Page 1

Edmonton Edition

PLANET

1

PHILIPPINES

MAY 2011


MAY 2011

PLANET

Pacquiao acknowledges the cheers of the crowd after scoring a unanimous decision over Mosley in the WBO welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Greetings everyone! With pure excitement and pride, I am happy to share with you the release of the maiden issue of PLANET PHILIPPINES (Edmonton Edition)! This is a publication made for the Filipino community and everybody else. With the success of our Calgary Edition which is published twice a month beginning this May, we have decided to distribute exclusively to Edmonton and neighboring towns. Our circulation of 5,000 copies will be distributed in Filipino-owned business establishments and other businesses frequented by Filipinos. Exciting time indeed it is! As the global Pinoy’s link to our home country, Planet Philippines’ mission is to write about life in the 7,000-plus islands and the evolving culture and lifestyle. We give you the latest scoops on celebrities and achievers. We cover entertainment, current affairs, sports, business and more. We made it even more exciting by getting you involved and be a part of this. We, at Planet Philippines, invite you to submit news, announcements, pictures and articles that are relevant to our community. For business owners, promote your business to the Filipino community by placing your ad in our newspaper and watch your business grow. We guarantee that your ad will stand out and get the attention of our readers. PEOPLE DO READ PLANET PHILIPPINES! Don’t be surprised if you don’t see copies anymore from your favorite stores before the month is over. Avail of our special rates now! Send your email to planetphiledmonton@yahoo.ca or call us at 780.328.7006 to get more information on rates and deadlines. BE VISIBLE and BE KNOWN IN THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY. Special thanks go to all the owners of stores and business establishments who allowed us to place copies of Planet Philippines on their premises. Maraming salamat sa inyong suporta! So, we hope you are also excited to be a part of this new venture of welcoming PLANET PHILIPPINES here in the city of Edmonton. Do share this with your friends and family. Grab a drink, sit down, relax and enjoy reading!

2 PHILIPPINES

Edmonton Edition

PACQUIAO SCORES LOPSIDED DECISION OVER MOSLEY Mosley’s continuous backpedalling made for a lackluster fight and did nothing to burnish the legacy that the Filipino champion has built with 14 straight wins over the last six years—including some over the biggest names in the game.

AS VEGAS (AP) —Manny Pacquiao won a lopsided 12-round decision over Sugar Shane Mosley on May 7, retaining his WBO welterweight title with his 14th consecutive victory. Pacquiao (54-3-2) didn’t get the knockout he wanted, but the Filipino Congressman retained his position the most dominant and exciting fighter in the sport, methodically beating Mosley (46-7-1) at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. Pacquiao knocked Mosley down with a left hook in the third round, a punch that seemed to sap Mosley’s willingness to engage. Pacquiao ran after Mosley the rest of the fight, but the former champion who has never been stopped in 18 years in the ring managed to finish the 12th round on his feet.

Mosley goes down in the third round. The 39-year-old ex-champ survived the knockdown to finish the one-sided fight.


Edmonton Edition

PLANET

3 PHILIPPINES

MAY 2011


PLANET

MAY 2011

4 PHILIPPINES

Edmonton Edition

Mosley grimaces after absorbing a hard punch to the chest from the Filipino boxing champion.

The Filipino warrior lands a solid right hook to the chin of Mosley, who refused to engage Pacquiao in a toe-to-toe slugfest.

Pacquiao connects with a left to the face of Mosley. The American admitted afterward that he feared the Filipino’s unusual power. Pacquiao won 120-108 on one scorecard, 120-107 on a second and 119-108 on the third. For Mosley, the fight was strikingly similar to his bout a year ago against Floyd Mayweather Jr.—except this time he didn’t even land a big punch like he did early on against Mayweather. His biggest moment on this night came when referee Kenny Bayless mistakenly ruled that Mosley knocked Pacquiao down in the 10th round when he hadn’t even hit him with a punch. The ruling seemed to spur Pacquiao on as he went after Mosley the rest of the round and again in the 11th. By then, the crowd was cheering “Knock him out, knock him out,” but Pacquiao—bothered by a cramp in his left leg since the fourth round—didn’t have enough to finish him off. “It wasn’t my best performance,” Pacquiao had. “I did my best. I did not expect this result.” Mosley said he thought he did a good job despite losing round after round, and wouldn’t blame his bad performance on his age. “I fought the best fighter in the world,” Mosley said. “He has exceptional power, power that I’ve never been hit like this before.” Promoter Bob Arum defended putting Mosley in the ring against Pacquiao despite signs in Mosley’s last two fights that his reflexes were slipping.

