Regina Belmonte is a writer from Manila, Philippines, who has been suffering from writer’s block her entire life, which is, truly, every writer’s permanent condition.
She’s trying to get over it, so after an embarrassingly long sabbatical, she is now attempting to write a weekly(ish) column called Attack Decay Sustain Release, which comes out on Sundays in the Philippine STAR’s Lifestyle section. She also occasionally writes for Fashion & Beauty on Wednesdays.
Her history with the Philippine STAR technically began at birth, since she’s from the family that founded it, but started in earnest in 2004 with her column Ashtray Girl in Friday’s Young Star section, a column which people shockingly still message her about sometimes on Instagram just to make her feel old. She also spent a year and a half as the editor of YStyle, Friday’s fashion and beauty section. She has a bad habit of changing column titles every time she quits and comes back, so in her history as the STAR’s most prodigal of daughters, she has been published under the following: We’re All Mad Here, Read My Lipstick, and Lost In The World. The ongoing identity crisis is clearly very real.
Prior to YStyle, she was the beauty editor of Cosmopolitan Philippines, where she worked for four years (gradually moving up from staff writer of Cosmo.ph to beauty editor at large of the magazine). She contributes to various publications when asked very nicely. She went on the aforementioned sabbatical from publishing right before magazines started to die in the Philippines, which is also around the same time that she and a few friends decided to begin an events company.
That production is called UNKNWN, launched in early 2016, and organized by six like-minded friends who love disco, house, and techno. They have since flown in several of their favourite international DJs, who are featured at UNKNWN events alongside Manila’s most forward-thinking selectors. (A few of her favourites from among their many previous guests: Answer Code Request, nd_baumecker, and Hunee.) They continue to seek interesting new ways to present the genre beyond the standard club setting (Regina’s personal favourite venue so far has been the Baluarte de San Diego in Intramuros), and new partners to collaborate with to do so.
After two years and 20 events under the UNKNWN banner, CC:Concepts was established by the original six founders to serve as a parent company, under which UNKNWN now falls as the electronic music arm. Expanding beyond their initial electronic roots, CC:Concepts aims to deliver more diverse live entertainment experiences to Metro Manila. Their first production was Call Me By Your Name In Concert with the Manila Symphony Orchestra. They presented Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2019. Aside from film concerts, they also co-produce live shows with Collective Minds Asia, the most recent of which have been A$AP Ferg and Jaden Smith, both in October 2019.
UNKNWN was meant to be producing its first festival, UNKNWN.Fiesta, for its fourth anniversary in February 2020. The next film concert on CC:Concepts’ slate was Star Wars: A New Hope in May 2020. It was going to be a fantastic year, and the team were all very excited about it, but COVID-19 threw a wrench in those plans, and the company is currently on hiatus.
She is also a partner at the Poblacion haunt Futur:st, a sister establishment to the now defunct Today x Future in Cubao — the wonderfully eclectic dive bar she used to call home.
Regina is a trained makeup artist, certified by the Make Up Designory Studio in Berlin, Germany. She claims to have taken the course to hone her technical skills so as to improve her beauty writing, but will admit that it was mostly an excuse to spend three months in Berlin, which remains her favourite city in the world. She intends to continue returning there every summer (which she has done since 2015), losing herself on the city’s various dance floors, getting ear piercings until there is no flesh or cartilage left to pierce, and gleefully being a domestic goddess in cute altbau flats, third world passport and Schengen visa application approvals permitting.
This is not so much a blog as it has been a collection of personal essays — a venue to publish the kind of writing she has always preferred doing in her spare time, which is the kind of writing that has also always gone unread for lack of a space among more traditional forms of publication. (Read: Shit she can’t get paid for.) It is also a place to collect the published work that she has been paid for. (That stuff’s understandably a little more PG in terms of style and content than the unfiltered personal essays she writes exclusively for this site.)
Essays, fiction, non-fiction, vignettes, journals, a little bit of all of that, and everything in between, plus some occasional photography maybe — this space will be filled with the same feelings, the same heart, the same life, and the same person you already know. (If you’ve been reading her writing online and/or off since she went public at 17.) Just a little more grown up this time around (but not that much), with more stories to tell.