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Nov/Dec 2013

KATHA MASTERMINDS Geli Balcruz Aya Dalumpines Andrea Dela Cruz Allie Principe Cachi Reyes


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Illustrators Lando Cusi

Katha is a bi-monthly magazine for creatives, by creatives. Copyright is reserved. Reposting in whole or in part on other sites and publications without permission is prohibited. All rights to photos and illustrations belong to their respective owners.

Ella Lama


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EVERYONE GETS A LITTLE CRAZY DURING THIS TIME OF THE YEAR. Amidst the bright twinkling of lights and steady stream of festive music, you scramble to go through your never ending to-do and to-buy lists. You bravely navigate through the endless mall crowds that seem to increase exponentially as the most anticipated holiday of the year looms closer and closer. You feel like tearing your hair out because you can’t seem to find the perfect present for someone or other. Sounds eerily familiar? We know it does. So for this issue, we decided to steer the focus away from the buying madness the holidays bring along. Instead, we want to remember what it’s like to really feel the joy of being able to share what you have, and help others out in the process. It’s a feeling that shouldn’t be bound by any season, and instead be experienced by everyone all year round. Inside our pages you’d see this spirit of giving through various ways: There’s a guy who left his comfortable life overseas to pursue a business that combines giving back and everything else he loves in life. There’s also a group of young designers who are inspiring change through their work, one social enterprise at a time. Of course, it’s nice to receive stuff, too, especially if it’s for something you’ve worked so hard for and truly believe in. Like these two artists who received residency grants abroad because of their unique works of art, or this designer who successfully crowdfunded enough money to start on her latest line of animal-inspired shoes. It was amazing getting to talk to all these great people, and we’d like to give you the wonderful gift of inspiration by sharing their stories with you. We have a few little surprises up our sleeve as well, sprinkled all throughout the succeeding pages. We won’t say anything more, so we’ll just let the rest of the issue speak for itself. Consider them yet another one of our gifts to you, and we hope they get everyone as excited as we are about giving and receiving. Fingers crossed! Cheers, The Katha Team

photo by Allie Principe


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Isa Garcia is 25-years-old. By profession, she is a teacher but she would much rather be known as a storyteller. When she isn’t reveling in the glory of introversion by indulging in books in the quiet of her room, she’s making her mark as an advocate. She is currently the founder of a non-profit organization called The Better Story Project. We couldn’t have picked anyone better to write this issue’s Hey You letter. You can tweet her @ everydayisa or read more of her stuff at

Jeanie dela Rama is an IT manager and MBA student by day, although she wishes to can spend all her time crafting. She started scrapbooking in 2007 but has long since dabbled in other crafts like mixed media, altered art and crocheting. Last year, she embarked on her craftrepreneur dreams with La Petit Cadeau, which offers a delightful selection of lovely notions and quaint trinkets for fellow crafters and diy enthusiasts. Jeannie shows off her mad scrapbooking skills in this issue’s Faceoff.

Airees Rondain is a handmade paper invitation designer/maker at Handcrafted Expressions, website designer/Work-At-Home Mom (WAHM). She started scrapbooking in 2002 after giving birth to her youngest child. She enjoys scrapbooking because it preserves her family’s memories together. Her favorite craft tools are the Honey Bee precision tip scissors and her trusty Martha Stewart bone folder. She faces off with Jeannie for our scrapbooking challenge.

Kate Pedroso is a media worker and grad student. She likes pandas, children’s books, coming-of-age stories, designer beer and beach weather. She blogs at Her article will help you discover different local organizations that give back to the community, and what you can do to help out. She and Drea also identify the different types of gift unwappers.

Jika Macachor is an architect from Makati. When she is not too busy designing offices, she bakes the cutest cookies and cupcakes for her friends. In this issue, Jika teaches us how to decorate iced shortbread cookies in different ways. Jika also writes about nail art, makeup, and other beauty stuff on her blog. Check her out at

Andrea Senga has been drawing ever since she can remember. She is also fond of books, crafting with paper, nature, with animals being closest to her heart. You can see her works at and Instagram account, @eabrea. She shares her illustration prowess by reimagining the noche buena feast for this holiday issue.

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The Katha Team answers the question we asked our readers:

What IS THE most creative GIFT you HAVE GIVEN?