“Nobody can really perform against him,” Arum said. “Some of these guys are pretty good fighters, but nobody in their whole experience has ever faced somebody like (Pacquiao). Everybody is going to look the same way.” Mosley was tentative from the opening bell, moving backward and seemingly unwilling to trade punches with Pacquiao. Pacquiao finally made contact with a left hook at the end of the third round, sending Mosley to the canvas for only the third time in his professional career. Mosley was up at the count of five, and managed to survive the final minute of the round despite Pacquiao’s best efforts to take him out. Pacquiao pressed the fight most of the night, but he also appeared hesitant to take many chances, which trainer Freddie Roach said was because of the muscle cramp that his corner tried to massage between rounds. “He had no leverage to move after that,” Roach said. “It was a very gutty performance in my mind.” Pacquiao said his leg first started bothering him in his fight last November against Antonio Margarito. “I thought Shane did a great job, he had some speed,” Pacquiao said. “I couldn’t move be-

Pacquiao goes down in the 10th round after he threw a punch off balance and slipped. The referee inexplicably ruled it a knockdown but later acknowledged his mistake.

Mosley lands a left jab on Pacquiao’s face, one of the few times that the former welterweight champion connected.

cause my left leg got tight. It’s a problem I’ve been having lately. I’m going to work on my legs in future training camps.” The sellout crowd of 16,412 booed Mosley repeatedly in the late rounds for his refusal to trade punches with Pacquiao. Mosley fought as if trying to protect his legacy of having never been knocked out and, if that was his strategy, it succeeded. But it made for a lackluster fight and did nothing to burnish the legacy that the Filipino champion has built with 14 straight wins over the last six years—including some over the biggest names in the game. Pacquiao made a minimum of $20 million for the fight, while Mosley was guaranteed $5 million. n


Edmonton Edition

PLANET

5 PHILIPPINES

MAKE WAY FOR THE E-JEEPNEY

BY PEPPER MARCELO

ITH RISING oil prices and worsening air pollution, Filipinos are looking into clean and green technology as the only viable option for the country’s transport industry. This is gladly manifested in the people’s growing fascination with and acceptance of the electric jeepney, or e-jeepney, that environmentallyfriendly version of the iconic, World War II-era public vehicle.

Powered by lead acid batteries, e-jeepneys can run for about 65 kilometers at a maximum speed of 3540 kph after each full charge. Aside from being emission-free, they offer a far more comfortable ride because they have less noise and vibration than the traditional jeepneys. Already, more than 30 e-jeepneys are operating in Makati City and Puerto Princesa City in Palawan. Spearheading the move to propagate the e-jeepney is the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC), a nongovernment, non-profit organization working on sustainable energy solutions and fair climate policy. iCSC is the proponent of the pioneering ClimateFriendly Cities (CFC) initiative, which integrates waste management, energy generation and sustainable transport programs for sustainable, climate-resilient city and commu-

Imagine the jeepney as a purely electric machine that belches nothing, makes no noise, has a high headroom, comfortable seating and large windows, gushes a proponent.

MAY 2011

nity development. The e-jeepney is a central part of the CFC initiative. After the ejeepney’s debut in the Makati financial district in 2007, iCSC has widened the deployment of electric public utility vehicle transport alternatives in the country through the development of eTrike, eQuad and eCoach applications as well as different e-jeepney models. “We chose the electric jeepney not because we’re fixated with jeepneys, but because we wanted to start with something that makes us go the distance. That means choosing a vehicle that has iconic status in the minds of public, realizing that there could be other applications in tricycles and buses,” says Red Constantino, iCSC Executive Director Red Constantino. He adds: “Compared to private vehicles, mass transport by itself - whether it be rail or individual vehicles like the jeepney - already reduces pollution. But of course, they even out because most of the jeepneys in Manila are terribly inefficient, which also means they produce a lot of pollution.” iCSC’s studies have shown that every liter of diesel avoided results in a reduction of 3,140 grams of CO2 (carbon dioxide)


