The Probinsyana

Lupus can manifest at any age. For Belle, her symptoms came out when she was 21 years old.

Meet Belle Geronimo, the girl from the province who has the desire and determination to live.

Belle is from a simple family in Nueva Ecija, she is the youngest of 7 children. Growing up, Belle saw how her parents struggled to make ends meet. Her ultimate dream was to be able to provide for her parents who have worked so hard all their lives.

In 2016, she left the province and moved to the city to work as a night shift factory worker, and that is where it started. She noticed bruises on her arms and legs, but didn’t think much of it.

After a few months, Belle’s symptoms got worse. She experienced joint pain, rashes, edema on the legs, and fever every afternoon. She saw a doctor and who thought nothing of it. She decided to go back home where her family can take care of her as she got weaker and weaker.

She saw more doctors in the province, hoping to get answers, but no one knew what was wrong with her. She even went to see an “albularyo” (herb doctor) and she was told that someone had cursed her out of jealousy. Until finally, she met a nephrologist who diagnosed her with systemic lupus erythemathosus.

The nephrologist referred her to a rheumatologist, a lupus doctor. Her doctor explained to her that there are lupus flare ups and remission stages. That living with lupus would not always be hard, that she just needs to take care of herself.

“I fight for my family and for the people that love me.
Because of my lupus, we experienced selling our rice (bigas)
instead of my family eating it, just so we could buy my medicine.
I would cry myself to myself. I was the one who was supposed
to help my parents, I was the one who was supposed to give
my family a better life.”

Belle searched for ways on how to go into remission. She took a loan from the Social Security System and started a small business at home. She was determined to get better and to continue helping her family.

Belle put up a Facebook group called “Lupus Support Group – Philippines” to connect lupus patients and provide support. She was once scared, worried and depressed. She felt helpless and alone when she started her lupus journey, and she thinks that no one should ever be alone.

She started her Facebook group just this year,  and she now has 296 members. Belle has passion, and she has the desire to live. For her, age does not matter, where you are from does not matter. She is a young girl from the province, she is determined to get better, she is determined to live a better life, and she is determined to help others.

Belle Geronimo, Lupus Warrior.


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The Senior Paraplanner

“Why are you still studying? You will never get a job anyway.”

Words hurt, especially when people assume that you are completely helpless because of your disease. But these are just words, your faith in yourself and your will to reach your goals will always be stronger and more powerful.

Meet Pam Hernandez-Fajardo, the Senior Paraplanner for an Australian Financial firm who she set her eyes on her goals and achieved them despite naysayers.

Pam was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus when she was 19 years old. She was in her second year of college taking up Bachelor of Science in Business Management when she developed rashes on her face. Her hair also started falling off, she had kidney problems, and her joints became inflamed. After going through check-ups and numerous blood tests, the doctors finally diagnosed it as lupus.

She would attend her classes wearing a mask and a headband that was big enough to cover the bald spots. People were afraid to come near her thinking that she was contagious, and one particular person told her that she had no chance in getting a job in the future.

“I’m glad I listened to that person.
I used her words to motivate myself and prove
that I’m more than my sickness.
There are some things in life that are out of our control
but we just need to accept them and be grateful for everything.
Just don’t give up and have faith. There’s always an answer
to everything. I made this far because I refuse to give up.”

March 2010, Pam graduated on time despite having lupus. She never gave up, and she found a way to balance studying and living a healthy lifestyle.

Pam is now the Senior Paraplanner for an Australian Financial company. She is the only woman and only Filipina in their team, and she is proud to be working with a group of strong and intelligent men. Her colleagues know that she has lupus and it doesn’t bother them because she does her job and she does it well.

She has never allowed her disease to stop her from finishing her degree. She has never allowed naysayers tell her that she could not do anything. And she has never allowed her lupus to prevent from living the life she wants.

Pam Hernandez-Fajardo, Lupus Warrior.



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The Planetary Scientist

Have you ever gotten sick while you are far away from home? Trust me, it’s horrible.

So imagine this: you are in another country that is 6,457 miles away from home; you start swelling and the doctors can’t diagnose your illness; you undergo transfusion and chemotherapy; then when they are finally able to diagnose what is wrong they tell you that you have an incurable autoimmune disease. Pretty scary, right?

Meet Erika Valdueza, the Planetary Scientist who has not allowed anything to stand between her and the stars.

Erika has always dreamed of becoming a planetary scientist. She entered graduate school with hopes of receiving support and encouragement from her UP Diliman professors. But for 2 years, all she got were rejections and discouragements. One of them even told her that “she was born in the wrong country for this dream.”

Not letting this stop her, Erika pursued a career in the industry that she love. In 2015, she received a scholarship to do her masters in Europe. She pursued her thesis on the research of studying clays on Mars using remote sensing techniques. Erika was living her dream of doing what she had always wanted to do, and doing it in Netherlands.

Then, she started having edema and diarrhea. The emergency room doctors thought nothing of it and sent her back home, but after 2 weeks, her swelling from her legs went up to her abdomen. She went back to the hospital and was admitted into the infectious disease department to be monitored because of the diarrhea. Until they found out that she had Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus with Class 4 Nephritis.

