Unpacked

Misadventures Around the World


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While Pamilacan Island isn’t half as famous as Alona Beach and Dumaluan Beach, it should definitely be on your priority list when you visit Bohol.

The island is relatively small and is situated about 23 kilometers east of Balicasag. For the longest time, Pamilacanons worked as whalers and it isn’t really surprising considering that the island is home to dolphins and whales. Since 1992, however, there has been a ban on capturing these creatures. Hence, the people of the island “switched tactics” and are now very much involved in tourism and preserving the area. Today, the island is a small piece of heaven on earth.

Beach lover's heaven!

Beach lover’s heaven!

Our ride to the island

The perfect day to be out in the sun

The perfect beach weather!

Can the sky be clearer than this?

Hiding from the sun

Found shade from the sun

Pamilacan Island has something to offer that famous beaches in Bohol cannot – much needed peace and sought after quiet. Going to the island is like owning a private beach. Aside from an occasional visitor or two and the residents who are polite but usually keep to themselves, the beach is practically all yours. While this may not hold much appeal to party people, this is definitely something that the #TitosAndTitasOfManila would want.

The Coral Garden, is accessible from the island through a small, 2-seater bangka. Slather on your sunscreen because you’re going to need it. You’re off to an amazing snorkeling adventure that could last for hours!

Photo Grab from Josh Johnson

Photo grabbed from Josh Johnson

I went to Pamilacan Island from Tarsier Botanika in Tawala, Panglao. It was an hour away by motorboat. However, you can also arrange for a trip via tour groups that leave from Baclayon Pier. This usually includes whale and dolphin watching, a village tour, swimming and snorkeling. While the tour rates may be slightly more expensive than those in Alona Beach, do take note that these tours are eco-friendly and include a lengthy stop on Pamilacan beach for picnic and swimming.

Those who would like to enjoy the island a bit longer have the option of staying overnight in the basic accommodations available. Do keep in mind though that there is only electricity from 5pm to midnight.

Enjoy Bohol beyond the famous beaches, Chocolate Hills and Loboc River. Take time to visit Pamilacan Island – Bohol’s hidden gem.

me

 

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November 3 Wednesday  Night – 10pm, SM Makati

The mall floor is clearing of the usual metro day hustle with people trying to catch their last commute on the train or passing through the SM Mall towards the jeep and bus station. While the end of the work day signifies rest and relaxation for most, a throng of smartly dressed people were congregating to the wild urban jungle beats inside SM Makati’s H&M branch – like animals to a watering hole.

 

As it turns outs, that’s exactly what H&M wanted as they launch and celebrate the much awaited collection from the Kenzo X H&M collaboration.

It's a Kenzo x H&M Jungle during the VIP / Media preview party.

It’s a Kenzo x H&M Jungle during the VIP / Media preview party.

This capsule collection is the latest in the long tradition of fast-fashion retailer, H&M and their fashion house of choice for the year. This is also the 3rd year I’m exposed to the collab collections and I must say, 3rd times’ the charm.

As with the past collabs the rules of engagement are very similar. You go in, grouped in batches of 20s and you all have 10 minutes to shop the collab floor. For this year, you’re only allowed a maximum of 1 piece of a particular item during your turn. Meaning if you want to buy more than one sunglasses, you’ll need to ask a friend who’s also there with you to carry the said sunglasses and forfeiting his chance of buying one for himself. It makes everything fair and prevents people from hoarding a particular item set.

Celebrities, Personalities and Executives in full Kenzo x H&M garb

Celebrities, Personalities and Executives in full Kenzo x H&M garb

Unlike the Balmaination collaboration (Balmain x H&M) last year, the VIP private sale happened the night before the actual public launch of capsule collection. Models, celebrities and fashion personalities flocked the Makati branch and tried to get a piece from this superbly colorful and zany collection.

While waiting for their batch to be called, dancers and personalities in full Kenzo X H&M gear entertained guests. Never-ending canapés and drinks were going around and the DJ was mixing some sick retro dance sets.

Dancers entertain the crowd with their zany moves alongside 90's dance tracks

Dancers entertain the crowd with their zany moves alongside 90’s dance tracks

Guest and VIP wait for their chance to shop the collection before everyone else.

Guest and VIP wait for their chance to shop the collection before everyone else.

We got in a bit late (event started at 9PM) so we got pushed to one of the latter batches (Batch 10 or 11, I believe) and we were only able to get a couple of accessories like socks, and the men’s animal print scarf (well, not sure if it files under menswear).

Hey menswear, where you hiding at?

Hey menswear, where you hiding at?

Pretty much what we ended up with. Still, look at them purrty socks (and a really big cap in the background).

Pretty much what we ended up with. Still, look at them purrty socks (and a really big cap in the background).

