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Urban Zone: Resort-living, literally

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Urban Zone has moved to Fridays. Same late timeslot as our original Sunday airing. Still in ABSCBN Channel 2. We aired this interesting house last Friday June 3, at almost 2am (technically Saturday morning) unfortunately. It was very late because of the season finale of a drama series. We won't normally be on that late.

This is the house of a French couple who decided to make Manila their home. They have 12 kids. Instead of building a big house, they a placed a huge pool in the middle of their property and surrounded it with a few pavillions and cabins. It was almost like a resort.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
Interviewing the owner of the home.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
The gazebo with a base that's actually a bar. There are "stools" underwater.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
View from the "lanai." (Though the entire place is one big lanai).


French family in Manila with 12 kids
The living room.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
View from above the kids' cabins.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
Bedroom of the 12 year old twins. One wanted an elephant safari theme while the other twin wanted giraffe safari in the adjacent bedroom.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
Outdoor shower.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
She wanted an outdoor shower 24/7. There is no other option except to bathe in the dramatic stone tub. The bathroom has no glass door or any partition. Even when it rains this bathroom is completely open.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
I. Love. Her. Kitchen. They own a furniture company called Costa Del Sul. She designed this kitchen and as you can see, it's a real kitchen. Not just a "show kitchen." (My microphone is on my back, by the way. I'm not that hunchbacked. Hee hee.)


French family in Manila with 12 kids
I love how personal their space is. Not over-designed. Filled with significant pieces from their past.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
The dining area.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
All over the house you see furniture from their brand Costa Del Sul. They use recycled wood. Coincidentally, I had bought my desk, kids' beds and other shelves from them in 2008 and just found out when I met them at their home.





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Thank you

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Auction for Action closed yesterday at 4pm.

We raised    P 1,489,159

This surpassed everyone's expectations two- and three-fold. But I honestly knew in my heart we would break P1M.


Thank you...

To all the artists and designers, my friends, who generously donated their work and their time. Not everyone was comfortable with the idea of an auction but they put themselves out there, in order to raise funds and awareness about UNICEF's programs. 

To all of you who spread the word. Friends in media, fellow bloggers and all of you who retweeted our campaign.

To those of you who bid and showed support - not only to UNICEF's programs for children, but also to the artists and designers - thank you for moving Philippine art and design.

To UNICEF for trusting me on this huge initiative. It was a first time for all of us. Thank you for supporting my wishes to do this.

Now, on to do real work.

Please join  www.facebook.com/unicefphilippines  to learn more about how you can help and be involved.

Again, a heartfelt Thank you!














A baby bird at home

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Skip this if you don't care about animals. It's a long one. But it's charming.


Yesterday morning, Sophia woke me up (very early) with this crazy story about a baby bird at the back of the house. She went on and on. Me, "What are you saying?" Sophia, "There's a baby bird in a nest at the back of the house." Me, "Are you serious? We don't have a tree. Where is it?" Sophia, "The nest is inside a pot." Surreal. I got up and went downstairs wearing sleepwear.


A baby bird was born in our backyard. Cute!!!
True enough, there's the baby bird. In a cute nest. Inside a pot. At the back of the house.


We hung around for a bit. Lily thought it was cute but she didn't swoon. She's not really into animals like Sophia is. Stella was thrilled. She wanted to touch it. And when she got away from my grip, she poked the baby. I shrieked. Imagined a decapitated or squeezed baby bird. I scared the bird and the kids - I get queasy and panicky around baby animals. Then I quickly washed her hands with soap and water. (Cute as it was, the bird was a wild animal. Bird flu. I don't know...)

The whole day Thursday, Sophia and I observed the baby bird from outside my 2nd floor window. We had a great view of the nest. From there we saw the mama bird fly in to give the baby a winged insect. While the baby was pecking at its prey, another bird species flew nearby. It was a maya bird... inching its way near the nest, threatening to grab the dead insect. Then the mama bird (a bit longer-tailed than the maya) swooped down towards her baby to protect it from the intruder. It was amazing. Very much like National Geographic, except we weren't in the wild. We were in the laundry area of our house.