When giving gifts, I try my best to give what the receiver specifically needs or wants, be it handmade or hand picked. I try to buy gifts from fellow makers, it’s nice to give a gift that has a story. I am also more of a letter giver type of person, I make sure that every gift I give is accompanied with a heartfelt handwritten letter. Because of my love for hand lettering and calligraphy, I love to give out personalized frames, canvas, notebook or bookmarks that the receiver would hopefully use. It always makes me smile and kilig when my friend uses a framed arI made as an accent for her room.

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As much as I try to give handmade gifts on every holiday, I don’t really remember a gift that stood out as most creative. The most creative (or tedious) gift I probably did was to orchestrate a last-minute 23 gifts (from 23 different persons) for a friend back in college. The gifts weren’t expensive, but each were thoughtfully picked and handed out by close friends. I must say my friend enjoyed every bit of it.


I like surprising my life partner with handmade gifts for special occasions, like love letters written using calligraphy for each year we’ve been together, or origami hearts with wings that contained short stories about special memories. My favorite would have to be the faux “pabitin” I made for our first year together. She said she was too short to reach the candies as a kid and I decided to surprise her with a handmade one. I used colorful yarn as string, pens (so it would still be useful after) for the sticks, and made sure that the goodies contained her fave junk food and nostalgic candies.


Come to think of it, I haven’t made any real handmade gifts in a while, mostly just gift wrapper. But I remember as a kid, one Christmas I made my mom and all my aunts handmade soaps from a kit that I got a year before. For my dad and uncles, I made some perfume by mixing random scents. I’m not sure how good they smelled, but I remember having a lot of fun making them and wrapping them up in their own little boxes.


Last year I dedided to give handmade presents to my sisters and cousin for Christmas. I bought a lot of pastel colored buttons and floral fabric in Divisoria to make DIY button monograms. I even decorated my own gift wrapper out of kraft paper and gold paint!


I gave my closest friends matching crocheted lunch box bags and buddy bags when I was in grade school.


A couple of christmases ago i gave all my friends and family carefully chosen gifts wrapped in kraft paper with a handlettered repeat pattern of the receiver’s name--like their very own personalized wrapping paper.


It was during one Christmas season and I bought my girlfriend a blazer and i wanted to surprise her by giving it early. Thinking that it was not enough (and to increase my cheesiness), I decided to make a doodle of what we might look like together on Christmas. When I finished making all necessary preparations, I decided the best way to give it to her was to leave it by her door. Coincidentally, her condo unit’s door was right in front of a fire exit, so I hid there waiting until she got the gift and surprised her.



Here’s to ho-ho-hoping our Christmas mixtape brings you tidings of great joy. 1. All That I Want by The Weepies 2. Carol of the Bells by The Bird and The Bee 3. Tuloy Tuloy Pa Rin Ang Pasko by Apo Hiking Society 4. Christmas Lights by Coldplay 5. Someday at Christmas by Jack Johnson 6. Snow Globe by Matt Wertz

7. Christmas Is Here by Daydream Cycle 8. Christmas for You and Me by Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors 9. Come On! Let’s Boogey To The Elf Dance! by Sufjan Stevens 10. Last Christmas by Wham!

Listen to this on 8tracks!


H E LLOK R IS thecuriouscalligrapher

If you find yourself hoarding notebooks and pens to doodle and write letters with during your spare time, then calligraphy might just be for you. Margaret Corley from Lousiana and Fozzy Castro-Dayrit from Manila created the aptly named ‘The Curious Calligrapher’, a community of calligraphers and enthusiasts that aims to share their love for the art of writing, making letters and getting their hands inky. Everyone is welcome to join the lively discussion from ink and paper basics, calligraphy hacks and sharing all their beautiful works.


Hellokris is a TV producer, photographer and video editor. Her life in squares encapsulates her being a wanderer, a storyteller and a lover of the arts. On most days, her posts are gentle reminders of lovely things that we often neglect and take for granted, such as the first blush of the morning, a warm cup of tea or a breathtaking sunset after a long and tiring day.

IN S TA X 90 Fuji finally decided to put the classic awesomeness of the Instax camera into a vintage-looking body. The new Instax Mini 90 is retrospective in design but updated in features, it sure won’t disappoint. We’ve got this one on our wish list! Visit for the list of official dealers, Php 8,990.


SNEAK PEEK If you enjoy checking out the works in progress of talented artists, you’ll love these sites.

Cordillera Coffee is a quaint coffee shop that’s been around for years but still manages to maintain its advocacy of fair traded coffee. Located along Xavierville, the café is managed by Paolo and Iona Fresonza. Both of them play an active role in empowering the indigenous coffee growers by hosting a tree planting activity in the highlands. Let’s help them place the Philippines on the ‘coffee map’ by drinking 100% organic and homegrown coffee.



