Chapter 5: The Show



“How does it feel like to wake up in the sun?

 How does it feel like to shine on everyone?

How does it feel like to let forever be?  ”

–           Let Forever Be / The Chemical Brothers




The Philippine Fashion Week was first conceived in 1997 by Runway Productions piloted by brothers Joey and Audie Espino. It was organized after Joey Espino’s visit to see New York’s version of the fashion event, and said that the “local fashion industry should also have the same thing to look forward to every year.”  He proposed to give local talent a platform to showcase their work, especially those gifted designers without enough means. Since its formation, a number of both established and upcoming Filipino designers had shown their handiwork, usually setting the vogue for what to foresee in fashion for the coming year.  For thirteen years now, the Philippine Fashion Week did not only make it to the chief calendar of events of the city but it also became a mystifying upshot to anyone who had privilege of being a component of such an EVENT.

Since its naissance, the Philippine Fashion Week was held at the Activity Center of Glorietta Mall in Makati City and the NBC Tent at The Fort in Taguig City for which I was part of the volatile horde back in 2003’s Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Cosmo Blitz with my best friend Norman Cautivar, both of us in the country for an instant time off.  It was incredibly brutish and the show was both masculine and imperial.  I clearly remember the way Miriam Quaimbao danced in her seat during the encore and how John Lapuz, then a correspondent for The Buzz wailed comically to everyone just to get an interview with the supermodels.  Also, I remembered Angel Aquino and how her smile perked up the entire room when she walked in and how an MTV VJ raided the dressing room after the show and Norman and I were asked to be interviewed.  Norman waved an indignant, “No.”  as I smiled to the camera and told her that I enjoyed the show.  That was a night to remember indeed.  In 2008, the Fashion Week was transferred to SMX Convention Center at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.   Among the designers who have showcased their creations in this year on year event included Ivarluski Aseron, Pepsi Herrera, Rajo Laurel, Anthony Nocom, John Herrera, Paul Herrera, Renee Salud, Edwin Tan, Gerry Katigbak, JC Buendia, and my friends Eddie Castro and Frederick Peralta, among others.

Seven years after that stimulating Cosmopolitan show, I came back to the Philippines and somehow, the universe tweaked its enthralling hands on me and landed me a job at Round One Productions, a talent and event agency, owned and operated by Norman’s brother, Mael, to which I was talent and events coordinator a month after I arrived from Dubai.   Furthermore, it was the October Fashion Week and that meant fashion shows that will be endowed with the trend of 2011. Exciting exciting exciting! 

Also, there was a lot of work.




The Folded and Hung Show

SMEX Convention Centre, Pasay City

October 28, 2010

12:20 NOON

We had two of our talents in the Folded and Hung Show.  My work schedule that drizzly day was to look after them from the rehearsal period at 1 P.M.. towards the show at 7 P.M. and after the show to yonder.  Call time that day was 12 noon and Robi was late!  I was furious, standing at the entrance of Hall 2, where the show was going to be held.  Miko, our other model, was already inside on make-up and found his way out to greet me and to escort me back inside with Robi, who, by some reason fell asleep in the bus and couldn’t quite make it on time.  After about fifteen minutes of waiting, Robi called and told me, “Tito Jon (Uncle Jon) I am in the area!  I am sorry!” already panting from all that hustle I frantically SMS’d to him an hour back. I rolled my irate eyes and yelped, “Run!”