PLANET

MAY 2011

6

PHILIPPINES

Edmonton Edition

Red Constantino, iCSC Executive Director

Vice President Jejomar Binay arrives in style at his inaugural at the Quirino Grandstand aboard an e-jeepney. and 16 grams of NOx (nitrous oxide) that are released to the atmosphere. At excessive levels, these harmful emissions could result in climate change that has recently been blamed for the typhoons and floods that wreak untold havoc and destruction all over the world. iCSC believes that sustainable transport should not be driven by technology, but by city planning and systems. In other words, their initiative is more than about the inventions themselves, but rather their application. E-jeepneys comprise one-third of a far bigger project in iCSC’s Climate Friendly Cities Program; the other two being a “biodigester” that is fed with biodegradable solid waste and decomposes it into gas, as well as a depot and terminal that transforms the gas into electricity which then powers the public vehicles. Already, more than 30 ejeepneys are operating in Makati City and Puerto Princesa City in Palawan. Launched in July 2007, the Makati Green Route (MGR) project is expected to help reduce noise and air pollution in the country’s central financial district. The e-jeepney is powered by lead acid batteries which takes approximately eight hours to charge. It can run for about 65 kilometers at a maximum speed of 35-40 kph after every full charge. Though it might seem slow, Constantino argues that speed is relative, especially commuting within a typically congested area. “Say you live in Metro Manila and drive a Porsche or the latest Audi. I drive an e-jeepney, with a maximum speed of 40 kph. Let’s go out at the same time, 8 a.m. to go to Makati. I might even get there before you if I drive well,” he points out. E-jeepneys can comfortably seat 14 passengers and have a

dwell time of only 10 seconds per stop, so as not to contribute to traffic. Aside from being emission-free, the e-jeepney offers a far more comfortable ride because it has less noise and vibration than the traditional jeepney. “It’s very easy to ride. Because it’s lighter, the jeepney drivers who are so used to the heavy diesel engines will feel a little weird at first, but it only takes a short while to get used to it,” said Panch Puckett, president of Solar Electric Co., manufacturer of the lead acid batteries that power ejeepneys, at the launch of Makati’s MGR project. “You do not hear the engine running. It’s very silent and there’s even a radio for you to check if it’s on,” noted Joey Salgado, Makati city’s information and community relations department chief, on the same occasion. As with any new and game-changing concepts and projects, e-jeepneys face a number of obstacles. For one, there is the matter of numerous administrative and bureaucratic regulations in registering them. “It took us two years just to get registration plates because the papers required [the vehicle] to have a tailpipe and an

The Makati Green Route (MGR) project is expected to help reduce noise and air pollution in the country’s central financial district.

The iCSC worked patiently with government to come up with regulations catering to the new model. engine number, which electric vehicles don’t have,” Constantino says. Ultimately, the iCSC worked patiently with government to come up with regulations catering to the new model. “We started with classification categorizing them as lowspeed vehicles. That’s just the start, because there are a whole lot of regulations that need to be revised over time,” he adds. E-jeepneys also carry an enormous tag price that many divers and operators may scoff at: rang-

ing from Php350,000 to 400,000. But Constantino argues that over time the savings of switching to electric will eventually add up. “A typical driver would be paying Php450 in gas for every 100 kilometers. For electric jeepneys, you only pay Php150. That’s the savings you get.” He adds: “People have grown used to a certain way of doing things. Economics are skewed towards things that harm us. For instance, when you drive a vehicle, the big costs are off the books - health costs, the pollution, the noise, fuel price fluctuations. Maintenance is staggering. People are so used to things that are artificially cheap, because the companies that involved in these efforts have passed on the costs to the consumer.” Constantino emphasizes that the e-jeepney should not solely be looked at as an environmental option, but a financial opportunity that could provide great dividends to businesses and the government willing to invest in a sustainable public transport. “We’re trying to focus on telling people we have economic alternatives. Green alternatives, that’s an add-on. Even though we’re an institute for climate change, we would like these transport options to be seen as making commercial sense. If it helps the environment, that’s a bonus, he says” He adds that utilizing the new technology can potentially benefit many sectors of society. “It can boost income in the locality, whether it be tourism, or a better workplace for professionals and working class Filipinos.” Now more than ever, eco-friendly vehicles such as the e-jeepney are the “steady green hand” that can confront the escalating problems of a “jittery oil market,” Constantino concludes. “We face a future that is more constrained. With the kind of resiliency a locality needs in the face of uncertainty like energy security, we feel that the time of electricpowered vehicles has come.” n


PLANET

Edmonton Edition

7

PHILIPPINES

BY NATHALIE TOMADA

With a less punishing schedule - no more socials at night and frequent breakfast meetings – the former First Couple have more time for each other.

