September 24, 2012

Anticipating 100: Francis Libiran's Gala Show at The Manila Hotel

As the grand dame celebrates one century, standing as a cultural landmark in the country, one designer’s gala fashion show will become a pivotal moment in its longstanding history.


For the first time, The Manila Hotel’s grand lobby will be transformed into a fashion spectacle fit for the highly anticipated collection of design genius, Francis Libiran. Last week, a press event was held to give everyone an idea of the collection to be unveiled, detailing how the plan and collection came about. The grandiose interior of the Champagne Room completed the mood, heightening the luxury and class anticipated from Francis’ upcoming masterpieces.

A delish lunch was served before the press conference began.

Francis Libiran has become one of the most recognizable designers in the local industry. With the help of Mike Carandang, Francis was noticed internationally during his participation in America's Next Top Model - with Tyra Banks eventually wearing one of his creations at the red carpet of a ball. I grew more anxious to watch the show since The Manila Hotel has always brought nostalgias of my childhood, growing up and spending some memorable moments with my family in the hotel.

Dr. Enrique Yap Jr., Francis Libiran, and Mike Carandang sat onstage to answer questions about 100.

The entire mood was light and fun while I caught up with friends in the industry. Unexpectedly, I was having lunch with my fashion styling guru, Luis Espiritu, who again spoke of the valuable insights I needed to be reminded of in the industry. My friend Rikka Infantado hosted the event, adding more laughs with her natural, comical humor.

MJ Marfori, Rikka Infantado, Nelson Canlas

Style Guru Luis Espiritu

Arsi Baltazar and MJ Felipe

Designer Nat Manilag

Jeffrey Osoc, MJ Marfori, and myself

I'll be seeing everyone once more this Friday as we eagerly watch Francis' long-awaited gala collection! 

September 19, 2012

The Long Awaited Senju Lunch

When you finally find the time to have that long overdue lunch with your friend, it's bound to be one very fun and fulfilling meal.

My friend Lesley and I were able to snag a few hours from our busy schedules to sit down and grab a quiet lunch at the EDSA Shangri-La's famed Japanese restaurant, Senju. While waiting for her, I took the chance to walk around and get a feel of the place. The interiors had a very natural feel with bamboo decors adding accents in corners and wooden dividers enclosing what seemed like small semi-private rooms. It felt like a stroll in a indoor Japanese wood garden with the fine-crafted wooden chairs and tables all-over.

Shortly after Lesley arrived, she asked what I wanted to order. I told her to do the honors and to let me taste some of the best that Senju has to offer. As the director for communications of the hotel, I knew that Lesley will not fail to impress.

We started off with an Edamame or the boiled soybeans in pods sprinkled with salt.

Next was the Sahimi Goshu Mori, or the five kinds sashimi plate, with a variety of salmon, tuna, hamachi, scallop, and mackerel with a generous serving of wasabi on the corner of the plate.

I've heard great reviews about the Dragon Roll of Senju and I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into it. The presentation looked scrumptious and appealing that I wanted to just stare at it for a few more minutes. But I couldn't wait to immediately get my share. (pardon my manners)

Each piece is filled with shrimp and lobster sahimi with tamago, mango, and cucumber rolled inside Japanese rice. Each piece was topped with unagi and tobiko or Japanese caviar. The mix of flavors was divine and overall, I was impressed. It tasted as great as how it looked.

I am a self-confessed noodle and soup lover so when the Tempura Udon was served, I felt that my lunch was more than complete. The soup was neither salty nor bland and the udon was not at all soggy. The tempura was still a little crunchy and the combination of tastes blended well.

I specifically requested if we could have something a little bit more unique for desserts. We ended up having the Mochi Ice Cream and the Coffee Jelly.The green tea mochi enveloping the vanilla ice cream was slightly chewy and somehow melts in the mouth. I wasn't so sure how the pairing of the red bean ice cream and coffee jelly was going to be but it was an interesting treat. Both is a must-try but I loved the Mochi Ice Cream a lot more. :)

It was an amazing, long overdue lunch that I totally would want to do again. My interesting Japanese experience was sublime and I'm sure to go back to Senju with maybe my mom or friends for a casual lunch.

Special thanks to Lesley Tan, director of communications for EDSA Shangri-La. Until our next!

Senju, EDSA Shangri-La
633-8888 ext. 2952

September 14, 2012

My Serene Evening at Quan Spa

One Friday evening, I opted to cap of the work week with one relaxing hour at the Quan Spa in the Marriott Hotel.

I had just left an event that evening at the Marriott's ballroom and it was honestly so tempting to walk over to Opus for a round of drinks with friends. Feeling a little stressed out, instead of spending the night with loud music playing in a big room full of people, I chose to just let all my worries go and check out Quan Spa. My appointment was at 10 pm and I didn't want to miss it.

The calming ambience soothed my nerves. The entire week my head was running non-stop - thinking about a lot of things and dwelling so much on work. Giving myself one hour of pampering was all that I needed.

After I took a shower, I was ready to try their Aroma Fusion Massage. It's rare for me to doze off while getting a massage but the mood of it all sort of drugged me and brought me to a temporary nirvana. My therapist was exceptional; she relaxed the tension in my body with every stroke and press. The scent of the room subdued my consciousness and I laid feeling at ease the entire time.

It was sheer delight and relaxation. I was offered a refreshing drink that combined honey and pineapple. It appeased my thirst. I felt pacified and rejuvenated at the same time, and I can honestly say that it was a one hour happily spent.

My sincere thanks to Michelle Garcia, director of communications of the Marriott Hotel, for making the spa experience possible.

Quan Spa, Marriott Hotel Manila