Lifestyle host and blogger
Interview by Monica de Leon
October-November 2013 Issue
My fiancé Jericho Rosales got me into surfing. I’m Australian so people think I grew up surfing but I actually learned to surf in La Union.
When I get a chance to travel it’s usually to a different surf destination, with friends. We go to Baler, Zambales, and Pagudpud.
The best waves I’ve had was in Carille, La Union. The rides are long and it’s mellow, which is perfect for me because I love being on a longboard, so the longer the rides, the better. Pagudpud is one of my favorites as well. There’s not so much of a surfing community there so it’s quiet.
La Union is one of the best surfing destinations. It’s very much a surf culture there — the locals have been surfing all their lives, know the waves, and are welcoming to beginners.
My favorite surfing buddy is my fiancé. I learned a lot from Echo.
Kapuluan Vista Resort in Pagudpud is my favorite surf resort. It has a very relaxed atmosphere. The food is amazing. And the owners, who are our friends, are surfers as well so they tell us where all the secret spots are.
In La Union, we always stay at San Juan Surf Resort. They have a variety of accommodation, from the simple to the nicer bungalows. And its location is perfect. You step down from the resort and you’re on the beach.
There’s a nice little restaurant in La Union owned by our friends called Angel and Marie’s Surfer’s Retreat Restaurant. If you want some really good Filipino food, that’s the place to go. Worth checking out is Gefseis Greek Grill, a Greek restaurant — owned and run by Greeks — that serves good authentic Greek food. It’s not by the beach but it’s worth the drive.
I’d have to say Anthony Valdez, who lives in La Union, is a really good surf teacher. He taught me to surf.
My idea of paradise is being on the beach, at sunset, with people I’m closest to.
My most memorable Philippine holiday was the first few times my fiancé took me to La Union. We watched a solar eclipse until like 5am. It was a beautiful moment. And even when it was raining, we were surfing. It was just us and the water.
My worst Philippine holiday was also in La Union on New Year’s Eve. I didn’t even realize how crazy New Year’s Eve could get in the Philippines. People were lighting fireworks on the beach. A firework almost hit us. I’m not used to such loud holidays. Then that same holiday I had food poisoning and that was when Carille had the best swell. Everyone was surfing and I was stuck in bed all day.
My favorite beach is Boracay because it is just beautiful. The white sand is amazing. I’m blown away by the view, by the hustle and bustle of all the people there. On my first visit, I stayed at Red Coconut Beach Hotel. And then the second time, I stayed at White House Boracay, which was really nice. It’s sort of removed from Station 2 but you’re still on the beach and you still get that feeling that you’re not too segregated from everyone else. And the food’s good.
I’m a very simple packer. I pack a lot of bikinis. I’m a huge fan of Aussie bikini labels Triangl and Zimmermann, which you can get online. I don’t travel without my MacBook Air laptop, my Fujifilm X100 camera, things like sunscreen (Belo), my cell phone (iPhone5), and sunglasses (favorite at the moment are Le Specs). After a whole day outdoors, I just moisturize. I use the Dermatologica line.
I think the tip to looking fabulous when traveling is putting comfort first but without sacrificing style. When traveling on a plane, I wear jeans, a simple top, flats, and always bring a blazer. If I’m going to the beach, its shorts, flat sandals and just a simple camisole, and for parties, maxi dresses. And I always have big black sunglasses.
I never wear makeup on the beach but I put on Bio-Oil, which my mom got for me from Australia. It leaves your skin a bit dewy. Put sunscreen on first and then apply oil lightly.
I tend to buy a lot online. I buy a lot on Asos.com, which has got the cheapest stuff and designer brands too. I use Johnny Air to courier the stuff I buy. I do a slightly bigger order so I don’t have to keep ordering. I also buy a lot of stuff on Net-aporter.com, which carries a lot of designer stuff — great for investment pieces. They’re really good because they ship directly to your home address and it’s free shipping.
Echo and I are huge film fanatics. We love watching films together from blockbusters to indie to art films.
Apartment 1B is one of my favorite restaurants. I usually get the lamb shank and turkey burger. Echo and I love Mamou, and we always get steak with the cream spinach and steak rice on the side. Early Bird Breakfast Club in The Fort has amazing breakfast and so does Sunrise Kitchen, also in The Fort.
My blog Miss Jones is a creative outlet for me. It was supposed to document my transition from Australia to the Philippines then it evolved into more of a mood board. I place inspiration from photography, to art, to fashion, to music and then more and more people started emailing me regarding fashion. I started collaborating a lot with local photographers and local designers. I edit all of my own photos and my blog gives me the creative freedom to shoot what I want.
ABOUT KIM JONES
Half Filipino half Australian Kim Jones is host of lifestyle shows ETCetera, which starts its fourth season in October, and ETC HQ. Jones’ blog site www.kimcamjones.com, which StyleBible.ph has recently started hosting, has a growing following among the young fashionistas.
Interview by Cielo Flores
August-September 2013 Issue
My idea of paradise is being underwater. I feel more comfortable underwater than on land. There’s a certain freedom.
My favorite resorts are El Nido Resorts, Bacon Beach Resort and Dive Center in Bacon, Sorsogon, Peacock Garden in Bohol, Rock Inn and Café in Sagada, and Mount Data Hotel in Banaue. At El Nido’s Miniloc resort, there are lots of activities even if I’m not diving like kayaking, rock climbing and snorkeling in the lagoons. Bacon is a little gem. It’s a place for chilling, but it’s also less than two hours away from the whale sharks in Donsol. At Peacock Garden, they have good German beer and the food is excellent. I like Mount Data Hotel because first of all it is not crowded, and second it’s twice as high as Baguio and twice as cold. I think it’s the only hotel in the Philippines where they ask if you want a heated room. I usually go there on the way to Sagada, where I stay at Rock Inn. The first time I went to Rock Inn I didn’t have enough money to pay the bill and they said I could stay anyway.
If I’m not flying I take my dogs so the place always has to accept them.
My greatest dive was in May 2010 at Monad Shoal near Malapascua, an island off the northern tip of Cebu. I saw four mantas, five thresher sharks and three devil rays, all one after the other. And all the sharks were coming close over my head. You don’t get that all the time.