ORMER PRESIDENT and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is nicely adjusting to a less stressful and hurried life even as she embraces the housewife role she said she never had before. In her first media interview since leaving the presidency last June, the congresswoman of Pampanga’s second district looked relaxed in a light blue dress, smiling and seemingly at peace with herself and the world despite the controversies that continue to hound her. Arroyo talked about the more domestic role she has just embraced. She welcomed this writer into her Quezon City home and showed their family portrait that showed her as a young wife and mother at 22, with husband Jose Miguel and eldest son Mikey, taken at the garden swing that is still on the front lawn. “Now, I’m getting a life that I did not have even then,” she begins. “I married and I lived in this house with my in-laws. My mother-in-law would cook and was very tolerant, up to my last toilet paper she provided, and then she had a terrific mayordoma (housekeeper) who had been the yaya (nanny) of my husband since he was born. She helped in my career because she took care of the house and everything. I didn’t have to be a housewife. I was a wife.” “My mother-in-law died when I didn’t yet enter politics and my mayordoma died when I was president,” she continued. “So, when I left the presidency, I came back to this house without a mother-inlaw and mayordoma to run it. So I entered now the life of a housewife which I never had before.” Her staff says that she notices everything, from flies to dust in the windows. Running the household, Arroyo says, “is very therapeutic; whenever I’m idle that’s what I do.”

10 pounds slimmer

There’s another change that has gone largely unnoticed. She just lost over 10 pounds, but she has not gone vegetarian, contrary to speculations on her new look. “This just came about because of exercise and diet because I don’t have socials at night and I don’t have many breakfast meetings now. It’s still the same basic two hours of high-intensity exercise, and then I added 15 minutes for three days. I also eat only one full meal a day. Unless we’re socializing, my husband and I only have soup for dinner.” Arroyo, who turned 64 on April 5, adds, “I decided to have a new hairdo for my new life.” She just bought an iPad to download books, finished reading Game Change, a politicallythemed book on the 2008 US elec-

GMA

EMBRACES HOUSEWIFE ROLE Lighter by 10 pounds and sporting a new hairdo, the former president just bought an iPad to download books, opened a Facebook account, watches American Idol, and joins the carpool to send her grandchildren to school. Running the household, she says, “is very therapeutic; whenever I’m idle that’s what I do.”

tions, opened a Facebook account, watches American Idol, and joins the carpool to send her grandchildren to school. Arroyo’s chief-of-staff Elena Bautista-Horn said the congresswoman’s pace is still very much

MAY 2011

“It was a big honor to serve the Philippines, I am gratified because I was able to deliver what I wanted to do.” like her workhorse pace when she was president. “But she’s been adjusting to her now less punishing schedule and lean staff of six, among other things,” said Horn. When asked if she might return to her first job as teacher, whose former students included President Benigno Aquino III, she said: “Maybe one day. Of course, I have many things to share now, all the economic theories that I actually applied and worked.” The Arroyo house is decorated with photographs, including one taken of her as daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal

with then former US President John F. Kennedy at the White House – a gift from present US President Barack Obama. The Arroyo residence is just a stone’s throw away from Ateneo de Manila University where she worked as a professor after graduating with an Economics degree from Assumption College. “I chose teaching because it was a way of having a good balance between motherhood and career. The good thing about it was that for 12 hours of teaching a week and then some very flexible research time, there was plenty time to be with the children. Also, I would take the semester off after I gave birth. I read at that time that what an individual learns in his whole life he learns half of it before the age of 5. So I wanted to make sure I will be able to give them a lot of time before the age of five,” she said.

Spacing of children

Arroyo said that the birth of her children Mikey, Luli and Dato were well spaced, which had largely influenced her present responsible parenthood policy. “I stress spacing rather than the number of children. It’s good for the health of the mother, of the baby, and of the relationship between mother and baby, mother and other children, mother and father, and the whole family.” Explaining why she doesn’t link the issue of population with development, she said: “Dur-

ing the last global crisis, which were the economies that not only survived but also came out very strong? These were the big population countries with a good per capita income, one of which is the Philippines. So, of course, if you have a big population but the per capita income is very poor then it is still bad or you have high per capita income but your population is very small like Singapore, you also suffer. You really need those two ingredients. The Philippines had those two ingredients. In the last year before the economic crisis, we had 7 percent growth rate; we had already graduated to the middle class per capita income. That’s why I don’t tie up population policy with development.” This should clearly hint at where she stands as the battle lines are being drawn on the Reproductive Health Bill in Congress. “At least it didn’t pass under my term. It’s going to be a tough fight. We shall see.” “I’ll tell you something, my father, when he was telling me about public service, for the public servant, the priority should be God first, then country, and family last. I used to think ‘what do you mean by God first and then country?’ then analyzing it, I came to realize because when thinking something good for the country, there are different policies, and some are more faith-based than the others, like pro-life. But fortunately also, [my parenthood policy] is grounded on reason and economic logic.”

