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What triggered this pictorial was the dress I’m wearing which I spotted from the rabble of assorted outfits at a UK sales center (read: secondhand shop) in Tisa, Cebu City. It was my niece Jenny Ann Pimentel and her mom, Alma Allera Pimentel, who had mentioned the place several weeks ago, and I envied them for coming home with such a simple yet elegant black gown. So I walked into the store one day and, voila, I found this one plus a Spanish-inspired Sunday dress, not to mention a nifty black gown which makes me excited now for the right occasion to wear it to! And would you like to know how much we bought the dresses for at separate purchases? Three for only a hundred pesos.

I love my mom for everything, but I loved her specifically for closing with the fact that Ariel Allera, her baby then, is now a lady. She made sure that she’d ironed my dress before I left home in Malabuyoc for the city last Sunday. As you can see, you don’t need to have a lot of money to look richly gorgeous, and I’m proud to admit to being a hard-core recessionista. Having the charm of a Filipina and the confidence of a Miss Universe-–after knowing that you are beautiful no matter what they say—is the key to turn heads far and wide.

Before I logged in to post these same photos, it’s my hair that my colleagues Michaela Avance and Dresden Verano first took notice of and kept complimenting me on when they saw my phone’s wallpaper. Beauty queens Jules Batarilan and Melbourne Edillon—together with makeup guru Jay Zafra-–unanimously said they saw a beautiful bombshell when they glanced at my phone amid our shift. So did Carla Sumalinog, Jem Sy, and Suzette Abello, although the latter nicely said that I resembled Pilar Pilapil (lol!). Do you agree: songbird Alex Versoza and spokesmodel Nicole Minounette Rivas Inso-Smith? I was hoping to look like my all-time idol, Miss Universe 2000 Lara Dutta of India, during her reign, but I ended up being a dead ringer for María Gabriela Isler, Venezuela‘s bet for this year’s Miss Universe, my fellow missosologist-cum-friend Archibald Tanara must have said so.

I will always be indebted to my super thoughtful friend Tina Labita Puso and her ever hospitable husband, Erland Puso, for allowing me to use their African-architected abode atop Tisa Hills every time I feel bored and only makeup and their company could make my day. On the face of it, they’re blessed with a happy family and a peaceful home, and that is because they’re God-fearing people. Funny that as I was applying eye shadow, Tina asked why it’s too dark. I reasoned that it’s called photographic makeup, I love the shade of taupe, and I’d like to accentuate my best asset—those deep-seated eyes of mine.

Makeup/Styling: Ariel Allera
Photography: Wilnar Taghoy

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