the lives of a whole generation of children.
I AM always asked by people about what beauty gifts they can give family members and friends for the holidays and I often suggest that, depending on their budget, they can always create a box that would include a number of products. For instance, if the recipient is someone who loves lipsticks, the giver can include mini lipsticks in the box. That way, the person can try several shades and finishes.
AS Starbucks Philippines marks its 25th year in the country, the company plans to open more stores and find various ways to connect with its customers.
WHEN it comes to makeup and skin-care products, I always say that if they’re from Japan, they must be really good. I love Japanese lotions (Hada Labo) and sunscreens (Anessa). My skin care is mostly Shiseido and my favorites from the brand are Ultimune Power Infusing Serum and Essential Energy Hydrating Cream. For the past year, my frequently-used face base is the Shiseido Synchro Skin Radiant Lifting Foundation.
LET’S get the iPhone 14 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 out of the way because anybody would love to get those phones for the holidays. There are a lot of tech gifts you can give people on your holiday list. Most of these gifts are quite expensive though, so let’s imagine for a while that our gifting list does not have a budget and that we can give anyone anything.
Luxury Japanese skin-care and makeup brand Clé de Peau Beauté quietly launched in the Philippines just over a year ago with a pop-up store in Greenbelt, Makati. Best known for its concealer, Clé de Peau also has an amazing lineup of toners, essences, emulsions and creams that promise to unlock your skin’s radiance.
There’s been so much talk about budol culture on beauty TikTok and how many influencers allegedly come out with good reviews on certain products, only to do an “anti haul” on these same things a month later. Budol is convincing someone to do/buy/go for something. In the strictest sense, budol means to “dupe.” For context, “anti haul” refers to a video that sort of discourages your followers from buying certain beauty products by pointing out cons.
BeautyBuddy is not the first online salon booking system I have tried but it is most efficient one so far and this is not to diss similar other platforms. BeautyBuddy went beyond what was expected of them when I made a hair color appointment at Basement Salon in Eastwood Mall last weekend.
Jojo Liao, who cofounded drybrush Gallery with his wife Joweeh, supports emerging artists and is an avid art collector himself. The gallery’s web site currently carries 1,500 works of 250+ Filipino artists. While many people have the impression that art galleries are elitist, drybrush has provided a platform that allows everybody to be an art collector in the belief that happiness can be shared through art.
SHOPPING during online sales is not something I usually do now. Living through the pandemic has made me appreciate what I have and most of the time, I still shop through my stash of gifts and PR samples when I feel I need or want something. I only shop for things I use on a daily basis and have run out of.
THREE years ago, if you had told me that I could get the Starbucks planner by earning stickers via an online app, I would have laughed at you. But that time has come. You can now get an e-Promo Card from the Starbucks App and earn your e-stickers that way, without ever going to a store. Of course, you’ll need to go to a Starbucks store to redeem your planner or whatever item you’ll choose.
Actress Carla Abellana and DJ Bea Fabregas may seem different from one another but one of the things they have in common is that they’ve both gone through personal upheavals.
THE first YouTube channel I ever watched was Fafinettex3’s. The creator was Aubrey, an Asian-American who applied makeup so skillfully. Even before I started to watch Michelle Phan, I was already watching Aubrey’s videos. The channel is still on YouTube but the videos are gone. Aubrey still does makeup for wedding clients. I know, because I’ve seen her Instagram account. If I may say so, Aubrey and Michelle are two people who fueled my passion for beauty and changed my (wrong) perception that writing about makeup and skincare was frivolous. So you could say that in some way, they helped change my life.
NEXT Level Skin is a new makeup collection just launched by Filipino brand Issy & Co. As the name indicates, it includes extensions to the brand’s very popular Active Skin Tint and Active Concealer, and new products like a powder foundation and illuminator, both called True Flex.
IF you put together a list of the best reviews of Seventeen concerts, it would be an injustice to the memory of Gianna Maniego not to put her name and her article in this paper (bit.ly/3s8iXUz) on it. Gianna, who passed in 2020, was the biggest Carat. She was also an excellent writer and my mentor. We were best friends for over 30 years and in the last years of her life, she did her best to convert me to become a Carat but she did not succeed. I, however, recognize the talent of Seventeen and, thanks to Gianna, appreciate how hard the group worked to where they are now.
