Simple Elegance for the Event Stylist/Cake Artist


I didn’t want to miss Kit Mandac’s birthday dinner specially prepared by Chef Nic Rodriguez at his Rufino’s Cafe fronting the gorgeous Paoay Church. Sharing with you photos. The last two pics were taken by Marianne Pasion, of course.


So this is how Kit styles her own party. Love all the details. Her cake was lovingly made by Ace.


Sat beside Marianne, makeup artist Mara Manuel and musician/videographer Eric Cayetano. Below is Janice, my childhood friend and former classmate from kindergarten to second year high school at the Holy Spirit.

Warm wishes to Kit.

Photographed by Marianne Pasion and Blauearth
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Style File: Mara Salvador Manuel, makeup artist

To those of you who have been following Style Files on the blog, here’s my just completed face to face with an Ilocano purveyor of pretty, much in the sense as polished. It’s all about Mara Manuel, blossoming makeup artiste.

Mara Manuel

Preparing an uncut diamond

Style and artistry are innate, either you have them or you don’t. Coming from a family of true artists — we’re talking about high culture surrounding her heritage —  Mara, the nursing graduate, was designed for a specialty in the arts.

Resembling a raw diamond on the cutting table, the aforesaid qualities have been refined through several processes. While working as sales supervisor at Tupperware Brands, she went to makeup training, first under Make Up For Ever artist/trainer Monica Reyes, and then celebrity makeup artist Bianca Valerio.

Mara Manuel at work
-photographed her at her former station inside Ellitoes doing Toni Carag’s makeup for a photoshoot for Red Dot.

-The end result. Photo courtesy of Red Dot.

Authentication and License

She went through the roof with her very recent workshop under Cheryl Cabanos of the Cheryl Cabanos Make Up Academy (CCMA), earning her technical skills and a certificate. Cheryl is the topmost artist she respects and admires. Mara now talks about shading and countershading, some things I never heard her say when I went to her for a session a couple of months back.

Declaration of independence has been associated with the modern woman. Not the connotation that goes with it — what I’m driving at is the fact that she’s currently on her own. She recently opened her babyish studio bearing her name and symbolically affixed the word crib, so that you can now reach the artist at Mara’s Crib, tucked in a location along Lagasca Street. On the whole, because she desires space and privacy with a client.

Show and Tell

What to you is makeup?
The enhancement of beauty.

Was your inclination to the arts evident in childhood?
Yeah, but I wasn’t really into girly things. My family were into music. At three years old, I started playing the piano and sketching simultaneously.

Yes, I knew your lolo [a dentist/musician] and your ballet dancer aunts. What inspired you to make makeup artistry a career? Were your family supportive of your leanings toward beauty and fashion?
It was the challenge actually. While at Tupperware Brands, having scored high at a personality development evaluation, though I didn’t top the scores, I wanted to do better. My family didn’t like the idea at first, but I got their nod eventually.

Do you intend to make it your lifelong career?
Yes, I guess.

Tell me about your personal makeup look.
Natural look a la Bobbi Brown. I like it simple.

Your favorite beauty products?
Make Up For Ever matte velvet foundation tops my list. The BB Cream, which is 5-in-1 product and is tinted, btw. My Temptu AIRbrush system, MAC Studio Fix powder, MAC Fix + Rose, which I use as a primer, and natural and organic EOS lip balm.

Have you done an unforgettable transformation? Tell me about it.
Too many to mention. I’m happy when my client likes what I did for her.

What is timeless make-up style?
The natural look. The pin-up girl makeup like Marilyn Monroe’s made a comeback, but now we’re back to natural makeup with a twist like the addition of some shimmer.

What suits the “morena” complexion?
Natural colors like peachy pinks and earthy tones.

What about the fair-skinned?
Dark colors add age, so I suggest natural tones like peach and salmon and rich color on the lips.

What is your most important tool?
My Temptu AIRbrush which includes fluids, foundations, highlighters and blush colors, the AIRpod and the Temptu Pro with gun [she used it on me one time and it felt like it sets all the makeup on].

Out of curiousity, are there any issues in line with the biz?
The investment is one. I shell out money for quality products. The bills to settle. With clients, there are overly meticulous ones, nonetheless I make the necessary adjustments. When I do morning weddings, I prepare myself by having a good sleep. I always say a little prayer to inspire me before reaching my tools.

What do you think should be in every girl’s cosmetic bag?
Powder, lipstick and something to enhance the brows for the naturally flawless. For a girl who’s not as blessed, she needs: concealer and foundation where needed, powder, lipstick and also a brow shaper.

What do you do besides makeup?
Hair styling goes with make-up… if a client wants me to do both. I also do personality development lectures, facial care, I plan events, I sell things, you know, the entrepreneur in me.

Along with make-up, what do you collect?
Bangles and bracelets, hahah, and sunnies.

Where do you shop in Laoag?
Ukay, Red Dot.

What’s your favorite movie?
Wicker Park. I’ve watched it 66 times.

What type of music do you listen to?
Jazzy tunes and RnB.

What do you consider is a milestone in your career?
Having chosen to be part of the team for Margaux Romero’s wedding and working with celebrity planner Ernest Pascual. And doing the makeup of Roxanne Luna for her prenup pictorial in Ilocos.

Who are your typical clients?
Politicians’ wives, popular personalities in Ilocos.

-Mara Manuel’s touch on  TV Patrol Ilocos reporter April Rafales.

Why Ilocos? Why not Manila where there are more opportunities, or the States where you can go back anytime? [Mara was born in the States.]
Basically because my mom is based here. When I go back to the States, I want to do aesthetics.

-Inspiring Ilocano Mary Ann Cua-Macaraeg’s makeup was done by Mara. Photo courtesy of Red Dot

-from my own files. Mara did my makeup here.

Top 2 photos by Blauearth. Other photos grabbed from Mara Salvador Manuel’s FB albums.
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Making waves

Yesterday was Corona judgement day, so I sat in front of the TV and waited for the news, but ended up watching a replay of Project Runway Philippines’ “Golden Rule” episode instead. Laoag fashion designer Amor Albano is one of the hopeful challengers of the fierce fashion competition. I was so proud when top fashion designer Rajo Laurel made an encouraging remark. I don’t remember the exact line, but in essence — having a good grasp of the beauty product (the sponsor for the challenge and the brand image as the basis for the designs) to be able to come up with the goddess-like dress, Amor shows his intelligence as a designer. She makes it to the top 5. Rooting for her to be part of the finals. Go, Amor!

Reposting a photo of Amor I found in a 2010 post. The photo was originally titled Lady Love:)


On a different note, got polished at Ellitoes the other day and caught currently in demand Ilocos-based makeup artist Mara Manuel prettifying a group of girls about to attend a debutante ball. Mara’s pioneered airbrush make-up in Laoag. Hope to have a lengthy beauty Q & A with her real soon. Keep posted.

[Geez, how I hate those tan lines!][Brought my own bubble gum palette (Base: Revlon Minted, Splashes: Revlon Electric and Candy and Orly Green Apple). Giselle, the manicurist, specked Ellitoes’ own pepperminty blue.]

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012