ANALOG COLORS AND BLACK TEA Charlene’s darling illustrations seem perfect for notebooks. Or notepads. Or on our walls, all over the house. Basically everywhere, since they’re just. so. pretty.

Tradeschool Manila is the first Philippine chapter of the barter education movement which kickstarted from Trade School New York. The structure is a non-traditional, independent learning approach where students barter with educators in exchange for new learning. Classes and educators vary per season, so better check their schedule regularly so you wouldn’t miss out on a class of your interest. Check out their site if you want to sign up for a class or are interested to teach.

YEO KAA If Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara spawned a prodigy, that would be this woman. Her bold, imaginative art (and bubbly personality) will make you a fan.

What could be greener than a bike made of bamboo? Bambike is a company that produces bamboo bikes with the Gawad Kalinga community. The people who used to work in different odd jobs are now skilled craftsmen earning themselves the title “Bambuilders” (Bambike builders). Aside from helping out the planet, they’re also helping out the people!

FRANCES ALVAREZ We love Fran’s playful watercolor artworks and her brave use of color. Layers upon layers of beautiful, yummy colors. WH IM SIES | 1 1

DI VI SO RI A GU ID E It’s the season of gift-giving and gift shopping! If you’ve been to the busy streets of Divisoria but still end up getting lost in a sea of bargain deals, here’s some great news! The Divisoria Guide app offers an offline map covering all the nooks and crannies of our beloved bargain hotspot. It also provides tips on scoring a great deal. Now you’ll have enough time to plan ahead and map out your game plan before going to battle. Write down all the info you need and just pull out your notes when you need them. Download the app for iOS for $2.99.


S A N D WIC H TO TH E MOON by Jamie Bauza

A delightful book not only written but also illustrated by Jaime Bauza. Her fun food illustrations are absolutely mouthwatering, and the story will inspire you to reach for the stars and dream big, and most importantly, to create, create, create!

Subscription boxes have been all the rage lately, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with one that caters to makers and creatives. We had a short chat with Planet Slate about their newest creation, Juicebox - a monthly package of art supplies that will surely squeeze the creative juices out of anybody.. How did you guys come up with the idea of JuiceBox? We noticed a few boxes became available for everyone to subscribe to lately, and none of these boxes were skewed towards the artsy craftsy individuals that we (The Slate Team) are hoping to have a dialogue with. Our company’s anthem is Live Creatively, and we make it a point to produce and develop products that complement each other, and stand as tools for daily creative stimulation. This has always been our goal: to champion creativity, and JuiceBox fits the bill perfectly!

How do you decide what goes into the JuiceBox every month? When we planned for this [business], we already created different box categories that we will be building for all our subscribers. The selection of which box to build is very random though. A good variety and mix of art materials are available in our country but in-store stocks are sometimes not enough to cover the number of subscribers we have for the month. In a way, our boxes can be mirrored to how chefs choose what they’ll put on the menu depending on what ingredients are in season: we pick out the best box to build depending on the stocks available, and we literally pick them up just days before the shipping. What’s next in store for your JuiceBox subscribers? Lots more design challenges and Sloot giveaways in the future, and more unique tools (hopefully)!

WANT S OM E JU I CE? Planet Slate is giving one lucky Katha reader the December edition of their Juicebox! Just answer this question: If there should only be one tool/ material in the JuiceBox, what would you like it to be? It could be the most useful/universal tool, or it could be the most extravagant / drool worthy thing! Send your answers HERE!


Geli says: Oh my heart! I would love a pen that comes in different points with unlimited ink oh and in different colors too. Yep, only one pen with those amazing features!

WH IM SIES | 1 3 ill us trat i on b y An drea De l a C r uz

l e t t e r ing b y E l l a La m a


K ATHA HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Buy your loved ones the perfect gift, and get to help others too. We round up some of the best products from local social enterprises that will be a sure hit for anyone and everyone.

This Rookie Ragpets keychain (P100) would be a great addition to anyone’s kawaii collection. There are a lot of other kooky characters too, so feel free to collect them all. These would also be great Kris Kringle gifts! Karaw! ArtVentures combines art enthusiasm with passion to take part in community development. They provide career and livelihood opportunities for the inmates of Naga City Jail by working with them to create their products. They also use recycled materials as a response to the alarming deterioration of the environment.