“The diarrhea was because my kidneys were failing. My total urine for
24 hours would only be 100ml. They did various blood tests
and in the end they told me they’re 50% sure that I have SLE.
To verify if it’s Nephritis, I needed to undergo kidney biopsy.
Three days after the biopsy, the result showed that 100% sure it’s
SLE with Nephritis.
I had to undergo chemotheraphy IV or cyclophosphamide for 3 months.
During my treatment, I lost 12 kg and I had drastic hair loss. My family and boyfriend flew to be with me, and they have been my source of strenght.”
-Erika Valdueza

Erika went back home to the Philippines in January 2016 to recuperate. She took immediate actions in working on her health and after 3 months, she went into remission.

She went back to Europe to finish her thesis, and at the age of 30 years old, Erika Valdueza received her Masters in Applied Earth Science from the University of Twente in Netherlands.

We never know what life will throw us. Our attitude greatly defines who we are and who we will be. Erika never gave up when her professors told her that her dream to be a planetary scientist was impossible, she did not give up after being diagnosed with SLE with Class 4 Nephritis, and she did not give up after going back home.

The easy way out is the road that most people would choose. Erika chose the other road, the one less traveled, the one that is harder, that one that has brought her to her dreams.

Erika Valdueza, Lupus Warrior.

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The Congresswoman

Life is stressful enough on it’s own. Imagine doing it with a high powered job and living with an autoimmune disease.

Meet the superwoman, Philippine Congresswoman Emmeline Aglipay-Villar.

In October 2007, Em was diagnosed with lupus. She started having blister-looking rashes all over her face and body, her hair started falling off, and she experienced joint pain. She also developed anemia and her back started to hurt – it turned out that her kidneys were failing and this lead to major damage to her kidneys.

Lupus is a hard disease to diagnose because the symptoms are vague. And unlike other diseases, a single lab test cannot confirm it. Some patients die because they have not been diagnosed correctly and they experience severe organ damage. Luckily, Em was diagnosed right on time, but the first 2 years were not a walk in the park.

“It was very difficult for me. I had severe joint pains in my hands, 
ankles, knees, feet, shoulder blades, and hips. I could not do
much without feeling so much pain. I relied on pain medication
to cope with the pain.
I could not feed myself because I could not
use my fingers and hands. I couldn’t walk because of the pain in
my knees and ankles. I was dependent on other people for
basic life activities and this was a hard thing for me to accept
as I am a very independent person. I also had terrible rashes and
I lost my hair three times since I was diagnosed. I had to wear
a full wig of real hair or use hair extensions to hide
the bald spots that were the size of cookies. I also just covered
the rashes with make-up, as much as I could cover it.”
-Congresswoman Emmeline Aglipay-Villar

With the desire to prevent further misdiagnosis and provide a support system, Em launched Hope for Lupus last December 2016 along with Dr. Paulo Lorenzo, Dr. Ging Racaza, Sid Salazar, and Nadine Bernardino. “It is a non-profit organization that aims to promote the early detection and proper treatment of lupus by increasing awareness about this mysterious condition” Em comments.

Em has been living with lupus for 10 years now. She still experiences flare-ups from time to time, but she faces life with a positive attitude. She tries to stay away from stress, something that is very hard for a congresswoman, a wife, and a mother.

Em lives her life to the fullest. Despite having lupus, she knows what she wants and she goes after it. Her strength is amazing. Em is amazing.

Congresswoman Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, Lupus Warrior.

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More Stories Are Better Than One

And just like that, 11 months have passed. It’s May again!

My birthday isn’t in May, but a big part of who I am I give recognition to in May. And not just for one day — it’s for the whole 31 days of May! You might be wondering “What is this woman talking about?!”

Folks, May is World Lupus Awareness month. For us lupus warriors, we like to make full use of this month to spread awareness to family and friends who don’t understand what Lupus is all about, and to bring awareness to the symptoms that we constantly deal with.

What is Lupus? It is the short name for the chronic disease that is Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus. It is an autoimmune disease where one’s antibodies attack the body, damaging almost any organ system. Symptoms vary with each patient, and they can be mild or severe.

Common flare up symptoms include “painful and swollen joints, fever, chest pain, hair loss, mouth ulcers, swollen lymph nodes, feeling tired, and a red rash which is most common on the face” (Wikipedia).

Lupus has no cure for now, but fundraising events in the USA and other countries are being organized constantly to raise funds in finding a cure. 

Every year for the past few years, I would write a few lupus related blog posts in May to help increase lupus awareness. But they’ve always been about my personal experiences with my lupus. Write what you know, right?

This year, I am changing the posting scene in my blog and will be writing about other lupus patients as well. Let me give you a little back story first of how this change came about.

For the 2017 Philippine Lupus Awareness week, Robelle of the LuIsA Project (Lupus Inspired Advocacy Project) and I organized an event entitled “I have Lupus, I am beautiful.” On that morning, in one big conference room in the University of Sto. Thomas Hospital, we successfully gathered 91 amazingly empowered Lupus warriors as participants. We were also joined by incredibly talented makeup artists, hair stylists photographers; self-less rheumatology doctors; and loving family members and friends.

We started our morning by taking pictures of the patients which served as their “before-the-event-started” photo. We had 2 Lupus warriors share their remarkable stories, the honorable Congresswoman Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, and the other one was me (lol). We aimed to start with the beautifying and empowering from within, then we moved on to beautifying the outside.

The second portion started with a talk by one of my bestfriends, the makeup master, Ron Pena. She gave practical and easy to do makeup tips that was followed by one-on-one makeup sessions with professional makeup artist friends.

