September 28, 2015

#SupportLokalPH: Common Room

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.

Common Room

Arts & Crafts Supply Store | A place where makers gather

(Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CommonRoomPH)

I've always wanted to check out this store ever since it announced their launching over Facebook and Instagram, just a few months ago. Most of the local makers I've been following in social media sell their stuff there; having a physical store where I can look at merchandise would definitely help me decide whether or not to buy an item made by an independent local brand.


Common Room is located near universities, so it is understandable that the merchandise caters for the kolehiyala market. Notebooks, gadget holders, tote bags, and dorm decorations are the usual type of items being sold there.

I was looking for a particular leather bag from a maker I'm currently following, but I was not able to find it in the Common Room. Needless to say, my husband and I were able find a couple of items worth buying.

September 17, 2015

#SupportLokalPH: Exonomad

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.

Exonomad

Durable Carry Solutions


I'm really excited with today's featured product, because I've been planning to acquire one since June. I first found about Exonomad from the Instagram picture posted by Alunsina Handbound Books. The post led me to Exonomad's Instagram page, and I instantly fell in love with the design of one of their bags, wherein they used Sagada fabric.


A photo posted by mark jordan (@exo_nomad) on

Exonomad specializes in creating backpacks suited for outdoor recreation. They also create accessories for cycling, hiking, and everyday carry (i.e. cellphone holder, pouch bag, gadget kit, etc). They are also open to accept requests for additional pockets, straps, or other configuration that you would like to add on your Exonomad bag.

I first emailed Exonomad to inquire on the availability of the Sagada fabric as I want it to be used for my backpack. Fortunately, there are Sagada fabrics available, so I proceeded to discuss the specifications of my backpack.

Back view


September 16, 2015

Urban Gardening: Growing Green Onions and Lemongrass (Part 1)

For your reference, here is a list of entries under the Urban Gardening series:



As with my onions, I haven't been successful propagating these plants so far. But I've already gathered quite a number of images, so might as well make an entry on how to grow green onions and lemongrass in theory.

Day 1: Dunk 'em in water

Propagating green onions and lemongrass follow the same rule: start root growth in water. In the kitchen, save around three inches of the bottom part of the plants and immerse the root section in water.

Green onions in water

These cuttings, especially the green onions, have a rather sharp scent; best change the water everyday to keep it from stinking up the place.

A closer look at the green onions.
The longer the roots, the faster the growth.


September 15, 2015

#SupportLokalPH: Activista

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.

Activista

Stylish, modern, and affordable fitness apparel made in the Philippines


This one I've discovered through Instagram, and is a fairly new business as they launched their online store just a couple of months ago.

By no means am I an athletic person, but certain factors (i.e. ageing) has led me to become more conscious of my health and overall body image. As I do not engage in sports, nor will I ever, I have no plans to invest in expensive and/or well-known brands for my athletic clothing. Fortunately, I came across Activista, and they primarily sell fitness apparel for a reasonable price.


Being fairly new to the online market, Activista's method of purchasing, payment, and delivery is still a bit crude. For one, you can only view their catalog through Facebook and Instagram photos. Should you need to inquire on the availability of the item, SMS or Viber are the ideal way to contact them. They use Google docs for their order form, and you would have to wait for them to contact you via email to confirm your order. Payment is made through bank deposit, which would need to be confirmed by a certain cut-off time for your order to make it to their scheduled deliveries (i.e. Wednesdays and Saturdays).


September 13, 2015

#SupportLokalPH: Vela Manila

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.

Vela Manila

Of Tradition and Modernity


Quick update: My Japan Visa applications has been approved, yay!

I was given a multiple entry status good for five years, so I decided to reward myself by buying pretty things for my passport.

This one I discovered through Instagram, and I was attracted by their way of incorporating native fabric into their pieces. Almost all of their items are made with leather, and I find leather + native fabric designs classy and cultured. I like!


A photo posted by Vela Manila (@velamanila) on

From their items, I chose to buy their brown passport holder. From the picture above, the Mangyan fabric beautifully contrasts with the dark leather, and since the color of my passport is brown, I thought that it would make a nice matchy-matchy combination.