By afternoon, I went to work. Soph's assignment was to watch the bird but not to take it or touch it. I also asked my mom to leave it alone. Mom likes to adopt and care for animals that come her way. She's taken care of a wild Maya that fell from its nest when it didn't have wings to fly. When I got back from work, Soph said that the bird was gone. She wasn't upset. She said the mommy bird took it away. Mom and I looked at each other and silently thought that a cat or bigger bird got the baby bird. We knew it was too young to fly. But we didn't tell Sophia about our worries. She would have been crushed.

The next morning (today), Soph does the same thing. Rambles on early in the morning. She said the baby bird was back. Whew, relief. Wow and our yaya was telling the truth. She had said that the mommy bird and daddy bird picked up the baby using their beaks and flew away. I thought that was preposterous. But I guess it was true.


A baby bird was born in our property
Soph took her lola to see the baby bird, now in another part of the laundry area...


A baby bird was born in our property
The baby bird was chillaxing on a twig of a little plant under our water tank.


A baby bird was born in our property
Sophia couldn't keep her eyes off the bird (see the pot closest to the front of her head in photo)


A baby bird was born in our property
The mama bird watched from afar. Soph assumed it was a migratory bird and gave the baby a name. "Migra." I suggested we call it "Tory" instead. She agreed.


A baby bird was born in our property
Any bird experts out there? What kind of bird is this? The male had a crown type thing. (EDIT: It's a yellow-vented bulbul).


A baby bird was born in our property
I'm not sure if this is the mama bird. I'm now beginning to think its a different species.


A baby bird was born in our property
By late morning, the baby bird moved from the branch of the plant to the corner of the water tank base. "Tory" was backed up against the wall. She/he was practicing her flight there.

I captured a bit of it by my iPhone video camera. But I don't know why it's uploaded so small here. You'll see "Tory" trying to flap her wings. Keep your eye on the corner of the wall. And you'll see Mama Bird coming to coach her. It was all pretty amazing.


I told my UZ staff about it. Manny said, "Bakit lapitin kayo ng mga birds? Why are birds always laying eggs in your house?" He was referring to last month. A mourning dove laid eggs and hatched one in my parent's porch in Canada. Sophia asked the same question. I don't know. I just said, "maybe because we have a happy home? So always be nice to your sisters and don't fight each other."

I really don't know the moral of the story. It was just so sweet to see the natural protective and nurturing insticts of the mama bird and the little one's determination to fly.




EDIT: Tin, Thank you for editing my mistake with "specie"/"species". I write very late at night. And I actually hesitated with "specie" but oh well, made a stupid mistake. Same with "conjestion" - that was just a total a typo. Thanks.




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Urban Zone, now on Fridays at ABS-CBN

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Starting June 3, Urban Zone will now air on Friday nights instead of Sunday nights. We will still have the same late timeslot - after a shortened Trip na Trip - but at least you can all sleep in late on Saturday mornings.

Oh, I've added a segment in our closing credits. Some behind the scenes and a quick talk about what I'm wearing. It's been well-received. We used to do this in F. Here are photos from two episodes ago about two adjacent homes that share a connected lanai. The two houses belong to two sisters.


Interiors by Frenjick Quesada
I'm wearing a printed and colourful K&Company dress. My shoes are plastic. Got them from Melissa. I'm wearing the earrings I designed. They're made of blue sappires and diamonds but no, I didn't set them like Princess Diana's and Kate's ring.


Interiors by Frenjick Quesada
Here I am with interior designer Frenjick Quesada. The master bed uses Daphne Linens. I love this set because of the texture of the ruching.


Interiors by Frenjick Quesada
Country-style kitchen. The island counter was once a simple desk which they upcycled.


Interiors by Frenjick Quesada
See the island counter? Oh I was wearing a striped dress with s faux coral necklace and wedge Melissas.


Don't forget, UZ now on Friday nights after Trip na Trip.