This only meant one thing, *groan*, we had to line up again immediately to be able to get into one of the earlier batches during public launch day. No going home for me then, okay, fight!

November 4 Thursday Morning – 5:00am, SM Makati

With barely an hour of sleep, me and my friends pulled ourselves to go to SM Makati to line up. Unlike the past 2 years, the H&M branch at SM Makati is now a venue for the collection (previously you can only shop the collab collection at H&M SM Megamall).

We’re not sure if people were aware of this because when we lined up at 5 in the morning (very late for our standards) we miraculously got in the first batch of shoppers! I believe we were the 10th person in line. Woo-hoo!

At 9am there were hardly 20 people in line! I guess everyone flocked to SM Megamall that day. :D

At 9am there were hardly 20 people in line! I guess everyone flocked to SM Megamall that day. :D

We also got some free candies while in line

We also got some free candies while in line c/o Made in Candy

Ushers remind us of the hosue rules and what time the official shopping can begin. Previously they start letting people shop at 8am, this time it started during mall opening hours.

Previously they start letting people shop at 8am, this time around the “timed shopping” started during mall opening hours.

Even until 9am when we were finally let in SM Makati premises, the line didn’t build up as much as we thought it would compared to Balmain x H&M or the super crazy lines of Alex Wang x H&M collab last 2014. The best thing about not having a huge line after us is, if and when people on the first batch decided that they wanted more time and opportunity to shop, they can simply line up and do it all over again (which a lot of people did, fyi).

Outside the store proper

Outside the store proper

Store windows are decorated with the Kenzo x H&M prints

Store windows are decorated with the Kenzo x H&M prints

Host was rousing people up. Trust me, she didn't have to. Everyone was pumped and ready for some shopping action!

Host was rousing people up. Trust me, she didn’t have to. Everyone was pumped and ready for some shopping action!

DJ was dropping some sick beats during the entire morning

DJ was dropping some sick beats during the entire morning

The collab section is now twice the size of what it was during the VIP area and we’re now shown the full collection here.

Floor area doubled. Women's wear shown here.

Floor area doubled. Women’s wear shown here.

Accessories all on the table.

Accessories all on the table – bags, boots, sandals, socks, scarves, sunglasses and jewelry trinkets.

More amazing printed clothes on these racks

More amazing printed clothes on these racks

Moving towards the menswear. T-shirts were one of the first ones to go.

Moving towards the menswear. T-shirts were one of the first ones to go.

10 minutes and a few edits later, we were left with this. Tadaaa~

(Also, ladies and gentlemen, I’m officially broke. :p)

A close look at our haul. A couple of shirts, a cap, scarf, socks, and them ipad pouch bags

A close look at our haul. A couple of shirts, a cap, scarf, socks, and them ipad pouch bags

Forgot to mention the sunglasses and the neoprene Jacket/ Hoodie as well.

Forgot to mention the sunglasses and the neoprene Jacket/ Hoodie as well. Print on Print on Print!

Suffice to say, the Kenzo x H&M collab shopping experience ran much smoother this time around. With stocks also offered in H&M Makati, lines were easily managed and everyone (mostly) got what they wanted. Kudos to the H&M Philippine team for organizing such a smooth event, we heard things were quite more intense elsewhere. Source 1 2

In fact when we checked H&M SM Megamall last Sunday there were still a lot of wares left. Majority are for women but I was surprised to see quite a bit of menswear still on the rack.

kenzo-x-hm-megamall-sunday-2

There were a lot of women’s clothes left last weekend. Better check in fast.

The Kimono jackets still have all the sizes last Sunday. If you want to own one particular piece of iconic item, you may want to consider that. That screams high fashion! 😉

The store still had caps with varying sizes as well

The store still had caps with varying sizes as well

Caps and accessories are still in abundance

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Moooaaar caps!

There were about 4 large totes still up for grabs. Even though the design mimics that of a the Kenzo paper shopping bag, this is actually a really well crafted full leather tote bag with amazing detailings. Retails for Php 10,990, I believe — but it’s huge.

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If you want something a liiittle bit more quirky, these pink tiger-striped boots might tickle your fancy.

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Meow!

Or you could switch it up with this all red ensemble– sandals, long socks, sleeves, beanie and earrings.

kenzo-x-hm-red-tiger-socks-and-slippers

At the end of the day, if you haven’t had the chance to check out these one-of-a-kind collection, you kinda owe it to yourself to visit either H&M SM Megamall or H&M SM Makati before they pull everything out.

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We saw a reversible jacket tucked behind the leather jacket racks at SM Megamall. Last check was size M. ;)

kenzo-x-hm-overall-onesie

Wear a plain long coat over the green onesie to diffuse the predominantly green look.