The event ended with “after-the-event” photo sessions with our photographers.

The idea behind our event was to make the Lupus warriors feel beautiful, despite having malar rashes and moon shaped faces, a few of Lupus’ effects.

While the make-up sessions were happening, I sat with the lupus ladies who were waiting for their turn. I chatted with them, and they shared their lupus journeys with me. All their stories were different, but all showed their strength and willingness to push forward and fight their diseases. And then I thought, there is more than one way to skin a cat, and there is more than one story to tell, so why not share those incredible stories?

For this year’s awareness month, allow me to take you on ten lupus journeys. I will introduce you to ten individuals who fight each and everyday, because they want to live a life without limitations and boundaries, despite their disease.

On May 8, let me introduce you to my 1st muse, my lupus sister, the superwoman Congresswoman Emmeline Aglipay-Villar.

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Colourpop Ultra Matte Lipsticks

I’m a make-up freak, addict, and hoarder. But, I am hella stingy too. So when Kylie Jenner’s matte lippies came out for $17 a piece, I was heart broken. I read soo many good reviews about it and I knew I wanted to get my hands on some of her trademark colors.

While we were in Hong Kong a few months ago, my girlfriend, Angel showed me these tubes of matte lipsticks that I’ve never heard of. She had a ton of them, Colourpop Ultra Matte lipsticks. She was so sweet to let me try her lipsticks on, and I liked them. I couldn’t find a seller here in Kuala Lumpur who doesn’t charge an arm and a leg, and they also take months for your order to get to Malaysia. To add to my self descriptions above, I’m impatient too.

I went online at and just did my fake shopping. Have you ever done fake shopping? Click on the items that you like and put them in the cart and you don’t really purchase them. I went crazy putting a ton of items in my cart since I knew that shipping charges would be absurd and I wouldn’t really have them shipped to Malaysia. But to my surprise, when it was time to “fake” check out, it popped out that I was getting free shipping.. All the way to FREAKIN’ KUALA LUMPUR!

I stopped my fake shopping, and to husband’s dismay, did some real online shopping. But before purchasing my matte lipsticks, I did countless hours of research. They may be just $6 a piece, but I wanted to make sure that I was getting the right colors for my skin tone.

I watched a whole bunch of you tube videos, googled photo images of the colors I had in mind. Made a list, it was too long. Shortened my list, cut some stuff out again. And finally, I decided on 7 Colourpop Ultra Matte lipsticks.

I ordered online last October 28, and then got an email that the order was being processed, but not shipping yet. Another email came in on November 3 saying that they had a high volume of order going on and it will take some more time for them to get my lipsticks in a box, no biggie. But then the next day, 4th of November, their email said that my stuff are on the way via USPS and that it will take 7-21 days. My loot arrived yesterday, November 15!!!

My Colourpop order ❤

I ordered 9 tubes in 7 colors. I got 2 of the Tulle and the Beeper, I’m giving the extra Beeper to my sister in Manila, and I’m hoarding the other Tulle. I also got Notion, Speed dial, More better, Bumble, and Bad habit. And they sent me 2 free items for shopping like a mad woman.

All the fotos attached below have not been filtered, just so y’all can see the real color that came out on my iphone. I think they are the same as the color in real life.

Some videos that I watched said that their lips were burning after trying out 4 colors consecutively. I did all 7 colors in 1 night, my lips did not hurt, and they did not chap. I used Maybelline’s eye and lip makeup remover and it worked pretty well.

I love all the colors, but I’d have to say that Tulle is my most favorite, and the Beeper is the least.

Speed Dial





More Better

Bad Habit


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The Manus Machina Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I spent 3 glorious hours at the Manus Machina Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was damn crowded, but it was amazing how people instinctively stood in moving lines to see the creations, waiting for their turn.

I was in 7th heaven, staring wide eyed at the dresses, the beautiful art. Reminiscing back to my “olden” days when I was very fortunate to wear fantabulous gowns made by our very own, super talented Filipino designers.

To give you an overview of what the exhibit was about, this is from the museum’s website:

The Costume Institute’s spring 2016 exhibition explores how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear.

With more than 170 ensembles dating from the early 20th century to the present, the exhibition addresses the founding of the haute couture in the 19th century, when the sewing machine was invented, and the emergence of a distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) at the onset of mass production. It explores this ongoing dichotomy, in which hand and machine are presented as discordant tools in the creative process, and question the relationship and distinction between haute couture and ready-to-wear.

The Robert Lehman Wing galleries, on the Museum’s first floor and ground level, have been transformed into a building-within-a-building using white scrims. The space houses a series of case studies in which haute couture and ready-to-wear ensembles are decoded to reveal their hand/machine DNA. A 2014 haute couture wedding dress by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel with a 20-foot train occupies a central cocoon, with details of its embroidery projected onto the domed ceiling. The scuba knit ensemble, one of the inspirations for the exhibition, stands as a superlative example of the confluence between the handmade and the machine-made–the pattern on the train was hand-painted with gold metallic pigment, machine-printed with rhinestones, and hand-embroidered with pearls and gemstones.

I took as many fotos as I could, wanting to share this experience with my good friends in the fashion industry back home. Enjoy!

The entrance door to the exhibit!