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Popo San Pascual for UNICEF

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u-poposanpascual


There are only two days left to bid on UNICEF's Auction for Action. The Reg Yuson Mozzarella sofas have been bought ("Buy It Now"). There are some pieces that I know people are waiting for the last day (Saturday 4PM) to bid. Just remember that all proceeds of the auctions go to UNICEF's programs. Go here to check how the items are going.

A few of my friends called me to ask about Popo's painting "Blue Elephant." They want to bid on it. It is a really beautiful painting. Click on the photo above and it'll take you to see how "Blue Elephant" is currently doing. It is raising so much money for UNICEF! Yay.

Just a personal note about Popo - he is one of my favourite people. Such a joy to be around with... literally. Because he's always joking around in a crazy way. I used to find refuge in his beautiful tropical garden in Tagaytay. I wish I had more time to see him. I have a few of his works. We don't really have many paintings by local artists. We only have 5. And three of them are by Popo.


with Popo and friend
Here I am with Popo and a friend at Rhett Eala's mom's country house.


Popo San Pascual created my centre pieces
Popo created all the centrepieces at our 2002 wedding using plants and flowers from his garden. Here he was showing me the prototype. Check out his crazy glasses.


Popo San Pascual
Popo's work is prominently displayed in our front room.


Sometime in 2004 or 2005 Popo invited me to his show in Magnet Gallery. He asked me about three times to be there. I said I wouldn't miss it. Patrick and I went. I was in a ratty old Tshirt and baggy pants. I get there and see over 25 panels of canvas with a burst of colours in oil paint. It was quite a sight. The show was called "Daphne." I didn't want to assume, so I didn't react. I asked him, "Why Daphne?" Then he gave a quick witty remark that I don't remember now. But basically he said he named the entire series after me. I checked the name plate/identification cards of each painting and there was "Daphne No.1", "Daphne No.2", "Daphne No.3" all the way up to 25 or so, I lost count. He said he thought of me while painting those. I said, "Ows, you're joking."

Daphne Series by Popo San Pascual
My Daphne No. ?


Daphne Series
And my other Daphne No. ?


I still don't know the real reason why Popo painted an entire series after me. But these paintings are precious to me. That moment was one of the most surreal I've experienced. It was a big honour. I've blogged about this before and I'm mentioning it again. Obviously, I am very proud of Popo and the Daphne series. Months after the launch I saw six Daphne paintings hanging in Kris Aquino's foyer (in a magazine feature).

The three Popos hang by the top of our stairs. We see it everyday. I can never get tired of these. I will tell this story over and over. My friend, who was married to a famous artist said, "Popo named the entire series after you! Who gets to inspire an entire painting series? My husband never even named one painting after me."

Don't forget, the bidding ends on Saturday June 4 at 4pm. Click the logo below to take you to Popo's and other artists' works.

leaderboard 728x90 v2




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NAIA

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What is happening in our airport? I'm not talking about the obvious decay of facilities. That's old news. I'm talking about security, or the lack thereof. On June 1, Patrick and I drove to NAIA to pick up my mom. (She's back. Yay!)

Our usual system, an unspoken rule in our family, is that we would just pick up under our letters. So, either O for Osena or P for Paez. This is how it's been for over a decade. But last night, there were no more letter signs. Instead, just generic signs with "Bay 1" and so on... I saw NAIA in a chaotic and confusing state. Apparently NAIA changed its system.


Manila Airport
No more alphabetized waiting areas. Just generic "Bay 1" etc..


Under the system that we've gotten used to, cars were usually not allowed to lay idle in the driveway. Security would only let you hang out for a maximum of 30 seconds, maybe up to a minute. But if your passenger wasn't there, the airport guards would shoo you away. Then you'd have to do the rounds, make a U-turn in Nayong Pilipino, then drive up all over again. It was harsh, but in an overpopulated city, we all had to live with that. The system worked. Everyone followed the rules.

