World Vision Noche Buena Gift Giving 2017

photo from World Vision Philippines

photo from World Vision Philippines

Christmas is definitely my favourite holiday of the year. As gift giving (and receiving, let me be honest here) is one of my love languages, it is inevitable that I will treasure a holiday that is devoted to sharing what I have to those I love the most. 

I have already shared how important child sponsorship is to me, and for the past decade, I have made my sponsored child’s Noche Buena as my top holiday priority. For only Php1,000, I get to feed my sponsored kid and her family on Christmas Eve. I made sure that this was fulfilled, even during my moments of relying on my student’s allowance, when I was unemployed, and when I was going through personal challenges. 

Now that I am already thirty-one years old, I am anticipating the holiday season with the same childlike mirth and eagerness. I am currently looking for the right job for me, and one of the considerations I have in looking for an employer is the presence of corporate responsibility. Personally, I champion the importance of being an advocate, as it gives a whole new meaning to earning money. Knowing that part of my earnings will go to my sponsored child’s education empowers me as a worker. It gives me pride to know that I am somehow making a difference in a kid’s life. If my future employer will have a charitable initiative, then that will also enhance my psyche at work, as I am part of a company that believes in sharing and positively impacting the community it thrives in. Having said that, the holiday season for me this year is no different from my previous ones. I have already sent my Noche Buena allotment to World Vision, because I want to jumpstart the holidays with the knowledge that my kid will have her spaghetti again this Christmas Eve. And yes, I am hoping that I will get employed by an employer with a heart soon.

photo from World Vision Philippines  

photo from World Vision Philippines  

If you have the heart to share your blessings this Christmas, please consider buying a Noche Buena package for poor families in World Vision communities around the Philippines. There is even an option to send a Noche Buena pack in your loved ones’ names. You may find additional information in World Vision Noche Buena Campaign Site, and payments may be conveniently made through credit card, PayPal, bank deposit, and even online banking. 

I myself have recently experienced trying times, but it does not mean that I should give up. I am definitely carrying on with my job hunting journey, as well as my daily blogging. Frankly, one of the main reasons why I am motivated to do so is my child sponsorship advocacy. I hope that you will consider sponsoring a child too! It is one of the most rewarding relationships you will ever have. It might even be one of the key factors of your decision making in life. If you are not yet ready for that commitment, consider donating a Noche Buena pack. The deadline is on December 15, so please act now and spare a poor family from hunger this Christmas Eve.

 Yay! 🎄 

 Yay! 🎄 

WVN: Weaving a New Perspective

Early morning shoot in my cube

Early morning shoot in my cube

I first learned about WVN earlier this year, when I chanced upon their dreamy Instagram page. I have been a fan of local textiles thanks to my exposure to Philippine handicrafts through my mentor, Mitzie Icasiano of Manlilikha. I have supported Rags2Riches and Habi Batangan, which are both social enterprises that incorporate indigenous weaves into their fashionable products. Naturally, I will gravitate towards items which reflect my design sensibilities, functional requirements, and social enterprise advocacy. I am also a believer that buying local is the way to go.

I was only waiting for WVN to produce shawls or scarves because their hallmark product is their beach towel, which features an indigenous weave on one side, and a towel on another (I am not a beach girl so I am always looking for a city alternative!). I think their towel is genius, because it is a fresh way of using indigenous weaves and a cool one at that. I then followed their tasteful posts until I saw that they were crowdfunding with Spark Project. One of their rewards was a pair of chic sarongs which could be used as shawls. I did not hesitate and pledged my support for the set. 

My Spark Project crowdfunded sarongs are here! 

My Spark Project crowdfunded sarongs are here! 

I was expecting them to be thin sarongs but I was wrong! They are thick and the weaves are intricately done. I am using the green one here in our chilly office and it is comforting. It gives off just the right warmth and yet it is still thin enough to wear as a wrap during hot summer days.  

Beautiful, intricate weave

Beautiful, intricate weave

My shawl blanket is perfect for work and play! 

My shawl blanket is perfect for work and play! 

I am happy to have discovered another social enterprise, and it is also noteworthy that a couple of 27-year old women are running this biz. Now is really the best time to buy local and be stylish! 

Habi Batangan: Woven Dignity

Rocking my own Habi Batangan shawl!

Rocking my own Habi Batangan shawl!

Social Entrepreneurship has become a hot topic of late due to the proliferation of shops that choose to include helping others in their business plan. One of my favorite examples is Habi Batangan, a Batangas-based online shop selling wraps, shawls and infinity scarves. Their beautiful pieces are all hand-loomed by mothers. I could attest to the quality and inherent loveliness of their goods as I have become a frequent customer. I am the type of girl who is always cold, whether it's the air condition at the mall or the office. Their long shawls have saved me from suffering and they made me look chic at the same time. They are also more affordable than other hand-loomed scarves in the market, without sacrificing quality and of course the social aspect of their business. I have experienced fantastic customer service as well, which is getting rarer and rarer these days.

Photo from Habi Batangan's  Facebook page

Photo from Habi Batangan's Facebook page

Photo from Habi Batangan's  Facebook page

Photo from Habi Batangan's Facebook page

I encourage you to check-out their Facebook page. For orders, you may message them and expect a response within the day. They are perfect presents to the ladies in your life, or even for yourself!

The best thing about social enterprises is that shopping is guilt-free. Please consider buying a scarf or two from Habi Batangan, and wear a woven piece made with love and dignity by a mother in need.