My nightmare dive was when I was 12 years old at Cathedral Rock in Anilao. I ran out of air at 20m deep. I panicked and it was pretty scary. My dad was with me. He put the regulator in my mouth, then accidentally dropped his camera. We went up really fast and my dad was coughing up blood.
Favorite places to dive in the Philippines are Tubbataha, Anilao and Malapascua. I went to Tubbataha for the first time in 1983 and I have been there almost every year since. It’s just a reef in the middle of nowhere and so you live on a boat. The first time I went changed my life because before then I had always been diving in Anilao. Since I first went, Tubbataha has improved. It’s been taken care of and there’s more stuff to see. Just last week, we saw a shark-ray [half shark, half sting-ray], a very odd looking creature. I still enjoy Anilao because I get to do a lot of macro work. And in Malapascua, I like the thresher sharks and the giant mantas.
I learned to dive in Anilao when I was eight years old and used to ride on my dad’s back with the other regulator.
I’ve been doing a lot of night dives in the middle of nowhere with the water below me up to 4,000 meters deep. I put a line down and hang there. I get to see really strange stuff that you don’t normally see. There’s a lot of preparation. We secure the lines and the lights and then we wait about 20 minutes because we want the marine creatures to get attracted to the lights. Usually I go with a safety diver just in case something big shows up and we’ve got to get out of the water.
The most famous person I’ve met on a dive is Peter Benchley. I met him on a Mexico trip in 2004 when we were looking for great white sharks. He’s the author of Jaws — the book that scared everybody out of the water.
Before diving I check all my gear and make sure all batteries are charged, my memory cards are okay, and all rings on cameras and other equipment are lubricated properly. I do these things while having my morning coffee. I get up a bit earlier than everybody else, like five in the morning. The first dive is usually at seven.
I never travel without my camera, my iPhone, my headphones and my laptop.
It takes me two days to pack. I am a slow packer and I don’t have a checklist. I’m quite disorganized. There are times that I forgot an equipment. Back in the day when I used to shoot film I used to forget my film because I kept it in the fridge. One time I called a friend and said ‘my film’s in the fridge; go to the airport and try to get on the last flight.
I’m not much of an underwater gadget guy; just bare essentials to get the job done. I usually buy my dive gear in my own store, Squires Bingham. I also get little bits and pieces from the two dive shows I attend every year. I go to ADEX Asia Dive Expo in Singapore and to DEMA Show, which is in Orlando this year.
My favorite beach is near Bacon in Sorsogon. I forgot the name, but it’s about 10 kilometers from Bacon. There’s a rock formation that forms a natural pool. I also love the beaches around Coron, Busuanga Island, in northern Palawan.
Keep away from organized tours. I like to explore myself. Always take your camera, take lots of pictures. I keep a very detailed journal jotting down even the food and people that I saw and met.
My favorite restaurant is People’s Palace at Greenbelt, Makati. I like the kangkong, crispy catfish with green mango salad, tom yum soup and phad thai noodles. My favorite food if I had to eat something for the rest of my life would be spaghetti with tomato sauce Italian style. My mom does really good pasta sauce.
Places I’d love to go are Tawi-Tawi and Jolo in Mindanao because I’ve never been to those areas. I’d love to check out the diving there.
ABOUT GUTSY TUASON
Scott “Gutsy” Tuason is an underwater photographer and journalist. He won the World Grand Prize for Books at the 27th World Festival of Underwater Images in Antibes, France for his coffee table book Anilao, which he co-authored with Eduardo Cu-Unjieng. He also collaborated with Filipino watercolor artist Rafael Cusi on the book Philippine Coral Reefs in Watercolor. He has worked with WW F Philippines on whale shark and coral reef conservation, and on several Department of Tourism campaigns.
Interview by Cielo Flores
My favorite things to take on travels are my notebook and pen to jot down my thoughts. And I never travel without my Canon S110 camera, a Christmas gift from my Dad.
My favorite resorts in the Philippines are Discovery Shores in Boracay, Huma Island Resort and Amanpulo Resort. I like Discovery Shores Boracay because of their service and the little details — pillows embroidered with my initials and a welcome cake with a photo of me the last time I was at the resort. Huma Island Resort is about to open and I am working on the resort staff uniforms. I was invited by the owners to experience the resort and there’s something about the whole place that makes you want to stay. Amanpulo Resort for the luxury, solace and peace. I’ve only been there once — I went there for a wedding — and the experience was unforgettable. It’s paradise.
I will never go back to Wuhan, China because it’s a “factory city.” Everywhere you look is polluted.
My travel luxury is travel itself. I spend on travel because it’s a means to educate myself.
The first thing I do when I travel is research. With the internet, it’s so much easier. I try to see as much culture as I can, and my first stop is the market place. It is the soul of any city.
My previous trip was to Palawan. I went to Huma Island Resort during the Easter break. It’s an amazing experience.
I want to go back to Africa. 10 years ago I went there with my dear travel group mates Tessa Valdes, Malu Gamboa, Kitty Jacinto, Thea Jacinto, Dennis Lustico, Leica Carpo and Bambina Olivares-Wise. I want to go again but this time I want Nix Alanon to come with us. It’s one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had in my life and I want to experience it all over again.
I am an Instagram addict. Find me at instagram.com/rajolaurel#. I like sharing what I see. Most of the photos I post are those of my events, food, families and friends.
I spend mostly on books and art. The most expensive book I bought was the Limited Edition Valentino Anniversary Book that cost more than a thousand dollars. And one of my favorite artworks is by Chinese artist Lao Yan Bien. It’s an 8ft tall painting with rough textures of gray and black colors, and I paid for it by installment.
I have three tattoos in all and I got the most recent one when I turned 40. It’s a tattoo of a safety pin, unfastened, because it means open to fixing things or putting things together. I got my first tattoo in London when I was 16. It’s a horsefly because I’ve always been fascinated by insects. I think they are one of the most perfectly designed creatures.
I started blogging in 2008 and my first blog was for StyleBible. I wrote about what it was like, preparing for my 15th anniversary gala show.
The most interesting person I’ve ever met is Manny Pangilinan. I think he’s not only intelligent but also very compassionate.
My most memorable design/collection is my Optical Illusion collection, which I created in 2001. The collection is avant garde, using geometric shapes, stripes, squares and circles.