C’mon, unleash your wild side. Welcome to the Kenzo x H&M urban jungle.

 

 

 

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For some people, perfume (or the act of putting on perfume) is all about smelling good and attracting the desired partner (ala Axe effect), or maybe they appreciate the subtle luxury that a bottle of Eau de Toilette can hold, but for Hershee Izell, fellow fraghead and fragrance enthusiasts, perfumes are a way of holding on to lasting memories. In a way, this is why she went through the laborious task of creating an original line, aptly named Cherish.

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We caught up with Ms. Izell and asked her a few questions:

 

UNPACKED (UN): First of all congratulations on this endeavor. Was it nerve-racking?

HERSHEE IZELL (HI): Thanks! Yes, it was!!!

UN: What inspired you to create Cherish? Why perfume? 

HI: First of all, I created Cherish for my mom because I miss her since she is away from us and I wanted to associate a sentiment that would remind me of her whenever I use it. Perfume, I believe, is the best medium to do that since perfumes triggers long-term memories.

I also like the sophistication of perfumes. I create other items that are geared towards ladies like gift cards and soaps but perfume, for me, is just luxuriously gorgeous and it can help express my personality better.

UN: Have you always had an affinity towards perfume and scents? Tell us your favorite perfume (besides Cherish, of course). Do you have a particularly favorite note? 

HI: When I was a kid, I like putting cologne and scented powder, –Angel’s Breath, to be particular.  I also love the small scented gel-thingie  called ‘kisses’ and keep them in my pencil case until I was in highschool. I was using Johnson’s Powder Fresh and Angel’s Breath cologne up until high school. I like smelling fresh and clean!

When college hit, for some reason, I literally cannot stand fragrances all of a sudden. At that time, fragrance would just trigger my migraine. So I was scentless (and tried to be) for quite some time during those days. Maybe it was fatigue since I wasn’t as learned as I am now but it was only until my friend pulled me to different stores and outlets that my love for perfume resurfaced as I discovered there are so many beautiful perfumes!

One of my all-time favorite is Paris Hilton’s Heiress! This is an instant head-turner for guys. (To me at least) Heiress is alluring and sexy — something new that I discovered scents could do. So that pulled me deeper into exploring other fragrances.

My favorite notes would be Patchouli and Vanilla — both work amazingly well together–and some florals like Rose and Ylang Ylang. They are so relaxing and (sometimes) can give a romantic vibe.

UN: When creating a perfume, especially for a wider audience, are there any special considerations you took into account? Did you have to temper what you originally wanted so that a wider audience could appreciate the final product?

HI: Oh, definitely! Aside from my personal preference with the notes, I would ask close friends and colleagues their take and which among the sample scents are appealing and most interesting to them. The ones that have the highest vote would be taken into consideration before talking to the manufacturer and producing them in their actual sizes. Bottling and packaging is the same way.

For the overall composition, I first think about the character of the user and what may work with them…for Cherish I envisioned a very dainty feminine character. There’s boldness but there’s also innocence. Cherish is a fruity-woody scent with notes of tangerine and mango and vanilla in the opening. So there’s sweetness there before it settles on the boldness of ambergris and the subtle woody characteristics of cashmere wood. To add a unique feminine quality to the scent I had Iris added in as a “mystery” or special note.

UN: Most people feel that local perfumes would use cheaper perfume oils and ingredients. What’s your take on this and where did you source your ingredients?

HI: It doesn’t really matter whether a perfume is local or foreign. Quality is quality and that’s something that I discovered while going through this journey. I believe there are many sources of good oils here in the Philippines, I know that we’re one of the world’s source for elemi, but considering cost and sophistication in technology, I decided to source my ingredients in Europe: Germany to be specific. So, unlike other local boutique fragrances, Cherish is specially crafted, mixed and bottled in Germany. It’s a bit more challenging (due to higher custom fees and constant international communication) but the quality that you get is unparalleled!

UN: Will we see more creations from you in the future? A men’s line, perhaps?

HI: Yes, surely… I am looking forward in creating a perfume line for men. Maybe it would contain patchouli, one of my favorite notes, who knows? I’d love to work on a unisex scent, too, just to broaden people’s perspective of perfume.  Something that’s a bit stronger for the usual woman market but a comes off a bit lighter for men’s. That would interesting, no?

We got our hands on a full bottle and will be sharing with you our thoughts and impressions soon. Cherish will be available starting tomorrow (September 10, 2016) at www.ladiesthingsbyhersheeizell.com for Php 3195. According to Hershee, she’s still working on collaborating with other retail shops and distribution networks here in the Philippines and hopefully (if the perfume becomes a success) could open it up to world-wide audience.

