The heat is on and it just got hotter with the arrival of Bench’s newest endorser Pietro Boselli. Known in the social media world as “the world’s hottest math teacher,” Pietro has a PhD in Engineering at UCL and has a body like Mr. Universe. This Italian combination of brains and brawn became an instant Internet sensation after a candid photo from one of his lectures went viral online. He joined the final day of the Bench Fashion Week and was presented to all his fans in Glorietta Mall.

After a special guest appearance at BFW, Pietro also did a round of fan meets in Manila and in Davao. The Bench team along with head Ben Chan donated supplies to schoolchildren in Marilog, Davao where Pietro was so happy to share his blessings.

Bench Fashion Week was a three-day showcase of the latest collections from some of the country’s most recognized brands. BFW included casualwear favorites Bench, Human, and Kashieca, and it also included three of Bench’s global partner brands: American Eagle Outfitters, Cotton On, and Vero Moda.

The Spring/Summer 2017 show also featured today’s most successful local designers. Sassa Jimenez is a young designer who has become known for her sleek, sexy approach to womenswear. The dynamic design duo of Rik Rasos and Pat Bondoc are known for their streetwear. And Ziggy Savella is a menswear designer known primarily for his sharp suits and pajama-inspired pieces.

Among the crowd at BFW were bloggers David Guison and Vina Guerrero, who came straight from the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival. The #MalasimboMagic was kept alive as the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival staged a festive three-day event of musical and art appreciation in picture-perfect Puerto Galera.

Over three full moons from March 10-12, fun-loving friends and families from different nationalities filled the Malasimbo Amphitheater to celebrate the best of the best in music and the arts. I was lucky to attend Malasimbo thanks to Air Juan, who flew us in for the weekend.

The Malasimbo stage welcomed international greats in music, including Jordan Rakei, Alfredo Rodriguez, Lefto, Tennyson, and Filipino-American June Marieezy, who called her performance at Malasimbo her last as she goes into a musical “transformation.” Among the local acts were Apartel, Kristian Hernandez, Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe, Brass Pas Pas Pas Pas, Similar Objects, crwn, Curtismith, RH Xanders, sKarm, Moophs, and Microphone Mechanics.

Malasimbo has been produced by the d’Aboville Foundation for the past seven years, all for the benefit of Mindoro’s ethnic Mangyan community. Aside from music, the festival features local artists who install their pieces all over the hillside amphitheater. Among the artists were Agnes Arellano, Wawi Navarroza, Ling Quisumbing Ramilo, and Olivia d’Aboville, plus first-timers Lena Cobangbang, Cristina Escario, Keith Ann Garcia, and group Venus Mar, Expi Perez, and Raha Rodriguez.

Assisting the d’Aboville Foundation to produce Malasimbo is Volume Unit Entertainment, an event producer, music and audio consultant, booking agent and music promoter.

Five years ago, Watsons launched their “Switch & Save” campaign, an educational effort to showed smart shoppers how to save on their personal care essentials in order to afford more of the things they really wanted. All they had to do was shift from the leading brand to the Watsons brand.

The simple idea has proved a smashing success. Watsons customers all across the country have made the switch, changing out their toothbrushes, tissues, lotions and more for the affordable, high quality Watsons alternative. With such great momentum behind the movement, they decided to expand the campaign to the pharmacy area. Launching Watsons Generics in 2014, Watsons was able to bring that same promise of affordable quality to Filipinos everywhere. Improving the state of nation’s healthcare was a huge win.

Eight out of ten shoppers now choose the Watsons Label product over the leading branded counterpart, an amazing testament to Watsons quality. But the surprises don’t end there. When informed of the savings they can get with the Watsons label, the remaining shoppers who at first chose the leading brands were also convinced to make the switch. With results like these, the Watsons team knew that they were on to something big. Their new challenges are how to bring the same experience to more people.

Recently, Watsons gathered their six celebrity endorsers, Christian Bautista, Iya Villana, Kylie Padilla, Lorna Tolentino, Edu Manzano, and me, to put us through the Switch Test. Watsons ran us through the same blind test they use for all consumers in their stores. Indeed, when we were faced with the key question, “What’s the difference between these two products?,” our answers were, “None!”

Not even the most discerning of the Watsons endorsers could tell the difference between the Watsons products’ quality and the leading brands’. There was, however, one big change we all noted: the up to 80% savings by choosing the Watsons label.

Switch & Save will be launching their new TV commercial soon. Catch it to see how we celebrity endorsers did on our blind tests.



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