TH E STY LISH TEC HIE Bring some flair to your friend’s latest device with this Travel Tokens iPhone 5 case (P495) designed by Jen Horn. These fishies inspired by various marine species found in our local beaches, and we’re sure he/she won’t be able to resist the lovely pattern and yummy colors.


Punchdrunk Panda donates 10% of any online sale and donates it to an organization of the buyer’s choice. The buyer can choose from any of the three environmental organizations that PDP has partnered with: Save Philippine Seas, Muni PH, and Got Heart Foundation.

THE HOUS EH O L D As if breezing through household chores wasn’t enough, the household diva enjoys entertaining guests, too! She’ll definitely love the Grapefruit Room and Linen Spray (P240 for 450ml), a 2-in-1 potion that can be used on all linen and laundry, plus it can be used around the room, too! She’ll surely enjoy the invigorating effect of grapefruit as she completes her tasks for the day. Messy Bessy produces earth-friendly, nontoxic and biodegradable household cleaning products in an effort to save the planet. Messy Bessy is also a part of project HOUSE (Helping Ourselves through Sustainable Enterprises) where they employ and educate disadvantaged young adults, even

GE T ME SSY W ITH BE SSY ! Messy Bessy is giving away one Aroma set to our readers! Just let us know: To whom would you like to give the Messy Bessy Aroma set to and why? Send in your answers HERE!

Geli says:

To my beloved sister! Messy Bessy’s Aroma set would be a perfect gift for

my sister because she absolutely loves anything that smells good, candles, aroma oils etc. Since all MB products are 100% organic, I wouldn’t worry that she’ll have rhinitis.


These Lucite Flats (P950) are as trendy and comfy as foldable footwear can go. Choose from metallic or patterned styles -- she’s sure to have a spring in her step when she wears these babies. Suelas is more about just being stylish.Every shoe is made by the talented hands of Marikina shoe artisans, helping them sustain and revive their business. Their custom shoe bags are also handmade by the Gawad Kalinga community of Payatas Trese.

TH E BEAC H BUM No Rumple Silk Skin Butter (P399) moisturizes without the greasiness even after sweating- a much-needed treat after a day enjoyed under the sun. The beach bum will definitely love that it’s made from organic ingredients and paraben-free, s/he won’t have to worry about the golden tan.

Leyende provides organic and eco-friendly products while providing employment for disadvantaged young women from local communities. Leyende is committed to empowering women and has set up a scholarship program to allow their young employees to work and study for a degree at the same time.


The oh-so-pretty Ofi clutch (P1995) with woven tinalak detail is just right for the social butterfly’s party essentials. And thanks to the chain strap, she won’t have to worry about putting it down as she dances the night away. Rags2Riches, Inc. works with artisans in poor communities to create eco-ethical fashion and home accessories from scrap cloth and organic and indigenous materials. They provide artisans not only with means of livelihood but also with the tools to be able to maximize their potential and improve their lives.

THE ULTIM ATE HY PHE NAT E The multi-tasking hyphenate never wastes her time. The 100% Natural Sunflower Beauty Oil (P149.75 for 50ml)can do anything and everything from removing makeup to lightening scars. The 50 ml bottle is as handy as it gets- she won’t think twice about bringing it all the time.

Human Nature is Pro-Philippines, Pro-Poor and ProEnvironment. Besides creating high quality products for both the local and international market, they have also created a sustainable livelihood for Gawad Kalinga communities in the Philippines.

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TH E YO UNG (AND YOUNG AT HEART ) These adorable Enchanted Farm Barkada fruit and veggie plushies (P150 each) with names like Buko Martin and Manny Pakwanwill surely make kids glee with joy. It won’t hurt to give them to the young at heart as well. Plush & Play partners with talented women of Gawad Kalinga communities to create handmade stuffed toys and felt items that provide a sustainable livelihood to the adults and kids as well.

THE COF F E E J UN K IE There is more to life than Starbucks. Give him/her some local flavor with Kape Maria Cordillera Premium Roast (P395). Coffee addicts will surely savor the taste and aroma of these Arabica coffee beans straight from the lush mountains of the Cordillera region.

THE ECO-FASHIONI S TA Who wouldn’t love to add this lovely pair of Bloom Sandals (P999) to her shoe collection? No one would think that these sandals were made from upcycled rags but the eco-fashionista would proudly say so. Paisley fabric details and ankle straps also add a dainty touch to any of her outfits. P.S. Habi makes shoes for the gents, too!


