July 31, 2015

#SupportLokalPH: Germano's Chilli

Recently, I've been discovering a number of local (i.e. Filipino) independent businesses. Some of them I've discovered online (on Facebook or on Instagram), others in bazaars. I realize how challenging it is for them to compete with the global market--just look at the shops in our malls and you'll see that most of the brands are from foreign companies ("local" businesses are usually re-sellers na lang)--so in my own little way, I would like to help promote their brand by featuring some of my favorite purchases in this blog.

Germano's Chilli

The 1st and only chili garlic sauce cooked in Olive Oil to a Perfect Crisp, bringing out its Unique flavor.


Dim sum has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. Way back when I was still in high school, my friends and I would frequent Mang Teo's stall during recess and lunch time. I would often order fried dumplings (or kuchay pie if I'm feeling less stingy) and douse them with lots of soy sauce. Now, I would take my dim sum fix at the nearest Siomai House stall, or in Binondo if I'm not lazy, or at Tim Ho Wan if I'm okay with spending a bit more money.

For me, a dim sum experience won't be complete without the ultimate condiment, which for me is the chili garlic oil.  Soy sauce and calamansi just isn't enough; you need to add spiciness in the mix. Chili oil alone won't do, either. You need the perfect combination of chili, toasted garlic, and oil to give your palate a delicious kick.

My favorite "commercial" chili garlic oil would have to be the one from Siomai House; I like my chili garlic oil to be more garlic-y than chili-y. I do not think they sell the condiment separately, but I am fortunate to have an office mate who shares the same passion for dim sum.  I credit her for introducing me to Germano's Chilli Sauce.

They offer two varieties: Chilli Sauce in Corn Oil, and Chilli Sauce in Olvie Oil.

The healthier option (i.e. Chilli Oil in Olive Oil) costs more that the original focmula.


July 30, 2015

#SupportLokalPH: Alunsina Handbound Books

Recently, I've been discovering a number of local (i.e. Filipino) independent businesses. Some of them I've discovered online (on Facebook or on Instagram), others in bazaars. I realize how challenging it is for them to compete with the global market--just look at the shops in our malls and you'll see that most of the brands are from foreign companies ("local" businesses are usually re-sellers na lang)--so in my own little way, I would like to help promote their brand by featuring some of my favorite purchases in this blog.

Alunsina Handbound Books

An indie crafts business that creates & sells hand-bound journals & leather accessories.


I've always been a fan of the analog, which I find ironic because I work in the IT industry. Technology has always been moving towards the digital, so you may say my holding on to obsolete relics is something quite laughable to see these days.

Maybe it's because I have an old soul. Or maybe I'm actually a closet hipster. Oh, no.

One such obsolete relic that I've been obsessing over quite recently is the fountain pen. It started when an office mate gave me a "disposable" Daiso fountain pen (where I learned my Lesson #1 in fountain pen maintenance: DO NOT use stamping inks to refill your pen), and then gifted me with a Sailor Lecoule last Christmas. Now, I have twelve fountain pens in my collection, with two more coming my way. Oh, the woes of a collector.

Fountain pen inks have a different consistency than the inks on a ball point pen. Ink needs to flow more freely to get out of the nib, thus the tendency to bleed through your average paper. Because of this, I have to be particular on the paper I use, especially when choosing planners and journals. There are a lot of FP-friendly papers here in the Philippines, actually. However, most of them are imported from expensive countries like Japan and carry a heavy price tag.

I really wanted to have a refillable planner like the Midori Traveler's Notebook, but that was until I discovered a less expensive alternative. Made in the PH, too. :) Introducing KISLAP, the refillable journal of Alunsina Handbound Books.

The original KISLAP is slightly larger than the
Midori Traveler's Notebook (Passport Size)

July 29, 2015

#SupportLokalPH: Lulu Swing

Recently, I've been discovering a number of local (i.e. Filipino) independent businesses. Some of them I've discovered online (on Facebook or on Instagram), others in bazaars. I realize how challenging it is for them to compete with the global market--just look at the shops in our malls and you'll see that most of the brands are from foreign companies ("local" businesses are usually re-sellers na lang)--so in my own little way, I would like to help promote their brand by featuring some of my favorite purchases in this blog.

Lulu Swing

Transforms classic styles into fresh unique statement pieces.


This one I discovered during last year's St. James Christmas Bazaar, an annual bazaar held in Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa. Actually, there are a LOT of local items I've discovered on that bazaar, but most of them were food and I already ate them all...

But I digress.

Lulu Swing sells women's shoes of their own designs, though recently they've branched out by creating bucket bags as well. The first thing I noticed that time, as I passed by their booth, was the minimalist design--a mix of classy and girly--and that got me to try out one of their sandals.

I kid you not; those sandals are the softest, most comfortable sandals I ever tried.

I wasn't planning on buying shoes back then, so I decided to pass up the opportunity. For the time being, just I settled on taking their contact information and following their social media accounts.

Yes, they're on Instagram.

A photo posted by Lulu Swing (@luluswing) on


July 28, 2015

#SupportLokalPH: 10 North Creative

Recently, I've been discovering a number of local (i.e. Filipino) independent businesses. Some of them I've discovered online (on Facebook or on Instagram), others in bazaars. I realize how challenging it is for them to compete with the global market--just look at the shops in our malls and you'll see that most of the brands are from foreign companies ("local" businesses are usually re-sellers na lang)--so in my own little way, I would like to help promote their brand by featuring some of my favorite purchases in this blog.

10 North Creative

Hand made watches inspired by vintage graphics


Ever since I bought my husband a timepiece for our wedding day (yes ladies, apparently it is a tradition to gift your groom a classic watch on your wedding), I've wanted one for myself. Alas, I've yet to replenish my savings in order to afford such luxury; until then I must settle for novelty.