September 11, 2015

Urban Gardening: Growing Onions (Part 1)

For your reference, here is a list of entries under the Urban Gardening series:



To add some variety to my balcony garden, I decided to plant some onions. Onions are a mainstay in the circulating lists of vegetables you can grow using kitchen scraps. There's nothing much to do while waiting for my tomato seedlings to grow strong, so perhaps it's time to take on another gardening project.

Day 0: Callousing the onion bottoms

The regrow-able part of the onion is its bottom part, consisting of the roots plus half an inch or so of onion flesh. A fresh onion vegetable is quite juicy after slicing, so it is quite important to let the onion bottoms dry for a day or two before planting them into the soil.

Just your garden variety yellow onion.

Day 1: Planting the calloused onion bottoms 

Onion bottoms that have dried nicely should exhibit curling and separation of the onion's fleshy layers. Notice that some onions will have more than one "center." Each center is a potential onion plant, which means that the bulb is expected to form from them.

The onion bottom on the upper right shows a perfectly
calloused onion bottom.


September 10, 2015

#SupportLokalPH: Donardo's Chili Garlic Sauce

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.

Donardo's Chili Garlic Sauce

Anghang Sarap!

(Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Donardos-Chili-Garlic-Sauce/362127374159)

I've been a fan of Germano's Chilli ever since an office mate recommended it to me, but I'm always on the lookout for new local brands to try. I discovered this gem while grocery shopping in Puregold Jr. (Pioneer branch)--ironically, during that time I was buying some Germano's Chilli for said office mate. Wouldn't hurt to try another brand for myself, though.

Donardo's Chili Garlic Sauce uses soy oil, compared to
the olive oil/ corn oil used by Germano's Chilli.

This one's less expensive, too.


September 09, 2015

Seedlings of Faith and Similar Metaphors

I've been having a bit of a challenge growing my tomatoes. A month has passed since I first sowed the seeds, and as per research my tomatoes should've been ready for their final transplanting. Alas, my seedlings seem to have stunted their growth. They've barely grown. :(

Staring into my unproductive garden made me recall one of those stories in the Bible, when Jesus was talking about the Kingdom of God. He compared the Kingdom to seeds being sown, and that the places where the seed was sown (pavement, thorny bush, good soil) affected the way the seed grew. And then, as if struck by inspiration, I realized that the metaphor should not stop there; each element in gardening plays a vital role in making a plant grow--and each element can be associated to one's faith. So humor me if you will, as I present to you:

Seedlings of Faith: The Garden of Ideals

Picture Faith (AKA morals, values, or principles) as a seed: unassuming, yet filled with potential. Left alone it stays dormant, but once nurtured it is able to bring forth new life and bountiful harvest.

He who plants the seed is Influence. Influence is the spark that starts Faith's growth, and is responsible for providing the proper nourishment for Faith to mature. Influence should plant deep to protect Faith from the elements that may prevent the seed to sprout. Good Influence is patient, constant, and intuitive. Bad Influence is temperamental, fickle, and stubborn. Faith that is nurtured by Good Influence will reach maturity at the optimal time, while Faith that is controlled by Bad Influence may wither and die.

The elements--sunlight, wind, rain, and the changing seasons--represent Circumstance. In itself, Circumstance is neither good nor bad, but it is strong enough to destroy a Faith left unguided. Influence has no power over Circumstance; it must learn to use Circumstance to its advantage. Faith must learn to harden itself to Circumstance as it grows, exposing itself bit by bit until it is able to withstand even the harshest of the elements. A properly hardened Faith is not intolerant, rather it knows how to adapt to the changing environment without compromising its integrity.

Faith cannot bear fruit unless it matures, and it is only through time that Faith can properly reach maturity. Through time and proper Influence, Faith will be able to grow strong, no matter how harsh the Circumstance. Ultimately, Faith's survival lies in its ability to balance pampering nurture and unforgiving nature.

Hey wait--we're talking about Faith, so where is God in all this?

The answer is simple: God is everywhere. God can be found in the abstract concept of Faith, driving you to grow and to bear fruit. God can be found in the critical power of Influence, enabling you discern what is right from what is wrong. God can be found in the weathering force of Circumstance, challenging you to rise above all the obstacles presented to you. God is everywhere and He is everything.

God is the Garden.