12:45 PM

Robi was in.  Miko was already in an hour before him.  I stood at the back of the models’ zone, at the side stage where all of them would be fully clad for make-up, hair and clothes.  The Hall 2 of the SMEX Convention Centre was huge and the boys and girls were lined up in partitions to wait their turns for the make-up artists to unstitch the perfect look for the Folded and Hung Fashion Show for which the theme would be Indian summer, consequently, all would be transformed into a bohemian panache with a mix of darkness and multihued spectacle, both in clothing and make-up.  As I stood there, busily updating the agency about the event’s undercurrent, I noticed some of the models wolfing at the catering area where free food was being served.  I didn’t notice any salad or greens whatsoever which models normally eat although some of them brought their own Tupperware.  I walked over to the boys and asked if they were hungry.  Both chorused, “Yes po.” wondering where I actually got my maternal instincts when about three months ago I was shouting at my managers in Dubai for making projections the range of a Kindergarten lesson plan.  I gave them their food ticks and I went on with my eagle-eyeing to the girls who were emaciated like bamboo fiddling their starvation by ingesting Bruno Mars on their IPODs. Eating is just a state of mind.

3:00 PM


Robbie Carmona, the director of the show, was up in arms with the models.  In the encore of their rehearsal, some of them were still missing out on blockings and stumbling on each other on the runway.  I sat on the side bleacher, watching the rehearsal that started about an hour and a half ago.  The build-up of the show was already in my indistinct head as I heard the director screeched his cusses on the microphone as the models pranced along, oblivious and nervous in their half-made selves, waiting for the real show to begin at 7 P.M.  The show’s concept was Indian summer and the strip to which all the models will be gliding onto was a grass-type greenlandia of a summer park with its trendy peoples colonizing the entire stage.  The choreography, the impersonated colonization, was also imaginative in a sense since that highlights of the design would have a good, chock-full coverage to the spectators with the models standing at the ersatz grass land, waiting turns to ramp on separately.  Unlike the shows that we have been through the past week, the Folded and Hung show was the most anticipated because not only would it underline the summer and spring collection, the line of garments that F and H proffered since its debut was vast in the Philippine all the rage patrons alongside home-grown Bench and attire aficionado, Hang Ten. 

7:20 P.M.

The gates were still closed because the lines outside was heaving with people.  Indeed the turn-up was a huge success and the show was fashionably late as expected.  I peered from the inside and saw Eddie Castro, who was already inside but handed out tickets to our friends outside, in the line with Frederick Peralta, both of which should have been inside already.  Through SMS, I asked Eddie why he was in the line, a VIP as he was, when he was already inside a few minutes back with his Full Access Entry and he replied that the number of people was just enormous, even for SMEX, that his pass was denied.  He advised me not to come out anymore otherwise I would be in the same line with him and Frederick.  Inside, Mael Cautivar positioned himself with the media, set his camera and comically bonded with the photographers himself.  The heavy-set marshal was already going around ushering all the D-List out of the venue.  Neither I, nor Mael, had Full Access Passes, but we smiled – we mingled – we belonged and no one goaded us out from where our asses were situated.  We felt sorry for the people in the lines; half of them probably won’t be able to see the show.  We were right.  And we were so lucky.

8:30 PM

The lights went down and the virtual commuter’s bus opened to the drums of hotchpotch music.  Then it paved way to purples and greens tinted to describe an early daytime feel.  Actress Agot Isidro, who was two steps away from me, practically stood up and flashed an all-teeth smile when the dimness of the Chemical Brothers’ voice wailed melodramatically in and across the room.  Actress Maxene Magalona and stylist Liz Uy, happily squeaked when the lights started to go up again.  It was only then when I realized that it was a full room.  From my right, I saw the gates and it was still crammed with people who can’t get inside.  I looked to the stage and it was not only alight, it was practically on fire!  The music of the Chemical Brothers had me spellbound.  Somehow, in a lot of ways, I was removed from where I was sitting and in raptures with a fantasy. 

My very own version of the caprice illumine.  In 3D.

And The Chemical Brothers came up

“How does it feel like to wake up in the sun?

 How does it feel like to shine on everyone?

