Going Up

Yesterday, I found this staircase at the hospital with natural light. I couldn’t resist taking a selfie in the sunny stairwell. 

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I knitted as I cared for my terminally-ill father. 

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Then, I joined my US and Canada-based relatives as they toured the village where we all grew up. I stayed here until I was twelve years old. 

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We ended the day with dinner with Tarlac-based relatives and more Filipino food! 

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I drove them in the rain, and I’m happy that we reached their hotel safely. 

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I enjoyed my relatives’ company, and their visit reminded me that there’s nowhere to go but up. In tough times, there’s family I can count on, and faith to strengthen me.  

Manila Fame 2019

Yesterday, I woke up to a postcard sent by my good friend Nurai. She’s based in Germany, but she posted this from Spain while she was on holiday. 

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It was the ideal preview to my artistic day ahead. I rode the LRT 1 and hailed a tuktuk to take me directly to the World Trade Center. 

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I went to the Manila Fame to immerse myself in Filipino artistry. My short visit last Friday was too brief, and I really wanted to spend more time at the fair. 

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I started my visit with some refreshing liquer de calamansi. 

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Then, I had some good coffee.  

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I dropped by the Handcrafted by Harl’s booth because I love their advocacy in supporting differently-abled artisans. I bought a handbag from them last year, and it’s still serving me well. 

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I joined a leather-crafting workshop for only Php50. I made a leather coin purse with the help of their talented deaf-mute artisans. 

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I ended up being the empowered one because I learned a new skill and got to learn from a differently-asked person.  

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It was lovely to see fashion influencer Lolaandrogynous at the fair! I totally dig her style. 

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I also bought small trinkets from another social enterprise, Kilus.  

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I got to appreciate the finer details during this visit.  

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I finally got to try 1st Colonial’s sili ice cream and it was delicious!

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I had a wonderful evening at Manila Fame and I’m very proud to be Filipino.  

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I ended my day with cheese sticks, so I’m also doing the same here. 

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Here’s to more opportunities to be proudly Pinoy! 

NAIA Work Day 3

Yesterday was the final one of my three-day stint as a NAIA Buyer Services Representative. I watched the sunrise at the airport while knitting. 

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Then, I manned our booth and welcomed arrivals with a smile.  

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I had Jollibee’s halo-halo sundae and brewed coffee for dessert during lunch.  

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I attended mass during my break at the airport chapel.  

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Then, I got to finish crocheting this scarf during my shift. 

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I had maruya (fried sweet bananas) and brewed coffee at the cafeteria before close of business. 

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Then, I rode the bus to World Trade Center. 

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We had our debriefing at the venue itself. I was giddy to be back at Manila FAME. 

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After our meeting, we got to explore the fair.  

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All our hard work for the past three days was worth it once I saw the fair. I was blown away by the astounding exhibitors and the artistry of the Philippines.  

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I am proud to be part of this event, and I have a renewed love for country after this.  

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For dinner, I grabbed a beef bowl at Yoshinoya before calling it a day. 

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It was an honor to serve our country and witness the capability of our artists. I am proud to be Filipino!  

Back At It

Yesterday, I was at CITEM to prepare for my three-day stint as a NAIA Buyer Services Representative. 

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I had lunch at the canteen, and I felt very lucky to be given this opportunity to serve our country, even if it’s just for a short while.  

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I attended the training and orientation, and was given this cool badge. I also got passes to the Manila FAME happening later week.  

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I can’t wait to assist VIB (very important buyers) at the airport from tomorrow until Friday! It is an honor to be part of this group, and I am sure that I will be able to apply my training to other aspects of my work and life. 

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Here’s to more opportunities to apply myself and serve others!

Farm Saturday

Yesterday, I visited the GK Enchanted Farm with fellow Human Nature Core Advocates for a tour and immersion. This was my sixth visit to the farm. My previous tours were as a social business camper and with friends. Now, I am back as a core advocate with my own Human Nature Online Shop.  

But first I needed to fuel up at McDonald’s.  

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We met up at the Human Nature Flagship Store.  

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We were also given some nibbles by a fellow core advocate.  

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Then, it was time for our journey!

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We reached the farm at around 9:30am, and we started the tour.  

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Our bubbly tour guide, Gelai, is a graduate of the SEED School. She speaks French, English, and Filipino!

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I had a wonderful day of touring the farm, it’s various social enterprises, and of course, enjoying the delicious bounty of the earth!  

It was time for our ride back to the city.  

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And before going home, I enjoyed an early dinner of toasted naked longganisa at Breakfast Bin. 

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I needed the farm tour to realign myself with my values and to appreciate life more. I am proud to see the farm grow, and to be in the company of kindhearted friends.

Here’s to more goodness and opportunities!

On Top of Things

We had Mother’s Day lunch at a nice restaurant inside a five star hotel. While we were enjoying the sumptuous food, we also had the chance to view our city from this vantage point. 

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It is quite humbling to note that while our urban sprawl is not the most striking of cityscapes, there is still beauty amidst the chaos. There are pockets of greenery and quiet places. I am reminded that there is hope in a city where you see the negative on the foreground. 

Because when you focus on the bigger picture, you will see the potential of your life in a place that is worth stepping back for anyway.  

May you also find your new perspective today, as we begin another week of hustling in this place we call home.  

Calado Earrings

I have always been a supporter of locally-made items, handmade businesses, and social enterprises. 