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“L’Elephant Blanc” evening dress by House of Dior.
Spring/summer 1958, haute couture.
“All too often, we forget that embroidery is still done by hand, just as it was in the eighteenth century. We can succeed in completely covering a dress with millions of sequins or beads placed one by one by fingers that, especially in our mechanical age, seem as though they come from fairy hands.” -Christian Dior

“Venus” dress by the House of Dior.
Autumn/winter 1949-50, haute couture.
Machine-sewn, hand finished gray silk taffeta and tulle; hand-applique of gray silk tulle and horsehair petals, hand-embroidered with opalescent, gold, and silver gelatin sequins, feather-shaped paillettes, synthetic pearls, and clear crystals.

Evening dress by Alexander McQueen.
Spring/summer 2012.
Machine-sewn white silk organza, hand-sewn to nude silk mesh; hand-embroidered with silver beads, clear crystals, and silver plastic feather-shaped paillettes; hand-applique of silver silk and metallic hand-shredded petals, hand embroidered with silver beads, clear crystals, and silver plastic feather-shaped paillettes.

“Junon” dress by House of Dior.
Autumn/winter 1949-50, haute couture.
Machine-sewn, hand-finished pale green silk faille and taffeta foundation, hand-sewn pale blue silk tulle ebroidered with opalescent sequins, hand-applique of forty-five hand-cut pale blue silk tulle and horsehair petals, hand-embroidered with opalescent, blue, green, and orange gelatin sequins.


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(left) Evening dress by House of Givenchy, 1963.
Hand sewn red-orange cotton Mechlin-type lace hand embroidered with red-orange glass beads, tinsel, and pieces of coral.


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Dress  by Alexander McQueen.
Spring/summer 2012.
Hand- and machine-sewn nude silk organdy and net, hand-embroidered with red-orange glass beads, freshwater pearls, pieces of coral, and dyed shells.


Dress by Proenza Schouler, 2015-16.
Machine-sewn black silk chiffon, hand-embroidered with silver plastic paillettes.

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Dress by Iris van Herpen, 2013-14, haute couture.
Machine-sewn black cotton twill, hand-painted with gray and purple polyurethane resin and iron filings, hand-sculpted with magnets.

Dresses by Louis Vuitton Co.
Spring/summer 2016.
Machine-sewn white cotton poplin; machine sewn, hand-appliqued overlay of ivory silk-synthetic net, bonded with laser-cut silver metallic strips, hand-airbrushed with black, dark brown, blue, and gray pigment, hand-grommeted with copper metal.

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Dress by Prada.
Autumn/winter 2011-12.
Machine-sewn white silk organdy, hand-embroidered with opalescent plastic plaillettes and clear beads.

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Dress by Saint Laurent.
Spring/summer 1983, haute couture.
“The big difference between couture and ready-to-wera is not design. It is the fabrics, the handiwork, and the fittings. The act of creation is the same.” -Yves Saint Laurent.
“Known as the sardine dress, this formfitting sheath from
Saint Laurent’s 1983 Gilda collection.

Dresses by the House of Chanel, Maison Margiela, and Louis Vuitton Co. (left to right)

(left) Ensemble by Maison Margiela.
Spring/summer 1996.
Machine-sewn white synthetic knit, digitally printed with black
trompe l’oeil sequin motifs.

Dress by Louis Vuitton Co.
Autumn/winter 2016-17.
Machine-sewn white silk twill, hand-embroidered with clear and white plastic sequins, overprinted with black pigments.

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Evening Ensemble by the House of Chanel, 1935.
Hand-sewn black silk crepe chiffon and black cotton bobbinet, hand-embroidered with black gelatin sequins; machine-sewn black silk slip, hand attached.

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Dress by Gareth Pugh.
Autumn/winter 2015-16.
Machine-sewn black silk-wool gazar with overlay of black mesh, hand-embroidered with black plastic drinking straws.

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Dress by Gareth Pugh.
Autumn/winter 2015-16.
Machine-sewn white silk-wool gazar with overlay of white mesh, hand-embroidered with white plastic drinking straws.


Evening ensemble by Saint Laurent.
Autumn/winter 2000-2001, haute couture.
Dress: machine sewn, hand finished black lacquered silk panne velvet; cape: black silk organza, hand-embroidered by Lemarie with black iridescent rooster feathers.

Dress by Iris Van Herpen.
Spring/summer 2009.
Machine-sewn black synthetic knit with machine- and hand-sewn hand-cut black plastic fringe, padded and hand-finished hem.

Ensemble by Prada.
Autumn/winter 2007-8.
Machine-sewn black silk-wool jacquard with plain weave-cloque degrade, hand-embroidered with fringe of black rooster feathers and black plastic paillettes.

Dress by the House of Chanel.
Autumn/winter 2015-16, haute couture.
Hand-sewn black silk tulle, hand-embroidered by Lemarie with black crystals and black silk passementerie hand-woven with hand-glued and -stitched black ostrich feathers.

Dress by Gareth Pugh.
Autumn/winter 2015-16.
Machine-sewn black silk-wool gazar, hand-embroidered woth black plastic drinking straws.

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Evening dress by the House of Givenchy.
1966-67, haute couture.
Machine-sewn, hand-finished dark brown silk broadcloth, hand-glued with brown and white ostrich feathers.

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Evening dres by Saint Laurent.
Autumn/winter 1969-70, haute couture.
Machine-sewn, hand-finished nude silke gauze, hand-glued with white, black and brown bird-of-paradise feathers.