 

 

 

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Free Venque Bag

Yup, you read that right! For a minimum purchase of 10,000 pesos worth of items you can walk away from Urban Traveller & Co with an extra bag at hand. And not just any old promo bag, it’s a Venque bag.

Venque Bag2

We’ve actually reviewed this and even brought it with us on our Bali trip late last year. It survived the wind, wave and sun of that Indonesian Beach Paradise (and in such stylish fashion, at that) and we’re pretty surprised that Urban Traveller & Co. decided to include this as the freebie to their promo (that’s Php 3,000 worth of savings right there – and an amazing bag to boot).

So what can you buy with your hard-earned Php 10,000 in Urban Traveller & Co.? We’ll we’ve compiled a short list of amazing finds for you to check out and (maybe) consider.

Bellroy iPhone 6s Case

Bellroy iPhone 6s Cases

On the surface, the Bellroy iPhone 6s Case doesn’t seem to look different from the gajillion of smartphone cases in the market. It’s only upon closer inspection that you begin to see and appreciate the space-saving genius behind this contraption.

Aside from keeping your uber cool smartphone safe and secure, the Bellory iPhone 6s Case also doubles as a mini wallet of sorts – where you can keep your essentials if you want to travel light and not carry too much things on you.

Bellroy iPhone 6s Cases 2

The case in itself is made with eco-friendly materials as well. Our sister site, Unbox.ph made a video review on this as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwTAJ78QhRA

The Bellroy iPhone 6s Case retails for Php 2450 to Php 4,500

Shop the collection: https://www.urbantravellerco.com/collections/phone-accessories

Key|Smart

KeySmart2

KeySmart is a nifty little gadget that organizes your keys like a Swiss Army Knife. No more bulk in your pant pockets and that annoying metal jiggling sounds with KeySmart.

The great thing about KeySmart is that it can augment itself with other important gadgets like car keys, USBs and other accessories to fit your need.

Fully customizable, you can also extend the number of keys that can fit in your KeySmart up to 100 keys! (Well, but we don’t really recommend it :p )

The KeySmart Key Organizer retails for Php 1,399

Shop the collection: https://www.urbantravellerco.com/collections/keysmart

 

Gnome & Bow Milton Cross Body Clutch

Gnome Bow1

We’ve actually highlighted Gnome & Bow before but we can’t stress enough how awesome the design philosophy behind this is. For this article, we’re looking more into the Gnome & Bow Milton Cross Body Clutch. Gorgeously created to fit an iPad and other small peripherals, the G&B Mitlon Cross Body Clutch embodies the Jekyll and Hyde design that we grew to love with this brand.

Gnome Bow2

On one side, the clean & crisp lustrous nylon embodies the cool and collected Dr. Jekyll while the other side hides a printed canvass cover for the always unconventional Mr. Hyde.

The Gnome & Bow Milton Cross Body Clutch retails for Php 7,500

Shop the collection: https://www.urbantravellerco.com/collections/gnome-bow

And there you have it, 4 easy picks for the mobile traveler – and all can be conveniently stored on your free Venque bag. 😉  Promo is from Aug 1 to 31 only!

For more  nifty bags and organizing tools, head over to www.urbantravellerco.com and check their wares or you can visit their physical store at R2 Level, Archeology Wing, Power Plant Mall (near National Bookstore).

Happy shopping, peeps!

 

 

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In the past couple of years, I have been obsessed with collecting various perfumes and fragrances. Back then I only had my staple Davidoff Cool Water in my collection and it wasn’t until fragrance super addict and managing partner of Ungeek, Colin Chan, opened my eyes to the wondrous world of perfume that I added perfume collecting to my list of hobbies. Hehe.

Current collection and growing! Yikes! Hehe.

Current collection and growing! Yikes! Hehe.

This obsession lead me to explore Home Fragrances (cause it’s quite expensive to keep on spraying designer and niche perfumes all over your household). And while we found a couple of home fragrances that we liked, it’s still burning a significant amount on our monthly household budget.

This Nest Home Diffuser from Art of Scent Shangri-La costs around 2,000 up and would last for about 2 months tops.

This Nest Home Diffuser from Art of Scent Shangri-La costs around 2,000 up.

Thankfully, we were introduced to Mia Maison, a locally owned and grown Home Fragrance store that, apparently, has been in existence for 10 years now. It surprised us to learn as well that Colin is the presiding Creative Consultant for the group and he invited us to attend Mia Maison’s grand launch at the Manila Peninsula last Tuesday, June 21, 2017.

Salon De Ning was packed that afternoon

Salon De Ning was packed that afternoon

We learned that, through Mia’s ten-year journey, this is the first time that they are pouring their resources into Marketing and PR. It’s amazing that the brand decided to establish itself first, gathering loyal patrons and expanding steadily (they now have more than 60 stores nationwide – and franchising options), before they decided to put ads and create a launch event.