My experience as judge in the reality television show Project Runway is humbling because I saw myself in those young designers. It is hard to create a designer dress in 12 hours but it happens in real life. The most memorable part of that show was seeing the overly tired models — they’ve been working nonstop for days — drop one by one like flies, alongside the designers. Of course we didn’t show it on TV but we were there judging the contestants. I’ve never seen so many people faint at the same time from pure exhaustion.
I am holding a gala show on November 15 called Labyrinth to celebrate my 20 years in the design business. Labyrinth will showcase my new and old designs. I also have upcoming collaborations, which I can’t disclose yet.
If I weren’t a fashion designer, I’d probably be a theater actor, a rock star, a chef or a photographer.
Filipino designers that people should watch out for are Shaun Samson and CJ Cruz. They are London based designers of men’s wear.
MY FAVORITE THINGS
Restaurants: Cirkulo along Pasay Road, Antonio’s in Tagaytay, and La Girolle. I’m usually at Cirkulo once a week because it is home for me, and it’s owned by my best friend Malu Gamboa. La Girolle’s chef Ian Padilla is brilliant.
Movies: Himala, Oro Plata Mata, Seven, and Sound of Music
Philippine stage plays: Care Divas, Insiang and Himala. I like stage plays. In a year I watch more than 40 plays, both local and international. I try to fill my weekends with plays
Read: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire, and A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Bookstore: National Bookstore
Artists/bands: Erasure, David Bowie, Axl Rose, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and anything bossa nova. For local, I like Eraserheads, Up Dharma Down, Lani Misalucha, Regine Velasquez and Sarah Geronimo
ABOUT RAJO LAUREL
Rajo Laurel was The Loop’s Editor’s Choice Favorite Fashion Designer in 1998 and won in the ASEAN Young Designers Competition in 1993 in Singapore. He made a name in couture and wedding gowns but later on branched out into ready-to-wear clothes sold under the brand House of Laurel. Laurel is involved in Rags2Rches Inc., turning scrap materials into stylish pieces. America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks, singers Lea Salonga and Jessica Sanchez, and local celebrity Tessa Prieto-Valdes have have all been seen in a Laurel creation.
“I don’t like sloppiness,” says tourism secretary Alberto A. Lim. Top of his agenda is to improve tourism infrastructure and go over government spending for promotions with a fine-tooth comb
Interview by Monica De Leon
Photos by Steve Tirona
October-November 2010 Issue
What are your hopes for Philippine tourism?
I’m hoping that we will double our visitor to 6 million and tourism receipts to US $4.5B by the end of the term of President Benigno Aquino III. And I hope our revenue will grow more than double.
What are your goals this year? Your priorities?
We have to start early planning for the new gateway in Clark and for new airports in emerging destinations such as Panglao Island in Bohol. We’re also planning to use the new media a lot more, to raise the standards of tour guiding, to improve the visitor arrival experience at the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport), to start work on Terminal 3, and to create an attraction for Manila, which is the Walled City of Intramuros. Intramuros, an icon of Philippine colonial history, needs a new plan. We have to deal with its problems – informal settlers, traffic. By the end of President Aquino’s term we should have a newly restored church, a museum of ecclesiastical art, more life in the walled city at night. We hope that this cultural tourism is spread in other places. The successful model that we’re looking at is Vigan. We hope it also happens in places like Iloilo, Cebu. Bohol has a lot of potential to become another Bali. Samar can be a destination, I would say, in six years’ time or longer because it’s still very virgin.
How will you set about achieving these?
We will guide the local governments in their infrastructure planning and be more active in directing the infrastructure priorities in the central Philippines. We have to focus our resources first in the central Philippines because that’s where our strength is. Boracay has a lot of catching up to do with its sanitation infrastructure to ensure its own sustainable development. Bohol needs a new airport. [The New Bohol Airport in Panglao is slated to open in 2012-2015 as per the Department of Transportation and Communication, the government office that the DOT has been partnering with for the airport’s construction project]. In Cebu, they have different problems like water supply, and Palawan needs a more reliable power. So those needs have to be met for the destinations to be more viable.
Are you giving yourself a timeline?
I have six years to lay a solid foundation for tourism development. In the first three months of this period, we will finish the improvement of the arrival and departure experience at the NAIA Terminal 1. The bathrooms at the airport have to be improved as well as the directional signs on the roads leading to the terminal. We have to ensure that only authorized people populate the airport. We will introduce a new brand for the Philippines within the first six months of President Aquino. And by next year the Department of Tourism will have a new website. We will have a cleaner and brighter Rizal Park. That’s an easy one to do. Then we’re going to launch programs that can be done across the country like clean up drives in partnership with the private sector. It’s not a new program but we have to become more tourist friendly by cleaning up.
How different will your administration be from the previous ones?
We’ll scrutinize our expenditure. Our product development will be based on market needs. We’re going to try to improve promotions by spending less on traditional media and investing more on new media. We will also focus on funding projects and events that will give higher yields.
Among all the tourism secretaries, who do you admire most?
Joe Aspiras is often mentioned as the best. I pick Joe because he got tourism started. People credit him for being the father of Philippine tourism.
Tourists depend on the star rating when looking for a resort. Many find our star rating flawed. What can you say about this?
We are looking at a rating system that is internationally recognized, so that people know what to expect. But we only rate the hardware (accommodation structures and facilities), not the software (service).
What’s your view on sustainable and eco-friendly tourism?
That’s where we, the DOT, come in – recommending heavy infrastructures like sewage treatment plants. But then the local government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources both play a big role in this too.
Your major hate?
I don’t like sloppiness, I don’t like laziness.
Your major likes?
I like complete staff work. I like people who are open to new ideas, who can give me suggestions on how to do things in a different way without forcing people to do things that they don’t want to do.
What are your work hours like?
Long these early days in the new administration because there’s so much to do and people that I have to meet. I work 12, sometimes 15 hours [a day]. I catch up on my emails at home at night.
Do you work weekends?
I try to go to tourism sites on weekends. I was in Batanes last weekend [as of interview]. Next weekend I’ll be in Davao. I’m hoping to be able to see Samar and Tawi-Tawi in the near future. And then I will have to go abroad to meet other APEC tourism ministers and thereafter our partners in the Japan travel trade.
Your work ethic?