Dress by Iris van Herpen.
Autumn/winter 2013-14, haute couture.
Hand-stitched strips of laser-cut nude silicone feathers, machine-sewn white cotton twill, hand-applied silicone-coated gull skulls with synthetic pearls and glass eyes.

Evening dress by the House of Balenciaga.
Autumn/winter 1965-66, haute couture.
Machine-sewn, hand-finished pink silk net and pink silk Rachelle knit, trimmed with hand-glued pink ostrich feathers.

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Evening dress by the House of Dior.
Autumn/winter 2015-16, haute couture.
Machine-sewn, hand-finished, gray silk tulle and organza, hand-glued with blue, orange, purple, brown, and black rooster feathers by Lemarie.

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Ensemble by Alexander McQueen.
Autumn/winter, 2014-15, haute couture.
Cape: machine-sewn black silk organdy, hand-embroidered with black ostrich feathers, and purple, black, gray and green goose feathers;
dress: machine-sewn, hand-finished black silk chiffon, hand-embroidered with black ostrich feathers and purple, black, gray, and green goose feathers.

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Dress by the House of Chanel.
Spring/summer 2014, haute couture.
Machine-sewn white silk satin and tulle, hand-embroidered by Montex with black and trasnparent opalescent plastic sequins and opalescent cellophane fringe; hand-glued by Lemarie with black duck feathers; hand-finished.

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“Atmospheric Reentry” Headpiece and Bolero by Maiko Takeda, 2013.
Hand-cut transparent green-, blue-, and purple-ombre acetate fringe, hand-woven with machine-cut clear acrylic squares, hand-assembled with silver metal jump rings.

“Atmospheric Reentry” Ensemble by Maiko Takeda, 2013.
Hand-cut transparent yellow- and green-ombre acetate fringe, hand-woven with machine-cut clear acrylic squares, hand-assembled with silver metal jump rings, cast-aluminum strap.

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Wedding Ensemble by the House of Chanel.
Autumn/winter 2014-15, haute couture.
Made from scuba knit, a synthetic material, the dress is hand molded, machine-sewn, and hand-finished. Maison Desrues hand embroidered the buttons with gold, glass, and crystals, and Atelier Montex hand-embroidered the medallion with glass, crystals, paillettes, anthracite cannetilles, and gold leather leaf motifs. The train of scuba knit and silk satin is machine-sewn and hand-finished. Lagerfeld’s hand-drawn design was digitally manipulated to give it the appearance of a randomized, pixelated baroque pattern and then realized through a complex amalgam of hand and machine techniques. Atelier Lunas used a heat press to transfer the rhinestones; Atelier Anne Gelbard painted the gold metallic pigment by hand; and the pearls and gemstones were hand-embroidered by Cecile Henri Atelier.

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“Perhaps it used to matter if a dress was handmade or machine-made, at least in the haute couture, but now things are completely different… The digital revolution has changed the world.” -Karl Lagerfeld

This could probably be the closest I will ever get to a Chanel gown. 😀


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Dress by the House of Dior.
Autumn/winter 2012-13, haute couture.
Machine-sewn white silk organdy and blue silk net hand-embroidered by Hurel with blue, clear, and yellow sequins, clear bugle beads, and crystals; machine-sewn ivory silk crepe, tulle, and chiffon, hand-embroidered by Lesage with gold metal thread, pearls, pink crystals, and hand-cut pink flower petals; hand-finished.

Dresses by Prada.
Autumn/winter 2015-16.
Machine-sewn pink synthetic jersey-gazar, self-fabric machine- and hand-sewn applique, hand-embroidered with clear glass beads, and pink, clear, red, and yellow set crystals.

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Dress by Louis Vuitton Co.
Spring/summer 2012.
Dress: machine-sewn blue silk-polyester crinkle organza, hand-embroidered with laser-cut white and blue plastic flowers, grommeted with clear crystals and silver metal studs, hand-finished; slip: machine-sewn white polyester organdy with machine-made broderie anglaise flower.

Court Presentation Ensemble by Boue Soeurs, 1928.
Hand-sewn ivory silk tulle, machine-embroidered with couched silver cord in a foliate and vermicelli pattern; insets of silver-blue silk and metal lame with machine-picot edging; hand-appliqued with hand-embroidered white silk tulle with artificial flowers in pink, purple, green, yellow, and blue silk ribbon and floss.

(left) Dress by Alexander McQueen, 2009.
Machine-sewn gray silk duchesse satin and nude silk georgette, hand-embroidered with silver metal flower petals and white synthetic pearls.
(right) Dress by Alexander McQueen, 2009.
Machine-sewn pale pink silk duchesse satin and nude silk georgette, hand-embroidered with pink enameled-metal flower petals.

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Ensemble by the House of Chanel.
Spring/summer 2010, haute couture.
Dress: pink silk chiffon and charmeuse, hand-embroidered with pink silk satin flowers, pearls, and pink frosted crystals, hand-finished; cape: 1,300 hand-pieced pink silk satin flowers by Lemarie with pink frosted crystals.

Dress by Giambattista Valli, 2013.
Machine-sewn ivory silk tulle, hand-embroidered with handmade pale pink “cherry blossom” florets of ostrich, rooster, and goose feathers.

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“Duck” dress by Hussein Chalayan, 2000.
Machine-sewn pale pink polyester tulle, hand-gathered and sculpted into tufts and machine-stitched to pink cotton twill.

