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.

The options for payment are bank deposit and Paypal. I chose Paypal because of its convenience.

My order took some time to arrive, and Vela Manila apologetically explained that there was some problems with delivery. They were diligent enough to update me with the status of the delivery (though I was diligent in following up the issue as well),  and after a week I finally was able to receive my passport holder.

The wrapping is minimalist and quaint.

Honestly, I was a bit underwhelmed by the item I received. Yes, they used the same native fabric as their pictures, but the color of the leather wasn't was I expected at all. The image in their Instagram was dark brown (almost black) leather, but what I got is tan-ish brown.

Expectations vs. Reality. Not the same. :(

What initially drew me towards the item is the contrast between the fabric and the leather, but since the color of the fabric and the leather is now the same, there is no contrast at all. The color of the leather doesn't match the color of my passport, either. Why did you alter your design, Vela Manila?

In fariness, my passport and travel cards fit snugly inside the holder.

Some information about the native fabric featured in the item.
Quite informative.

Aside from the disappointing color combination of my actual item, I have no other complaint. The passport holder looks sturdy and functional, and it was able to carry all my travel cards (i.e. frequent flier membership cards and commuter cards) comfortably. As long as the stitching doesn't unravel, I think that this passport holder will age beautifully because of the leather.

There are other Vela Manila items that I am interested to buy, such as their wallets and clutches. Perhaps next time, to avoid future disappointment, I should contact them first to ensure that the item I will be getting looks exactly the same as the picture in their website.

For those interested, feel free to browse the links provided in this entry. And for those who already purchased their own Vela Manila item, please post pictures in your reply. I'm curious as to which designs have captured your fancy.

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