Beautéderm is a brand I always write about but I’ve never really reviewed their products thoroughly. I mostly talk about their new ambassadors and what’s going on with the brand but this time, I will review my favorite Beautéderm products.
WHEN I started watching K-pop concerts, it was 2010 and people were not yet obsessed with recording everything. I remember that a few years later, fans would bring their Instax cameras to concerts and the idols would get them to take pictures. Note that this was the time when barricades were not yet in place during these concerts, and idols and fans could freely interact with each other.
THE pandemic has definitely changed us in so many ways. For one, most of us now carry lighter bags because we bring less when we go out of the house. Most of my friends no longer carry big wallets. They just bring small card cases. No one carries cash anymore. Almost every store accepts GCash or Maya and, of course, credit cards.
I USED to be a notorious “vertical video maker” when smartphones and other gadgets weren’t as adaptable as they are now. You know those videos with black sides? I used to take a lot of those. They weren’t really nice to view and I think they had lower resolution than videos shot in landscape mode.
Chandanalepa is an Ayurvedic wellness and beauty brand from Sri Lanka that’s known for its fragranced soaps and lotions. Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems.
ONE of the biggest changes that the pandemic brought about was in health care. Previously, online doctor consultations were for those who lived far away from hospitals or clinics, or those who were bed-ridden. When the pandemic started, people became afraid of going out but they still needed to consult with doctors.
IF you have sensitive skin or eczema, this is around that time of year when you should start changing the products you use because atmospheric pollen pollution is very high.
IT’S been a busy past week with brands and companies holding what I call “revenge events” and I can’t blame them. While online events are less expensive to mount, face-to-face events are more engaging.
WITH over 50 million followers across different social-media platforms (more than 13 million subscribers to her YouTube channel alone), Zeinab Harake represents the pack of the newest “It Girls.”
THE first Drunk Elephant products I owned came from a set of minis that I received from an office exchange gift several Christmases ago. The set was in such great demand at Sephora.ph that the actual gift I got during the Christmas party was a note saying that it would be delivered to me once stocks became available.
WHEN I first started in the newspaper industry in 1987, we had to phone in our stories when we couldn’t come to the newsroom. The news organization I belonged to did not own a fax machine yet and there were no computers in the newsroom. The Internet’s official birthday was in 1983 but in 1987, it was but a vague concept for us.
AUGUST was not a very good month for me personally but in terms of beauty and style finds, it was great. I explored different beauty brands from the United States and France, tried a new hair conditioner, and got a new gadget that offers micro current massage. Work-wise, August was also a busy month with a lot of launches and events. It’s very challenging easing into covering events in person when you’ve been so used to the camera-off mode of Zoom meetings and launches but it has to be done. For me, the easing-into-the-new-normal has been more difficult and less seamless than it has been for others but I know I will get there eventually.
I HAVE always wondered what happened to cooked and prepared food that were unsold by restaurants and coffee shops for the day. I know that some of these establishments dispose of such food for safety reasons. In a way, I understand that different types of food have specific shelf lives and giving them to people could put the recipient at risk for food poisoning. On the other hand, there is the reality that many people are hungry and have no means to buy food while perfectly edible stuff is being thrown away.
MY Aveda shampoos and conditioners are not kept in my bathroom but with my skin-care products in the bedroom. I cannot imagine them being used by my family on a daily basis just because they are so expensive. But they are so good on the hair and scalp and I trust them so much that when my dog got sick, Aveda Nutriplenish Shampoo was the only one I used to bathe her. If you know me and how I take care of my dogs, you’d know that what I just revealed is a seal of approval for this brand known for its vegan formulations.
I RECENTLY lost my Shih Tzu named Minnie, who had been ill for a while. It wasn’t the first time I had lost a dog but the experience was perhaps the most painful—not because I loved Minnie more than my other dogs, but because she was a rescue who had been abandoned by her humans at the height of the pandemic (May 2020).
THEY say you can tell a person’s age by their hands so it was a pleasant surprise to meet Kim Atienza and see that his hands (and his face) didn’t show his age, which is 55. Kuya Kim, as Atienza is more popularly known, looks like he’s just around 45.