Wedding Ensemble by the House of Chanel.
Autumn/winter 2005-6, haute couture.
This wedding ensemble was made by hand from start to finish. Lemarie created the clouds of white ostrich feathers and the twenty-five hundred white flowers that embellish this ensemble, Lesage applied them to the garment, along with barely visible sequins.

This Chanel wedding ensemble required seven hundred hours of handwork.

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“Kaikoku” Floating dress by Hussein Chalayan, 2011-12.
Cast fiberglass painted with gold metallic pigment, hung with Swarovski crystal and pearled paper “pollens,” rear-entry panels with motorized hinges, radio-controlled digital handset.
Really cool. Check out how it works by clicking on this link:

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Dress by the House of Dior.
Spring/summer 2014, haute couture.
This dress-made from two layers of white silk mousseline-is a paragon of fashion’s art of technical mastery and virtuoso execution.

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This dress by Dior combines the skills of two brodeurs: Atelier Montex embroidered the underdress with clear plastic crystals, red glass seed beads, and clear and white plastic flowers-shaped paillettes, while Broderies Vermont embroidered the overdress with white rayon florettes, red glass seed beads, iridescent flower-shaped paillettes, and small pieces of blue, black, and white silk fabric.

Dresses by Prada.
Autumn/winter 2016-17.
Machine-sewn white silk organza, machine-embroidered with white, yellow, and pink cottol floral motifs superimposed with hand-embroidered plastic paillettes, rhinestones and beads.

Ensemble by Christopher Kane.
Spring/summer 2014.
Sweater: machine-knit ivory cashmere, applique of white nylon net, machine- and hand-embroidered with green, black, and orange silk synthetic thread and yellow and opalescent sequins; skirt: machine-sewn nude silk-synthetic organza, laser-cut yellow polyester voile applique, machine- and hand-embroidered with green, black, and orange silk-synthetic thread.

(left) “Vilmiron” dress by the House of Dior.
Spring/summer 1952.
Machine-sewn, hand-finished white silk organza, hand-embroidered with artificial flowers in green, pink, yellow, and white silk floss, hand-painted cotton, silk twist.

“May” dress by the House of Dior.
Spring/summer 1953.
Machine-sewn, hand-finished white silk organza, hand-embroidered with artificial flowers, clover, and grass in green, pink, and purple silk floss.

IMG_7766 Evening dress attributed to Callot Soeurs, 1920.
Hand- and machine-sewn black silk chiffon with hand-sewn inserts of antique ivory bobbin-made tape lace with needle-made fillings, hand-applied handmade gold metallic braided passementerie.

Dress by Prada.
Autumn/winter 2008-9.
Machine-sewn cream silk gabardine, digital-inkjet-printed in brown and black with digitally scanned and rendered trompe l’oeil guipure lace motif; hand finished.

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“Golden Lily” dress by Mario Schwab.
Autumn/winter 2008-9.
Machine-sewn digitally printed georgette silk with overlay of laser-cut black silk grosgrain.

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Evening dress by the House of Chanel, 1937-38.
Hand-sewn, machine-made black silk-rayon lace, hand-shaped with wire and horsehaird at sleeves; hand-attached, machine-sewn black rayon crepe liner; white linen floral corsage with die-cut, hand-embossed, and hand-assembled flowers.

IMG_7782 Dress by the House of Chanel.
Spring/summer 2013.
Machine-sewn white neoprene bonded with black cotton lace, black stretch satin; hand-finished.

Suit by Saint Laurent, 1963.
Machine-sewn white cotton organdy with overlay of machine embroidered cutwork hand-stitched with machine-embroidered guipure lace; hand-finished.

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Cocktail dresses by the House of Balenciaga, 1963-64.
Hand-sewn silk machine-embroidered lace, hand-applied self-fabric flounces and silk satin bows.

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Dress by Iris van Herpen. Spring/summer 2015. Machine-sewn black polyester microfiber and cotton twill, hand-finished, hand-embroidered with clear thermoformed laser-cut acrylic, hand-joined with clear silicone connectors.

IMG_7791 Dress by Iris Van Herpen.
Autumn/winter 2011-12.
3-D printed (selective laser sintering) white polyamide by Materialise.

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Dress by Iris Van Herpen.
Autumn 2012.
3-D printed (stereolithography) dark orange epoxy by Materialise, hand-sanded and hand-sprayed with a technical transparent resin.


Dresses by Alexander McQueen and Iris van Herpen.

Dress by Alexander McQueen.
Spring/summer 2012.
Machine- and hand-sewn nude silk lace bonded with laser-cut black patent leather hand-sewn godets of nude silk tulle, hand-appliqued with nude silk lace motifs.

Dress by Iris van Herpen.
Spring/summer 2015.
Machine-sewn, laser-cut, bonded navy patent leather.

Dress by Iris van Herpen.
Spring/summer 2016.
Machine-sewn, bonded nude silk twill and cotton plain weave with overlay of nude cotton lace handwoven with laser-cut nude leather applique.

Coat by Paul Poiret, 1919.
Machine-sewn black wool rep with white fur collar, hand-appliqued with white kidskin cutwork, hand-sewn hem and silk binding.

Dress by Dolce & Gabbana.
Spring/summer 2013.
Machine- and hand-sewn white silk duchesse, hand-sewn with laser-cut green lamb fleece.

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Jacket by the House of Dior.
Autumn/winter 1997-98.
Hand-cut and hand-pieced white leather, machine-topstitched, with hand-sewn wire frame.

