It wasn’t a smooth-sailing journey for Coco Chanel and Cabuhat to represent the Philippines in the Big Apple.
The official invite arrived late in June, giving Cabuhat and Coco Chanel barely two months to prepare for the big show. Cabuhat still had to schedule an appointment for passport renewal with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Cabuhat said, “Yung passport ko mage-expire na pala ng October. Eh sabi ko hindi ko napansin dahil sa kaka-travel ko. (My passport was expiring in October. I didn’t notice because of my frequent travels). I [was] really about to lose hope.”
Luckily, there was one slot remaining and Cabuhat received his new passport immediately. He also managed to get an appointment for his US visa. He showed the US embassy consul a printed copy of a Facebook post by his sponsor, Saint Roche Premium Organic Dog Shampoo, which said, “With every bottle of shampoo you buy, you would help the Philippines fly to New York.”
The consul was moved by the post and immediately approved his visa application.
“It was my first time to apply for a US visa. Tumutulo talaga yung luha ko (I was really moved to tears),” said Cabuhat. Along with his passport and visa came Coco Chanel’s own passport from Petdentity. “Parang ano ba ‘to, parang lahat right timing. Parang lahat nagalign talaga kahit di ako prepared. (It was as if everything was happening at the right time. It was as if [the stars] aligned even though I wasn’t prepared.)” However, Cabuhat was still having second thoughts. “I went to Baclaran Church and sabi ko (I said), Lord, give me a sign kung matutuloy pa ‘to (if this would still push through),” he said. “Tapos may maingay sa harapan kong [naka] costume. Yun pala si Tessa Prieto-valdes! (Then, there was someone in a costume making noise in front of me. It turned out to be Tessa Prieto-valdes!)” Prieto-valdes, with her outlandish outfits, symbolized Cabuhat and Coco Chanel’s love for everything related to fashion and runways, and the sight of her pushed them to go make a name for the Philippines.