Some people say I move quickly because I’ve had a lot of experience in this industry so I don’t have to go down the learning curve anymore. When there is a contentious issue, I always look at both sides. And when things are not clear to me, I get people who are experts in the field to help make well-considered decisions.
ME AND MY TRAVELS
Tell us about your best holiday in the Philippines?
I’m biased because I’ve worked in Palawan. In El Nido you have a very varied package. You can go kayaking in the lagoons, snorkeling, have a picnic lunch, go island hopping, fishing, diving, have very exotic dinners on sandbars; if you want to watch bats or rock climb you can do that too.
Bird watching is for special tourists. People learn about the unique nature that we have here, the variety of coral species, a large number of endemic fish and bird species. When people travel nowadays, they look for an educational experience. They want to learn while on vacation.
Your favorite resort?
I just went to one in Batanes (Fundacion Pacita). It belongs to a friend of mine. I like it because it’s up on a mountain. The view is so breathtaking it’s like you’re in Brittany or in Scottland but even more beautiful to me. And I like the way they fixed the rooms. I prefer cool air to the warm. I prefer nature to the city life.
What are you looking forward to in other tourism destinations?
I expect some fantastic sceneries in Samar – very wild. Tawi-Tawi I expect to see some very clear waters like in Palawan, but of course even less spoilt because hardly anyone goes there. The other site that I want to revisit is Banawe because it has one of our most precious treasures, the Banawe Rice Terraces. Like I said, I’m taking a large interest now in heritage and nature conservation. It’s what makes us unique. The meeting of East and West is a really big advantage. It makes us unique compared to other countries in Asia. Vigan is a leader when it comes to heritage conservation but there are other places that can follow like Iloilo and Bohol. There are places like Dumaguete where structures of the old colonial period are still very well preserved. One place that I’d like to see develop is the Puerto Galera Bay. It’s one of the most beautiful bays in the world. It will be nice if the rich families who bought properties in Puerto Galera will get together and start developing the properties they acquired. Mindoro is so close to Manila that it can become a major destination. Of course there are places all over the Philippines where Europeans like going to because of the simple lifestyle.
Your favorite restaurant?
Again I’m biased. My cousin owns a nice restaurant Lolo Dad’s. The buffet at the Sofitel Spiral has made it an eating destination. In Serendra there’s so much variety. There are a number of eating destinations now that Manila can offer. So can Cebu.
Service is one area we can really improve on. I think resort owners pay more attention to the rooms when they should be paying equal attention to the service. Service is very important. Service means the cuisine, assistance, the check-in, check-out. The welcome and the farewell are important.
What do you always take with you?
Very little. I travel light. I bring a camera. I don’t pack shoes as I plan my wardrobe around the pair I wear while travelling. Sunglasses, shirts and underwear for each day, slippers, cap, and a book. I have a bag ready for travel, containing all the basic items I need. If I have to stay longer, let’s say a week overseas, I just dump that bag in a bigger bag, with the additional clothes necessary.
Your biggest packing mistake?
In my last trip to Bohol, I didn’t think I’d need slippers as I would be staying in a 5-star resort. Because I inspected a PTA hotel in Balicasag Island, I had to wear the slippers supplied by our resort, which were too small for me. I developed a callous.
What do you avoid on holiday?
I don’t go on shopping vacations. If I buy anything, it’s incidental. I’m up for adventure but I don’t want to over exert and spoil a vacation. And I always look for a downtime, spending time sitting in a café, sipping a cup of coffee, watching people go by.
What do you hate about holidays?
Checking in at airports. I don’t like the tension of possible delays and missed connections, the long check-in line, the waiting for boarding.
Singer and songwriter
Interview by Monica De Leon
I want to go to Amanpulo in Palawan.
Palawan is beautiful. I’ve been to Coron. Being close to the sea and white sand is utopia.
San Vicente, Palawan is amazing because of Long Beach, a 14km stretch of virgin pink sand. When I was there, there were probably about three other people on the beach with me. It was great island-hopping from one white sand beach to another. I would recommend going there.
Capari Resort in San Vicente was really good. We stayed at my friend’s house but we were in and out of Capari. It’s a beautiful place right by the beach.
One of my favorite things is going up north to Ilocos Norte and La Union, and seeing all the old churches.
Sea Wind in Boracay is my favorite resort. I love the fact that you can walk out of your room and be right on the beach.
My friend owns a resort in Puerto Galera called Villa Halcyon and I love going there. They have a dock where I’d sit and listen to the sound of the ocean. It’s really relaxing.
I’m from Batangas City. Even though I grew up abroad, I speak Tagalog and my father has made sure I grew up knowing my roots. I actually wanted to quit school in Hong Kong and go to the University of Batangas.
I really like to just hang out with my friends, watch a movie or laze by a pool somewhere. Sometimes we go to the Makati Shangri-La and hang out by the pool. I like to jog and box. Boxing is such good cardio.
I like going to watch the shows of Kat Agarrado and Wally Gonzales. I like going to [progressive alternative music venue] B-Side as well. Smart Araneta is a great place to watch concerts. I think when you play in Araneta, you pretty much made it.
I am a terrible packer. I cannot pack light, but I try really hard. I bring my sunblock, a good book, my music and a lot of clothes. I have a Wanderlust bikini because it’s my friend Maggie Wilson’s brand. I have a Nike bag that I carry with me all the time, and Havaianas slippers. For skincare I use Neutrogena’s scrub, Jergen’s lotion. I like Hawaiian Tropic sunblock and Maui Babe tanning lotion.
If I were to live my life over again, I would still be me. I’m in the place where I really want to be.
My priority now is my singing and songwriting. I’m always listening to a new artist, a new sound, what’s hot, the old stuff.
Our band is called Decibelle, a play of words, combining decibel, which is the unit in measuring sound, and belle, meaning beauty. Our music is sort of new jazz soul with a little bit of trip hop and funk mixed in there. We already have about 10 songs. Hopefully, our album will be done by the end of March at the latest.
I love to listen to people with very unique voices like Maroon 5. Adam Levine has a very distinct voice. I like Beyoncé, Ne-yo, Roisin Murphy, Lana Del Rey is beautiful; Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Usher, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Etta James, The Steeles, Elvis, Prince.
Kat Agarrado is amazing. I also love Up Dharma Down. I see some of my solo stuff has a little hint of their sound in it. I love Bamboo, Rico Blanco, [Fliptop artists] Enigma and Loonie. Enigma and Loonie have been good for hip hop in the Philippines.
