I've decided to discontinue cross posting to Livejournal, so from now on all the fresh entries will be posted exclusively on Chuvaness.com.
Thank you Livejournal for everything!

Why do Filipinos have mirrors on their desks?

Being married to a foreigner opens up your eyes to things you never even noticed about your country or fellowmen.

For instance, Jeroen wanted to know why almost everyone at his office has a mirror on his/her desk.

Well, as soon as I moved into my new office more than a year ago, I also had this urge to put a mirror on my desk and I have no idea why.

When I first put a mirror there, I found myself looking at myself too often, so I moved it to the shelf.

The mirror is now there for when I have to go somewhere after office and reapply makeup.


So why do Filipinos put mirrors on their office tables? I don’t mean inside their kikay kits or drawers. The mirror is usually placed below the computer monitor.

To prove his point, I asked Jeroen to take pictures of all the mirrors in his office and here’s what he got:

Benmark Benmark

Benmark Benmark

Benmark Benmark

Benmark Benmark

Amazing isn’t it? I also asked my Twitter followers if they had mirrors on their desks. Here’s what I got:

andy virrey graceylou

L-R: Andy, Gracey Lou



berl corpuz




Toni Quimbo


Hannah, a receptionist at my office, said she needs to check in the mirror, particularly if there is a visitor. But as the person who answers the phone, Hannah has a more practical use for the mirror.

“Whenever I answer the phone, I look at it to make sure I am smiling. When I am smiling, my voice is livelier,” said Hannah.


Another girl in the office, Grace, also uses her mirror to check her face when answering the phone. It’s a matter of habit, she said. “I used to work at SM Hypermart with the accounting department and I needed to answer calls from suppliers. I would look in the mirror to check my face because my expression would reflect on my tone. I needed to be friendly and professional.”


Finally, I googled “Why do Filipinas have mirrors on their office tables?” and learned that some BPOs or call centers require their agents to talk to customers with smiles on their faces, so a mirror is very helpful.

So tell me, do you have a mirror on your desk and why? Feel free to post pics in the comments section.

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MAC reveals Spring/Summer makeup trends for 2015

Romero Jennings, MAC Cosmetics’ director for makeup artistry, was recently in town for the beauty brand’s Spring/Summer 2015 Trends Presentation at Shangri-La Boracay.

For Spring/Summer 2015, runways were all about luminous and effortless beauty. Nothing was overdone and makeup was applied in a carefree but calculated manner. There were also lots of bold and fun looks.

Romero Jennings

Romero Jennings in Boracay

Jennings said that while the Internet is all about highlighting and contouring, this season there will be more light than shadow. He said the season was about four key makeup looks:

1) Re-view

Jennings described this look as “framing the eyes in a painterly way.”

Lashes are exaggerated and sometimes even clumpy by design. This look deconstructs the traditional rules of applying eyeliner and mascara. Essential products are Studio Sculpt Superblack Lash and Super Slick Liquid Eye Liner in Defiantly Feline.

Ann Demeulemeester

Ann Demeulemeester

Alexis Mabille Giles Deacon

L-R: Alexis Mabille, Giles Deacon

Léa Peckre Costume National

L-R: Léa Peckre, Costume National

2) Enlightened

This trend is about flawless looking skin, with minimal makeup coverage.

“Use oil and primers to make the skin look really luminous,” said Jennings. “Play with matte and shiny textures to not make it look greasy.”

For the runway, the look was about making the skin of the models look almost plastic. The essentials include Mineralize Skinfinish Perfect Topping in Lightscapade and Strobe Cream.

Issey Miyake Prabal Gurung

L-R: Issey Miyake, Prabal Gurung

3) Free Party

Inspired by the girl at Coachella who did her own makeup using her fingers. Colors don’t have to be applied precisely. Speaking of color, watermelon is a big trend. Jennings said there’s no need to use foundation for this look. Concealer should be applied sparingly and only where needed.

The result is makeup that looks messy and lived-in. Essentials include Blue Forecast and Superfresh from the Trend Forecast S/S 15 Eye Palette and Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Perky.

