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The allure of my other family |


The allure of my other family


A queen. A Nazi. A style guru. A doktora Belo. And a Minnie Mouse.

These are the characters that make up the editorial team that brings Allure to readers every Sunday. To me, they are my other family, especially on a Friday, the day we all get together in our cubicle to close the pages of Allure.

Now, to clarify the first paragraph of my story, let me introduce to you the people who have made me excited to go to work on Fridays, in the last seven years.

The Queen

Because she oversees the whole section, Joanne Rae Ramirez, editor of Allure (and of Newsmakers where she writes a column titled People every Tuesday and Thursday), is labeled the queen. Allure is our little “queendom,” and we fortify it the way the Swiss guards take charge in the Vatican.

Like a queen who remembers her every single dealing in the queendom, Joanne has an “elephantastic” memory that makes her remember the dates (even titles) of her previous articles — even those written way, way back when she first started writing for the paper in 1992. This trait comes in very handy every time she needs a database for the article she’s cooking up. Perhaps because her people’s skills are highly developed, Joanne, most of the time, knows the names (down to the correct spelling) of the people in the photos that will appear on our pages.

I always tease her that there are three topics she can excellently write about even with both her eyes closed — the Aquinos, the Kennedys and Assumption College. She was in charge of the Presidential Press Staff during the time of Tita Cory. Oh, you should hear her story when the former President called her one night to ask if she could visit Joanne in her house because Tita Cory was in the area. What do you do when the former President wants to drop by your house? If you wish to know even the not-so-common details about JFK and the other members of the Kennedy clan, ask Joanne. As for Assumption, where she attended grade school and high school before taking up Journalism in UP Diliman, Joanne writes her prose about her alma mater and her classmates with candor and fondness. She credits her firm Catholic faith to her Assumption education.

Despite her obvious adulation for JFK, everybody in our section knows that Joanne loves only three men in her life — her husband Ed, her only child Chino and her late father Frank. Her eyes light up and the beauty of her soul is exposed when she talks about the three men in her life.

Phoebe Marquez.

Like a thoughtful queen, she comes to work with food for everyone — cake, brownies, pastillas, macapuno balls, polvoron, banana chips and chocolates. But my favorite is the boiled plantain, fresh from their farm in Mindoro. 

Because we are a family in Allure, on a very personal note, I find it easy to go out of my way for Joanne and the rest of the team because they also do not find it hard to be there for me. Friendship is greatly factored in our professional life in our little queendom.

Doktora Belo

You know that someone is dedicated to her job when you see her turning on her computer long before she puts down her bag on the table. And you know that someone is a conscientious worker when the last thing she does in the office is to check that all computers in the section are turned off before she picks up her bag to head home. That’s Phoebe Marquez, our graphic artist.

Aside from doing the page layout, Phoebe, a Development Communication graduate from UP Los Baños, is also our resident Doktora Belo — a very good one at that. She also specializes in “lipo” and “thermage” and “skin tite” by using not the scalpel but the cursor of her mouse pad. Phoebe knows, however, that everything should still be believable so she does not create illusions.

Truth to tell, some photos that come our way in our section need to be improved. So Phoebe becomes the “makeup artist” of this celebrity when her face resembles an oil mine. She is the “fashion designer” who adds length to a socialite’s skirt when, because perhaps of wrong camera angle while seated, she appears almost naked from waist down. She is the “ophthalmologist” who opens the closed eyes of the people in the pictures. She’s also a “plantsadora” who irons out the creases on the gowns and suits of many a socialite.

Twice or thrice, I admit, I eavesdropped on Phoebe while she was on her cellphone. I began to admire more her character when I overheard that she and her sister were planning a surprise for their mother. Phoebe and her sister bought their mother a house in San Pedro, Laguna so they can all live together.

I am a fab fan of anybody who loves his or her family. 

Jerni May Camposano.

Minnie Mouse

Whoever coined the phrase “small but terrible” must have seen in his or her vision the image of Jerni May Camposano. 

Jerni, our editorial assistant cum writer cum proofreader in the section, is the type everybody would want to be part of his or her team. Her size betrays her capacity to deliver a good job. Efficient and organized, Jerni, a Development Communication cum laude graduate from UP Los Baños, makes sure our lives in Allure are almost always a walk in the park.

When it seems almost impossible to put up a team of a photographer, a makeup artist, a hairstylist, a fashion stylist and a writer for an on-the-spot shoot, turn to Jerni and trust her that she will singlehandedly deliver a good job. All she has to do is to run through her contact list and for some uncanny reason, people find it hard to say no to her.

Jerni is the go-to girl when Allure columnists need to renew their press badge or when they want to pick up their checks. She’s also their sweet “hatchet man” for Jerni breathes down their necks for their deadlines. You see, our little girl is capable of carrying on big tasks.

Because many times we act like little kids in our section — oh yes, we can be rambunctious, too, even if we’re only five in Allure — we dabble into giving ourselves pet names. Jerni got hers: Minnie Mouse. We already forgot our Disney names but Jerni’s Minnie Mouse stuck in our system.

Jerni, who’s also like my real sister, also loves to laugh. She is known among her friends as the “love adviser.” The many nuggets of wisdom she has about affairs of the heart are culled from her own relationship with her boyfriend of 10 years.

The sparkle in her eyes is illumined more when she gets a text message from her younger brothers announcing that they win in this and that contest. She is also the type who will do everything for her family. She loves creating beautiful memories with her brothers — she does not go home to Biñan City, Laguna without some pasalubong for them.

Luis Espiritu Jr.

The Style Guru

When it is almost impossible to come up with a beautiful layout on a page that is peppered with ads, who do we call? Luis Espiritu!

Luis is our creative director and our resident style guru. He’s in charge of the total look of the pages, the color schemes, among others. Having styled many a fashion shoot, Luis is undoubtedly one of the country’s seasoned stylists. Throw him a scarf and he’ll wield his magic wand to turn it into a belt, a bandanna, and, yes, a bag!

He’s our “madam-madam” in the office whose fashion forecast is always impeccable. From a 30-meter radius, he can spot and correctly name designer items that one wears — from head to toe.  

Always pregnant with style ideas, Luis has an unquenchable passion for fashion. He was my fashion hero in Madrid one wintertime when I decided to splurge on items that I still use now. In Spain and Portugal, Luis and I sealed a beautiful friendship that cannot be tested by time.

He is an awarded orator, a thespian, a singer, a former swimmer and tennis player in La Salle where he took up Communication Arts. He teaches fashion styling at SOFA.

Büm Tenorio Jr.

When fashion is not on Luis’ mind, his passion for his mom takes center stage. 

The Nazi

Yes, I am the resident Nazi of Allure. And I’ll tell you my story next time.

(For your new beginnings, please e-mail me at or You may also follow me on Twitter @bum_tenorio. Have a blessed Sunday!)

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