Sweet and stylish Cristina

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Saturday, March 2, 2013


CRISTINA SANTOS GOMEZ, one of the 10 Best Dressed Women in the Philippines, celebrated her birthday yesterday with a quiet getaway to Bohol with her brother Arlu and friend Anthony.

Cristina is the daughter of one of my closest friends (BFF) Imelda (Dandy) Salao Santos now Gomez, (the better half of Arlu Sr.) since high school or was it grade school in Assumption Convent. Despite the distance of her being a Marikina resident while I am tumandok Negrense, we have always kept close tabs of our latest goings on.

Dandy manifested much affection when she came for my son Andre and Katy's wedding together with three other best bosom pals Louie Barcelon Locsin, Vicky Tinio and Tessa Mortensen. We had this very teeny boppish name for our group "Ginger Snaps" and did all the silly and foolish things teenagers do.

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As we went our separate ways after college, got married and had children, the flame of friendship was never extinguished. A visit to Manila is never complete without a lunch or dinner with these fabulous genuine friends!

So back to Cristina. Cristina, unlike Mother (that's how she calls her Mom Dandy), was not Assumption bred but went to Poveda Learning Center. Then with a penchant for the arts and what's in vogue, she took a course in fashion design in the University of Asia and the Pacific.

With much persuasion and the promise that this was not a mere short term course but backed up with a diploma, she was able to convince both Dad and Mom to let her pursue her desire which landed her in Milan, Italy at the Istituto Marangoni Milano where, because of her impeccable grades, both Arlu and Dandy agreed for her to continue her masters in Fashion Brand Management. After which, she took her internship in Thinple in Milan.

With that impressive portfolio, it was peanuts to land a job for Cristina back home. Today, she is the social editor for Lifestyle Asia.

In 2011, for the third year in a row, the Camera Club of the Philippines in partnership with the Cancer Society of the Philippines (a non-profit organization that gives assistance to cancer stricken Filipinos for more than 50 years through its cancer awareness campaigns and medical missions) named Cristina as one of the best dressed women in the Philippines. Not quite 30, Cristina must be one of the youngest in the choices.

Amidst all the glitz and glamour that she is exposed to, Cristina, stylish to the core, is not just form. There is much substance to this young lady.

She is driven; she is confident of her capacities; she is of the world but not for the world. She is sweet; she is not of the genre of women born of privilege strutting around with airs. She has a good head above her shoulders and knows the difference between what is right and wrong.
Another thing I love about Cristina is that she is totally obedient to her parents. That is a rare breed these days. I likewise admire her close relationship with her brother Arlu Boy who is a famed photographer. Arlu Boy must love and enjoy having Cristina as his model.

I see a lot in Cristina of my best friend Dandy, her mom. Dandy, statuesque, has always been a head turner not only because of the clothes she wears but more so because of that ready smile she radiates to all, regardless of social strata, and her innate beauty of kindness.

Dandy is likewise driven with her love for Zonta where she was once governor and now her passion for climate change led her to take a masteral in Ateneo at the age when women are quite resigned to fade away into retirement.

Dandy has been busy going on missions here and abroad to impart awareness and the benefits of being sensitive to our environment.

Cristina came to witness our MassKara celebration last October. After many years of not seeing Cristina, I now see this little girl who was born just a few weeks before my son Andre, all grown up and fully metamorphosed into a fine lady. She is respectful to the bone, jolly and radiates the same smile her mom has which is sincere and genuine.
Happy Birthday Cristina!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 02, 2013.

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