Aquilano RimondiDerek Lam

L-R: Aquilano Rimondi, Derek Lam

Max MaraMoschino

L-R: Max Mara, Moschino

4) No Makeup

You know that girl who doesn’t look like she’s wearing makeup but still looks perfectly beautiful? The No Makeup Trend is all about them. The look is about clean, hydrated skin, perfectly groomed brows, no mascara, sheer highlights, a natural-looking flush, and soft looks without lipstick.

“It should look like you applied everything using your fingers. No hard lines,” said Jennings.

The essentials include Must Have Melon and Go Guava from the S/S15 Lip and Cheek Palette and MAC Eye Brows in Lingering and Strut.

Desigual Simone Rocha

L-R: Desigual, Simone Rocha

Paul Smith Ohne Titel

L-R: Paul Smith, Ohne Titel


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Fifty Shades of Boring

Last night I decided to watch Fifty Shades of Grey because my office mate Dinna was talking about it and got me curious. And since I did not read any of the books I have a few questions, which I hope some of you can answer me:

1) Is Anastasia Steele supposed to be mousy? I don’t get the casting of Dakota Johnson. She looks like a mousy version of Isabella Rossellini. Why her? Is it because she is the daughter of famous parents? Is it because not many actresses want go fully naked? Is it because her breasts are small and not bastusin? Please enlighten me.

Fifty Shades of Grey

She looks like Isabella Rossellini

Fifty Shades of Grey

Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini

2) Is it possible to be 27-years-old and a billionaire with a your own building (Grey House)? What exactly does Christian Grey do (sorry I didn’t pay attention) and how does one get mega rich at 27 while having so much time for S&M?

3) Of all the women in the world, why does Christian Grey get smitten by the mousy Anastasia after only one encounter?

4) How does Anastasia transform into a non-mousy girl without the benefit of a makeover scene? Ang labo.

Fifty Shades of Grey

5) I don’t understand why this book and movie made tons of money. There’s nothing romantic about a guy who just wants rough sex. I just super got tired and bored of him kissing and f*cking her. Please explain.

6) How baduy lang that substory about Anastasia’s roommate and Christian Grey’s brother. Sorry I am out of words. I find it so baduy.

7) Sorry this is the worst review of the worst movie I have ever seen. I’d like to hear what you thought of it, whether you liked it or not. OK thanks, I’m done.

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Charles & Keith opens flagship store at Bonifacio High Street

I had no idea Charles & Keith was so huge in the Philippines, with 30 stores all over Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Olongapo, Pampanga, and more.

Known for affordable fast-fashion footwear and accessories, Charles & Keith finally opened its official flagship store yesterday at Bonifacio High Street.

Franchised in the Philippines by Suyen Corporation, Charles & Keith updates its look at Bonifacio High Street, with 100 square meters of space, characterized by clean lines, marble accents, and dark metal details.

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

Loyal customers look forward to new releases from the store that arrive weekly.

The flagship store opened with Charles & Keith’s Spring 2015 Collection, featuring pop-art wallets and accessories.

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

What we liked: the metallic zippered wallets (Php 2199) and card cases

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

The polka-dotted wallet (Php 2199)

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

The ID case (Php 1199)

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

and the platform oxfords (Php 2399)

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

Spotted at the launch were Richard and Lucy Gomez with Suyen Corp’s Chairman of the Board, Mr. Ben Chan

Richard & Lucy Gomez, Ben Chan

Ben Chan with Keri Zamora and Miguel Pastor

Ben Chan, Keri Zamora, Miguel Pastor

Karylle Yuzon


The Zombettes (Ornussa Cadness and Sanya Smith) provided happy music to the shopping crowd.

Ornussa Cadness & Sanya Smith

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

Charles & Keith at Bonifacio High Street

Charles & Keith, the flagship store is now open at B8, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig from 11 AM-9 PM daily, right across from American Eagle.


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Help for Ralph Relucio

Last February 14, a 5th grade Xavier student named Ralph was badly burned during a camping activity.

The school’s official statement can be found HERE.

Every Xavier parent is affected and we have taken steps to raise funds for the boy’s long-term treatment at Makati Medical Center.

Viber parent groups are abuzz about developments in Ralph’s treatment. We are all praying for his complete recovery.

Meanwhile, my friends Penny and Patrice have been thinking of how to raise more money for Ralph.

