Latest Stories

Backstage Pass

Carlos Celdran—how he keeps fresh while walking this way and that


CULTURE VULTURE. “To make sure I don’t reek of the sun, my signature scent is Johnson’s baby soap. For real.”

Becoming a cultural activist was not Carlos Celdran’s original career plan. But this performance artist, now represented by Silverlens Gallery, became famous for the tour program he established in 2002, “Walk This Way,” which later received a thumbs-up feature in Time magazine (2005).

There could be no better guide for proper style and grooming habits than Celdran, who lives such a hectic life—mostly under the sun, but who always appears dapper in person. So how does he do it?



I created the walking tours of Intramuros because… I needed a job.

My Intramuros tour is not the same tour you had in grade school because… I use bad words and you can drink beer while I’m talking.

The Imelda tour is about… everything except her shoes.

I’m influenced by… Jose Rizal for my values; Vanity Fair for knowing what’s going on outside of Manila; New Yorker for my opinions outside of my own; www.spot.ph for what to do; Metropolis Magazine for the way I want to live my life; Chuvaness for chismis; and Topman, Mental and Team Manila for my clothes. I love watching interviews with Boy Abunda and too much reality TV.

For fashion… truth be told, I don’t think I have any style icons. I’m stocky and beefy; not exactly fashion-plate material. I pretty much wear what fits. But if I had to twist my own arm: Ernest Hemingway. Fun fact: I collect ’70s style Pierre Cardin Marcos-style Barong Tagalogs. It’s a costume for my Imelda tour.

When I’m not in my Spanish Colonial era costume… a staple piece of clothing for me would be puruntong shorts, black long sleeve cotton shirts from Gap, Topman, Guitar, Crispa, among many others. I call it my Steve Jobs look. I have, like, 30 of them or something. Long sleeves make anything look formal. Even when worn with shorts.

The men’s fashion accessory I have the most of is… Hats, hats and hats. It’s part of my work. I’m practically unrecognizable without one. I have four top hats from New York Hat Company.

The bath products I’ve trusted for years are… Johnson Baby Soap; Colgate; tawas deodorant (whether the “branded” Nature’s Touch variant or straight from a stall in Quiapo—it’s just the best when trying not to stink); virgin coconut oil—good for the hair and the skin and way cheaper than anything out there. And of course, just to be fancy, I use Clarins for Men Revitalizing Gel every now and then. After a harsh night, it helps a man look human. Again.

When it comes to grooming myself, I never forget to… clip my nose hair. I got tisoy blood. We’re hairy. What can we do?

To make sure I don’t reek of the sun, my signature scent is… Johnson’s baby soap. For real.

If you want to catch my attention, I am most drawn to scents of… sandalwood and sampaguita. Oh. And roast chicken.

CARLOS Celdran hosts the “Livin’ La Vida Imelda” tour at the CCP Complex and “If TheseWalls Could Talk” tour in Intramuros.

I see myself as… the last tisoy inside Intramuros. All are either dead, in history books, or living in Merville.

Every time I stage a tour… I make it a point to brush my teeth.

The most interesting group of people that has attended my tour is… Joe Jonas and his crew. It’s interesting because I didn’t know who the hell he was. But seriously, meeting up with Pulitzer Prize Winner Junot Diaz was perhaps the best tour and post-tour intellectual party experience I’ve had ever.

I splurge on… wooden chairs and cabinets from Philtrade Hall on Roxas Boulevard. Cheap, cool, Filipino retro “made-to-order” ambassador chairs, tocador and baul. I get all my furniture there. My Dahon bike is a treasured possession.

(Know more about Carlos Celdran through his blogs The Living Room and Walk This Way. Join his tours “Living La Vida Imelda” and “If These Walls Could Talk.” Call 4844945, 0920-9092021;  e-mail celdrantours@hotmail.com;   visit www.CarlosCeldran.com.)

Top tip

Relive the old days and wear some of the most prized possessions of the era: scents. Some tips from fragrance expert Michelle Asence-Fontelera:

“Musky fragrances are attractive to women because according to some studies, musk is an aphrodisiac. Since some musky fragrances are quite strong, it can be a headturner. People will surely notice you when you are wearing it. Personally, I like scents that are musky but on the mild side and not too overbearing.

For women, vanilla and rose scents are considered aphrodisiacs. So wearing perfumes containing these oils tend to attract men. Most men also like sweet scents like vanilla. It somehow makes them want to smell you over and over again. Vanilla is a very comforting fragrance. Rose is also good as a base note. It is too strong as a top note. Just a hint of rose is enough to make men want to sniff you.

To create a scent tailor-made for you, call Michelle Asence-Fontelera of Zen Zest and All Occasions personalized cologne at 9331201-02.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Carlos Celdran , fashion , Intramuros , Lifestyle , People

  • tadasolo

    I am a fan

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  9. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  10. The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  7. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan