Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jose Rizal Typography

Jose Rizal was a badass calligrapher.Aside from inscribing the original manuscript in cursive AND in Spanish, Jose Rizal also designed the cover of Noli Me TangereBored to death in Dapitan, he wrote on the back side of his business cards and made flash cards to teach English to kids.

And this is only one reason why he is MY hero, too.

(Photos above were taken on our recent trip to the Rizal Museum at Fort Santiago.)

Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm Stingy Like Jose Rizal

By Guest Blogger: PJ Lanot


I start this article with a tweet from my wife Alessandra Lanot:
And to make us all feel better, he published El Fili at 30. 

We see Jose Rizal statues all over the country and in many parts of the world, tributes to his greatness. In one of my trips to the province, my teenage cousin confided, "To be Rizal is just impossible. He's too perfect. It's so overwhelming to idolize him, it's like wanting to be Superman." 
In school, I was force-fed romanticized tales of Rizal's life, him being the "First Filipino", or "The Greatest Malay." But instead of equating Rizal as Clark Kent / Superman, I think he's more human--like Peter Parker / Spiderman. I stumbled upon a book after college, published by the National Historical Institute (NHI) in 1993, Letters Between Rizal and Family Members 1876-1896, and learned that he is, indeed, one of us.
In this article I will highlight three letters among many, which show his human side. In this first, Pepe was ranting about being short on allowance, primarily when their Calamba sugar harvest and sales were down, or sometimes just plain delayed.

13-2nd right, Pizarro, Madrid (Spain)
17 December 1884 owe me three months allowance, a friend of mine has been helping me all this time, sometimes to pay my matriculation fees, sometimes to pay for the house and food, because with P50 one cannot make many miracles in Madrid.

If that were the 21st Century, "load" would form part of his worries.

And in a letter written probably in that same year, he gets turned-off when a Lieutenant of the Guardia Civil never returns a book borrowed from his Laguna library.

How nice is it that while I economize in order to buy books, anyone can get away with them. I'm tempted to buy all books in German with certainty that no lieutenant of civil guard will understand them, but for your sake I don't do it for you'll get no benefit from them.

This is the 1884 equivalent of me getting pissed when my brothers borrow my shirts and "own" them eventually. 

And as a recurring theme in many of his posts, he sarcastically scolds his family when his letters go unrequited, or when his allowances gets delayed:
Wilhelmsfeld (Germany), 9 June 1886
Since the beginning of January until now, I haven't received either a letter or draft, though according to my calculation I ought to receive money a month ago, for what I have would barely last until the beginning of May...

...I repeat once more, lest you may have forgotten it, the convenience and necessity of writing me in advance when you cannot send me the promised amount. Thus, I shall be at ease knowing by what to abide and I don't contract obligations which later will cause me displeasures that are not easy to imagine.

If you don't have much to tell me, a postal card with four or five words will suffice, which is very convenient and costs one-half. With an expenditure of four cuartos, you save me many displeasures. This is always easy to do.

And he ends this post with a PS, Please answer this letter.

(All letters translated from Spanish by the NHI. Phrases in italics are my highlights.)

Rizal suffers our similar experiences: constant utang, disappointments, and homesickness. Or maybe, in our times, gas prices going up, BBM not working, or a friend "un-following" you. Nonetheless, we still move on with our lives and produce small daily miracles in school, the office and at home. We may not have the big ends in mind like Rizal, e.g. freedom and equality, but we are just like him in the way that we constantly do what we love to do in the hopes of fulfilling our dreams and aspirations, and continue doing it really well. 

You, the sleepless copywriter, who love to make puns for personal glory, will get it soon. You, the scrimping Philippine-trotting blogger, who want to make millions to gallivant Europe, will eventually spend those Euros. And I, the Rizal-wannabe, will be the next. Just skip the Bagumbayan part, please.
Alessa's notes:
A couple of years ago, Peej and I tripped out on this photo shoot & with Photoshop to bayani-fy him. This is the result: Gat Pa Jota (PJ) Lanot. Haha :P