Keeping emotions private

Asked whether the challenges of the presidency were responsible for this faith and religiosity, she says, “No, no, I’ve always been religious. I learned it from the nuns in school. Not from my family because my mother was not particularly religious.” From her mother Eva Macaraeg, nevertheless, she inherited the sternness and know-how in languages and learned that whatever is private – like emotions – should remain private. It was also perhaps her mother who provided her first connection to Cebu, which famously delivered her 1 million votes during the 2004 presidential elections. “You know, my mother said she spent the best years of her life in Cebu. She was the carnival queen of Cebu at the age of 16.” She also fondly recalled an acting stint in a Cebu soap opera when she was senator. “It was done in Carcar. I played a mother of a rape victim. They didn’t re-


PLANET

MAY 2011

8

PHILIPPINES

Edmonton Edition

I DON’T MISS PERKS OF PRESIDENCY

L

UBAO, Pampanga—On her first birthday out of Malacañang after nine years, Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said she did not “miss the perks of the presidency.”

Amid controversies that beset her presidency and which prompted the lowest approval ratings upon her exit, Mrs. Arroyo still believes that she had accomplished what she set out to do. quire me to cry but they required me to be sad. But the one who played my daughter was so good that I actually cried.” While she was recruited to enter politics in the late 1970s for the opposition ticket, Arroyo says that it was only when she topped the senatorial elections in 1995 that her father, who passed away in 1997, began to think of the possibility that she might follow in his footsteps. “I would say that among all the historical figures that I’ve come across with either personally or vicariously, my father has been the biggest influence on me. Everything about the family and private life was my mother, and everything about public service was my father. He didn’t meddle on how we were raised, and he expected my mother not to meddle also in his governance,” she said. “He had said that the presidency is a position not to be enjoyed but you have to work hard for the good of the people and necessarily, you have to suffer. And he suffered because he worked 20 hours a day. He had a silent heart attack when he was president, which we didn’t know until much later on.” “I got that focus from my father, although I didn’t work for 20 hours when I was president. I did about 12 because I had to make sure I would have one-hour exercise twice a week and seven hours of sleep.” Asked how her father would think of her now if he were still alive, she says after some pause: “For my father, he thought we were the worthiest people. He was a very, very affirming father. Our choices were his choices. Before, when I was about to do something, he would advice. But after

Mrs. Arroyo says the birth of her children Mikey (extreme left), Luli (extreme right) and Dato (2nd from left) were well spaced, which largely influenced her present responsible parenthood policy. I’ve done something, his concern was if I did the right thing.”

Proud of accomplishments

Amid controversies that beset her presidency and which prompted the lowest approval ratings upon her exit, Arroyo still believes that she had accomplished what she set out to do. “Considering that our political culture is so negative, what’s more important is that the progress that we worked for speaks for itself. From day one that’s what I tried to do – tried to have permanent change in the economy of the Philippines so that it can have our growth sustainable and move into the first world within 20 years,” said Arroyo. “And I feel that I was able to do a lot in that direction. First of all, we had unprecedented 38 quarters of consecutive growth, never, never happened before. And then I left the economy with a 7.9 percent growth rate, better than what

I started with. And at 7.9 percent, what does it mean? Nine million new jobs, more people with healthcare and education, especially for those who didn’t have access to it before, there’s the RORO (roll on-roll off ships of the nautical highway) that connected our nation like never before, and from almost nothing, we have become a BPO (business process outsourcing) powerhouse, all the while we were paying our financial obligations. And then if you just look at the skyline of Manila and of Cebu, how they have changed in the past 10 years. There are more buildings, malls, small businesses.” Asked to react to criticisms that these gains have not trickled down to the poorest of the poor, she said: “First of all, the poverty rate has gone down in my administration compared to the previous years. But of course, if you’re talking about from 49 to 23 percent of whatever it is, there’s still