Look cool while sending kids in need to school! Wear a Bambowtie (P1000) as a statement and the preppy hipster will surely be the talk of the town. For the more hardcore hipster, there are mustache-themed ones, fondly referred to as Bambigote. Bambowties are made by the members of the Gawad Kalinga community. A part of the proceeds from sales go to a scholarship fund for the children in their villages and a sustainable livelihood development program.

Habi Footwear has partnered with an urban poor community in Quezon City in the manufacture of their shoes. Habi does not only employ mothers from the community to weave the upcycled cloth but also helps develop the partner community through livelihood programs and other community activities.

WA N NA W I N A PA I R O F SA NDA LS F RO M H A BI ? Get creative and sketch your dream shoe using upcycled materials! They can be sneakers, sky-high stilettos, comfy flats, or whatever else floats your boat. Send in your sketches and illustrations HERE.


Why patronize international coffee shop chains when you can get your caffeine fix from our very own shores? Kape Maria supports local coffee farmers and cooperatives and helps them get the fair wages that they need.


A student needs something versatile and no-nonsense to carry everyday belongings, and this Sirena Backpack (P1350) is perfect for guys and girls alike. The color packs just enough punch and puts the fun in functional for bags. Mr. Kengkoy believes in empowering the less privileged through sustainable livelihood. Their bags utilize indigenous textiles made by a community of weavers in Daraga, Albay. Their Sirena backpack series is also a collaboration with Save Philippine Seas, and proceeds go to the organization and their various advocacies.


When inspiration strikes, you want to be able to just whip out a notebook and write your ideas down before even batting an eyelash. The Pacem Mini (P458) is small enough to keep in your back pocket so you can easily jot down your thoughts and sketches whever you please. Jacinto and Lirio showcases the Filipino innovation of plant leather, made from the water hyacinth, and transforms it into fashionable and functional statement bags and accessories. They support the marginalized communities who are engaged in the handicraft’s livelihood.


The Passive Amplifier (P1090) combines great product design with local ingenuity. It’s available in a range of colors that will suit anyone and everyone’s taste. Whether s/he likes rock, pop, or house music, s/he will definitely enjoy listening to their favorite playlists on this baby.

G E T TO KNOW BE A N S TA L K.PH is a website created to showcase products of social entrepreneurs and the stories behind them. In a broader context, they want to create a revolution, to spread the culture of social entrepreneurship- that people need not to go out of their way and personal fashion and needs, to help a community. Habi Footwear, Jacinto and Lirio, Plush & Play, Leyende, Loudbasstard & Mr. Kengkoy can also be purchased from the website.

In the spirit of the holidays, is giving away 3 gift certificates worth Php 150 each! Just answer this question: If you will start your own social enterprise what will it be and what will be your advocacy? Send us your best answers HERE!

Loudbasstard was formed through the founders’ passion to share their love of music. Each product is handmade and one of a kind using natural materials, and are made by the hands of skilled and talented Cebuano artisans.

Aya says: A chocolate cafe highlighting the chocolates of the Philippines. It will not only promote awareness of the quality of chocolate we have in the country but also help artisans and farmers who grow cacao.

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wrap it up The Katha team came up with several nifty ideas for wrapping your gifts using upcycled and handmade materials.

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p a p er sn ow fl akes Fold and snip! Make easy Christmas decoration using just one material - paper! w o r d s an d p h otog r a p h s b y C a c h i R ey es

These paper snowflakes can be used as part of your simple decoration for Christmas time. You can hang them from the ceiling with nylon thread or you can use them as part of your gift wrap. MATERIALS Parchment paper, white bond paper, or japanese paper Pair of Scissors 1. Start by cutting your white paper into a square of any size. 2. Fold it in half 3. Fold it again in half 4. From the corner, fold the paper into three. Then cut the triangle portion at the top 5. Fold the paper in half and unfold again. That crease will be your guideline. 6. Snip away! Cut two curves at the base of the triangle. It will look nicer if you cut the curves in different lengths. 7. Cut holes at the inner portion of the triangle. Find out what looks best by experimenting with different shapes and sizes for the holes. 8. Unfold the paper and be proud of yourself. You can flatten it with a book or something heavy.

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what is the most creative gift you have given someone? We asked our readers to show us their


Just recently, I gave a friend a hand-crafted lamp made out of wooden clothespins.

For a friend’s baby shower, I made a paper cut verse with her baby’s name.

