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Filipina Makes The Most Beautiful Things

I was not a big fan of fashion. I always thought it was superficial and leaned towards looking at people stripped of the aesthetics that could get in the way of substance. Until, I started hanging around women and came to understand that anyone’s need to be beautiful comes from everyone’s nature to want to make things beautiful. It is innate in all of us. We may differ on what is perceived to be beautiful but common in the desire for beauty.

It could be because of vanity. Everyone is vain.
It could be because we were born into it. We were born into a beautiful world, that’s the only thing we know.
It could be because we all are beautiful. No one can deny it.

Fashion, then, isn’t just a money-making industry that reshapes and reinvents the concept of beauity. It is but it is also more. It is humanity’s second nature.

One Filipina understands that better than most people in the world.

Monique Lhuillier

She has designed for Jennifer Connelly, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Jessica Parker, Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria, Ashley Judd, Sharon Stone, Halle Berry, Alicia Silverstone, Britney Spears, Lea Salonga and Angelina Jolie, among others.

Hillary Swank in Monique Lhuillier

Hillary Swank in Monique Lhuillier

Time Magazine and Newsweek, to name a few, will. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget that her designs were featured in top-rating TV shows in the USA including CNN and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Legend in the making.

People Magazine feature on Monique Lhuillier

People Magazine feature on Monique Lhuillier

She was educated in Switzerland and designed her own wedding gown and that of her entourage that also turned the heads of the international designing world

ashlee simpson on monique lhuillier

ashlee simpson on monique lhuillier

She has four stores in the U.S. for her RTW collection and has solo shows not just in the U.S. but also in Paris, Japan and just about every country where fashion is a big thing.
Unquestionably phenomenal.

monique lhullier

monique lhullier

She was born in Cebu, Philippines to Filipino parents. Never denies her heritage and still talks like a Filipina. No frilly pretentious trying hard accent.

monique lhuillier

monique lhuillier

I’m A Proud Pinoy, You Got A Problem With That?

Is it me or are nationalistic causes and groups popping out left and right? Not that I am complaining. Greek gods know well enough I feel an elation comparable to a double shot of crystal meth and heroine whenever I see shirts with three stars and a sun or hear Pinoys cheer for other Filipinos be it in sports or entertainment. It makes me want to cartwheel my way to seventh heaven.

The obvious question is whether this thing is just a fad or a beginning of deep-rooted love for the country. Pepe Diokno’s Phony Pride argued that Pinoys’ ever expanding ego is a way to compensate for the Pinoys’ belief that they are inadequate. It is an age-old adage – arrogance is rooted on insecurity. The argument has a basis and not totally insane. It could, actually, be considered legitimate since it is based on some academic psychological theory.

I will not try to disprove his theory. Debate that requires some academic research is a skill I was never born with. I lack that chip in my pea-sized brain. It is so small god decided to put only the cells that will be necessary for my survival – cells that tell me to eat, take a bath, sleep, take a crap and download music and movies. Those are what I have.

Photo By Mech Serva a.k.a. TechieSlasher

What I will do is prove that at this point in time, whether or not Pinoys are doing this because they are insecure or “think of ourselves to be inadequate” is not important. You see, when you are out on the ocean with nothing on your horizon but more water – pride, class and all sorts of mothereffin’  values go out the f#@$in’ window. The only thing that will matter is survival.

That is where the Philippines was several years ago. It wasn’t long ago when Jose Rizal, OPM and the Philippine flag were all considered symbols for the lower classes. At some f$%^ed point in history, Senators and Congressmen were openly laughing at the possibility of speaking tagalog in their Congressional sessions. That is an absolute sh!t. Those are Philippines’ leaders, laughing at their country’s language. Now, they probably still can’t get through a session in pure Filipino but they dare not laugh at the suggestion anymore lest they witness their @rses get kicked by Pilipinos always ready and looking for any form of reason to kick some politician’s @ss.  That is how low the Pinoys were. So low, any move they make is up.

There were only a handful of people who was going like “Ok, this is sh!t. Gotta get my @ss moving if this nation is ever to have some semblance of love for its own.” Again, when you are that low, you take whatever step is available for you to recover just until you have enough room to breathe and know for sure you are not going to die. For now, what seems to be working is the dangling of everything and everyone that glitters and shines. That is often entertainers that are able to enter the door of Hollywood – Arnel Pineda, Charice, etc. It is the nudge that seems to knock down a lot of mountains.  There are sports heroes – Manny Pacquaio, Efren “Bata” Reyes, Paeng Nepomuceno, etc. There are Fil-Ams that openly acknowledge they are partly Pinoys – Jo Koy, Batista, etc.

Some people may view this as a superficial way of instilling patriotism. Well, so the f$%# what? If that is what it will take for people to notice and listen, I’ll take that. Certainly beats the h3ll out of waiting for someone to come up with a truly fool-proof way of instilling patriotism.