There was another option, pay for parking in the outside lot. There, you can have access to the waiting shed across from arrivals, but it wasn't free. You can walk upstairs where there were fast food stalls and full blast air-conditioning while you can look over the huge glass viewing deck. I believe it was something like P50 per person. The downstairs wasn't free either, but it was cheaper. Harsh. But again, in this country, one overseas-based Filipino would arrive and his whole clan or barangay would meet him at arrivals. I remember the old airport... with trucks and jeeps of relatives and friends either making "salubong" or making "hatid."

That old system was the only thing that was good about NAIA. It actually worked. For decades. People were deterred from going to the airport. Families Friends and neighbours stopped going to the airport to pick up or send off a loved one. Instead they eagerly awaited their pasalubongs at home. The arrival area was actually decongested. And it worked just fine.

I don't know why the new airport management changed the system when it wasn't actually broken. Here's what happened:


Manila Airport
Cars are now allowed to go by the curb and load/unload baggage. This was not allowed before. Now, you can drive up and totally block traffic for everyone else. Major congestion.


Manila Airport
Goodbye alphabetized waiting areas. Instead, generic numbered signs... with three irrelevant sponsor logos.


Manila Airport
This is the ground floor waiting shed across from arrivals. It's free. No more charge. So it was pretty crowded.


Manila Airport
From the waiting shed anyone can cross the street and go to arrival bays. This was totally not allowed before. I was even able to walk up the arrival ramp. No one checked. All the security guards just looked but no one was checked.


I remember a few years ago, when Gloria Arroyo was still president, she flipped out on an airport general because the security guards were not checking vehicles. We all had to open the glove compartment and be subjected to major vehicle checks. Now? None of that. It's a free for all. Anyone can drive in and you won't even be stopped.

Security at the RCBC tower a mall is even tighter.

This worries me.

I like tight airport security. Makes me feel safe.



Saddest place, airport departure area



I know everyone HATES the Manila International Airport. Call me crazy, but I love the architecture. It's all part of the same style as PICC, Cultural Centre of the Philippines, Philippine Plaza, Film Centre. But it badly needs repairs and an upgrade. There are ways to preserve the architectural style while upgrading the services and amenities. They can build extensions made of glass and steel but still preserve the facade and main structure. This is done all over the world. I like the retro feel. Imagine if the fixtures and interiors were upgraded. I'm excited about what Kenneth Cobonpue and his group has planned for NAIA1. And once I know, I will share the information with you.

I don't think the solution is to build another state of the art airport. Because it really isn't the building that's wrong... it's the management and delivery of services. NAIA2 and 3 are new, but I can think of a hundred things wrong with the way they're being run and maintained.

For now, I hope NAIA and it's security officers shape up. I like tight security. We need that. Bring it back. Before anything bad happens.





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Kenneth Cobonpue's new sculpture

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square 250x250 v2
There are still four days left in our UNICEF Auction for Action in ebay.ph. Please click on this logo and it'll take you to the bidding site. You will see that the auction is going quite well but of course fundraising is never going to be enough. The more funds we raise, the more programs can be run for children in education, nutrition, safety, anti-trafficking and more.


Kenneth Cobonpue was the first artist I asked when we planned this auction. I wanted the auction to represent the best in Filipino design. And Kenneth tops the list. He donated two items, the Boomtown Lamp and the Harry rocking stool. Both are doing so well, I'm excited to see the outcome on Saturday. I think our site will be on fire then! So bid now.

I initially asked Kenneth for one piece. But one thing led to another and he gave two, which I wanted in the first place but didn't know how to ask. I'm new to art auction for charity. I've had experience fundraising in my old sorority during university but this was different. I had to ask artists then I had to ask and hope that people would bid. By now, I have no shame. Haha. But here's a snippet of our our text went. (Published with permission by both parties)...

Kenneth Cobonpue
Grammar freak that I am... major mistake on my part there. Oops. I meant "you're". But anyway, isn't he so nice?


Just last week Kenneth's new sculpture at the wellness garden of the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Hollywood was inaugurated. He told me about this last year while it was still in the works. It looks great to see Kenneth's work in a different context. I think we need public sculptures like this in Manila. For now the best news we have, Kenneth and his colleagues Royal Pineda and Budji Layug are working with the NAIA management on some cosmetic improvements.