How does it feel like to let forever be?  ”



Anne Curtis is one of the Philippines’ goddesses.  She came out in the first part of the avant-garde cabaret and when she glided that night – with lips the precipitous glare of a damsel in distress slash Lolita I need my daddy longlegs ASAP – she did not just exemplify the butterfly flick when she walked in that stage, she was the butterfly flick.  It was amazing enough that this actress is so popular because of her Angelina Jolie lips, her Betty Boo attitude and her arousing alcohol ads but this girl, in more ways than one, is also an enchanting actress.  In the Folded and Hung show, she was a walking butterfly fully clad in flower-patterned satin, elevator shoes and head banded that locked her tresses that fell to her bosoms in a mad muddle.  Such a joy to watch!  As her long legs stretched the marker of my roving peripatetic vision, it literally blinded me and I contracted the dress that she was wearing as itinerant to rootless hallucinations because it magically gushed to the floor and I smelled flesh burning – a witch’s torching – emanating from Miss Curtis’ green grass road.  I almost forgot about the fact that I do follow her on Twitter and have known about her acting merits for the historical movie Baler and the correlation of Baler being one of my much-loved places in the whole world.  Other than that I do know not her personally but tonight, she was my co-witch, only she was being eyed and I was being the eye.  Seconds later, the audience roared when Anne Curtis paused for a delectable pout to the photographers at the end of the meadow and I felt in awe with the way the clichés of my head were jumping up and down.  I wanted to ask her out right off and buy her dinner.  Tonight, she was a delirium, and she ate the entire show, sucking all the air of those sitting in the bleachers, a mother bee to the next series of models that followed her shortly.

In Miko Delos Reyes’ very first photo shoot for Round One Productions, Mael knew that we have reached syndication.  His face is an unsullied tallying to the more Brazilian and Russian movement that assaulted the fashion world in the Philippines this year with the likes of Akihiro Sato and Fabio Ide among others.  Miko’s visage endorses the Filipino pretext, but with no typicality to restore confidence to the onlooker.  His transcendent bones, his apple seed eyes that are analogous to that of a younger Richard Gere, his zero fat physique and his pubescent smile can easily be concurrent to any wispy coloured Caucasian, but as I said earlier, we are not looking at the archetypal mannequin in Miko.  He has the blush of your mainstream Filipino in his skin.  If he has lived in the Spanish colonial times, a century ago in the Philippines, he would’ve been easily spotted and fêted as a home-grown Maharlika tisoy (half-breed) with his high up nose, indistinct eyes topped with his governing brownness.  It is heart-rending that eminent models and celebrities, decades later, have turned into the more extraneous genus of fair-skinned, Am-Boys (foreign bred) who came and left.  I guess this is the reason why Richard Gomez, the valedictorian endorser of the indissoluble Bench Wears, remained eternal because, like Miko, he embodied the Pinoy (Filipino) flicker that also reaped the television, movies, more endorsements and even politics subsequent to his modelling fire up.  All the same, Miko re-established the air of newness, both in ramp and print modelling.  It is also amusing that even as a real person, Miko is dissimilar to your customary model because he is also a triathlon athlete, an Architecture scholar at the University of the Philippines, funny and unperturbed for his age, on the ball with the world and he drives a posh car.  He is only twenty-one.  I always ask him what his plans are after he graduates because as far as my mind can approximate his comings and goings, as he walked with his bohemian guitar and topless demeanour, I think he is not far-off from where he is heading.

The first time I met Robert Taatjes, he was a frail and skinny kid bursting with a lot of dynamic energy.  I was vacationing two years ago with my best friend Norman Cautivar in Baler, Aurora, his hometown and we came across this local surfer, who was still in high school and braving the livid waves.  Tonight, he belonged in the cream of the crop mannequins for the Folded and Hung show, alongside supermodels and celebrities.  Like Miko, he is also managed by Round One Productions, and specifically, I was their babysitter for tonight.  Robert, or Robi, is not your conventional nineteen years old.  He has lived everywhere from Australia to Thailand to America to the Philippines.  He is of Australian/American and Filipino descent, thus his astute features, reckless surfer’s attitude and shift grace were both linked to market proximity and saleability.  Incongruously, Robi’s stance at the show did not highlight his unfeigned passion to life.  And the seawater.  Clad in red tank top and a fedora, he rowdily swamped through the verdure of the slope, as I looked at him with my eye on his eyes, and I wondered what he was thinking; the mêlée of his feet against the ocean tide?  His father that he has not seen in a while, or maybe, the disjointing of the Sierra Madre from the SMEX Convention Centre where he was both a breaker of his own waves and the inherent surf board of his thoroughfare to the stars?  Even so, Robi smirked aligned with the intense lights, blissfully lost in his own sea.