How do you suggest we do it then? Integrate it to the country’s curriculum? Last time I check, the government can’t even provide enough classrooms, tables and chairs and teachers for students to even learn the basic of history, math and literature. So you go and fix that and then get on my face and talk about this superficial way of promoting patriotism. What I do know is that when they are listening then it is easier for them understand and who knows even develop confidence and love for the country they were born into.

There is no denying that a lot of Filipinos still feel that Pinoys are inadequate – inadequate in and for so many things. It has been that way for ages and nothing was done about it until recently. It’s not like getting to here from that $hithole was an effin’ bliss. It took the assassination of Ninoy and subsequent revolution, a multi-platinum award of Francis M’s Mga Kababayan, the influx of foreign visitors to Boracay, several TV shows tediously researching for international performers who have Pinoy blood in them and many many more efforts that are still unrecognized just to get the brains of the Pilipinos wrap around the concept of this country not being a total loser. It’s paying off a bit but still not to the degree Jose Rizal might have desired but at least something is being done.

Philippines remain poor and that is the real antagonist of patriotism. Everyday people are just trying to survive. The government and other people who claim to care don’t really do much to help. Majority of Pinoys commute everyday to work (if they are luck to have one) below a sky ridden with pollution, on a road equally divided to snatchers, abusers, robbers, killers, bad traffic and monsters in uniform. They go home to a wage never enough for a decent meal three times a day. When you are that down, believe you me, it is difficult not to be angry at everything.  It is hard to think about being proud of the same country that is doing this to you.

Miraculously, watching local celebrities making it internationally seems to do the trick. It gives Pinoys some hope, some breathing space, some sort of an actual proof that this country isn’t so bad and that it ought to be loved even when they don’t know why.

“Pinoy pride… only exists because we think ourselves to be inadequate.” – Diokno

Below is an article written by Pepe Diokno on his own take on Pinoy pride. It is an interesting take on a concept that I feel every Pinoy needs to take personally.

After is my own take on the whole thing.

I encourage you to think about this and share your thoughts to me either by email or by leaving a comment.

Thank you.

Phony pride

By Pepe Diokno

Originally published on June 19th, 2008

With Brillante Mendoza turning up dry at the Cannes Film Festival, and with American Idol ending sans Ramielle Malubay, the Filipino race has again missed the chance to bask in international adulation. Of course, we need only wait until the next Pacquiao fight for a new fix of Pinoy pride. But considering what I’ve said so far, what the heck is Pinoy pride, anyway? Where does it come from? And have we really resorted to defining our national identity via wannabe singers and boxers?

Now, Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, defines pride this way: It is “(attaching) undue importance to the superiority of one’s status.” For Christians, on the other hand, “Pride brings destruction,” — that, from Proverbs 8:13. But Pinoy pride, though, is arguably different.

Ideally, the term should connote respect for our heritage — and not the superiority of our race over others’. But today, Pinoy pride is used as an antonym of shame. At a time when there is so much wrong with our country, it is meant to be the gravitas with which we say, “I am Filipino.” Instead, Pinoy pride has now morphed into an exercise in finding the silver lining.

Like, “I am Filipino, but so is singer Charice Pempengco.”

We jump every time we see a Filipino on foreign TV. The Black Eyed Peas’ “Bebot” gives us orgasms. And I bet you know every Hollywood star who is at least half-Filipino. (Rob Schneider?)

Robin Williams was married to a Filipina. Oh, ABS-CBN’s “Bandila” got nominated for an Emmy. Lea Salonga! Stars wear Monique Lhuillier! A bunch of private-school kids won a world robotics Olympiad! And Michelle Bumgarner has been signed by a major US racing team!

How was that for a dose?

But, “pride is the mask we make of our faults,” goes a Hebrew adage. And the same is true for Pinoy pride. Yes, Filipinos may be talented, hardworking, and world-class. But do we really need to keep telling ourselves we are?

We look around and see evidence that we’re not great. Our streets are dirty. Where is our government taking us? Over 20 years after we fought for democracy, and where are we? Are Filipino children learning in schools? Every day, thousands of Filipinos leave home to be underemployed abroad. And the “Mabuhay!” we all used to say has been replaced by the sound of, “Hello, this is ____ speaking. How may I help you?” (Said with an American twang.)

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people,” says “Narnia” author C.S. Lewis, “and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.”

See, there are real challenges that we Filipinos have to overcome. But instead of facing these, we turn to Pinoy pride. We turn to Pinoy pride to convince us that we’re a capable people. (Why do we need convincing?) We turn to Pinoy pride to assure us that we’re world-class. (Is it because there is a part of us that believes we aren’t?)

The truth is Pinoy pride only exists because we think ourselves to be inadequate. Continue reading