MARVIN CONTI | @marvsconti

BOOGIE GARCIA| @boogie_garcia

I have a friend who’s quite secretive. So for his birthday I carved a box out of a hardbound book, so he can keep his stuff in there while pretending to be “well-read”. MICHPUSA

I designed a set of postcards for someone who didn’t believe in the power of snailmailing. I sent them out on separate dates, and she was so delighted that she waited every week for them to arrive! JULIE FLORES

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I personally designed a gift for my aunt on her 60th birthday. LORA CUEVAS | @loraemille

My pocket was in economic crisis so I decided to make a doll that looks like my boyfriend for his birthday. I didn’t finish it on time so it ended up as an early Christmas gift. ABI DACAYAP | @serbesangtulog


Fill in the blank! I wish I had the



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Tis the season to shine and shimmer! Fa-la-la-la-la w o r d s a n d p h oto b y Gel i B a l c r u z

Admit it, during the holiday season we become magpies disguised as humans. Not because we are keen to stealing shiny things, but because we’re instantly attracted to shiny objects. We associate the season of giving with wonderful, shiny, sparkly and shimmering things. We can either blame or thank our ancestors for introducing us to the marvels of glitter. As early as 30,000 years ago, there have been reports about the use of glitter. Primitive humans made use of mica flakes, which is a sheet of silicate minerals found on rocks, to decorate their caves. Its ability to catch light produced a shimmering effect that gave life to cave paintings. Fitting enough, Mica is the Latin word for crumb, and is probably influenced by “micare” which means “to glitter”. Glitter legends state that the Neanderthals loved to cover themselves in sparkle as it evokes great confidence. Ancient Egyptians, on the other hand, produced glittering cosmetics from iridescent shells of beetles and finely ground green malachite crystals. During the 1940’s, in a cattle farm in Bernardsville, New Jersey, a machinist named Henry Ruschmann thought of ways to repurpose materials in landfills. The materials he found, such as metal, plastic and aluminum, were ground up in a special machine that was capable of producing large quantities of glitter. Later on, he founded Meadowbrook Inventions, Inc. with the slogan, “Our glitter covers the world”, and now manufactures a wide variety of glitter, fibers, sequins, and more. Don’t underestimate this 28 | MAKE

amazing tool as it also played an important part during World War II. The US army considered loading it into air jets and releasing it mid-air to confuse radars from sudden abrupt attacks. Making its way to the modern era, the sparkle epidemic was born and glitter was mainly used in the art and cosmetics industries. Shimmering powders, lipsticks and eye shadows, as well as glitter hair gels, were greatly enjoyed during the disco era. Not only that, sparkle-filled wands, glitter pens and glitter fabrics were also produced for the craft world to enjoy. Students and sorority women used glitter for their craft projects and mostly for Christmas decorations. Edible glitter was created by culinary artists to add elegance and festivity to their pastries. It is relatively easy to use and always produces brilliant effects, which makes it a household must-have. This multi-faceted co-polymer plastic or aluminum also plays an important role in a crime scene and is proven to be useful for forensic evidence. Because the particles are so small and often remain stuck to the clothing or skin, these are often unnoticed by suspects and can be compelling evidence that the individual was present at a crime scene. Today, thousands of varieties of glitter in various sizes, colors and materials are manufactured everyday and are widely used in a lot of usual and sometimes surprising projects. Whether glitter calls for an extreme expression of oneself or is used for aesthetic purposes, it never fails to make people happy. Glitter is a perfect way to make the ordinary, special!

WE LOVE GIFTS (and gift tags too!) Design our blank gift tag template and get featured on our site and social media pages. Let your creativity run wild -- the grander the design, the better! Send in your creations to with the subject GIFT TAG. We can’t wait to see your work!


pretty polish Pam tells us why she’s crazy about nail polish and shares her favorites from her stash. int e r v ie w b y A l l ie P r i n c i p e

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P h otog r a p h s f r om P a m P a s tor

Pam Pastor (Newspaper editor, Writer, Blogger)

What do you collect? nail polish, MT washi tape, note cards, Doc Martens Why do you collect them? Because it’s so much fun. Painting my nails is one of my favorite ways to relax. I love how nail polish can give your outfit and your mood an instant boost. Nail polish is a great equalizer. There’s a brand for every budget and polish doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. It will always look fab even if you gain 10 pounds. I love how hunting for limited edition bottles has taken me on crazy adventures and led me to great new friends. And I love how polish has taught me so much about colors and textures. How many of these do you have? I’ve stopped counting because the number always

changes - I’m constantly adding to the collection but I also really enjoy giving bottles away. But it’s definitely over a thousand. Any items you treasure the most in the collection? Any favorites? I’m biased. Ji Baek, the founder of Rescue Beauty Lounge gave me the chance to create my dream polish with her brand and it came out a few months ago. I called it Liberty, inspired by the Statue of Liberty. It’s a beautiful glass-flecked minty sage green. I really love it. Right now I’m also loving NARS Galathee, Laura Mercier’s Bewitched, Deborah Lippmann’s Va Va Voom, Marc Jacob’s Fluorescent Beige and Petra and Chanel Taboo. The ones I treasure the most are the gifts from my friends.