We are planning to sell some of our pre-loved bags for the cause. Please watch for it.

Very recently I also posted this on Instagram:

My thoughts and prayers are with a grade 5 Xavier boy who was badly burned in a freak accident during a school-related activity. My friends @paradi and @pen602 are meeting today to discuss raising money for the boy who is confined at Makati Med. I will be selling some of my bags and stuff soon. If you would like to contribute you can email me at chuvaness@me.com or send PayPal to chuvaness@livejournal.com with a note that it is for Ralph. And i will give you proof of deposit to Ralph's account. Prayers are also requested.

A photo posted by Cecile van Straten (@chuvaness) on

Since then I have a received a few donations from friends and followers—from the Philippines, Canada, and the US.

Today I deposited the amount of Php 167,573 to Ralph’s BDO account and have emailed the donors the scans of deposit slips.

donations to Ralph

My heart goes out to the boy and his family and can’t imagine the pain they are going through.

If you would like to help out, here are ways you can donate:

1) You can use the Paypal button below

2) You can send me a check and I can deposit for you. Please email me at chuvaness@me.com for my office address.

3) If you would like to make a direct deposit to Ralph’s account, please email me at chuvaness@me.com for the bank details.

One received and deposited, I will email you a proof of deposit.

P.S. We are not in touch with Ralph’s parents, and we do not know them personally. We are doing this as an act of charity and have no personal gain except to help out a child and family in pain.

Thank you very much for your time.


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Greenwich launches #UltimateBandkada Search

Greenwich believes the best combination for a fun time is delicious food, great music, and good friends.

Greenwich pizza toppings are also made of the best flavor combinations.

With this formula in mind, Greenwich has launched a search for the best and most creative bands that can play musical instruments and create a mash-up of different genres pop, rock, hip-hop and electronic dance music.

The first ever Greenwich #UltimateBandkada Search invites bands that may be composed of rappers, singers, instrumentalists, or DJs—ages 18-35 years old—to join the contest that challenges them to mash up at least two music genres in one song.

Watch Donnalyn Bartolome, DJ Stove Allen and the rest of their bandkada mash up music styles in this hit song.

Do you have what it takes? Gather your music-loving barkada and create your own mash-up for a chance to win P100,000 plus a management and recording contract with Viva Records.

How to join:

• Send a link to a 60-second video of your band’s musical performance via http://www.ultimatebandkada.com/

• Or you can visit one of several Greenwich #UltimateBandkada audition booths that will be popping up in campuses around the Metro.

• Students and non-students can go to live auditions in these areas as well as the Greenwich main office in Ortigas, Pasig City.

• Auditions will run from March 12-21 so keep an eye out for when the #UltimateBandkada booth.

GW Bandkada Logo_png

On April 23, 2015, Greenwich will announce the Top 8 bands that made the cut to compete for the title of Greenwich #UltimateBandkada.

Each band will be given lyrics to a Greenwich song which they will create music for with their chosen music genres. The contest judges will be announced soon.

For three months, the Top 8 “Bandkadas” will be trained by top musicians, artists, producers and vocal coaches from VIVA Records. These mentors will help in the preparation for the final #UltimateBandkada showdown which will be held in August.

The bands will go through an intensive Bandkada Bootcamp, during which they will develop an original Greenwich song that talks about friendship, sharing and fun while mashing up the identified major music genres. This will serve as their final piece for the competition.

The public can also keep track of the bands’ progress through the videos that will be posted on the #UltimateBandkada Web site, newspaper features and special segments on MTV Pinoy.

Everyone can also participate by voting for their favorite band from May to July.

The #UltimateBandkada winner will sign a record deal with VIVA Records, a management contract with Viva Artist Agency and a cash prize of P100,000.

The second and third placers will receive P60,000 and P40,000, respectively.

The Greenwich #UltimateBandkada Search is in partnership with Viva Records and MTV Pinoy.

To know more, go to www.ultimatebandkada.com

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Found: Hot men on the Paris Métro

“Uhmm…I take back what I said about French men,” Grace said after finding this new Instagram account, Mecs Métro Paris, which features photos of men taken in the Parisian subway.