I was kind of thrown into TV hosting in the Philippines. I won the competition for Studio 23 and I worked with them for about five years. I didn’t have any training at all.
I’m starring in a movie called The Bride and The Lover by Regal Films with Lovi Poe. That’s what I’m working on at the moment.
Hello Forever, directed by Peter Kirk, an Australian, is coming out this year. It’s an indie film on human trafficking. When I was working for MTV we went to see a safe house for women rescued from human trafficking. It was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences of my life. I expected to see 21-year olds, but instead found 11 to 18-year-olds, illegally brought in and sold to prostitution.
ABOUT KAT ALANO
Kat Alano is half English and half Filipino. Alano kicked off her showbiz career in the Philippines as video jock for Studio 23. Before coming to the Philippines, she did theatre in England, performing in William Shakespeare plays and West Side Story. In 2004, she won the Studio 23 VJ hunt, her first major break. After that, she became one of the co-hosts of local variety show Wowowee. These days, Alano is vocalist and songwriter for her band, Decibelle (Twitter: @decibelleph)
May 2012 Issue
What kind of a traveler are you?
I love beaches more than cities but I’m always game to visit anywhere. When I was in Argentina, I went to see the glaciers.
Your favorite destination in the Philippines?
Palawan because it’s not crowded and there’s lots to do, from trekking, kayaking, to diving. Palawan’s lagoons are beautiful.
Anywhere in the Philippines you’d like to visit next?
What’s your favorite resort in the Philippines?
Discovery Shores Boracay (tel: +6336/ 288 4500). It has an amazing spa, a jacuzzi on the rooftop, and the hotel staff make you feel right at home.
Your favorite leisure activity?
I like wakeboarding. I love to do water sports.
Do you like shopping?
Shopping, I guess, is very limited in the Philippines. I usually go around Greenbelt in Makati City, pick up something I like and have it altered to make it unique.
Any favorite local designer?
Lulu Tan-Gan is very eccentric but still very wearable.
Your favorite makeup, skin care brands, travel essentials?
I use Makeup Forever products. But I also love the Etude House blush. Hawaiian Tropic has the right amount of SPF for sun protection. I love my Chanel sunglasses. For the body, of course, I use Asian Secrets.
Worst holiday experience?
I went to Barcelona with my friend, Georgina (Wilson). We just researched a club online, went to the club, but instead found a factory – no club, no taxi cabs, nothing. So we ended up walking along the highway for two hours, with lots of trucks roaring by, and I really thought it was the end of us. After what seemed like endless hours of walking and being scared, and hiding behind trees, we found a taxi.
What do you pack for your travels?
For a city trip, I always take my coat from Warehouse, a dress and a scarf. When I go to the beach, I take my bikinis and a simple cover up. Make up is usually just my foundation from Makeup Forever, blush from Etude House, and lipstick from MAC. I also pack my Hawaiian Tropic sunblock.
Biggest packing mistake?
Overpacking. I like to set like two outfits a day — one for the whole day, one at night. So that’s a lot of outfits if I’m staying for 10 days. Then I can’t buy anything because I’ll go over the baggage limit.
I love Kai Neo Japanese Restauarant (+632/ 757 5209-10) at Greenbelt. I really love Japanese food. I always get the shitake mushroom salad and the fried scallops appetizer. It’s really stupid but I go all the way to France for the perfect Vietnamese food! It’s called Yao Lang San on Avenue de’Ivry. Everytime I go to France, it’s always my first stop.
What do you do when you’re at home?
I’m a movie whore! I love to watch movies on DVD. Or sketch.
What do people not know about you?
That I’m a cowboy. I really don’t care where I am, what I do as long as I’m with good people.
Aside from acting, what would you like to do?
Fashion design. It’s what I studied at school. I hope to open my own small fashion line.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Probably with one kid, married, and with my own fashion line.
ABOUT SOLENN HEUSAFF
French-Filipino Solenn Heussaff took up beauty and fashion make-up at the Fleurimont School in Paris, and studied prosthetics at the Make Up For Ever Academy. She is also a model and one of the official castaways of Survivor Philippines Celebrity Edition.
Boys Night Out Djs’ too-hot-to-handle sex topics and sexy games on air has caused furor, but network ratings are high
Interview by Margie Francisco
Photos by Steve Tirona
June-July 2011 Issue
What got you into radio?
Tony Toni: I love music, I needed to pay the bills and no experience was needed.
Slick Rick: I heard this DJ called T Bone — now called Tony Toni — when I was in my first year in college. I took my practicum at the radio station and became a student DJ. Then I got hired in December 2001.
Sam YG: I started when I was in third year college. I just fell in love with the job. Back when I was in third grade, I used to listen to the radio every morning. I’d tell my mom, “Hey Mom, let’s listen to this radio jock T Bone.” And as it happens, I’m blessed to be working with T Bone right now. He’s like the Muhammad Ali of radio.
What were you doing before you became DJs?
TT: I was taking up a business administration course.
SR: I was taking up pre-med chemistry. I thought I was going to be a doctor, but that didn’t pan out.
SYG: Taking up legal management.
What’s a typical day for you?
SYG: Tony, Slick and I briefly meet before the show to discuss segments we’re going to do. We bring up different topics and we vote on what we feel is the best. Slick handles the news, I handle the games like bugtong and whatnot. Research for the show is really important. We still meet after the show at around 10:30pm till about 1am, pre-producing for the show the next day. Sometimes we go out to have a drink, hang out with friends, meet people. This is our typical day, six days a week. Sometimes we’re together seven days a week when we have shows or hosting on weekends.
TT: We’re pretty much in our fifth year so we’re very busy. We have a show on Channel V. We’ve been writing for Cosmo magazine for the past three years. During the day we go to meetings, attend other shows as guests, host shows, do voiceovers. In the studio, those four hours, we’re just hanging out and just having fun. Minus the alcohol, it’s like that.
SR: It’s like how are we going to keep you listening? That’s something we talk about.
Do you consider yourselves celebrities?
TT: We’re more infamous than famous. We’re known for things that we shouldn’t be doing.
SR: We’re known for breaking the rules. And that’s a good thing because no one breaks the rules.