IMG_7817 (left) Dress by Noir Kei Ninomiya.
Spring/summer 2014.
Machine-sewn black polyester with machine-sewn overlay of laser-cut black synthetic leather hand-linked with silver metal jump rings and grommets.
(right) Dress by Noir Kei Ninomiya.
Spring/summer 2015.
Machine-sewn black polyester with laser-cut synthetic leather hand-linked with silver metal rivets in a lattice pattern.

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Dress by Valentino S.P.A.
Spring/summer 2016.
Machine-sewn black machine-made lace and silk tulle, hand-sewn and hand-riveted with strips of fringed black leather.

IMG_7824 Dress by the House of Dior.
Autumn/winter 2013-14.
Machine-sewn black silk taffeta with overlay of black cotton-synthetic mesh, hand embroidered with leather artificial flowers and black beads.

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Coat by Valentino S.P.A.
Spring/summer 2014, haute couture.
Machine- and hand-sewn black silk organdy, hand-embroidered with black leather and silk artificial flowers and feathers.

The Manus Machina exhibit will be open until August 14 this year, if you will be in the city of New York, drop by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and spend some time there. The pictures don’t do them justice, and you never know, like me, you may drool too.

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“Walk to End Lupus Now” 2016 in NYC

Lupus Foundation of America has been doing walk fundraisers for more than 8 years now, and this year, I was fortunate enough to be in New York City to take part and be able to raise some money in finding a cure for lupus.

A cure for lupus will be beneficial to all lupus patients, all over the world.

“The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world’s cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases, while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of research, education, and advocacy, we lead the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus.”

They have walkers from almost sixty cities across the USA who have raised money and joined this event. Some of them are lupus patients, some are family members of those with the disease, and others are caregivers or medical professionals who take care of patients with SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus).

Four days before the event, I began my fundraising post on facebook. With just a few days left before the walk, with the help of family and friends, we were able to raise $375!!!

Thank yous go out to these awesome people:
My husband Marco
My parents Dith & Ed
Sibs- Kyt & Mack, and Kim & Chris
Relatives- Tita Mikki & Tito Joshua, and Greta Goetz & family
And friends- Nins Cortez, George & Kathy Luttrell, Kina & Phil Poggiali, Jo Ann & Joe Piper, Tita Malou Latonio, and Nins & Patrick Jimenez

The foundation was able to raise a total of $409,426, is that amazing or what?! Their goal was to raise $565,000, and they were able to reach 72% of their target.

May 14, 2016, 8:30 AM, registration started for the “Walk to End Lupus Now” event at the South Street Seaport in New York City.

Event started at the South Street Seaport.

Registration booth


They had some entertainment going on to pump people up.

Pretty big crowd!

My friend, Kina, who did the 3.1 miles walk with me ❤
Waking up early on a Saturday and sharing her time with me, how wonderful is she!?!

At 10 AM sharp, the walk began.

And off we go!!!

Why I walk?
For myself and for all Filipinos who have lupus.

Can you image how great it would be when they finally find a cure, and I can get pregnant without my antibodies attacking my baby in my tummy?! Because of your help, and all the donations that the foundation received, we are one step closer to that cure. And if not for my generation, then for the next.

We walked along the East River.

Halfway through our 3.1 miles walk, we had this beautiful view of the World Trade Center.

The volunteers made the walk fun with their cheering and “wohooos!”


And we made it! 3.1 miles for a good cause!

MAY is lupus awareness month, and YOU can help. Ask a friend you are having dinner with if they know what lupus is, tell a co-worker, help spread awareness. Ignorance is not an excuse, understanding and compassion comes with being well informed. Together, let us spread lupus awareness. As Tracy Chapman said, “If not now then when?”


Edited by: Kylie Padilla

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“You are not pretty enough”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

As I get older, I find people to be beautiful because of their heart. It transforms a whole person’s image into something grander than what make up can do. And this is coming from a make up artist.

Has anyone ever told you that you are not beautiful enough? Skinny enough? Tall enough? Popular enough? Smart enough? Hard working enough? Basically, that YOU are not enough?

I’ve been on the receiving end of that conversation sooo many times. More times than I can count, more times than I would have wanted.

Harsh words given lightly should be buried deep deep underground. There are people who don’t think before they speak, OR worse, don’t care at all how they make others feel.


Story no 1.

“You are not pretty enough.” That’s what she told me.

I am a dreamer. I love to dream. When I was a kid, every year I would sit my face right in front of the TV and watch Binibining Pilipinas (the winner gets sent to Miss Universe), and Miss Universe. I would watch the contestants sashay in their swimsuits and long gowns. I loved it. And there were nights that I would dream that someday I would have a crown. I don’t even remember how old I was when this memory happened. I was probably in elementary.

Before I continue my story, you have to understand one thing, I am a late bloomer, like an extremely late bloomer. My boobs came very late in life. I was wayy too skinny and too tall. I was always sun burned, I was a swimmer and I didn’t care what time of the day it was, all I knew was that anytime WAS swimming time. And through my dark skin, all you could see were braces clad teeth. I was the duckling, that ugly duckling.

One day it happened, she was just visiting, my eyes were glued watching BB Pilipinas. Then she uttered that 1 sentence I will never forget, “You are not pretty enough to join that.”