Addressing some 1,000 supporters who attended Mass held at St. Augustine Church for her 64th birthday last April 5, the former president said she did not mind being stuck in traffic or paying toll fees. She said it should be “no surprise” that she did not crave the special treatment accorded a president because her current duties as lawmaker, wife, mother and grandmother were keeping her busy. Arroyo, who was dressed in a brown and orange shirt, blue jeans and silver high heels, said she was now leading “a quieter public role.” She said there was “no culture shock” because she reported for work when Congress was in session and spent the rest of the week going around Pampanga’s second district to consult with residents, deliver services and inspect projects. Weekends are spent with family and friends, she said. “I have more private time now, more social fellowship,” Arroyo said. She said she was “flattered” when people noted her slim figure and youthful looks. “This is not a facelift [but the result of] diet, exercises, spa for facial firming, but most of all, love of God, faith and prayers,” she said, eliciting applause. “I work hard every working day because that’s God’s will,” that number that are poor.” Unwilling to offer any criticism to her most vocal of critics, she explains, “What for? I’ve never returned the negative feelings. I’m only matapang (stern) to people accountable to me. I get mad because of what they did, not the person.”

Choosing battles

Horn, who is also Arroyo’s current spokesperson, adds, “Even now, we will speak when we need to speak. We choose our battles. We choose issues we comment on. Why glorify them?” There were times when the urge to engage was strong, but Arroyo says, “Maybe because as what St. Paul said, ‘Let God be your lawyer’… I don’t get out of my way to reach out; on the other hand, I don’t do an aggressive act.” Looking back, does she feel she has been under-appreciated and unfairly judged?

Arroyo said. She said she was following the priorities set by her father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal: “God and people above myself.” Of Arroyo’s former coterie of supporters, only former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and former Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza showed up for the Mass. No more than 20 of her colleagues in the House of Representatives were present. But Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, who led 30 priests in celebrating the Mass, called Arroyo “our beloved.” For her birthday, Arroyo sponsored medical and dental missions as well as cataract operations for some 3,300 poor residents in Pampanga’s second district. Her elder son, Ang Galing party-list Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, wished his mother “happiness and peace now that she’s not president.” “I hope she will be judged by the programs and projects she did for our people,” he said. Arroyo’s husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, wished his wife would “continue being beautiful, to be the same.” “We have plenty of time together. We watch movies on DVD. We go to the movies with our grandchildren. We are very happy,” he said. (Philippine Daily Inquirer) n “Well, I would have wished that there was less negativism. That’s part of what I’ve been saying about how I see the Philippines. We’re not one country but we’re like two countries with the same name. There’s the one Philippines, that’s the economy, which after many years of cumulative effort, we’re taking off. Then there’s the other Philippines, which is the political system, after many years of degeneration also, it’s becoming a hindrance to progress.” “I tried to be philosophical about it,” she summed up her experiences, including the crises, the sacrifices, and the tumult. “You know, it was a big honor to serve the Philippines, I am gratified because I was able to deliver what I wanted to do.” Asked if she looks forward to the day when history will cast her in a more positive light, Arroyo said: “Of course I care, but most importantly, I let God take care of the rest.” (The Freeman) n


Edmonton Edition

PLANET

9 PHILIPPINES

MAY 2011

Natori’s Fall 2011 collection in New York.

JOSIE NATORI SHE EMBROIDERED PHILIPPINES ON THE FASHION MAP Although she has lived abroad for most of her life, Natori says, “the heart and soul of a Filipino never left. I think that my biggest assets have been, first, being a woman, and second, being a Filipino. Filipino women are very strong and very independent.”

BY IVY ONG

ROM MANILA to New York, from finance to fashion, and from art to real life, Philippineborn Josie Natori crossed the frontier. When she founded The Natori Company, she empowered women to dress beautifully right down to the bare essentials, and established lingerie as a category in luxury wear. Thanks to her, “Made in the Philippines” has become a mark of global pride and distinction.