TT: Slick has slept with the most celebrities — he’s done it with those from Channels 2, 7, and is now making his way to TV5. If you sleep with him, he’ll give you an iPad or an LV bag. How could you refuse if he’s giving you an P80,000 worth of bag?
Do you know how many people listen to your show?
TT: No, but I am shocked by the different classes of listeners we’ve attracted. Our radio station [Magic] is an AB station, but we have taxi drivers, jeepney drivers, security guards who recognize us. Who isn’t manyak (or is interested in sexy topics on radio). Most people, whatever class or age, are naturally horny. It’s just that there are different levels of being horny. Like I’m extreme; Sam’s super extreme; Slick’s unbelievably horny! You’d be surprised. We had a five-year-old who called in. We had an 11-year-old named Javi. We had a nine-yearold girl who called in, Angel. We have politicians that listen in.
SYG: Sometimes, there are old guys who’d say, “Hi this is Dave, but don’t tell my wife, ha?”
Tell us about the time the broadcasting association KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters sa Pilipinas) suspended you.
TT: The case was dismissed after three years. We were reported — just like Hayden Kho, Hubert Webb. We were accused of something we did not do. We’re not saying that the show isn’t overboard. We are overboard but that was a different time slot. Our first offense was that our show was very malaswa (lewd, distasteful). There was a student who made this school project saying our show was becoming more and more graphic with words. And that project was then given to the KBP. We had a six-month suspension and a total of almost P500,000 in fine. The company paid for the fine.
Would you say you’re the “bad ass” of radio?
SR: I don’t know.
TT: Some people think we’re super pilyo (cheeky); some people think we’re super manyak (maniac); some people think we’re bad ass; some people think we’re real.
SYG: How do people define bad ass? I mean we do go overboard sometimes.
SR: No holds barred. We say what we want. It’s about what comes to our head at that time, at that moment.
Who among you is single and who’s taken?
TT: Single. All of us. I’ve been single for 12 years.
SR: Single for two years.
SYG: Three years. We hang out but no relationships.
Your most memorable show?
TT: [fortune teller] Madam Auring grabbing her ass. She literally grabs her ass in front of us. We asked her if she still has sex and her answer was that she could still go four times a day!
Your most scandalous show?
SR: Every time we have girls on the show, whether it’s the FHM magazine models or [girl group] Mocha Girls, Tony’s super manyak side comes out.
TT: I think I mooned newspaper columnist Tessa Prieto [Valdes] when she was on our show. That was scandalous. Sometimes we do this game of asking girls on the show to grind on the lap of one of us guys. Whoever gets a hard on fastest, loses. And usually, Sam gets horny first. He’s always out.
TT: Oh yeah, Gracia (former sexy actress Samantha Lopez) not wearing panties on the show. She was not at all afraid to show us that she was not wearing any underwear.
SYG: We were the only ones at the station to see this, but we did get a lot of text messages from guys.
Best on-air interview?
TT: TV host Boy Abunda was good. Bading na palaban. (A gay who’s up for a fight). He’s scary. Any question we throw at him, he throws back at us.
SR: He always has a comeback. And he’d look at Sam a certain way, like he was going to attack him or something.
SYG: Singer-songwriter Usher was good. He was super game. Ask anything and he’ll answer them.
SR: [Hip-hop dance crew] The Jabbawockeez — they’re a hilarious bunch! Talking about how they started, how they came up with the whole mask idea. [Wrestler] Batista was fun too. There’s more to him than just being a wrestler. He’s very proud of being a Filipino in the industry.
Who would you want to invite next?
TT: [Television hosts] Tito, Vic and Joey. [Actress-host] Kris Aquino. President Ninoy Aquino. [Comedian] Michael V. [Singer] Ogie Alcasid. [Former president] Erap.
SR: [Impersonator] Willie Nepomuceno.
SYG: [TV host] Willie Revillame.
What’s next for Boys Night Out?
TT: Go into merchandising, endorsements.
SR: I think, going into TV targeting the masses.
ME AND MY TRAVELS
My favorite hideaway…
Tony Toni: I have to say, my favorite vacation spot would have to be Boracay. You can go for Station 3 on the island where it’s wild and crazy to Station 1 where it’s just private. It’s just a 15-20 minute walk.
Slick Rick: Home. I can just relax and not worry about anything or anyone.
Sam YG: When I think about hideaways, two places come to mind. Shangri-La Boracay (+6336/ 288 4988) and Club Paradise (+632/ 838 4956-60) in Palawan. Privacy, relaxation, seclusion. Those two are definitely at the top of my list.
My idea of a holiday…
TT: No texting. No emailing. I’m a beach person. And as long as I’m breathing a cleaner air than what we’re inhaling here, that already relaxes me.
SR: Taking my parents to places they’ve never been to. But if I was with someone, I’d take her too! A holiday for me is also getting lost in the city, just walking around.
SYG: Getting lost in the bedroom.
SR: Yeah, but that happens like every night.
Where to go for short breaks…
TT: Spa. I’m actually a home buddy. I can just stay at home with someone, just stay in bed and watch DVD.
SR: I just stay within the city because sometimes the stress of traveling makes me tired and I don’t want to think about it.
SYG: Road trips to Batangas or Tagaytay.
SR: Last real holiday was in Macau with my parents. I had fun hanging out with them for four days and the best part, I paid for it all. My first time to do that for them. Their smiles made it worth it.
SYG: 10 days in Vegas, LA, San Francisco and San Jose. It’s the first trip to the US the three of us went to altogether.
SR: Shangri-La Boracay. You have everything there, why would you want to go anywhere else?
Other resorts to recommend…
SR: Bellarocca (+632/ 817 7290, 328 8831) in Marinduque. I wanna go there.
SYG: Amanpulo (+632/ 976 5200).
TT: You gotta be high rollers if you’re going to Amanpulo. And you better make sure the girl you take there is the one you intend to marry.
TT: Anything with truffles.
TT: Continental breakfast?
SR: Lobster. Steak.
What I take on holidays…
SR: iPod. Because I like listening to music and to audio books. Whether I’m on the plane or on the beach.
SYG: Shades, a book and iPod.
TT: Even when the sun is out, we still wear shades.
SYG: Like three blind mice.
What I bring back from holidays…
TT: Pictures. Pasalubongs.