ONE of the things I learned recently is that the TikTok-viral song “Amakabogera” was originally performed by Maymay Entrata.
SINGAPORE has many homegrown brands that are worth looking into, as Singaporeans are known to bring their brand of excellence and perfectionism into everything they do.
EVERYONE is talking about retinols these days and I thought it would be good to compile a list of facts about it as a sort of guide because I’ve been asked so many times about it.
To introduce Prime Video to Filipino viewers, the video streaming service has launched a local marketing campaign featuring actress Anne Curtis.
IN the past two years, I frequently said that once borders opened, the first country I would visit would be Singapore. It is one of my favorite cities in the world for a lot of reasons. I appreciate how everything is there and how efficiently things work. If you have the energy and the strength, you can walk and take the train or bus. You can also take Grab cars or taxis. The lines are orderly. Everything runs like clockwork.
Between work and Covid (my daughter recently tested positive), life has been pretty hectic lately. My dog has also been sick and, at presstime, is in the dog hospital. There are so many products I want to review but I don’t have the time to sort everything.
AH, the struggles of living with Covid-19 are enormous. As I write this, it’s been over three days since the 2022 K-Pop Masterz in Manila at the Mall of Asia Arena and already, reports of people testing positive for Covid-19 are trickling in.
THIS is not the first time I am writing about how TikTok has changed the beauty landscape. Let’s face it, the app dictates what’s trendy not just in beauty but in everything else. The girls on TikTok, who are mostly very young and gorgeous, are the new “It Girls.” TikTok is a very look-centric platform and these rich, youthful and beautiful girls will naturally shine in such an environment.
THERE is no doubt that as far as eSports is concerned, the Philippines has a deep pool of talent. The Philippine gaming scene has witnessed constant growth with many Filipino gamers widely respected in the global eSports arena.
One of the things I’ve really missed about pre-Covid life was going to Watsons on my way home from work or attending events for the purpose of picking out a few necessities like bath soap and tissue. That would soon turn into a mini-shopping spree and I would end up with a medium-sized paper bag filled with vitamins, OTC medications and beauty products.
IF you watch the Korean variety show The Return of Superman, you certainly know Sam Hammington and his sons William and Bentley. The three have already said goodbye to the show.
FACT: If you have a scalp problem, there are many others like you. Some are just embarrassed to admit it because of some stigma attached to having dandruff, which can be perceived as contagious (it’s not).
THEY say Singapore is the new Hong Kong as a favorite vacation destination for Filipinos. So many of my friends and colleagues have been to Singapore in the last four months either for holiday or work.
UP until recently, I didn’t know that actor JC Santos had gotten married and that he is now a dad. I also didn’t know that Santos had, since the pandemic, moved back to Pampanga where he grew up.
You’d be surprised at how many Korean idols and actors have lived in the Philippines when they were young or have relatives here.
ELLANA was probably the first Filipino brand to come up with mineral foundations. Most of my beauty friends swear by their powder foundations. It was just too bad that all their face bases are a bit too light for my yellow-toned skin but in terms of texture and longevity, I like their mineral powder foundation way better than Bare Minerals. I am very sweaty and Bare Minerals has a tendency to cake and clump on certain areas of my face when I sweat. Again, what works for one person may not work for another, so Bare Minerals may be okay for some but it cannot go the distance for me because I’m super sweaty.
Rowoon is said to be one of the tallest idols in K-pop. I first “met” Rowoon in 2019 during his group SF9’s concert here and I was face-to-face with him for a second during the hi-touch, a mini event where you get to touch palms with K-pop idols and actors. By my estimate, the top of my head reached Rowoon’s chest. Of course, I was not that close to him, hence the word “estimate.”
BEING a beauty enthusiast, I am guilty of accumulating more makeup and skin-care products than I should. For instance, owning 10 lipsticks is too much for the average person but when I am down to just 10 lipsticks, I panic. I am also guilty of not reusing many bottles, jars and other containers of beauty products.
IN 2020, Google launched its Pride Conversations to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion during Pride Month.
FOR others it may be strange but every room in our house, including the dining and living areas, has a bottle or two of body lotion. All of us in the family, including our helper, has some form of skin problem ranging from skin asthma to atopic dermatitis. So lotion is really important to us.
