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Monday, October 17, 2016

Thailand Diaries 1 (August 8-10, 2016)

Yaaaay, it's only now I got to really write about my Thailand experience here on the blog. The vlogs came much, much earlier! So as you may or may not know, Cathy Doll is already in the Philippines. It's a Thai brand made by Thai beauty giant Karmart, and starting May this year the brand is already formally being distributed here in the Philippines by Lifestrong Marketing. The brand has gone a long way here already, to the point that Cathy Doll is now in most major malls in the metro, and already has selected products available in 7/11 nationwide! The good thing with Lifestrong is that they are no first timers to this whole distributorship thing, so they already knew how to get things going. I am so happy that people didn't have to wait for so long to be able to try Cathy Doll. 

But going back, one of the major things Karmart did this year was to hold a major international beauty blogger contest, with representatives from Thailand, Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and China. I joined the Philippine search and eventually ended up as the Philippine representative to compete in Thailand at the Karmart Asian Beauty Blogger Contest last August. We already made our video entries in our own countries, but in Thailand there was still a live challenge round, which is why 'compete in Thailand' is the term. 

And so this is a diary because this is how I documented everything that happened, but in photo form. Since this has always been a blog (I don't really see the site being an online magazine yet), this is really just going to be filled with my thoughts and opinions.

August 8, 2016

There are tonssss of Karmart ads in the airport. For one, here's Mario Maurer and Boy Pakorn. 

The store is tiny but extremely packed with items. Karmart is the official distributor of Missha in Thailand, so the store sells bestselling items of Missha as well as the Line Friends items.

As for why we're here, it's because one of the activities for the event is a shopping spree in the store. Karmart has a lot of brands, not just Cathy Doll. They also have Jejuvita (health supplements), Baby Bright (innisfree dupes), Cathy Choo (premium toiletries), Reunrom Spa Product (spa items with a Thai twist), Crayon (professional makeup), and I'm sure I haven't named everything yet. So they gave us all vouchers to be able to shop here. Initially, we were told that the voucher was going to be 5000 baht, but it became 3000 baht in a latter announcement, and finally, in the store premises, it became 2000 baht. I had intended to buy a lot of items for blog giveaways, but it had to be curbed. I devoted the budget to getting items that aren't in the Philippines yet. I was making tutorials without the most basic items like eyeshadow and BB Cream so I thought I'd use the budget to fix this.

I got myself their eyeshadow singles because they're the best. Like OMG. When I saw the brochure photos of the eyeshadows, I thought that the photos were mere zoom ins for aesthetic effect. But whelp, in real life, the eyeshadows have pans as big as blush pans, and the pigmentation is crazy good. Price is also crazy good because it is 89 baht (like 108 pesos per eyeshadow). But the deal was even crazier when we were there because mother's day was nearing, and so they threw out BOGO deals.

To those who are wondering as to how mother's day can be in August, it's because they celebrate mother's day during Queen Sirikit's birthday. Thai people immensely love Queen Sirikit and the late King Bhumibol (huhu why did he leave Thailand so soon so sad) that their birthdays are mothers' and fathers' days in Thailand, respectively. I am not Thai, but I think I will come to the Thai people's defense against criticisms that they are merely blindly worshipping Their Majesties. The King and the Queen have done many projects over the years covering agriculture, fish breeding, dairy production, road paving, dam building, irrigation, flood control, distance learning, livelihood, rainmaking, among others. Thai people respect the two not because they are the assigned rulers, but because they have devoted their lives to concretely helping their subjects with legit projects.

So yeah, that is the whole explanation why plenty of things were on sale and there were plenty of freebies and promotions when we went to the store.

The others were busy shopping. I finished first if I remember correctly because I already had a good working idea of what I wanted and needed before coming here. I wanted to get their AA Cream (their take on BB Cream, but they call it AA because it's anti acne, anti aging, and automatic aura with the pearl pigments in it). I also wanted to get their eyeshadow singles, highlighters, Missha Line Friends items, powder and cushion blushes, their contour-highlight-blush trio, false eyelashes, and their hand creams. These are the items that weren't in the Philippines yet when I was there, so I thought I'd get them. But now, the landscape is different. You will be shocked with how much Cathy Doll Philippines has in store.

Here is Ruby with her purchases. I loved the photographer guys because they had high energy throughout the whole trip.

And after the shopping, we were brought to dinner. I am sooo happy they spelled my name right. I am so happy whenever my name is spelled correctly because that barely ever happens. I am actually annoyed to death when people call me Marie or pronounce Mari the way people pronounce Marie because it's like a never ending nightmare. People always spell my full name wrong. I've seen Marilyn, Marlene, and Marlin throughout the years. I've also heard people pronounce it as Ma-ri-leh-neh. I began using the nickname Mari in hopes that since Marilyn also starts with Mari, it'd be easier to spell. But still, a lot of people do not pay attention. So I am immensely happy whenever people take the spelling seriously.