Chateau Hestia

Went to Tagaytay with my family the other day, and PJ and I took them to one of our favorite spots there: Chateau Hestia. It's an Austrian restaurant / bed&breakfast surrounded by lush greens, tucked in a residential area, away from the busy main road. They are known for their osso bucco, pizzas and breads.
I love any place with free bread! Haha. Chateau Hestia serves a variety of their special breads with homemade eggplant paté or pesto.
 We also ordered their mixed greens with passion fruit dressing.
My mom's bowl of Potato soup, from which we all ate from. It was so delicious! Tasted like baked potato. This was the winner for me.
I always order this, and it never fails to hit the spot: Porcini Pasta. Even meat-lovers will love the smoky taste and "meaty" mushroom texture.
Takeout and Set Menu lists
On the way to the restroom, this greeted me: An original piece by my favorite artist of all time, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Hardly anyone knows who he is, and I think even my family thought I was a bit nuts for my non-stop raving about the fact they had the piece.
The place was packed when we got there and unfortunately, they ran out of pizza dough (and would have had to wait two hours for the next batch). Everything we ate was delicious, though. My dad, who is a Bolognese Pasta freak, says that Chateau Hestia's version is up there on his list together with Sofitel's. We will definitely be back for more.


Chateau Hestia Garden Restaurant 
Purok 5, Brgy. Bukal, Silang
Cavite, Philippines 4118 (near Tagaytay City)
+63.929.7113289 /
View MAP.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Extra Gift" Giveaway!

This year (like most years, haha), I made most of my Christmas presents, some of which are these Bracelets made out of climbing rope. I made a few too many, so I've got some extra ones that I'm giving away to lucky blog readers!
Winners will get BOTH bracelets!

Here's how to submit your entry:
1. Follow Me on Twitter. 
2. Send your name & mailing address to & tell me who you're going to give the other bracelet to! ;)

Send your entries until Thursday, December 29. Winners will be notified on Friday! :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Cacao Tree

On one side of our house, there is a cacao tree.
When it's bright red, it means the fruit is ripe for picking.
It is cracked open, and the cacao seeds are taken out, dried and ground.

As tradition, the Hilarios and the Libongcos (my Mom's and Dad's sides) come together on Christmas Eve. And every Noche Buena, the entire family looks forward to this:a cup of hot chocolate, straight from the backyard, for each member of the family. Grainy, bitter and so comforting. Photo above was taken by my cousin Noelle.

 On Christmas Day, the Libongcos (who live next door) come over for lunch and for the opening of Christmas presents. It's a growing family, this year, with the Lanots and Lacsinas!
Happy Holidays from our "L" Family to yours! ;)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Easy Appetizer: Roasted Garlic

Make this yummy appetizer tonight!
When garlic is baked this way, it pops out easily and spreads like butter! ;)

- Chop of top part of garlic to expose all cloves.
- Slowly pour in 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil on each garlic head.
- Bake at 350˚C / 175˚F for 30 mins.
- Serve with toasted bread.


Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Photoshoot for RUB ribs & bbq

The only reason I am posting these photos of meat in my blog is because I shot them--the photos, not the animal! :P Before you make any judgments, please know that I'm NOT a photographer. I don't even have a pro camera...all I have are REALLY STEADY HANDS. Haha!

When it comes to designing collaterals for food businesses, gorgeous food photography already takes you halfway towards amazing design and branding. Now, where to put those photos depends on what type of business you have, and who your market is. High-end restos may opt not to put photos on their menu, and put it on their website instead, while more casual restaurants may use the photos for in-store promotions and for the menu. When taking food photographs, I always like going 'into the food' (if there ever is such a term) to get those in-your-face, drool-worthy photos. And as much as possible, I like to use natural lighting.  I have done several product styling jobs in the past, so I guess that helps a lot in composing the shots.

A few weeks ago, I visited the Rub team again in Scout Rallos, but this time, I was there to take photos of all their food. Overcast skies provided me with a large and natural (sun)light diffuser, which, I learned, is actually perfect for food and product photography.
Nerd mode: ON! That's me shooting Raki's BBQ Ribs. Thanks to Chef Martin Kabigting for shooting me 'in action'. Photo in the middle is their Coffee Creme Brulee.

I used their Chalkboard menu art and incorporated it into this poster.
If you're still looking for last-minute food for your Noche Buena celebrations or holiday reunions, you can contact them to order (what many people claim to be) the best ribs in town. They're accepting Christmas Eve orders until the 24th.

I hope the holiday rush will be good to all of us today! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pipino Party Packs

Pipino's Mini Vegan Cupcakes are perfect for your Noche Buena & New Year feasts. Combine up to 2 flavors per dozen. Pipino is at 39 Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City. Open daily, 11am-10pm. Pick-up schedule on December 24 & 31 is until 6pm. Call Pipino at (02) 4411773 to order these bite-sized goodies!