Kenneth Cobonpue
So there, yes I get noisy like that. Seriously though, where does the airport money go??? That's P750 per traveller! NAIA must earn gazillions per day!


Moving on to design news, here is Kenneth's public sculpture in MPTF in Hollywood.


Kenneth Cobonpue's structure in L.A.
Motion Picture and Television Fund, CA USA


Kenneth Cobonpue's structure in L.A.
Sculpture by Kenneth Cobonpue


WOODLAND HILLS, CA, May 21 (MARKET WIRE) --
In celebration of the dedication of the James and Paula Coburn Foundation
Wellness Garden, numerous members of the entertainment and philanthropic
community attended the dedication event at the Motion Picture &
Television Fund (MPTF) Woodland Hills campus. The wellness garden, one of
the most recent projects generously donated by the James and Paula Coburn
Foundation (JPCF), was designed to provide a shady, relaxing haven for
residents of the MPTF, while providing a fitting legacy to the Coburns.

Located adjacent to the Saban Center for Health and Wellness, amidst
teeming flora, the wellness garden includes a gong, a spherical
continuous motion fountain, and a custom Yin-Yang pergola created by
award-winning designer Kenneth Cobonpue, known for his signature pieces
in natural fibers and materials.
The project encompasses the Coburns'
dedication to health, while incorporating Paula's love for gardening and
the outdoors and Jim's spirituality and affinity for Eastern traditions.
Source: Reuters.com




Kenneth Cobonpue's structure in L.A.


Kenneth Cobonpue's structure in L.A.
Made of galvanized steel, nylon and polyethylene.


Kenneth Cobonpue's structure in L.A.
Yin-yang pergola.


All photos, from Kenneth Cobonpue's private facebook account with permission.







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Urban Zone: House with glass staircase

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Last Sunday May 29, we showed a stunning house with a three-storey all-glass staircase. It warranted a lot of reactions from everyone -- from awe to disbelief to ridiculous thoughts.

Yes, the entire staircase is made of glass from the first floor to the third floor. The architect and engineers used tempered glass. Yes, the owners considered the risks and possible inconvenience of seeing up someone's skirt. But really, it's a house not a hotel lobby. So I doubt guests would need to go upstairs to the bedrooms. And even if they did, all they have to do is ask everyone not to look up if they're wearing a skirt.


UZ house May 29 2011


UZ house May 29 2011


UZ house May 29 2011


UZ house May 29 2011
They also have an outdoor shower at the guest's powder room.


UZ house May 29 2011
And lots of Michael Cacnio scupltures. Here's an adorable one with the fibre glass balloons.


UZ house May 29 2011
Here's the front door.


The architect and designer is Liza Acedillo-Bautista.






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Joey Samson for UNICEF

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Get a chance to have a custom-made dress or suit by Joey Samson by joining UNICEF's Auction for Action at www.ebay.ph/unicef.


joey samson
Click on this catalog page and it'll lead you to the bidding.


Joey is one of my favourite designers. He's made for me some of the most interesting dresses. We first met at a Swarovski event - he was tasked to dress me up. He made me wear pants and some type of barong top. It was not very me at all. I was always into feminine, classic, pretty dresses. But I loved his work from that moment on. Joey has always given me a different perspective of fashion. I like the world of pretty and softness. But he's the only one who can make me wear architectural and ironic. Here are some from my photo library.


Joey and Me
I appeared in the cover of Lifestyle Asia magazine together with other designers and their muses in 2007. Joey asked me to be his muse. I was floored. This started our many years of collaboration. (Pardon the over-photoshopping of my jaw here. I had nothing to do with it.)


I'm excited about this
This looks simple but it's actually gravity defying. There's only one hook that's holding up the top of this dress. This is't actually a gown. It comes in two pieces - a strapless top that's completely opened at the back (but covered in drapes) and huge flowing pants below.