We went to this fusion place called Wicked. It's still in the mall complex so it was a short walk from the Karmart store.  As with any other Southeast Asian meal, the appetizer is spring rolls.

We were also served this red pasta (I don't know why it's red, actually) with edamame and an egg. But it was really nice and creamy.

The first dessert that we have in Wicked is this lychee strawberry kind of sherbet. I was already so full at this point because we ate soo much. 

For "legit" dessert, we walked out of to a nearby place called Mango tango for dessert.
Everybody got this mango pudding and ice cream together with a slice of mango. It was interesting to try this given that we are a mango powerhouse, too. Thai mangoes and Philippine mangoes are both sweet but have different flavors. Thai mangoes have this different kick that you know they're Thai. So I think that's why consumers of mangoes are specific about whether it's Thai or Philippine.

One thing that fascinated me about Thailand is their whole concept of having all these mango themed dessert shops that pull in not only tourists but plenty of locals as well. Mango Tango actually does have a lot of competitors, and all of them churn out all sorts of mango themed desserts. Throughout my trip I saw mango with sticky rice, mango ice cream, mango sherbet, mango with shaved ice, mango cake, and the list goes on. As a mango country I would say the Philippines lacks this kind of concept. We see our own home bakers and bakery chains come up with mango offerings, but themed dessert shops almost always seem to fixate towards foreign flavors. I can't name a dessert chain that revolves around mangoes.

This was a cute clothing store by the Mango Tango outlet we went to. After walking back to the vans, we were already whisked back to the hotel because the next day was even more jam packed.

August 9, 2016.

We had to be ready by 10 so that meant that we had to be awake by 8AM (which is 7 in Philippine time) at the latest in order to have had breakfast and be made up by the call time. The buffet has pandan pancakes, which proved to be a favorite as I had this every single day of the trip.

I had clean fish soup with fish balls, went for the Thai pancakes, and had some Indian roti and dishes.

This is the actual event place. The front row was reserved for all of us, and the rows and rows of chairs behind us were reserved for Thailand's top bloggers and members of the press and media.

The event involved a lot of VIP's, so of course, delays were inevitable.

The event was technically about us, so they started off with introductions. This is Ruby from Vietnam introducing herself. She was my roommate and she was very kind. I thank her for tolerating my talkativeness hahaha.

The first main activity was to have Gabby (he is the innovations and marketing executive at Karmart) talk about the new products they have and what makes the new products special. Cathy Doll usually absorbs Korean trends, but they don't merely copy. They usually try to make it better than the original thing that went on trend, which is why they do spend time explaining what's new.

There was a whoooole lot of innovations that Gabby talked about, but perhaps one key thing they now have is their brow tint gels that come in 5 shades. The shades cover all sorts of undertones that people might have for their hair color, which is why I think it's nice. It took the trend and expanded it into something like this.

Wong (the one in black, head of operations at Karmart) and Gabby are busy taking photos of the next segment because they got SuJin Seo to do a makeup demo.

Sujin seems to always do a Tiffany makeup demo (I've seen her do it twice, once in Thailand and once in Korea), but for good reason. SNSD's Tiffany really does epitomize the ideal Kpop idol makeup, and her makeup also embodies a lot of very Korean principles in makeup, which is why she is a good point person to emulate. Sujin is a very popular makeup artist in Korea who is often invited to do makeup for Korean beauty TV shows and the like.

She swears by a lot of the products of Karmart. I did see her do the same demo in Korea and she mentioned a lot of Cathy Doll products in her talk despite not having the items in front of her and not having any requirement to talk about them since she wasn't in a Cathy Doll event at the time. She really does stand by a lot of the products.

Isabel Tan, a popular Singaporean blogger, then did a talk on fashion. She gave tips on how to dress, and how her travels and experiences have shaped the way she views fashion.

Of course, it wasn't just about listening. We were immediately challenged to a fashion challenge. They brought in racks of clothes and gave us like 15 minutes to choose items from the choices and get dressed. This is TianXin talking about her OOTD. 

After we got out of the borrowed clothes, it's finally lunchtime. I wasn't sure if I'd get the chance to have good Tom Yum elsewhere so I already helped myself to a bowl of Tom Yum.

I also got Thai salads, crabsticks, and octopus tentacles. I really miss the Thai salads because they were sooo good. They are also not so easy to make given all the ingredients and spices needed. I also have a hard time finding Thai ingredients because most retailers stop after Tom Yum soup bases and curries.

And this is Ruby taking photos of her meal with Namwarn and Jane behind her. We were all made to wear the same brand shirts, so that's why hahaha.

Stay tuned for part 2!!! We did so many things that 1 blog post is not enough to stuff everything.

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  1. Wow! Just wow talaga.. wala ko kasali.. ang gaganda ng mga pampa beauty. Make up shopping madam!? And the food, look so yummy and delicious.. ikaw na talaga madam!

  2. I like your OOTD! It makes you look great and beautiful!