I DON’T remember the last time I watched a movie in a cinema but I’m sure it was in 2019. Sometime in February or March of this year, I tried to watch one at SM Aura but there was a woman who always put her mask down and I had a panic attack and left right away. I guess we’re all used to streaming movies at home that being inside a theater is something that’s unfamiliar and disconcerting.
BLUSH really makes a difference when you’re wearing makeup. A subtle or bold color on the cheeks gives color to your face or adds dimension.
IF you have difficulty sleeping, it’s probably best to put down that phone and read a book instead.
HAVE you noticed how it’s been so hot the past few days even if the sun doesn’t show itself much? The absence of the sun doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear sunscreen, a skin-care essential that needs to be part of your daily routine.
WE’VE been hearing the word “hybrid” a lot in the past few months in reference to our work setups. Hybrid, in this context, essentially means being more flexible and employers allowing employees to work onsite, at home or any other place where they are more comfortable.
ONE of the most insightful things I heard about actress Marian Rivera, and this story came from Beautéderm’s Corp. President and CEO Rhea Anicoche Tan, is when she once paid a surprise visit to the actress’ house and saw Beautéderm Home stuff like candles and diffusers in the Rivera-Dantes home.
UNDER Earthion, Taiwanese ICT firm Acer has committed to reach 60 percent renewable energy by 2025 and 100 percent renewable energy (RE100) by 2035 and 30 percent PCR plastic content in core products by 2025. Acer products are also expected to consume 45 percent less energy by 2025, compared with the baseline year of 2016.
IF you’d come up with a list of the most fashion-forward idols in K-pop, SHINee’s Key will definitely be in the Top 5.
MY friend B (not her real name) waited for around 13 hours on May 9 to feed her ballot into the vote-counting machine (VCM) in her precinct. Her family had to bring her two meals, a snack and lots of drinks (it was a really hot day). She had to use the not-too-clean public toilet but she waited until the VCM worked again.
There’s no doubt that as far as essences are concerned, the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is right up there with the best of the best. Skin care is usually always personal and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another, but the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is universally liked.
SENDING out parcels to friends and relatives was something I used to do regularly pre-pandemic but of course, when Covid-19 happened, going out became restricted and I had difficulty booking pick-ups from the house. We had tried that before and pick-ups would sometimes take days, even weeks.
FACIAL cleansing devices are something I got into quite late, just early this year to be exact, but I really love them. My first one was the Foreo Luna 3 Plus, which also doubles as a firming face massager. I recently got the Foreo Luna play smart 2, which looks like my first device’s younger sister but is quite different really.
HAS TikTok effectively killed Instagram, even if the latter is still very much around? Or is TikTok just a fad that’s a hit with today’s generation and will eventually fade away into oblivion once Gen Z gets older?
SUMMER skin care is always challenging because your skin and hair really take a beating from the heat and humidity, and the need to wear masks doesn’t help. Sunscreen is, of course, important and there are a variety of choices with broad spectrum protection that will really help your skin.
THE pandemic did not give birth to the digital nomad concept but there is no doubt that digital nomads multiplied in the past two years. Many Filipinos sought solace from being confined within the walls of their house by going to Boracay and Siargao. There is indeed something very appealing about a “workation” where you work during the day and spend the rest of your day on the beach.
IT used to be a joke among my friends that if we’re going to meet for lunch or dinner, it should not be anywhere near any The Body Shop branch. That’s because I had this habit of saying, “I’ll just go to the restroom” and then come back with a shopping bag filled with my favorites from the store.
Yuki Kato is an Indonesian celebrity with 8.3 million followers on Instagram. She plays Alissa in the Viu Original series Pretty Little Liars. In the original version, Alissa is the mysterious “A.”
IN 2021, I had a eureka moment about sunscreens. I realized that the best ones for me were those from Japan and Korea because they did not make my eyes tear. Even at home, I still use sunscreen because in 2020, right before the lockdown, I went on a trip to Europe where it was winter and I (mistakenly) thought I only needed to apply sunscreen once a day. Guess what? I am still dealing with the dark spots that resulted from that mistake.
A CHAIN of convenience stores has launched a fun campaign, called “7-Election,” where you can choose a cup of coffee or a drink based on the presidential candidate you’re voting for.