I was browsing through Etsy for shops that ship items from the Philippines when I stumbled upon 10 North Creative (who ships from Quezon City). Theirs is a simple shop; they sell watches exclusively. The general style of their watches look the same (i.e. same dial size/color as well as case size/color), and you only have two options for the strap (i.e. brown or black synthetic leather). What got me interested was the design of the watches' faces, as each design is a mix of geeky, quirky, and nostalgic.

Out of the 258 items, I picked the Michelangelo Watch ($14.00 USD).
Because they offer worldwide shipping, the prices displayed in the store are in USD. However, I think that they accept payment in PhP for local purchases (I suggest contacting the shop to be sure). Their watches retail at around 600 PhP, which is a reasonable price for me.

The quality of the watch case is pretty decent; no scratches or chipping seen on the face so far. The strap, however, is quite flimsy as the free loops gave way just a few months after I started wearing it. Good thing that the watch size is pretty much standard, and I was able to buy a third-party replacement (as seen on photo above).


July 27, 2015

#SupportLokalPH: Arajera

Recently, I've been discovering a number of local (i.e. Filipino) independent businesses. Some of them I've discovered online (on Facebook or on Instagram), others in bazaars. I realize how challenging it is for them to compete with the global market--just look at the shops in our malls and you'll see that most of the brands are from foreign companies ("local" businesses are usually re-sellers na lang)--so in my own little way, I would like to help promote their brand by featuring some of my favorite purchases in this blog.

Arajera

Trinkets and Silver Linings


The creator of Arajera is incidentally my sister's friend/ ex-officemate, which has nothing to do with her mad skill in creating jewelry. When I visited my sister in Hong Kong a few years ago, she was wearing a pair of pretty little ear pins made of three emerald studs. A nifty accessory, I daresay, as it gave an effect of three piercings when you really only need one.

I asked my sister for Arajera's Instagram account, which I immediately followed.



July 20, 2015

Life is like a box of chocolates... and then you die.

Last weekend, my Facebook wall welcomed me with a couple of grim news, and by grim I do not mean the hopeless state of Metro Manila traffic, nor my country's addiction to corruption.

A friend I've known since high school just lost her unborn son, and (by no coincidence whatsoever) an officemate of mine lost her battle to cancer.** Loss on opposite ends of the spectrum, but a sad loss nonetheless.

I was able to visit my officemate's wake earlier this evening, and I noticed that I was a bit apprehensive to look into the coffin. Normally I have no issues in doing so, but this time it was especially difficult for me because I keep on remembering the last time I saw her alive. It was in our office, no more than a month ago. She was just carrying on, business as usual. Yes, she did look wearier than her usual self, but gave no indication that she was struggling for three years or so. Thinking about this made me admire her for being strong for that long, but at the same time saddened me deeply as I felt that it just wasn't her time to go.

As a Catholic I know that I shouldn't be sad or scared of what happened; I've been "trained" my entire life not to fear *physical* death. Easy to say, but extremely difficult to practice. Just thinking about the people (or worse, the things) you would leave behind, more so the experiences (or worse, the things) you still want to attain, are enough to NOT want to leave the world behind. I know--and recognize--that such mindset is wrong, but it's not easy to go against your human nature to survive and to live a better life.

I just hope that I have enough time to unlearn all these worldly views and have peace within myself.
...more importantly, do all of those things within His time and not mine.


** Browsing through the Internet, it seems that people with cancer actually dislike this idiom, but I don't know what better phrase to use; apologies for those who are offended by this.

July 14, 2015

Social Media Lesson 1: Know When to NOT Give a Fuck

I was really sad yesterday, because of all that online drama last weekend. Today, I woke up feeling better; nothing that time, food, rest, and narcotic cold medicine can't fix.

I was doing well for a while; just minding my own business. That is, until I saw the guy behind me not keeping right on the escalator. No one was standing behind me, so he could've easily scooted to the right so that other commuters could pass by freely. BUT NO. He maintained his position throughout the escalator ride, while the poor commuters who were in a hurry had no choice but to weave their way around the guy. What a hassle.

My first instinct was to tell the guy off; confront him; discipline him. Each second that I was not able to rectify the situation made my blood boil and my emotions swell up again. I felt that I had a responsibility to ensure that people were in order.

But do I, really?


July 13, 2015

The Prodigal Blogger

For the past two years I've been blogging on Blogger, mainly because I've got a Google account and I wanted to maximize its potential. Mostly re-blogs from previous blogs, the content. It wasn't that as productive as I expected, as things got busy and I was not able to update as often as I should... as often as I want.

And now, I'm undergoing a purging spree, sadly not my first. Social media hasn't been good to me lately, and I wasn't behaving like a model netizen, either. I've been using social media to air out my rantings, and you know how nasty those things can get. As you know, I'm not good at editing myself when I'm on the highest of emotions. Add to that the power of instant publication, and BOOM. Hating and trolling ensues.

Right now I've deactivated my Twitter account. If I am able to contain myself from logging in for a month, supposedly the account will be deleted permanently. I've also started uninstalling some of the social media apps from my phone, to further prevent myself from idling to the dark side again.

I've also unlinked my Facebook account to all third-party apps AND logged off on all my devices. I'd want to delete my account as well, if not for Messenger. Some of my contancts I can only reach out through Facebook.

As I'm slowly cutting all my ties and integrated apps, I return to this portal... this being the only isolated part of my web where I can reflect in peace.

There are still some accounts I would want to retain, mostly those that only involve uploading pictures (Instagram, Flickr) as I still want to practice photography. But as for thoughts, reflections, and opinions, I think it would be wiser to keep to this corner and to stay silent for a while. By saying less today, I will gain more.