Across the street from Shangrila
He made me a strapless column gown with cuts and patches that are almost invisible, but they added to the shape and sculptural quality of the bodice. Then he added this silk sheath on top to soften the look. Even this sheath had twists, patches and stitches. It was complicated. But the result was beautifully minimalist.


My friend and I got the best mementos from Imelda Marcos
This was a satin trench coat dress. I wore it to the launch of Mrs. Marcos' jewelry collection.


I love the drama in the back of the dress! Can't wait to wear it again
Here's Joey showing me the drama of this jersey dress. I wore this weeks after I gave birth to Lily, during the first launch of Olay in the country, 2006.


Cheesy shot, but I just wanted to remember my dress
One of my biggest dresses. It's even bigger than my wedding gown. Joey made me this ball gown for the second Olay ball in 2007.


One day it will all make sense
A little trivia. I wore the Joey Samson ballgown in this Star Cinema movie photoshoot. I was cast as the sister of John Lloyd Cruz in A Very Special Love. But I never got to actually shoot anything. If you want to know the dirt, here it is. I even lent my other Joey Samson gown to the other female actress Bing Pimentel, and interestingly they placed a brooch in the neckline, LOL. Side story, everyone seemed surprised that I'd lend a gown to another actress. Truth is I overheard the production people say that my ball gown was too dressy compared to the other actress' cocktail dress so they wanted to dress me down by putting me in a short wig. I almost fainted upon overhearing that. No wigs for me, not for a "role." So I offered to dress her up in my gown. Note that I don't lend clothes to anyone, not even my friends. But the situation called for it. And that's all I'm going to say about that. Haha.


Wearing Joey Samson
One of my recent Joey Samson dresses.


My outfit from behind
The same outfit from behind. The skirt is almost transparent. It is, actually. But because he plazed a gazillion yards of tulle fabric, it's become opaque. Genius.


Makeup by Xeng Zulueta
The caged terno he made for me at the P&G 75th anniversary gala.


There are a other amazing creations on auction - please check them out. We've opened the bids up to June 4. We've also got sculptures and paintings from award winning artists - a marble sculpture by Seb Chua, photograph by Tom Epperson, a hat by Mich Dulce and many more.


leaderboard 728x90 v2
Click this logo to take you to the auction.





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Tatjana clutch

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Last Thursday I attended the launch of jeweller Janina Dizon's new bag line called Tatjana. I had a dilemma. It was a mommy & daughters' day. I took my two older girls to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 (which we loved, by the way. Lots of sensitive issues. It was really sweet.) But I also didn't want to miss Jenny's bags. So I asked if I could bring my two rabbits. I was hoping her kids would be there too.


janina dizon
Jenny's event was at the Presidential Suite of the Peninsula Manila. Gorgeous space. We felt like little princesses at a private tea party. Jenny asked everyone to wear hats or fascinators. But I pretended I didn't get the memo. Haha. All the ladies looked so lovely.



I constantly think of ways for my collection to evolve and it was a natural progression to introduce a handbag line. I am very excited to present to you my newest line, color blocked stingray clutches called the Tatjana.

The Tatjana was named after my playful little daughter. Crafted with exotic stingray and fine lambskin, it’s a color extravaganza
with a precious detail- a 3 pointer brilliant cut diamond that is
placed either inside or outside the flap.

The yummy hues come in sunny yellow, grass green, blue sapphires, hot pinks and many many more.

Bespoke orders allow clients to choose their desired skins, (stingray, alligator, python or water snake) color combinations and diamond placements.



Janina Dizon
The stingray clutches were laid out beautifully across the tables. Major eye candy.


Janina Dizon
Each clutch comes with a 0.33 carat diamond - either inside or outside the flap.


Janina Dizon
It's a nice size for going out. It can fit a phone and a camera.


Janina Dizon - Tatjana Clutch
Comes in a myriad of colours.


Lily dance
Lily couldn't help but twirl and dance.


Brought the girls to Janina's tea party
Me and my girls. I wore a purple K&Company dress from their current collection.


Tatjana Clutch
JANINA for Jul Dizon, Mezzanine of the Peninsula Manila Hotel, Mobile 0922.8163449







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