THE first place I would probably visit when I travel again is Hong Kong. There’s something about the city’s energy that’s really very different but still very Asian. You know how it is when you shop in, say, New York, and you have fun but it’s different when it’s in Hong Kong.
THE other day, our house helper asked me if I was going to vote in the May elections and I said yes. She has not been out of the house since 2020 except for her vaccinations because she has allergic rhinitis and is very afraid to get Covid. I said we could probably rent a car so we could all go together and she replied, “Okay, Ate, mag ambag na lang ako sa bayad [I will contribute to the cost].”
ONE of the things I promised myself in the new year was that I’d take better care of my hair. Because of hair color and bleaching, aging and other factors, my hair is somewhat of a mess—and don’t even get me started on my scalp.
WITHOUT a doubt, shopping online is no longer just the domain of the privileged and moneyed. Thanks to e-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee, Filipinos do not need credit or debit cards to shop online. These channels accept cash-on-delivery and GCash, and this is how even teenagers on allowance from their parents can now shop online. Shopping online is now less intimidating for most people. I will admit that pre-pandemic, I barely shopped online because the whole process seemed too much.
Actress Bea Alonzo admits that she has always struggled with her weight. She was an overweight teenager and even when she had lost the extra poundage, she would still get, “Oh you’re so thin in person” or “You’re so fat on TV” a lot.
According to Google, 80 percent of consumers today are having difficulty making decisions because of the deluge of information or options available to them. This has had a tremendous effect on the path to purchase and created what is called the “messy middle.” The messy middle is a noisy space between triggers and purchase, and this is where consumers are either won or lost.
IF you’re a parent with teenage kids, watching the HBO series Euphoria would probably shock and scare you. But beyond the sex, drugs, alcohol and dysfunctional families, Euphoria takes a realistic look at high-school students and what goes on in their lives and minds. It is, to me, more realistic than stories where a girl, who is deemed unpopular in high school, catches the eye of the handsome quarterback who has a gorgeous girlfriend. The part where the quarterback leaves the girlfriend for the girl (again, in my opinion) sets up other girls to have expectations that don’t equate to real life.
ONE of the things I love about girl pop groups is the styling, which is always very dynamic. The styling usually depends on the group’s concept. For the new girl group Calista, the vibe is that of an empowered woman.
“THE entire world just stopped moving. The world changed so much and the tourism industry was one of the hardest hit. We at Klook experienced the most difficult time in our history but we moved forward and looked at domestic tourism,” said Michelle Ho, general manager at Klook Philippines.
It’s not a secret that I’m a big fan of MAC Cosmetics and while I do get press samples as part of my job, I have also been a customer of the brand since the 1990s. My favorites are the lipsticks and the face powders, especially the Mineralize Skinfinish Natural. I also love their Lightful C line, which is called a hybrid.
IN 2017, YouTube began raising authoritative news sources on its platform, said Emily Moxley, vice president for product management at YouTube. These include Top News and Breaking News. There are also panels providing Topical Content.
SHOWBIZ moms may have more resources at their disposal than most mothers but it’s also amazing how they manage to juggle all the roles they take on in real and reel life.
THE first time I posted about the Netflix miniseries Inventing Anna on my Instagram Stories, I was shocked to learn that there were “Inventing Anna” apologists.
Before Nevertheless, where she starred opposite Song Kang, Han So-hee was best known to Filipinos for being the other woman in The World of the Married. She was also in the historical drama 100 Days My Prince. Recently, she also appeared in My Name as a woman out for revenge.
IN 2021, many people stayed home and became K-pop and K-drama fans and that was exciting as our previously “civilian” friends got into the things we love. The Philippine entertainment scene also got a boost, thanks to blockbusters like He’s Into Her, featuring the popular loveteam of Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano (known as DonBelle).
IF you’re still calling your blue jeans maong, you were probably a teenager in the 1980s and 1990s and if you were, you’d know that the coolest jeans then were the Levi’s 501. You’d know a fashion item is a classic when they’re still cool now, and the 501 is as cool in 2022 as it was in the 1990s.
FROM beauty to technology, sustainability is a big word in business. It can no longer be denied that the planet’s resources are being depleted at alarming rates.