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Gifts from friends. [Top row] Illamasqua Raindrops from Sol, Dior Saint Tropez from Petah, Butter London Cheeky Chops from Jason, Chanel Particuliere from Tatin, Illamasqua Muse from Kat, Dolce & Gabbana Peacock from Lele. [Bottom row] Dior Lucky from Sheree, YSL Black Indigo, Black Bronze and Black Lapis from Jill, Chanel Or de Russie from Nikki, Deborah Lippmann Boom Boom Pow from my boss Ms. Thelma, OPI Stranger Tides from Lala and Deborah Lippmann Some Enchanted Evening from my brother Powie

Dream items to add to this collection? My wish list is really long but on top of it is Chanel Jade. It’s incredibly difficult to find and people sell it on eBay for around five hundred dollars. I’m crazy about polish but not that crazy. Do you have a memorable story involving an item (or items) in this collection? There’s this girl who lives in Hong Kong, we met through my blog. We haven’t seen each other in person yet but she’s met so many of my friends because we like surprising each other with massive nail polish packages. She keeps making my jaw drop - she’s made so many of my nail polish dreams come true. The wedding

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manicures I’ve created for friends are very memorable, too - I really think about their wedding themes. A friend had a newspaper-themed wedding earlier this year and of course, I gave her newspaper nails. Another friend got married in Philly two years ago - I chose a glittery nude mani for her ceremony but I changed her nails to a glittery black matte just before her Halloween-themed wedding reception to match her gorgeous dress. Other memorable moments involve how crazy I get when I’m on the hunt for specific bottles - frantic phone calls to stores abroad, friends lining up for me at Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out event, epic finds at dusty airports and on and on. I have so many stories. I’m serious, we can talk about nail polish all day.

More of Pam’s polish picks: [Top row, from left:] Marc Jacobs Petra, Rescue Beauty Lounge No More War, Deborah Lippmann Va Va Voom. [Second row:] Marc Jacobs Fluorescent Beige, Chanel Taboo, Laura Mercier Bewitched. [Third row:] Chanel Azure, NARS Galathee, Cirque Fascination Street

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| w e d g i e n e t. n e t

the area.

My work is my life. I work from home and have been doing so for the past five years. When my family and I moved to a new house last year, we made sure I had my own home office as I spend most of my waking hours at home working and creating. My workspace in our old house was a cluttered and stuffy spare room / bodega. I had trouble getting work done there as it was like a hot oven for most of the day. My studio now is the exact opposite. It’s cozy, comfortable, and it has really boosted my productivity-- I see it in the amount of work I’ve produced sincemoving in. I chose turquoise for my walls as it’s my favourite color and it’s soothing to the eyes and mind; and red - for energy / creativity, as an accent color. I requested for large windows to let in as much natural light as possible. I live in a quiet residential neighborhood and when I look out, I get to take in a view of the lush green trees in

I personalise my studio by putting up my work and art I love on the walls. It’s still a work in progress. I’m also always on the lookout for turquoise/red/white decor that go well with my space. The only downside to having such a great place to work in at home is that I never want to leave the house!

WHAT I S YO U R I DE AL WOR K S PAC E L IK E ? Answer this question from Reg and get a chance to take home all these awesome goodies she made. It includes the cutest notebooks, postcards and stickers! Think wisely and Send her your most creative answers HERE.

Aya says:

My ideal workspace is a room with a long conference table of sorts in the middle where I can do a variety of things simultaneously, a wall of shelves for all my books on one wall, a chalkboard or whiteboard wall on its opposite, and another wall with a huge window or glass door hopefully looking out to something nice.

