Monday, October 20, 2008

Josie Natori, A Worldclass Filipina

As a little girl I dreamt of being a fashion designer, my influence is my fashion designer mom. I took up a course in Fine Arts, even participated in our University fashion show yet I graduated and discovered another passion for marketing and advertising.

I never became a full-fledged fashion designer but I still retained my love and fascination for fashion. I keep myself informed about fashion and I do enjoy watching shows like Project Runway, The next Top Model etc. To my glee I got to read updates on a Filipina and world class fashion designer/entrepreneur worthy of admiration, Ms. Josie Cruz - Natori.

She was born in the Philippines in 1947, she moved to the US in 1964 to study and then worked her way up the corporate ladder to become the Merrill Lynch's first female Vice President in Investment Banking. Having found success in banking she found herself looking for a new challenge which brought her to fashion. She now is the CEO and founder of the Natori company that also provides jobs for her fellowmen.

She has been awarded in 2007 the Philippines' highest civilian honor, The Lakandula award. More recently she also awarded with the 2008 BPInoy Award in Makati Shangril-Hotel.

She held a fashion show last Februay, 2008 in Manila and in one of her interviews with the Inquirer she said, "It is not in mass production but in fine craftsmanship where Filipinos can excel. And what makes our craftsmanship special, what gives it the edge, is the sophistication, the touch of modernity."

From what I've seen, read and heard about her, what strikes me most is her passion to excel and make a difference. She is very talented, her love for challenge and search for meaning has brought her fame in banking, fashion and music. More importantly, her heart is good.

In one of her awarding moments she was quoted saying, "I love my work, but success in fashion is not enough, I want to be able to give something back, to make a difference in people’s lives. Only then will I feel as if I’ve accomplished something.”

Makes a lot of sense! Truly inspiring!

Read more about her in her site www.natori.com.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Lea Salonga, a Multi - awarded Broadway Star!

I started listening to Lea Salonga when I was 5 years old and since then, I've been her fan. I continue to admire her not just because she is pretty, smart and a great singer but also because she has remained excellent.

She started her career in the Philippines first in a musical play and then as a child singer. I even recall my first tape as a child was Lea's 'Small Voice album'.

Her International career began in Broadway when she played the role of Kim in Ms. Saigon. That was the start and from then on she has made her mark internationally. She is an award winning talent with recognitions from the Tony awards and Laurence Olivier awards, to name a few.

She also lent her voice as the singing voices of Fa Mulan (Mulan) and Princess Jasmin (Alladin).

Watch her audition for Ms. Saigon.



More information about Ms. Lea Salonga - Chien is in her website.

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Arnel Pineda, the new frontman of Journey!

It's amazing how Arnel Pineda's luck changed when a man from the other side of the globe saw his band's video on the internet. Not a lot of people get a chance like this.

Here is a news on him by CBS uploaded in Youtube by espiritu.





His path to popularity was not an easy one and just like a lot of Filipinos and artists he also had his fair share of hardship, poverty even hunger. It's just a fairy tale come true. His is a story that gives a lot of hope to those who dream.

Congratulations and God bless Arnel! Continue to spread your unique sunshine :)

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In Gawad Kalinga Filipinos unite and take action!

When all else fails, it's always the private citizens and regular people who get things done. I commend each person who shared their time, talent and resources to help our brethren. Gawad Kalinga is one of the best programs/solutions I've known and the selflessness and self sacrifice showcased here is truly uplifting and encouraging. By the way, Gawad Kalinga is a Filipino term which means "to give care." To know more it, click here.

A childhood friend of mine has devoted her life to this cause. She graduated a 'cum laude' in one of the Philippines best universities and took up film classes overseas, and yet she has decided to be a mission worker, devoting her time to GK. Young and promising, she left the possibilities of a bright career and bigger income in the corporate world because her heart went out for the poor. She wants to help them and hopefully, make a difference.

Here's a video of Gawad Kalinga I got from YouTube, uploaded by fg4gk.



It is because of people like her in GK that changes are happening. Read more about others who are involved in Gawad Kalinga.

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Bo Sanchez' asks, "Why so much God and Poverty?"

I read a blog from fellow Filipino Bo Sanchez. He asks about the relationship between poverty and God.

It's a worthwhile read that will surely make you think, wonder and hopefully act. Nice to know that many of my fellowmen are thinking and are as concerned as I am.

Here's an excerpt:

Last week, I had lunch with a wealthy foreigner.

How wealthy? He was earning two million dollars a month. (I’m not kidding.) He was in the Philippines visiting our smaller islands.

“So how did you like your visit?” I asked him.

“I loved it,” he said, “I have never met a more polite, more courteous, nicer people than the Filipinos.”

“Thank you,” I beamed.

But then he frowned. “Bo, I also noticed how religious Filipinos are. I saw the tricycles with signs, saying, “God loves you” and “John 3:16”. There is so much God in your country. And yet there is so much poverty.”

Ouch.

That hurt because it’s so true.

Read his blog and the responses.

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Photos:
*The Header photos are by the blog author.
*The photos feature two beaches of the Philippines, Puerto Galera and Boracay.
*The children in the picture are locals of Boracay, Philippines.


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