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Yes, for Andy Warhol, a store opening matters

By MILLET M. MANANQUIL, The Philippine STAR Published Sep 28, 2022 5:00 am

Andy Warhol once said: “Never underestimate an event or opening, even if it’s just the opening of a can of sardines.”

This is why I try my best to attend as many lifestyle events as I can.

You never know what other stories you can get there. For instance, I once went to a fashion designer’s launch of her latest collection. Seated with us was a handsome macho expat who used to be a bodyguard of Sylvester Stallone. His story was THE story I was looking for!

Everything Mindanao in Greenbelt: Kaayo RTW and accessories

When Marga Nograles recently opened her Kaayo store in Greenbelt 5, I knew there would be other interesting stories, aside from her beautiful Mindanao-inspired clothes that are the favorite of personalities in government, business and society. Because her clothes are modern and comfortable. And they give you that nice feeling of patriotism and of being able to boost the livelihood of her indigenous tribal workers.

Christian Lacroix vibe: Hand-woven Tinalak Thalia bag

One of my favorite execs, Mariana Zobel de Ayala (because she is smart but humble), was there, wearing a hand-woven custom Kaayo dress. “It is so easy to travel with, as it is wrinkle-free.” Mariana, who was with Ayala Malls and is now VP for BPI, told us about future renovation plans for Greenbelt 1, which are now on hold due to the pandemic.

And when you attend a store opening, it’s not just a mere opening. It opens doors to other interesting stories.

Mariana’s charming husband, Danel Aboitiz, a boss at Aboitiz Power Corporation, electrified me a bit when we talked about their only son. “I am an only son, too, but I was never pampered. I had no money growing up. I got a P250 allowance as a student for meals, but I saved it so I could have spending money.” Talk about how tycoons properly raise their children with the right values.

Men in comfy barong shirts: Karlo Nograles, Robert Mananquil, Senator Sonny Angara, Dingdong Dantes

Senator Sonny Angara could very well be a poster boy for Kaayo because he loves Philippine-made clothes, especially Kaayo’s embroidered cotton shirts. “Please do long-sleeved shirts that I can wear to the Senate,” he told Marga. Sonny is a fast-action man who is a mover in education like his dad, the late Senator Ed Angara. Recently, Sonny made possible the construction of the Tarlac State University extension building in La Paz, Tarlac.

In modern Filipino fashion: Tootsy Angara in a terno and Marian Rivera in a jumpsuit

Often seen wearing short terno dresses by Kaayo in different colors and weaves is Tootsy Angara. Tall and pretty like her late mom, Baboo Mondonedo, Tootsy told us how Baboo struggled in the underground movement like her fellow models-turned-activists Nelia Sancho and Maita Gomez. “What a pity that Nelia died alone of tuberculosis and pneumonia,” Tootsy sighed. Tootsy’s heart also goes out to the women’s groups and Mindanao workers who make the Kaayo clothing accessories by hand. They benefit greatly from the Kaayo brand of Marga, who hails from Mindanao like her husband Karlo.

Tribal chic: Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera in Bitaug scarves handmade by the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe from Davao del Sur

The stars of the Kaayo store opening (crowds gathered in front of the store upon their arrival) were lovely Kapuso couple Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, who are dear friends of Marga and her husband Karlo.

Marian was wearing a custom Kaayo jumpsuit with T’boli hand-woven details. Marian told Marga she could wear her outfit with heels or sneakers. “When sawa, I take out the straps and nagiging jumpsuit siya!”

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A post shared by Marian Rivera Gracia Dantes (@marianrivera)

Dingdong wore an embroidered cream shirt that looks like a very comfy version of the barong. “Can you make this in more colors, please?” Dingdong asked Marga.

Former Cabinet Secretary and Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles might as well be the spokesperson of Kaayo now. He knows the inside stories behind its every thread and weave, the sweat and tears, the patriotic sentiments that go into its making. But he is too busy now as Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission. “The CSC is the HR of the nation,” Karlo explained. “And now we are working on revising the civil service exam questions to make them more relevant.” 

Ear ye: Earrings and bags with native threads

So there. When you see government officials, businessmen and celebrities wearing a Kaayo outfit, you know it’s not just a fashion statement. And when you attend a store opening, it’s not just a mere opening. It opens doors to other interesting stories.

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Kaayo is located on the second floor of Greenbelt 5 in Ayala Center, Makati. For inquiries, message on Instagram kaayo.ph or call 0915-427-0492.