You can also pre-order Party Packs for hassle-free celebrations. This is perfect, especially if you have vegetarian/vegan guests coming over and never know what to serve them. ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Give Up Gifts for CDO & Iligan

Last December 16, Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi) pummeled the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao, Philippines. Many lost their homes, death toll has already reached a thousand with over 1,800 people injured and a large number still missing. Many groups have initiated to send relief to evacuation centers, but monetary support is requested because the help will get to them faster than actual goods, which can be purchased in nearby cities (Davao).

Earlier today, a lot of people, including my friend Jenie, posted this on Twitter:
And then my best bud Patty published a very helpful post on where and how you can send your donations to the victims of TS Sendong. You may also DONATE ONLINE via Red Cross Philippines' website.

If you do decide to donate instead of giving gifts this Christmas, here is something for you: I made some printable cards and an e-card that you can send to your family and friends in lieu of Christmas presents.

Send out this e-card after you make your donation.

 Or you can also print out these envelope-letters,
write your own notes, and give them out personally.Download the printable version here.

Just print on both sides of the paper, cut along lines and fold along dots.

Please keep CDO & Iligan in your prayers. Thank you.

Watercolored Futura

I woke up today with the realization that Christmas is already this weekend, which means I only have 3 working days left to finish all my work so that I can have a real non-working holiday! Sorry if this will be a really quick post: I've got to do lots of painting today! Here's a preview of some illustrations for the new Pipino menu.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Snug as a (Shutter)Bug

I take my camera with me wherever I go, and I usually just dump it in my bag together with all my other things. I know, that's not a very nice habit. But it's such a hassle to bring an extra camera bag with me all the time! If you're looking for cute camera bags, though, the best place to go is CitySuper in Hong Kong.
Photo by Elaine

Wasted an entire day in NY with my cousin, searching for the perfect camera case. Everything that we found were either bulky or boring. Went online (which I should've done right from the start!) and found a camera case, tailor made for my camera model. It fits perfectly unlike generic cases that will take up more space in your bag than necessary. Now, I don't have to worry about it being scratched inside my big bag! Bought the camera case from AmazonStrap is from VLashor.
When unbuttoned, the case flips over and you can start taking pictures already. No need to remove the camera from the case! Genius.
I use a Canon G12 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Craft Challenge

Had brunch this morning with my cousins and the husbands at Pipino. I planned on making their presents earlier this week, but work got in the way so it got pushed until I only had an hour left before it was time to leave the house. It was the time limit that was the actual challenge, and not really the activity (because onceuponatime I designed accessories for a living). So I brought out my jewelry kit + my newly purchased gemstones and whipped up some necklaces for the girls.
All of them are strung on gold silk thread with metal chain
except for this particular design (above) which I paired with climbing rope.
Here are Matet, Ate Tricia and Elaine wearing them!
From Left to Right:
Hot Pink Agate + Apatite
Lemon Quartz + Apatite + Coral
Aquamarine + Amazonite + Amethyst

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Craft Soirée

Since I work as a freelancer, I often dream about meeting other creatives and crafters, and getting together to talk about/create pretty things. Ever since I started this blog, I've received a lot of e-mails asking if I could hold workshops. Although instead of a formal workshop, I want to host a party for (creative) strangers!

I will provide the venue, snacks and lootbag. For your "Entrance Fee", you will need to give each guest a craft/product that you made. Imagine the cute loot we would all be taking home! Oh, and of course, the new friendships we'd make. ;)
Would anyone go? What would we do? Is the idea too freaky?
Please send your thoughts to

Friday, December 16, 2011

Have a Hey Kessy Christmas!

This season, our household is trying to be as green as we possibly can. Our Christmas tree now saves us a whole lot on our electricity bill because we opted to skip on the lights. I think it still looks pretty!
I even suggested we skip on wrapping paper this year, so all our presents are wrapped in reusable kraft paper bags and boxes. I wanted to make the wrapping a bit more festive and decided that washi tape was the answer! I used it to make patterns on plain gift boxes. The goal is to make the giftee think twice before throwing the box away! ;)

Washi tape is made of paper & a light adhesive, with texture that is similar to that of floral tape and japanese paper. It's a favorite among crafters, and lucky for us, they are now available in the country, thanks to Hey Kessy!
They come in many different colors and patterns.
There are so many ways you could us them: from gifts to garlands!
Our friends from Hey Kessy are giving out Washi Tape Sets
to some lucky blog readers!

Here's how to submit your entry:
3. Follow Me on Twitter. 
4. Send your name & mailing address to

Open until Saturday, December 17.
Winners will be notified on Sunday!