At the backstage, during rehearsal, Luis Alandy, veteran revolutionary of both film and theatre, pranced by and we exchanged tacit pleasantries over gazes.  I met him a couple of years back at Robinson’s Galleria, when he was only an infantile luminary trying to cut into showbizness.  He was then a very promising actor and so gifted that after a few years; he actually made it to a lot of projects and derived benefit from it.  We then became friends at the then-popular social network site Friendster but I never had the chance to see him again.  After I saw him at the rehearsal, I began visualizing myself getting his new number so that we can take off where we left off – stupid me for crushing on him actually – but of course, I stopped myself.  By and large, Luis was standoffish towards the others.  Who wouldn’t?  Everyone was ogling and writhing over his agile presence, the one that would pin you to the wall and demonstrate the nasties with you with all dampness, until I realized that it was truly just me who was doing the ogling and the writhing.  After about five years that I have not seen the guy, it suddenly built up on me how absolutely fine-looking he was.  The first time I met him, there was nothing distinctive about him apart from the talent, but tonight, in the arctic backstage of the SMEX Convention Centre, I felt myself transcending to his aloof eminence.  I was salivating the whole time staring at his backside, desiring for a speck of dirt, a chalk stain perhaps,  so I can come up to him and dust it off his ass!   Finally, at the show, when he showed off his prodigious abdomen, I almost forgot that I had a live-in partner back in Dubai who was waiting for me.  I almost wished I had the valour to be friendlier to him awhile ago offstage.  Then I remembered that his last girlfriend turned out to be a lesbian, so I was taking my chances very seriously.  In fact, I almost wished I went home with him. 

“Oh my gosh, she is fat!”  I heard myself say after Angel Locsin came out.  Remotely unsanitary, the girl who launched a thousand advertisements, particularly Folded and Hung, did look paunchy, speaking from a fashionista acumen.  After I realized that she is a movie and television star and not, in fact, a fashion model, I began seeing Miss Locsin in a different way.  She paraded in shorts, jewels, leather boots and mellifluous get up that articulated the downy version of 80s punk rock era and the fluidity of the 90s.  It was a good blend and the angelic Angel Locsin complimented the entire look.  If Anne Curtis turned up at the show as a witch, Miss Locsin became my sexy beekeeper who saw the urban jungle as the tart of the human badge; naughty, investigational and transgender but has chosen to emit pleasure from the sweetness of honey and occasional bee stings once in a while.  She was palatable and luscious enough to eat and as the marker of my roving peripatetic vision divided into her other side; I was stupefied with the reality of her philanthropy.  Angel Locsin, other than the grand finale of a paramount show such as this, or being a superstar herself, is in fact an active worker of aid organizations and has gone to the mountains to feed the hungry.  She is actually a real angel and as she sashayed to the centre stage, the passionate lighting did not obscure what was behind her futuristic beekeeper look: angel wings.

And the song by Flo Rida came up in the finale

9:45 PM

After the show, the entire Round One Productions; managing director Mael Cautivar, myself, sylist Eddie Castro, our models Miko and Robi all went to Gilligan’s for a late dinner.  We were all happy, exhausted and somehow pleased with the show’s success.  I had San Mig Lite beer over my two servings of rice over everything that was laid over the dinner table and everyone, in unison, snarled, “Wow!”

I said, “Oh EAT!”


With Miko and Robi after The Show










Show Photos by Mael Mijares Cautivar

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