These three factors all make up Calado, a heritage jewelry brand owned by Tricia Ancheta. I met her during my Banaue trip, and I was fascinated with her handmade earrings once I viewed them online. Her merchandise are handmade by plateros or silversmiths in Dauis, Bohol. These craftspeople have inherited the art of jewelry-making from their ancestors, who learned the skill during the Spanish regime. 

The jewelry are all made of sterling silver, with the option of having them dipped in 24k. Since my style leans toward edgy and minimalist, Tricia personally helped me select the pair which would suit my taste. Her suggestion, the Mirasol spiral hoop earrings in sterling silver, was perfect and I bought them with no regrets. 

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I love the premium packaging and classy presentation of my purchase. 

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My Mirasol hoops looks even better in person! Check out the intricate detail, which is a trademark of Dauis jewelry-making. 

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My favorite thing about Calado earrings is that they are lightweight! Tricia wanted to present a brand of earrings that she could comfortably wear (and buy, as the prices are reasonable for the amazing quality of the pieces). 

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The story of Calado is included inside their jewelry boxes. 

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I am delighted to own a pair of Calado earrings and I hope that more ladies will discover this local, handmade, and social-enterprise-made brand! I will rock these earrings in my everyday life and fancier events. 

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The earrings make me feel beautiful and classy! 

Kilometer Zero

Yesterday, I visited Kilometer Zero at Luneta. I got the idea from Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss. Without providing spoilers, the protagonists had an important scene in their love story at Point Zero, which is the kilometer zero in Paris. Beyond the novel, Point Zero is still a hotspot for rituals involving luck and wish-making. As a result, I became eager to test this in our local Kilometer Zero located in front of my beloved Rizal’s final resting place

When I dropped by Luneta last Rizal Day, I was so moved by our late National Hero’s presence that I failed to notice that Kilometer Zero was literally in front of me. I only realized my oversight when I was already home. Thus, my determination to return to Kilometer Zero grew stronger during the week until I simply had to make the trip once and for all. So, after my workout, I took advantage of the traffic-free roads and made the commute to Luneta. 

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I was greeted by history. 

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I am very excited to visit this museum once it opens this May 2018.

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Of course, this never gets old. 

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A train named Pepe and Friends goes around Luneta for a minimal fee. 

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It was a beautiful morning.  

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This was morbidly gorgeous. 

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I was about to cross the street when I first spotted Kilometer Zero.  

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Finally, I made it!

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I took my first selfie at KM 0. 

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I wore another Rizal shirt for the occasion.  

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I felt a sense of peace and hope whilst standing at the beginning of all roads in the Philippines. 

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I just had to take another selfie with my homeboy Rizal. It felt good to see him again. 

I had a fruitful morning, and it was awesome to finally be at the beginning of everything geographically measured in the Philippines. I wished for all the best this 2018, and it was perfect to begin the year at KM 0. It was worth the commute!  

Do visit KM 0 at Luneta and make a wish or two! While you are there, take a brisk walk and appreciate history in the hallowed grounds. You will definitely enjoy your time.  

Buying Local

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One of the reasons why I am inspired to work again is my advocacy for buying local. I have been supporting local brands since I started working in 2009. My purchasing power is a vote of confidence for Filipino-made products. I do not believe that Filipino-made is inferior to imported products. Rather, I think that it is about time that we support local because we have quality products which are sourced and manufactured here.

Filipino brands cannot thrive without our support. If we can’t help them succeed, then the whole world will think that we are still haunted by our colonial past. We have to show the world that we believe in ourselves and in our country at large. Believe it or not, shopping can be a healthy habit, as long as it is in moderation and it supports a community in return.

One of the brands that I have supported through the years is Human Nature. Yesterday, I did my monthly shopping for my usual toiletries and personal care products. I could easily buy them from the supermarket. However, I make the monthly trip to the brand’s flagship store because I enjoy immersing myself in its core values and beliefs. I find it therapeutic to be surrounded by a brand whose ideals are proudly displayed on its brick and mortar store. It inspires me both as a Filipino and a consumer.

I cannot say that I am proud to be Filipino if I do not support locally-made products. I cannot say that I blog about wellness through mindfulness if I do not use natural products. Human Nature allows me to practice both. I am also pleased that all of their products are affordable. I do not go beyond my budget whenever I buy from Human Nature because all products are fairly priced and of course, fair trade.

If you need to inspire yourself, go buy something local today. You are not only purchasing something useful, you are also supporting a dream. And don’t forget to share your purchase online so more people will be enticed to buy local.

Let’s make buying local exciting and hip again!

Coffee Nature

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I am currently having coffee at Human Nature, my favorite affordable natural store. I am here at the beginning of each month, as I have to restock on toiletries that are kind to my skin. Their advocacy speaks to me, because I support social enterprises and I believe that they are the key to a progressive economic future for our country. While I am having their free-flowing brewed coffee here, I am reflecting on how long I have been supporting Human Nature. I have been a loyal customer since 2010, but I have been a member since 2013. In my close to four years with them, I have witnessed their beautiful advocacy firsthand through immersions at the GK Enchanted Farm, my training and qualification as a Core Advocate, and my two weekends as a camper in the GK Startup Social Business Camp. I admire how they are able to impart to their stakeholders the power of "walang iwanan" (no man left behind). They do not fire their staff, and everyone is given living wages above minimum standards. Best of all, everything is Made in the Philippines, and they provide jobs to those who need them most. As a customer, I feel happy to support such a worthy cause and I look forward to witnessing more milestones for the brand. I am glad that their products care for my skin, hair, and body. They also awaken the Filipino in me to be proud of what can be achieved when we all work together. For now, I am finishing my coffee and I am excited for my next shopping trip here soon.