CEO and President of Mia Maison, Ms. Shirley Reyes and Host Ms. Issa Litton thank guests and open activity floor.

CEO and President of Mia Maison, Ms. Shirley Reyes and Host Ms. Issa Litton thank guests and open activity floor.

Celebrities and socialites attended the event (we felt really out of place!) but everyone was warm to everybody and we learned that a lot of them already knew of Mia Maison and jumped on the chance to take part in celebrating their 10th year in the business. My Home Magazine helped in organizing the amazing event and even had cool and quirky activities lined up for us.

The Creative Invite

The Creative Invite

Mia Maison’s campaign hinges on the concept of scent and how it triggers memory and imagination. Since perfume triggers our innate sense of memory and imagination, the personification of an “olfactory journey” led them to create the Home Fragrance company’s creative campaign handle: Home Destination.

The idea is to transform homes into destination places where one can experience a sense of travel through scents. To press the point further, they transformed four small rooms at the Salon De Ning into various travel destinations: Shanghai, Kyoto, Maldives, and Santorini.

Post cards link a particular scent to a place.

Post cards link a particular scent to a place.

Each of these rooms are paired with a Mia Maison highlighted scent; Green Tea scent for Shanghai, Fresh Bamboo for Kyoto, Ocean Breeze for Maldives and Warm Cotton for Santorini. The scents, coupled with the ambiance and the unique activities per room created a rich experience that set us in the mood for travel!

This is the room in Salon de Ning with the big King Kong. He's nowhere to be seen. Hehe.

This is the room in Salon de Ning with the big King Kong. He’s nowhere to be seen. Hehe.

 

This is where guests can get pampered with a back and foot massage while relaxing to Mia Maison's Warm Cotton scent.

This is where guests can get pampered with a back and foot massage while relaxing to Mia Maison’s Warm Cotton scent.

Paper Cranes and Ikebana Arrangements at the Shoe Room (Kyoto for the day).

Paper Cranes and Ikebana Arrangements at the Shoe Room (Kyoto for the day).

Guests get to learn and create their own Japanese Flower arrangements underneath Mia's Fresh Bamboo scent.

Guests get to learn and create their own Japanese Flower arrangements underneath Mia’s Fresh Bamboo scent.

Shanghai Room is filled with 4 exotic green tea variants from TWG!

Shanghai Room is filled with 4 exotic green tea variants from TWG! Have the TWG tea masters pour you a cup or two!

The boxing room is transformed into an island paradise where one can enjoy the specially crafted tropical cocktail called Mia Maison surrounded by Mia's Ocean Breeze Scent.

The boxing room is transformed into an island paradise where one can enjoy these specially crafted tropical cocktails!

Celebrities and Personalities hangout at the Maldives to just chill out with a cocktail or two at hand and Ocean Breeze scent all around.

Celebrities and Personalities hangout here to just chill out with a cocktail or two at hand and Ocean Breeze scent all around.

Out of all the rooms, it was Maldives and Shanghai that really drew us in. The Shanghai room provided a TWG mini masterclass in Green Tea history with us sampling different green teas of varying flavors and intensity while Maldives gave us a chill moment to just sit back and sip on some delicious cocktails created just for that occasion called the Mia Maison (a unique tropical cocktail blend of Malibu Rum, Lychee, Guava juice and a touch of mint).

Mia Maison owners and Colin toasting with the Mia Maison Cocktail.

Toasting with the Mia Maison Cocktail–which Salon De Ning included in their regular drink menu! Cool!

Scent-wise, Green Tea is our current favorite followed by the mellowing comfort of Warm Cotton. We asked Colin what his favorite is and he sent us this photo.

Green Tea Mia

I guess it reminded him too much of his super used Shanghai Tang Jade Dragon that he got himself one as well. :p

Ocean Breeze scent at the Maldives Room

Ocean Breeze scent at the Maldives Room

All in all, the grand launch was an amazing welcome to our hectic work week and the Mia Maison Home Fragrance solutions is a welcome product in our homes and offices. Heck, for just under Php 680.00 for the 120ml Glass Diffuser (compared to 2000+ for imported brands), we can stock up and put one in every nook and cranny that we can find! We’ll definitely explore more from their selection (they have 13 scents currently).

For more info on Mia Maison, you can check them out at their Facebook Page and Instagram Account. They have the full list of stores as well so if you happen to pass by a stall, do check them out. You may find that perfect home destination (or two) as well. Congrats again on the launch, Mia, here’s to 10 more wonderfully smelling good years!