For what reason, only God will ever know. For an adult to shoot down a child that hard. I will never understand. I am an adult now, 32 years old, and I cannot imagine and I would never dream of saying those words to anyone, most especially a child.

Good thing though was that I was a hard headed child. Early on I realized that I liked doing the opposite of what people said. She said I couldn’t, I wanted to prove her wrong. And I did.

I never harbored hard feelings against her, I even feel that if it wasn’t for her careless mouth and own insecurities, I wouldn’t have pushed myself to aim for that dream.

Story no. 2

“You are prettier than her.” That’s what she told my sister.

So I was dark, and tall, and skinny. Not really qualities that makes a teenager stand out in a positive way.

I had 2 sisters in that point in time (3 now). My sister, Kit is very fair skinned, she has these stunning cat eyes, needless to say, she is gorgeous. My other sister, Kim, looked like a little Korean doll, adorable. And she has grown up to be a real live barbie doll. I love my sisters, I would and I did go to battles for them. We’ve fought and had our numerous amounts of hair pulling drama, but no one else was allowed to mess with them, just me 😉

I was in high school then, a common friend told my sister Kit that she was prettier than me. It didn’t bother me that she thought that. My sister IS pretty, I knew that. And she was my sister, I was proud of her, pretty or not.

Just with our skin color alone, I knew from a very young age that we shoot into different categories of beauty. And I never wished to be lighter skinned, I love my skin color. All I really prayed for were boobs. 😀

What I couldn’t understand was why was it necessary to compare. She could have complimented my sister without that attempt to put me down. It seemed unnecessary to me.

And recently, while we were at the mall, I over heard someone tell a mother that one of her daughters was prettier than the other, and the mother responded that no, the other one was prettier than the other.

Why are we so used to comparing? And why is it important that one was prettier than the other? Can’t they just be all pretty?

Story no. 3

“Be beautiful.” This was my sin.

When I was pregnant with Caitlin, my prayers would be “Lord, please give me a healthy, beautiful baby girl.” Everyday, that’s what I would beg God for (before we found out about her heart problem).

With everything that happened with Caitlin, I realized that there were more important things to pray for and want than your child being beautiful.

I cannot be a hypocrite and say that beauty doesn’t matter completely. Me, the girl who joined pageants, and modeled and loved all the attention. But, shouldn’t inner beauty matter more? How you raise a child and how you teach them to value and respect life around them is important, rather than caring and comparing which child is more beautiful.

With my 2nd pregnancy, with my Mary, my prayers had transformed into, “Lord, please give me a healthy child that will love and respect You.” 


Like I said in my first sentence with this post, and which we all know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I respect that. But I believe that beauty also comes in all shapes, sizes, colors. In a field, what I may find beautiful is the green green grass, and what you may find beautiful are the flowers. It doesn’t matter, we cannot change what our eyes see, we cannot change what is attractive for us,  BUT we can change our words. Let’s be aware of the words that come out of our mouths. I don’t even know how I turned out OK after all that. Don’t hurt a person’s feelings just because you are dealing with your own shit.

March is National Woman’s month. Woman, young and old, dark or light skinned, tall or short, thin or heavy, WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. You are perfect because you are created by a perfect God. Why don’t we empower each other and motivate one another, instead of putting others down so you can feel better about yourself. Let us use the power of words to create a movement where where we all work together towards one goal – be happy versions of ourselves.


Let us all thank God that my husband has very poor eyesight!


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Sometimes it is ok to talk about YOURSELF

When it was our turn at the immigration in Manila, my husband started talking to the 2 officers about how we struggled for an hour with documents so we could save 1000php on my airport tax. Which we spent on food after, just cause that 1 hour of running around worked up our appetites.

Since there was no one behind us in immig, we started chatting. When the female officer looked at my passport foto, she did a double take and exclaimed, “ma’am, you cut your hair!” I started telling her how long it was and Marco was joking that next month he thinks that I would have it all shaved off.

The male officer looks at my passport foto too and jokes that I look better with this hairstyle. That I looked 18 in my passport foto, and I look 15 now (my husband, the cradle snatcher). The officer actually gave me a thumbs up sign with a smile, mimicking a facebook like, lolz.

Then he asks, “did you model when you were still based here in Manila?” I excitedly told them about my stuff. They started raving and asking more questions.

We finished chatting, we said good bye, and they were waving to use even after we had gone past their immigration booth.

Then my husband of 8 years whom I have known for 11 years looks at me smiling, “I’ve never heard you talk about about those things.” And I don’t.

Wait.. Well, I do when I do workshops because it is almost like it is a part of my resume. I do, when we are talking about something related to that with friends from that industry. I do, when I am trying to help a person be empowered because I’ve had my own fair share of crazy “I can’t” moments.

So I guess I can’t say that I’ve never, but, if there were moments that I have, I could probably count it in 1 hand. Husband though, has never heard me talk about myself in that way. It was probably very interesting for him. I don’t know how he observed the whole thing, as an outsider listening on a conversation? Did he watch me like I was a goldfish in a bowl? I’ll have to ask him later.

I feel though that I light up when I talk about it, these were things that I did that I enjoyed so much and have helped me be who I am today. I loved that part of my life and I am happy that I went through all of the hullabaloo. And some of my closest friends today, I met in that phase.

I like to talk to people, and I talk A LOT. But thinking about it, I don’t think I boast about those particular events in my life. I don’t think so anyway. If you think I do, let me know 😀

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