SR: Tokens from the trip. Videos. I’m a video freak.
SYG: Memories. Always memories.
Favorite travel companion…
SYG: I’d say these guys. Because you know something stupid’s bound to happen. Nasa airport ka pa lang, gera na agad. (You’re still in the airport and it’s already war.)
Who I’d like to take on a trip…
TT: Cameron Diaz. Maricar Reyes.
SR: Olivia Munn. Bangs Garcia. I’d like to take Mila Kunis because she seems like a girl that knows how to have fun and wouldn’t care where we went.
SYG: Armi of Up Dharma Down.
Where to go next…
SR: Bellaroca or Amanpulo. Now if only I can find someone to go with. Hahaha!
ABOUT BOYS NIGHT OUT
Djs Tony Toni, Sam YG, and Slick Rick popularized Boys Night Out, a radio show by Magic 89.9. The triad’s been hosting gigs on TV, and doing multiple commercial endorsements. Of the djs, Tony is the quintessential ladies’ man, Sam YG, the clown who gets the girls with his good looks and humor, and Slick Rick is the voice of reason when the other two start having a little too much fun.
Actress, clinical psychologist
Interview by Monica De Leon
December-January 2010 Issue
My best Philippine holiday…
Was at El Nido. The staff were very attentive. I would ask to go to a deserted island and for them to pack some lunch. And so in the morning after breakfast they’d take me on a boat to this uninhabited island. You could nude bathe if you want. The last time I went to El Nido, my daughter was still a toddler. She’d have an afternoon nap on the beach, or sleep on a blanket I’d lay out under a monoblock table for some shade. While she’s sleeping, I’d get a plastic chair, carry it to the water, stick it into the sand, and sit on it with water up to my waist. One time, I convinced some musicians – a violinist and guitarist – to come with us on a boat to the small and big lagoon and play classical music. The minute they started playing, all the wild monkeys came out to see what was going on. I got off the boat and just floated in the calm water, listening to the heavenly music. But I also yearn for adventure travel, backpacking with my daughter. My husband doesn’t like to travel too much but my daughter and I share the same passion for adventure.
I toured Camiguin with my daughter…
When she was about seven-years old. We took the Superferry and when we arrived on the island, we hired a tricycle and found this cottage at the far end of the beach and stayed the night. We toured around on a habal-habal (motorcycle).
My favorite resorts are…
El Nido Miniloc and Lagen in Palawan, Aquaventure Resort in Batangas where I stay all the time because I’m at home there–I only go to Batangas for the diving –, and Fridays Boracay which has a nice location with a nice beach, spacious area, and excellent food and service.
My travel essentials are…
My tanning lotion with SPF, my plastic bags for dirty clothes and litter, a windbreaker because it gets cold on a boat, my Glutamax (lightening soap) when I am on the beach, my soap and my after-sun lotion.
My favorite diving destination…
Is Balicasag Island in Bohol where the water is so shallow for several feet and then the sea floor drops sharply and you are underwater with a wall filled with corals on one side, a myriad of fish on the other, and the deep blue. Balicasag is not popular with tourists so the amenities are simple.
My favorite local buys are…
Shellcraft, mangoes, the saltless danggit (dried fish) in Cebu. In Dumaguete, wonderful skinless longganisas (local sausage).
My favorite shops in the city are …
Rustans and Rockwell [Powerplant Mall] in Makati. For clothes, I particularly like Zara. I go to SM and shop at Sakaya for my costumes in my shows and plays, Shoemart or Janilyn for shoes, Aldo or Rustan’s for accessories. I also like Criselda Lontok creations.
My travel ritual…
Consists of wrapping my clothes in several plastic bags, keeping my money in several places, packing medicine, and generally travelling light. I went around Europe for three months with only two backpacks.
I love my little adventures…
With my daughter. I drive my BMW and she’s my navigator. We have our Lisa Stansfield music blaring loudly. I have my bonbon, my little burner and often have steak from Santis, pasta, tomatoes in my cooler. I go to Batangas to dive. In Batangas we go to Sepok Island where there’s no one else. I always look for a place that’s secluded. That’s also why I like Palawan a lot. There are coves that you can have all to yourself.
The first time I visited Boracay…
There were lots of fireflies. There was no electricity. I lived on the island from 1988 to 1992. We used to walk around with a gasera (gas lamp); there were no tricycles so evenings were peaceful. And my favorite months were September and October when you get sun and rain. Even if it’s stormy in Boracay, I still enjoy the place because that’s the time when everything is so quiet. When it’s raining, people tend to stay indoors but I go out in the rain, swim, and just enjoy it.
I’d like to book a holiday in…
Tagaytay, and try The Boutique Bed and Breakfast of Happy Ongpauco.
My nightmare hotel was
Somewhere in Pangasinan or La Union. I was shooting a film somewhere in Ilocos and stayed in a resort by the ocean that’s owned by a Filipina who is married to a German or a Swiss. The husband was not a nice host. Lots of dos and don’ts.
What do you avoid on holiday?
Crowds, drinking crowds most especially.
About Techie Agbayani
Techie Agbayani hugged the local limelight when she appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine, German edition in July 1982. This was followed by modelling stints and Hollywood movies, including John Boorman’s the Emerald Forest. These days, Agbayani leads a quiet private life and works as a clinical psychologist at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Filipino-Australian model and actress Anne Curtis won the Best Actress award for the movie Baler in the 34th Metro Manila Film Festival. She is also the face of fashion brand Folded & Hung
Photos by Xander Angeles for Folded and Hung
December-January 2010 Issue
What was your best holiday?
It was probably New Year’s Day two years ago with my whole family. We went to Boracay, and it was my Mom’s first time and my little brother’s first time on the island.
The best hotel you’ve stayed in?
Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort & Spa is nice. I love Discovery Shores. It’s modern and up to date and the service is really very good. And I remember one time, when I had just won the best actress award for the movie Baler, they put up a banner in my room that said “Congratulations, Anne!”. At Shangri-La Mactan in Cebu, you’ve got everything and you don’t have to go anywhere else.
Your favorite resort?
El Nido Miniloc. The feeling of having the island all to yourself – that’s what I love about it.
What do you always take with you when you travel?
My digicam, my flipflops, my SLR, cellphone and charger, and well-packed toiletries. I do my own packing; I want to make sure that everything’s in place.