 

 

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If you’ve been following sneaker stories around the web, you’ve probably heard of the famed collaboration of American footwear apparel, Cole Haan and Japanese punk & streetwear fashion house, Mastermind. You probably also learned that this collab is only available in Japan.

Welp, guess what? We’re having them right here! Cole Haan X Mastermind drops in Cole Haan Shangri-La & Cole Haan Power Plant Mall today, May 21, 2016, but in extremely limited quantities (so if you’ve been wanting this in your collection you better rush to Cole Haan Shangri-La after reading this article :p).

There are two styles to choose from: the Cole Haan x Mastermind Japan ZERØGRAND Wing Oxford and Cole Haan x Mastermind Japan ZERØGRAND Chukka.



collection

Both styles feature Cole Haan’s innovative ZERØGRAND technology (which we thoroughly loved here at Unpacked) —the astonishingly lightweight, adaptively flexible and responsively cushioned sole technology. Mastermind Japan’s iconic skull logo and monochrome black palette have been smartly integrated throughout Cole Haan’s pinnacle ZERØGRAND silhouettes, which has resulted in a high-impact collection that synergistically marries the styles of both global brands.

Mastermind graphic2

plain toe chukkas zeroes zerogrand wingtip

It’s interesting to see exclusive collaborations like these hit local Cole Haan shops! With recent successful events like their Last Lunar Day Sale and previous Black Friday Sales,  as it seems that the local Cole Haan community is growing so much so that we’re now getting exclusive releases that was originally meant for just a specific market. I don’t think US is getting this any time soon, so that’s saying something about how Cole Haan Philippines is paving the way of making the Philippines a priority market for Cole Haan New York! Wewe!

With this, we’d like to congratulate Cole Haan Philippines for doing an amazing job at growing the market and here’s hoping that we get more exclusive releases and exciting deals here in the country.

For more information about the collection and all things Cole Haan Philippines, head over to their Facebook page and give the guys some love! 😉

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End of an Era is upon us, folks! LunarGrands, the awesome shoe line that pushed American-owned company Cole Haan to its height is about to be discontinued. Nike, the mighty sports apparel company, sold Cole Haan to Apax Partners Worldwide last 2012 — the same year when they launched the revolutionary LunarGrands for Cole Haan. Even after selling the brand off, Nike allowed Cole Haan access to its proprietary tech (Lunarlon and Air sole technology) to ensure that the brand doesn’t suffer. Hence Cole Haan has been churning LunarGrands even after the turn over. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

On May 14 LunarGrands will bid its farewell to Cole Haan’s shelves (at least here in the Philippines). With this, Cole Haan Philippines is having a going-away SALE with ALL Lunargrand styles slashing off 50% from its retail price!

Blog

Having had 3 LunarGrands already, I can say that the shoes are definitely worth it. It’s the kind of oxfords that you can wear to more casual events and can blend in on much formal ones too. I’ve worn my LunarGrands on a couple of wedding occasions, formal launch and then wear the same shoe with shorts. Light, comfy, classy and definitely sturdy, the LunarGrands stand out from the usual rubber sneakers out in the market

LunarGrand Unpacked

To know more about the LunarGrands, you can check our initial article from Unbox.ph here.

LunarGrands retail for about Php15,000.00 here so at 50% off, it’s actually a pretty good deal! We’re thinking things may go a bit crazy like their Black Friday Sales so it might be best if you drop by a day before, scout the store for the shoe that you want (so you can budget your spending as well), check the sizes available and drop by on Sale day very VERY early.

Let's go shopping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let’s go shopping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To know more about the latest from Cole Haan, add them up on their Facebook Page and Instagram.

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Shanghai Tang, Hong Kong

Shanghai Tang, Hong Kong

I was barely out of college when I first encountered this illustrious brand. I stumbled upon a small and colorful boutique of neon-colored traditional Chinese clothing donned in silk and other ornate embellishments somewhere in Central, Hong Kong. I would later discover that Shanghai Tang, while originally Hong Kong-based, was getting known internationally for their quirky design and superior craftsmanship. The price isn’t something to scoff at as well as they can rival other known Italian or French designers. And as someone with Chinese roots, I’m quite happy to see a luxury brand of Chinese-descent that’s competing on the world stage.

Old-world flair meets contemporary design! Stunning pieces of lux clothing here.

Old-world flair meets contemporary design! Stunning pieces of lux clothing here.

So, when about a month ago I heard that this famed Hong Kong fashion house dropped its fragrance line here in Manila, I was stoked! I knew Shanghai Tang released a fragrance line some time in 2014 but I’ve had very little luck in securing a sample or even getting any extensive info about the collection. In fact, very little information was revealed in perfumers monolithic website, Fragrantica.com.