It was 1977. Josie Cruz Natori was the first female vice president of investment banking at Merrill Lynch. She was earning six figures on Wall Street. Then, she dropped everything to sell nightshirts. She was an expert in finance at the time, but in the fashion industry, not so much. But a box of peasant blouses – hand-embroidered from the Philippines, along with a lingerie buyer at Bloomingdale’s and a Japanese-American

“I’d really like to see more things out there made in the Philippines. I think it will happen.” husband with a striking surname plus a series of fortuitous events led Natori to launch a fashion house with her own label of luxury lingerie: The Natori Company. By chance or by fate, Natori showed the peasant blouses to a Bloomingdale’s lingerie buyer who suggested she lengthen them so they could be worn as nightshirts. Those nightshirts, plus a collection of handcrafted lingerie which would become The Natori Company’s signature style, made it to New York’s elite department


MAY 2011

PLANET

10

PHILIPPINES

Edmonton Edition


PLANET

Edmonton Edition

stores. Though Natori was new to the industry, the artistry of her designs and her responsiveness to women’s need for stylish, tasteful innerwear and sleepwear placed her lingerie among clothing lines in high fashion. “In the beginning, I didn’t know what I was doing,” she says. “I just started in lingerie and it was all based on embroidery from the Philippines.” Thirty-three years later, The Natori Company retails not only in New York and the Philippines, but all throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. It has grown from an exclusively lingerie line to include collections in ready-towear and home décor as well as eyewear and fragrance. “The kind of upbringing I had and the kind of culture here (in the Philippines) have been instrumental in bringing me where I am today,” Natori says. The Cruzes are a big and tightly knit family. Natori is the eldest of six siblings who were raised with the help of their grandmother. “My grandmother was very strong – a matriarch,” recalls Natori. “She ran many businesses and never left the house without a flower in her hair, perfume, a handkerchief and dressed to the nines.” A 17-year-old Josie left her home in Manila to study college in New York and pursue a career in banking straight afterward. Because New York is also the home of the man she married, it is where they settled to raise their only son. After the birth of The Natori Company, 34th and Madison streets became the fashion house’s headquarters. With another office in Paris to manage nowadays, Natori gets to come home to the Philippines only three times a year and only for a few days at a time. She has lived away from the country for most of her life. “But the heart and soul of a Filipino never left,” Natori declares. “I think that my biggest assets have been, first, being a woman, and second, being a Filipino. Filipino women are very strong and very independent,” she asserts. Natori actually only just regained her Filipino citizenship a few months ago. She lost it when she married Ken, an American, and in effect acquired his citizenship. With the passage of the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003, Natori and many like her were able to reclaim their Filipino citizenship. Despite spending so little time in her own country, Natori shares so much of it in her life and work. The Natori Company maintains 50 percent of its production in the Philippines with a staff of 500 employees. A few of these people have been with Natori from the day her very first collection was

11

PHILIPPINES

MAY 2011

Josie takes a bow at the end of The Art of Natori Gala Dinner and Benefit Show, a fundraiser of Asia Society Philippines at Makati Shangri-la in February 2008.

The Natori Company has opened up women’s fashion options with its distinctive Eastmeets-West flair.

Natori’s collection titled The Way of the Warrior in New York. conceived. “The most expensive things we have are made here,” she says. “It’s not just the quality. It’s the detail. I think we have a way of handling the finer things.” As she sits by the small gallery of the Cultural Center of the Philippines resting after her photo shoot, she looks striking in a piece from her Spring 2011 ready-to-wear collection: an Inka gold dress in Italian fabric with an obi belt, made in The Natori Company’s Philippine production facilities. “I’d really like to see more things out there made in the Philippines,” Natori says. “I think it will happen.” Indeed, The Natori Company has opened up women’s fashion options with its distinctive Eastmeets-West flair. Oprah wore an

embellished yellow Natori tunic on the front cover of the July 2010 issue of O Magazine. Glee’s Lea Michele wore Josie lace briefs on her cover story shoot for Glamour October 2010. Marie Claire, In Style, Vogue, Elle Décor, and Town & Country frequently feature fashion, as well as home décor and accessories, from The Natori Company’s collections. The Natori Company has added several lines of clothing to its brand over these three decades, while its lingerie line has developed into the Josie Natori, Natori, Josie and N Natori collections. It grows ever more as a brand and as a concept in fashion. As it does, Natori’s view of what makes a garment worthy of a woman to wear – the one she had when it all began – remains.

“Natori is about details, artisanship and craftsmanship,” she says. “There’s a running thread through it of femininity and luxury. It’s in the details – an indulgent feeling. I don’t want to just do anything in Natori. It’s really a gift. Special. Whatever we do is special. I remember embroidered tablecloths at home. Everything was bright in the house. My mother’s an art collector. Now, I have quite a huge collection of antique textiles from the 16th and 17th century.” Aside from collecting art, Natori also plays the piano like her mother, famed Filipino concert pianist Angelita Almeda. Natori, who performed solo with the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra when she was only nine years old, still makes time to take piano lessons to this day. Obviously, her mother’s musical influence is strong as Natori also learned to play the xylophone, organ and marimba when she was a child.