We heard you’re into photography?
Yes, ever since I got my very first SLR a few years back. I didn’t have any lessons at all; it was more of trial and error, fiddling around, until I got around using it properly. Now, I’m into techie stuff, looking at SLRs with interchangeable lens. I always take my SLR with me.
What do you like taking pictures of?
Everything. Food, people, places.
Where do you want to holiday next?
Hopefully, I’ll be able to go to Amanpulo. Usually I treat myself when I know I’ve worked hard or I get a new project.
What places would you recommend for party goers?
Manila. And anywhere where there’s a fiesta or festival because everything is so lively. Of course, Boracay is forever the party place. I hardly go out anymore because of work, but M Café (+632/ 757 3000) is okay on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Greenwich. And I really like Cantinetta (+632/ 892 9873) on Pasong Tamo for the pastas and pizza. At M Café, they serve Asian fusion dishes. And there’s People’s Palace (+632/ 729 2888).
Where do you go shopping?
I love bazaars. Whenever there’s an urban bazaar in Rockwell, in Poblacion Makati, I’m there.
What accessories do you like shopping for?
Definitely a watch. And bags, of course.
Your favorite shoes?
My Chanel shoes. And my green Lanvin sandals.
Your favorite clothing brand?
I like Topshop.
Your favorite scent?
Folded&Hung (Scents: Innocense, Muse, Ingeneu, Stargaze, Partyphile, Black Rose). I also like Eclat d’Arpege by Lanvin and Chance by Chanel.
What was your worst holiday experience?
I don’t think I really had any bad holiday experience. Last year my friends and I celebrated New Year’s in Boracay which was good, but we felt we didn’t have as much time as we would have wanted. We had to go back to Manila for work.
What was your biggest packing mistake?
I went on holiday for a month and packed far too many clothes, went shopping, and ended up with twice as many clothes for the trip back home.
What is the worst hotel you’ve stayed in?
It was one of those hotels in Davao – I can’t really remember the name of the hotel. It’s near a mall and the hotel is just not that great.
What do you avoid on holidays?
As much as possible the crowds, traffic, the last minute bookings. That’s why as early as September I book my ticket and hotel for December.
What do you hate about the holidays?
The traffic. The delayed flights. I’m pretty much an organized person and I make advanced plans. Delayed flights wreck those plans.
CEO, VConsunji Development Corporation
Interview by Margie Francisco
Photo by Daniel Soriano
April 2010 Issue
Which was your best holiday?
Every holiday, to a certain degree, is very memorable. I have no regrets spending time with the people I love. Whether it’s a disaster or not, there’s always a good story in it.
Your favorite destinations?
Boracay, of course. But I also like El Nido and Bohol. In Boracay, you get the beach and you get to be social. There are lots of places to eat, to shop. You can go sun-tanning, swimming. It’s kind of an all-in one package. El Nido’s more about relaxation and seclusion. It’s the place if you want to get away from it all. Bohol is just rich in activities and it’s quite unique. You get to play with the tarsiers, watch the dolphins, and check out the Chocolate Hills. The wildlife there is fantastic!
What is the best hotel you’ve stayed in?
The best boutique hotel in Boracay is Zuzuni and the best general hotel there is Discovery Shores. Perfect service is the key. I don’t mind a hotel not having so many amenities; I do mind when a hotel provides lousy service. For me, helpful staff and accessibility and general cleanliness are key.
What is your favorite resort?
There’s a lot. I guess El Nido Lagen is one of the best resorts I’ve stayed in. It’s down to service again. The staff there are so helpful; they’ll almost bend over backwards to meet any request.
What do you always take with you when you travel?
Aside from cash? Not much. Toothbrush, board shorts, shades, flip flops.
Are you a beach bum?
Definitely. Mountains tend to have a lot of bugs. And I already live in the city so what’s the point of visiting another city? For me, the outdoors, somewhere preferably with water, is perfect.
Your favorite bars and restaurants?
For night life, Makati and any of the locations in The Fort or at Greenbelt. I don’t really go out so much anymore so I’m not exactly in tune with the night scene as I used to.In The Fort, Cav (+632/ 856 1798) has a nice wine bar. My favorite restaurant right now include Mamou (+632/ 856 3569).
What is the most picturesque scene you’ve photographed?
I got some interesting shots of Punta Fuego – really dramatic shots of waves crashing against the rocks. I got really nice shots of Boracay as well, and ironically, of the Taal crater.
How does photography figure in your life now?
Only as a hobby. It started out as a hobby and turned into something professional. For me, I think if I want to keep my passion for photography, then I should keep it just as a hobby.
What was your worst holiday experience?
It’s not the worst holiday but my worst trip, courtesy of this budget airline. Coming from Singapore to Manila, the windshield of the plane cracked midflight so we did an emergency landing in Kota Kinabalu, where there was no service staff whatsoever to help us out and we had to stay overnight in the crappiest hotel imaginable. It looked like the residences of hell. After getting half an hour’s worth of sleep, we lined up for approximately four hours to re-check-in to the rescue plane. For me, I’ve blacklisted that airline forever from my list of carriers.
What was your biggest packing mistake?
I guess just the usual; I forget the toiletries and end up buying them in the destination. But that’s hardly a crisis.
What is the worst hotel you’ve stayed in?
It doesn’t exist anymore. It was back in 1998 in Boracay. It was during Holy Week and every hotel was booked. I ended up staying in a hotel called La Villa Rocha, which was right beside Fridays. And as the name implies, it really was “the village of roaches” and with no running water.
What do you avoid on holidays?
The crowds and hassle. During the holidays, if I travel, I normally like going to destinations near enough to places where I can have fun; but not too close that it’s banging on my door. For me, there has to be a balance between convenience and accessibility and the option to get away and have some peace.
What do you hate about the holidays?
Nothing. Holidays are rare times I spend undivided time with my family. Most of the week, I’m so busy that it’s hard to spend time with my loved ones and holidays give me that moment.
ABOUT VICTOR CONSUNJI
Victor Consunji, CEO VConsunji Development Corporation, was named by Philippine Tatler in March 2005 as the country’s most eligible bachelor. He has gained a name for himself as a professional fashion photographer, but these days photography has taken a back seat to property development and construction, the core business of his family’s DMCI Holdings, a major player in the industry.