Shanghai Tang Silkroad Collection2

Even over at Shanghai Tang’s official website, the fragrances are mostly sold out and it is pretty difficult to find this stuff over at online retailers and discount shops like Beautyspin.com, Fragrancex, or Fragrancenet…even eBay. I’ve been asking my friends who frequent Hong Kong for a bottle since last year and everyone came back empty-handed. :’(

"Oh where, oh where could my baby be ~..."

“Oh where, oh where could my baby be ~…”

Luckily, of course, Rustan’s Marketing Corporation—the official distributor of Shanghai Tang fragrances here in the Philippines was able to acquire the collection. But I first got wind of this dropping in Manila through Art of Scent’s Facebook Page (they carry the line as well).

Shanghai Tang Art of Scent

Shanghai Tang’s Silk Road collection is comprised of 5 EDP bottles marketed for women and 3 EDT bottles marketed towards men. The nose behind it is Carlos Benaim who have had numerous incredible creations under his belt. Calvin Klein’s seminal classic, Eternity being one of them.

Behold! If you're a collector and want to purchase the complete line, you can get a numbered limited-edition lacquered box set too.

This beautifully and highly limited-edition (not to mention numbered) lacquer box can be yours if you purchase all bottles!

Meticulously crafted, the Silk Road Collection boasts of everything Shanghai Tang.  The bottle design incorporates the brand’s signature SHOU logo (a Chinese Symbol of longevity, wealth, love and virtue). The women’s bottle incorporates the Lucky number 8 while the men’s bottle utilizes a streamlined gem-like design.

The SHOU, (also Shanghai Tang's symbol of choice) is engraved on the cover of the box display.

The SHOU, (also Shanghai Tang’s symbol of choice) is engraved on the cover of the box display.

Drawing inspiration from the legendary 4000-mile trade route than spanned from China to the rest of Europe, Middle East and Asia, the Silk Road collection harnesses exotic ingredients mixed with oriental characteristics –such as spices, varying tea and flowers generally associated with Eastern culture.

Silk Road Image

 

To take it a step further, I’d like to think of the collection as an epic Chinese Martial Arts opera. Wherein the main actors, the set-design and even the setting all play an important role in crafting this wonderful and spiritual world. Think the likes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or movies of Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Dagger). It’s that level of imagery that one can get from the collection — and it is exquisite!

Zhang Zi Yi

Shush. I smell something…

The men’s line sets the stage for the collection. The scents all conjure up various breath-taking landscape imagery like taking a horseback ride across the vast deserts of Xinjiang Province or wading lush Bamboo fields in the Emerald Valley at Anhui Province.

Bold, lush and full of visual imagery.

Bold, lush and full of visual imagery.

Obviously, being a huge fan of vetiver  I immediately zoomed in on Jade Dragon as it promised to harness the heart of Vetiver while being infused with Tea and Jasmine. While I would have wanted a more rooty and earthy approach to the fragrance, this uniquely green and absolutely refreshing concoction works best with our current season. The green casing perfectly encapsulates how refreshing this fragrance is without being soapy or falling into the typical marine categories.

Jade Dragon Shanghai Tang

L’Orient presents a bit of a challenge as the scent can be incredibly woody especially during the mid. The soft leather accord on top gives this scent a supple creaminess to it that’s alluring and thoroughly enjoyable. The middle part is where cedar shines the most. If you’re a fan of this wood then this one’s for you. Reminds me of pencil shavings but with more class, of course. The dry down is where the magic truly lies for L’Orient.

Shanghai Tang Mens

Mandarin Tea latches on to Neroli and Tea. The tea notes in Shanghai Tang gives the fragrances it’s sharp and dry texture yet the Neroli, and other citruses adds just the right amount of zest.

All 3 men’s line shines amazingly during the Spring or Summer time.

While the men’s line conveys great imagery, the women’s line follows a distinct sensuality and gaiety that embodies the Shanghai Tang woman: strong, decisive, extremely cunning,  graceful and always poised.

Shanghai Tang Woman

The five Shanghai Tang Silk Road Collection geared towards women are: Oriental Pearl, Orchid Bloom, Spring Jasmine, Rose Silk

Silkroad womens1

… and Golden Lily — beautiful white Lilies and Jasmine wrapped with accents of Orange flowers, Patchouli and Musk creating this invitingly soft fragrance.

Shanghai Tang Golden Lily

 

However, it was Oriental Pearl that won me over the collection (and became the first bottle that I purchased from this house).

Sweet and Sublime

Sweet and Sublime

While marketed towards women, this variant works well as a unisex fragrance. This wonderful amber-vanilla-patchouli combo creates a gorgeous gourmand without being too overpowering (although has the tendency to be slightly cloying at the start if sprayed one too many times). As an EDP, all you really need are a few spritz and you’re good to go.