“You will ADORE the subway of Paris,” promises the Instagram account. It has gained nearly 55,000 followers after only two weeks on the Internet.

Personally, I’m scared of the Paris Métro. But check out the unshaven, unshowered?, apostolic looks of these men on the Métro who know how to tie their scarf. Which begs the question: Bakit walang ganito sa Pinas???

Hot men on the Metro

Grace and I have been talking about starting our own Instagram account called “Hot AFAMs* in Manila” but have yet to spot one during the last week. One time it was raining men in Greenbelt, but lately, we haven’t seen any. Or maybe I need to get out some more.

If you’re loving the French men, the account to follow is @mecsmetroparis.

Or click HERE to see them all.

*a foreigner assigned in Manila

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Lee Min Ho opens 3rd Kyochon branch in the Philippines

Lee Min Ho, we meet again.

Let me just say this: I love Lee Min Ho. Thanks to my cousin-in-law Keri Zamora, I discovered the wonders of Korean dramas via Boys Over Flowers, where Lee Min Ho plays the crushable rich spoiled brat, Gu Jun-pyo.

Since then I’ve been seeing Lee Min Ho all over Asia—for Bench

Lee Min Ho for Bench


Lee Min Ho

Lee Min Ho


lee min ho

OSIM uDiva

lee min ho

Samsonite Red

Lee Min Ho


Lee Min Ho for Fila

and so much more. I have seen him a couple of times in Manila for Bench and I feel so lucky that all my encounters with him have been effortless.

Lee Min Ho


And now we meet again.

The traffic in Greenhills last Tuesday reminded me of Christmas season—except people weren’t there to shop.

We were there to get a glimpse of the most popular Korean actor probably in Asia.

The event was set for 6 PM but fans of Lee Min Ho were already at the venue as early as 10 AM.

Lee Min Ho opens KyoChon Greenhills

Lee Min Ho opens KyoChon Greenhills

Lee Min Ho opens KyoChon Greenhills

Kyochon, famous for its double-fried chicken, with over 950 branches in South Korea, recently opened its third branch in the Philippines at Greenhills Theater Mall.

We made it just in time to take our seat when popular Korean host Sam Oh and my cousin, San Juan Vice Mayor Francis Zamora, welcomed Kyochon ambassador Lee Min Ho amid screaming fans.

In fairness, I didn’t know Francis was that good onstage—showbiz na showbiz ang dating!

Sorry, my battery died.

Had no idea Lee Min Ho is almost as tall as my cousin Francis, who stands 6’5″.

According to Wikipedia, the Korean actors stands 6 feet 1 ½”. (Take a look at his shoe.)

Lee Min Ho opens KyoChon Greenhills

This is the actor’s fourth visit to the Philippines. The 28-year-old is best known for his roles in the TV dramas Boys Over Flowers, City Hunter, and The Heirs. He also stars in the upcoming movie, Gangnam 1970.

Lee Min Ho opens KyoChon Greenhills

Lee Min Ho opens KyoChon Greenhills

Love that smile

Lee Min Ho opens KyoChon Greenhills

Last year, after opening at SM Megamall, Kyochon promised it would bring Lee Min Ho to the Philippines.

During the program, fans who had won in Kyochon’s Facebook contest received signed posters from Lee Min Ho and had a photo opportunity with the actor.

Lee Min Ho opens KyoChon Greenhills

Lee Min Ho opens KyoChon Greenhills

He also signed few tables that will be placed inside Kyochon stores.

Lee Min Ho opens KyoChon Greenhills

Asked about his Kyochon favorites, Min Ho said his choice depends on his mood. He prefers spicy chicken when stressed, but normally goes for honey.

My personal favorite is the original wings. Yum!

Kyochon chicken

Min Ho urged Filipinos to try Kyochon’s Soonsal series, which are chicken strips coated in special rice batter and served with three sauces.

Kyochon chicken is fried twice, making the skin crunchier and the meat less greasy. It is known for its thin batter and double frying method that removes excess oil.

Kyochon is now open at Greenhills Theater Mall, SM Megamall, SM City Fairview and soon at Eastwood Citywalk.

Lee Min Ho opens KyoChon Greenhills

To know more about Kyochon, click HERE.

(Photos: Daniel Tan)

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