“I’m an artist at heart,” she says. “I love art. I love antiques. And I want to bring them into everyday life, whether it’s just a robe or details on the accessories. All her loves, passions and interests, from her country to the arts, inspire Natori’s sense of fashion. She built The Natori Company upon everything that means most to her. “The East-West aesthetic is there for sure, from day one,” she says. “Just because I can’t help it. I look for it from my background. I am driven to create things that enhance a woman’s life and make her feel good about herself.” Her success is almost like a fairytale, finding herself with an embroidered blouse at the perfect place and at the perfect time that has since become fashion history. But through it all, hard work has made The Natori Company what it is today. “Fashion is a very difficult business,” Natori says. “But at the same time, I had a long-term vision. It wasn’t about making money in the first year or with the first line. It was really having a vision of building a brand that will live beyond me.” The Natori Company was responsible for revitalizing women’s lingerie as luxury wear. Women’s inner clothing became a fashion statement, something to be proud of as part of an outfit. Thanks to Natori, the Philippines has become a distinct presence on the global map of high fashion. (People Asia) n


MAY 2011

Finally, a new era has been ushered in! Edmonton now has a new, colorful, monthly Filipino newspaper! Full of good news. News that is both relevant and interesting to Filipinos! Filled with stories and pictures of beautiful people from a beautiful country! Global news combined with local stories and events. Free! Not like the Sun and Journal, trying to make us believe that what they think is important, is also important to us! Front pages plastered with crime scenes and horrific car crashes, they are trash! Planet Philippines - Edmonton Edition is better than that! As writers we can say whatever we want. We can’t be fired! How do you fire a volunteer? We can’t be sued! Everything we have of value isn’t even ours! The bank owns it

PLANET

12

all. We are real Canadians! But deep down – we are Filipino. What matters most are our lives, our families and our Love of God. You have now joined an elite family. Filipinos living abroad, but united as one community. Planet Philippines – Edmonton Edition is yours too. Use it all you want. Send in your stories, amusing photos of your friends, birthday greetings, concert and party information; anything of interest to our Kababayans. Use it for resources as you will find new Filipino stores, businesses and Government and Immigration information. Patronize them and thank them for supporting the Filipino community. You are encouraged to call or email your comments to us. What else do you want to see in Planet Philippines? Let us know! Feel free to criticize

PHILIPPINES

what you don’t like. We can only improve based on your feedback. Every month I will try to promo something Filipino. We all like Free stuff. Free advertising is great! This month I would like to encourage you to check out the Filipino International Baptist Church of Edmonton. They meet at the Jasper Place Baptist Church at 8801 163 St. NW and it’s a great place to join our brothers and sisters in Worship. Predominantly Filipino, it is also a great place to make friends to connect and share with. Whether you are new to Edmonton, working as a TFW, Caregiver, fast food staff or a long time resident here, you will be pleased to know there are people who really care about you! Visit their website at www.fibcedmonton.ca or call Pastor Neil Manzano today! With spring finally arriving, now is the time for us to come out of hibernation. Edmonton has more parks and green space than any city in North America. Get out, enjoy the weather and take lots of pictures! Burn off some of that fat you put on over the winter and get some fresh air!

Edmonton Edition

If you get a chance to visit your friends in Calgary this month, be sure to check out the Miss Philippines Calgary Canada Beauty Pageant while you are there. Taking place at the Polish-Canadian Cultural Centre on May 28, there will be many beautiful and talented ladies competing, with Coronation Night the following weekend. For tickets, and to cheer her on, call Mariedelle Velasco at (403)6129131. You will be glad you did! Next month I will tell you a bit about myself – if you care! I am a white guy, married to a beautiful Filipina - Ludy, from Imus, Cavite. It makes for a sometimes challenging relationship, sometimes comical, but always fun! Then you will understand why this column is called “A Different View.” It is a view of Filipino culture, habits, language and more, from another angle. You can email me at tarzwels@telus.net for your feedback. Enjoy reading your Planet Philippines – Edmonton Edition!

Planet Philippines (EDMONTON EDITION) - May 15, 2011 Issue  

Pages 1-12 of the May 15, 2011 Edmonton Edition issue

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you