Sweet, crisp, sublime and a bit powdery, the closest perfume that I can associate this with is Chanel’s Les Exclusif line, Coromandel. That’s a testament to how wonderfully made these perfumes are.

Shanghai Tang Silkroad Group

If you’re looking for something vastly different, unquestionably beautiful and sublimely crafted, then Shanghai Tang Silk Road collection might fit right between your known designers and 5-figured niche bottles.

Shanghai Tang Silk Road collection is available at Rustan’s and Art of Scent boutiques for Php 5,850.00 for the 100ml EDT and 60ml EDP.

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Looks like the house of Ermengildo Zegna is off to a great start this 2016 with the Philippine release of the latest addition to its Essenze collection: the famed Mediterranean Neroli.

Mediterranean Neroli launched late 2015 and only came to the Philippines this early 2016

Mediterranean Neroli launched late 2015 and only came to the Philippines this early 2016

Perfumer Pierre Negrin completes the trifecta of citrus extravaganza with the addition of Mediterranean Neroli. This bitter orange blossom-centric scent sits well between sharp, zesty and slightly metallic Italian Bergamot and sweet, crisp and cool Sicilian Mandarin.

The flower from the bitter orange is where Neroli is derived from

The flower from the bitter orange is where Neroli is derived from

With highlighted notes from petitgrain, bergamot, neroli, rhubarb, cypriol, sandalwood, musk and ambroxan, Negrin wanted to capture the setting of orange blossom scents across the Mediterranean coast. There’s freshness yet a bitter earthiness to its component that keeps the fragrance from being too citrus-floral.

As with the rest of the Essenze line, Mediterranean Neroli also continues the same pristine quality that all the rest embodies.

Luxury from Style to Scent

Luxury from Style to Scent

While the scent isn’t groundbreaking per-se, it’s really the super clean quality and ingredients that you’re paying for with Essenze line. Utilizing Zegna’s Italian bergamot from their own farm, Zegna’s attention to absolute quality is unquestioned. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill typical lab-crafted cologne. From the clean and joyful youthfulness of Sicilian Mandarin, the more poignant refinement of Haitian Vetiver or the classic gentleman cologne scent of Italian Bergamot, Zegna has toyed with showcasing the multifaceted imagery of masculinity – and Mediterranean Neroli is no exception.

Fruity-Citrus-Floral and Earthy with a hint of marine

Fruity-Citrus-Floral and Earthy with a hint of marine

According to the website, the heart of the fragrance is the distinctly masculine, invigorating woodiness of Cypress, placed beside Neroli for a touch of softness: the effect is a refined masculinity rooted in earthy sensuality.

More than the delicate fragrance, what I love about Mediterranean Neroli is its vast improved performance over the other citrus-centric offerings of Essenze. Among the three (Bergamot, Neroli and Mandarin), Neroli has the longest staying power and a stronger projection. For a citrus-centric scent this is quite a feat. Of course don’t expect it to out-perform Indonesian Oud, Peruvian Ambrette or Florentine Iris. But it could rival that of Haitian Vetiver’s & Javanese Patchouli’s projection and longevity.

On paper Mediterranean Neroli lasted around 6-8 hours mark!

On paper Mediterranean Neroli lasted around 6-8 hours mark!

You can sample Zegna’s latest creation at any Rustan’s department store or Zegna boutiques in Shangri-La Plaza and Greenbelt 4, Makati.

The Essenze Line costs Php 11,500 for 125ml bottle and Php 7800 for the 75ml bottle.

Zegna Neroli Pro Tip

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Popular Youtube travel vlogger and instagram user, Christian LeBlanc released a stunning 11-minute video that would make you want to scrap your travel plans abroad and explore the Philippines more.

Tumalog Falls Cebu

At the majestic Tumalog falls in Cebu

Christian LeBlanc is a 22 year-old Canadian national that enjoys traveling  and documenting it on his social media channels.  He also gained insta-fame when an elephant grabbed his GoPro whilst vacationing in Thailand and took this rare and rather epic, uh, elphie. 😉

christian-leblanc-978x500

Epic Elphie, Yo!

The photo has been shared throughout the world and in various news sites like CNN.

At 22, Christian has travelled to a slew of South East Asia countries with his girlfriend but decided that from all of the beautiful sites and places they’ve been, they have never fallen in love like they had with the Philippines. This video, aside from being very informative, can be viewed as a love letter to our lovely shores. So without further ado.

Wow.

After traveling to Bali last December, I think I’m making it a point to stop my travels abroad for now and invest in getting to know the Philippines more. What do you guys think?

Share your travel plans with us in the comment section below. 🙂

Follow Christian LeBlanc at Youtube and Instragram for more of his travels.

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