Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Domesticity Dispatch: Welcome to the PI

Mabuhay! I'm sorry I haven't posted sooner, but the fact is that I have been making the most of my vacation - even though I do have DSL here at my folks' place and I am able to post, I have been getting up early most days and packing in as much as possible: catching up with friends and family, mostly, but also resting, relaxing, and just plain being here.

But yeah, I have been doing a lot of shopping, too. Not at the vintage stores, though, and not even at all my favorite stores (where the sizing is often inconsistent - then again, I haven't fit into a Pinoy size XL since 1995). So far I've been doing my shopping at Ayala Alabang and the brand-new Mall of Asia, but so far I'm liking what I see.

Before I go on, I'd like to give a shout-out to all my fellow Pinoys reading this blog, especially those from the Philippines - and my teenage god-daughter, as well, since I've been told she has a Blogger account. So this entry's for you...

Here's my confession: I am so glad - repeat, SO GLAD - to see my two favorite stores for makeup here in the Philippines. The first favorite store is PCX (see Alabang map here), which I love because it reminds me so much of Longs Drugs: drugstore toiletries AND massagers? I'm so there. And I couldn't resist snapping up another tube of Revlon's Super Lustrous gloss in Raisin Glaze, which is sparkly in the tube but turns into a nice, toasty nude shade on me. Between this and the Cherries In the Glow, I think I'm in love with this line. (And, Pinays, take my word for it: Those two shades I mentioned? Are totally awesome next to Pinay skin, especially if you're quite tan like I am.)

My second favorite store? Watson's. No, I am not kidding. By now you're probably asking why I still insist on shopping here when there are all sorts of high-end department stores with high-end cosmetics, but it's no secret that I've been in love with Watson's ever since I stepped into one in Singapore. Sure, they still have the old-school Max Factor products on the shelves (even though the sales clerk was amazed by my familiarity with the Lipfinity line), but I think it's so crazy awesome that they carry everything in every imaginable price range, from local products to international products and even their fantastic house brand.

Here's another thing: Manila girls, don't sweat it if you think I'm only harping on American brands here (especially those that I can buy at Wal-Mart for cheaper). You should've seen my face when I found out that there were Korean makeup stores here - and for me, Korean cosmetics are pretty much squee-worthy, since they're relatively inexpensive and are almost equal in quality, if not better than the American, European, and Japanese brands that fashionistas tend to drool over.

And as for the Pinoy brands, I'm running a review soon of some of the local brands I've been able to try, which I'm loving so far. Believe me when I say that I'd buy more if I wasn't at risk of overpacking my suitcase!


As I'm typing this, I'm wearing a T-shirt that I bought from Bench (don't mind the Pussycat Dolls-inspired ads and limited merch on the site; the store's long-standing menswear section always has great T-shirts for the curvy babes among us) and I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that, for the price of a pair of killer first-issue pumps from Nine West in Honolulu, I actually managed to buy not one, but three pairs of cute shoes (kitten-heeled wood mules from T at Rustan's Alabang; black leather loafers from Figlia at SM Bay City; and the cutest canvas slip-ons from SM Hypermart that only cost me roughly US$3). As I mentioned before, I've become quite the bootylicious diva in the last ten years, so for me to come here and find out that some stores consider a US Size 12 to be "Extra Large" is, well, not quite a relief, but not quite an outrage.

And yet, by the time I put a wardrobe together between the stuff I have now and the stuff I got from Manila, I practically won't look like anyone else on the street. It's a feat that I barely manage to do Stateside - especially in Honolulu, where everyone shops at Ross and Old Navy anyway - but over here I feel like my wardrobe choices turn out to be especialy quirky and forward-looking. Even my flip-flops (on which I only spent $1.99 when I could've shelled out buku bucks for Havaianas) look especially cool... and quite ironic, I should add, considering that I grew up at a time when flip-flops weren't exactly considered cool.

But you know what? It's all good. And I couldn't think of a better place to be right now.

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