Make way for the Year of the Rooster


I’m exhausted from the shenanigans of the past Monkey year, so I’m hoping the Year of the Fire Rooster will bring fresh challenges that are more fruitful and fulfilling. I always anticipate the Chinese New Year as having potential for personal evolution, a way to make a spiritual journey of transformation apart from our daily activities.

The Year of the Rooster begins on January 28. It is a time of conscientiousness, hard work, discipline, and a realistic outlook. Those words are challenging to me, and the hardest still is that we are advised to be financially frugal. I guess we must choose our battles wisely to avoid too much crowing and pecking this year.

We need to brace ourselves for a period of immense changes and healing. The universe keeps score and the acts we do have a way of coming back to us in unexpected ways. Acts of love and kindness are rewarded so let karma work wonders in our lives.

Good karma will continuously shine on Bench king Ben Chan has he generously supports many charitable affairs, especially the annual Red Charity Gala. Kaye Tinga and I are delighted to have creative fashion designer Joey Samson as the featured designer for the ninth gala edition in 2017. Ben has already committed to support us once again and we are excited to plan already with direk Ariel Lozada.

Since its establishment in 1987, Bench has managed to grow from a start-up clothing concept to the country’s leading lifestyle brand. Now with sub-brands such as Bench Body for underwear, Bench Skin Expert for skin and body care, and Bench Fix Salon for hair, the Bench brand continues to expand in order to cater to its growing market’s needs.

To kick off the retail giant’s yearlong celebration of its 30th birthday in 2017, the successful company opened Bench Barbers, the newest style and grooming haven for the modern man. With the intention of bringing the classic barbershop experience closer to today’s contemporary gents, Bench Barbers is a modern day man cave that offers top-notch pampering services to help every customer look good and feel even better. With no less than actor Alden Richards and model John Spainhour representing the brand, it promises premium quality service for the man who’s meant to be a cut above the rest.

In line with the brand’s promise of confidence-boosting hair styling and grooming, Bench Barbers’ debut coincides with the launch of Mark Bustos, New York-based hairstylist who has gained worldwide acclaim for his #BeAwesomeToSomebody movement of giving free haircuts to NYC’s homeless during his spare time. As the newest ambassador of the Bench Fix Professional Styling Tool, Clay Doh, he continues his humanitarian efforts with Bench.

Mark gave free training for the Bench Barbers styling team, and taught them firsthand his tricks of the trade. He also recently partnered up with Bench Fix Salon to visit the DSWD Haven for the Elderly and Tahanang Walang Hagdan, as his way of paying it forward.

Bench Barbers x Mark Bustos was formally launched over the holidays at Makati Shangri-la and guests were treated to a preview of two heartwarming videos that were borne out of the partnership between Bench and Bustos. Bench Barbers is located at the 2/F of Ayala Glorietta 4.

Life changing incidents happen to all of us. For Philippine Tatler editor-in-chief Anton San Diego, the event was a helicopter crash two years ago, which took the lives of entrepreneur Archie King and pilot Major Taborlupa. Anton recently turned 50 and he told me that he has learned to celebrate life, moments and friendships.

In line with his Life 2.0, Anton decided on a grand half centenary celebration. Music, good vibes, and surprises rang throughout the Manila House Private Club in the BGC as Anton and friends partied all night.

Anton said, “I asked my close friends to perform during the evening, of course it took a lot of arm bending to accomplish this but in the end they came through, accomplishing much more than I expected. I am overwhelmed with the love!”

Following an excellent dinner, the fabulous program got the party in full swing. Cris Villonco, JM Rodriguez, Rem Zamora, Topper Fabregas, and Jeff Hernandez sang “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical Rent. Then ASD himself channeled his inner John Travolta with a spirited rendition of “Night Fever” along with Cristalle Belo-Pitt, Mandy dela Rama, Lala Dinglasan, Feli Atienza, Mons Romulo, and Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi.

I also got into the program, with “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” the same number I performed at the Usana grand launch at SM Mall of Asia, where I was honored to be introduced at their latest brand ambassador. A big thanks to Usana’s Leeo Onanad for the music and back-up dancers.

Super guy Tim Yap followed with Spandau Ballet’s “Gold,” accompanied by a full marching band from Lucban, Quezon. Tina Maristela-Ocampo went full-on supermodel on the catwalk while drag queens from O Bar sang “I Am What I Am.”

Regine Velasquez-Alcasid got people up and dancing with a disco medley; those dancing included husband Ogie Alcasid as well as Anton and Kit Zobel. Hong Kong ‘s Bonnae Gokson and Malaysia’s Dato’ Farah Khan led friends from abroad in “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Additional song numbers were rendered by Cris Villonco and R&B prince Jay-R.

Friends from way back showed Anton their love with a video set to Madonna’s “Vogue” with a surprise appearance by Derek Ramsay – a sentimental last song for a golden night. To cap off the festive cavalcade, the crowd adjourned to the bar for a night of dancing and close camaraderie – a fitting finale to a golden celebration of life. As they say, Anton, “It only gets better from here!”

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