 

Clean Break Laundry: A Charity that Provides a Fresh Start

Most of us take the fact that we have freshly-laundered clothes very morning for granted. It is already so basic that it is difficult to imagine not wearing anything clean when we prepare for work or school each day. However, some people do not have access to clean clothes. They have to make a choice between eating a warm meal or washing the few garments that they have. The obvious choice is to eat, so laundry becomes a luxury to those whose fundamental needs are not even met each day. This is why Canadian charity Clean Break Laundry has chosen to provide free laundry services to those who need it most. It is based in Toronto and was crowdfunded earlier this year. One of its founders, Abby Bernardez, has a full-time career in the medical field but she felt moved to start this initiative after reading about Pope Francis' free laundromat in Rome. Since then, she has gathered her friends to crowdfund this movement. She has also partnered with The Lost Sock, the laundromat which was willing to host their initiative on a Saturday, no less. They have managed to raise $625 out of their $500 goal, and they are set to hold their Free Laundry Day on the 13th of May, 2017, from 6am to 9am. 

Indeed, it is a literal way to provide a clean slate to those who are probably losing hope!

Image from The Clean Break TO's  Instagram page

Image from The Clean Break TO's Instagram page

While they have already surpassed their funding goal, they are still accepting donations. What is admirable is how Abby and her friends are not stopping here. If there is a way to continue this initiative or to scale it up, they are willing to do so. It is notable though that this is a volunteer movement, and that it is done purely to help the homeless and the needy. 

I hope that there is a similar endeavor here in the Philippines. We have heaps of ways to help those who cannot even meet their basic needs. Let's start with a small effort today. After all, good karma is always in style.

Rich Earth Jewelry: Investment Bling with a Heart

Every girl needs a little sparkle in her life. However, traditional jewelry can be made of materials which are not sustainable and ethically-sourced. As a result, millennials like me have become selective of our personal adornments. This is why I was delighted to find local brand Rich Earth Jewelry. Their pieces are ethereal and made of sustainable materials which enhance the quality and craftsmanship of their work.  

Rich Earth Jewelry Signature Artwear™ Pieces are handcrafted with hammered, 24k gold plated aluminum metal, intricately linked for that truly one of a kind design. The hammered links have an elegant finish that will complement and grace one's ensemble.

Aluminum is Rich Earth Jewelry's metal of choice for its dedication in promoting a conscious effort on protecting the environment and passion for social responsibility. This type of metal is highly sustainable for it is 100 percent-recyclable, without compromising quality. It is currently the third most recycled material in the world. Aside from its lightweight feature, Aluminum is a non-toxic metal. It is lead and nickel free, so it won't tarnish nor cause skin discoloration. 

-from the Rich Earth Jewelry website

I personally like the fact that part of the proceeds of their sales go to worthy causes such as Save Philippine Seas and the Mano Amiga Academy. In addition to that, their pieces are lightweight and guaranteed to keep their beautiful appearance for years to come (with proper care of course).

Photo from Rich Earth Jewelry's  website   

Photo from Rich Earth Jewelry's website  

Photo from Rich Earth Jewelry's  website  

Photo from Rich Earth Jewelry's website 

Their lovely jewelry are fairly priced too so you can buy yourself an investment piece which will not break the bank.  

Photo from Rich Earth Jewelry's  website   

Photo from Rich Earth Jewelry's website  

They look classy with either casual clothes or your fiercest ensembles. There is something for everyone, whether you prefer dainty pieces or statement necklaces.  

Photo from Rich Earth Jewelry's  website   

Photo from Rich Earth Jewelry's website  

This Filipino up and comer will definitely sail the seas of the fashion landscape while helping save our natural resources and educating our future movers.  

I hope to own a piece from Rich Earth Jewelry someday. Their dreamy Instagram account will definitely be one of your favorites in no time. Go check them out now! 

Human Nature

I have been a Human Nature fan since 2012 when I discovered that their sunflower oil works wonders in making my skin glow. As they have expanded their catalog, I got hooked on their other offerings, such as their kid's soaps, moisturizers, lotions and mineral makeup. I have sensitive skin, so I really have to be careful with what I use everyday. When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Visayas in 2013, I volunteered to pack relief goods in the Gawad Kalinga rescue operations HQ in Quezon City. It was during this time that I became a dealer and eventually, a core advocate with Human Nature. I saw first hand how the Human Nature family became active in relief efforts and I was inspired to apply for membership. Being a social enterprise allows Human Nature to channel the proceeds of their sales to help the poorest of the poor, to provide employment and to practice fair trade in sourcing their raw materials. I am inspired to see a Filipino company embrace the best of local produce to provide jobs to the most talented individuals from all walks of life. I truly love the brand and the people behind it propel me to support more social enterprises and to buy Filipino. 

☕️ 

☕️ 

Every shopping trip at a Human Nature store is a coffee run because they serve freshly brewed local coffee in-store. It's absolutely free with every purchase. I enjoy immersing myself in the energy inside the flagship store where I am a frequent customer. It makes me proud to be Filipino and it renews my belief in our people and capability to maximize our resources in order to propel ourselves to greater heights. 

Yesterday's basket of my usual essentials  

Yesterday's basket of my usual essentials  

I am proud to be a part of Human Nature. While I do not work there, I am thankful to be one of their core advocates because the values they embrace such as being proud of our Filipino heritage and not releasing whitening products resonate with me. I hope more people will try their products and visit one of their stores. It's quite an experience!