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oLD MADE NEW Deck out your humble abode with these upcycled home decor and items from Resurrection Furniture and Found Objects. p ho tog r a p h s b y Gel i B a l c r u z






1. Framed cement imprints | 2. Greek and Latin letters from salvaged wood | 3. Chest of drawers | 4. Wall clock from kitchen cabinet doors | 5. Chest of Drawers | 6. Artefact Notebooks | 7. Card Holders | 8. Tray with chevron stripes | 9. Magnetic board | 10. Standing Sculpture

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cause x art x cause Here’s a quick rundown of organizations you can either give your support to, or get support from. w o r d s b y K at e P e d r os o

I l l u s tr a ti on b y A n d r ea D el a C r u z


True to its name, Artiste Connect helps musicians, authors and filmmakers crowdsource funding for their creative endeavors by “bridging the gap between the artist and the fan... the artist and the businessman.” Through its website, Artiste Connect provides a secure funding platform where artists and patrons can come together to bring to life various projects ranging from music albums to short films to events. How does it work? Artists post details of their projects and pledge packages, while fans can browse the site and look for projects they wish to support. Pledges - the cash amount a person wants to contribute to a certain project - can be sent in via credit card, PayPal, or bank deposit. They can also drop by Artiste Connect’s office located at 2606 Raffles Corporate Center in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Interested? Artiste Connect has a comprehensive FAQ page here:


Gifts & Graces Fair Trade Foundation is an umbrella organization of communities specializing in handmade products. Its goal is to connect small livelihood programs based in indigent communities with corporations and other individuals looking to buy personalized gifts while donating for a good cause. Gifts and Graces helps in the skills training, marketing, distribution and development of the products from its 30 partner NGOs – a mixed group composed of urban poor men and women, persons with disabilities and former prison inmates, to mention a few. Handmade items usually personalized include candles, bags, picnic baskets and throw pillows. Read more about them on page 56! Gifts & Graces Fair Trade Foundation, Inc. is at Unit 131 Mile Long Bldg., G/F, Amorsolo St., Makati. Interested? Contact Gifts and Graces - call (02) 759-2525, e-mail or visit If you’re considering giving out gifts from

G&G partners this Christmas, a list of G&G partners can be found here:


Now on its fourth year, Alliance Francaise de Manille’s Philippine Artist Residency Program (PARP) aims to enrich the Filipino artist’s experience by giving them the opportunity to connect with the contemporary art scene in France. The residency – a two- to three-month structured visit to France – will be hosted either by a French non-profit organization, an artist residence or an artist-run initiative. The annual residency is open to all Filipino visual artists -painters, sculptors, multimedia artists, photographers, etc. It provides financial grant to cover travel costs and living expenses. Previous residency recipients include printmaker Ambie Abaño (read our interview with Ambie on page ___ ) and glass sculptor Goldie Poblador. Interested? Contact AFM Cultural Coordinator Sabrina Durand at (02) 895-7441 or (02) 895-7585 or via e-mail at Visit their website at for more details. Deadline for applications for the 4th edition is on November 15, 2013.


The Spark Project provides an online crowdfunding venue for Filipino creative projects, ranging from locally woven shoes to waxed-canvas goods to estero rehabilitation projects. Funders can donate via PayPal or bank deposit. Interested? The Spark Project is in closed beta at the moment, but they’re still taking in ideas. Pitch yours at They are also on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

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and emotions across. I design and create because it is my personal way of storytelling. And hopefullythrough that, I can bring and move people to action.


Roxy Navarro spearheads Works of Heart PH, a youth-led social design enterprise and movement that is founded on the belief that art and design are massive weapons for social change. Join Roxy as she shares with us her insights on how to incorporate passion and purpose in our daily lives. Hello, I’m Roxy! I graduated from college last March 2012. I’m an IT project manager by day and graphic designer at Works of Heart by night. But I’m full-time at both - or at least I try to be. I’m relatively a quiet person especially when you put me in a new crowd. The day can pass by without me uttering a word! The only time I get really talkative is when you ask me about my passions, dreams and the people I love. We can talk about art and design, Works of Heart, and the Philippines all day. I also love conversations with friends over coffee, it’s the perfect way to end a busy and crazy day. EARLY BEGINNINGS AND DESIGN INSPIRATIONS My father graduated with a degree in Interior Design and my mom was into arts and crafts. Even my two sisters Joreen and Jamie, are into art. Joreen, who is also part of Works of Heart, is a Multimedia Arts major while Jamie is taking up literature. When seeking inspiration, first, it’s because of beauty. I love all things beautiful, especially life itself. I drown myself with the beauty of our country - even the littlest things that I encounter day-to-day. I want to do something as beautiful as the things that I see and I know I am able to do that with art and design. Then, it evolved to more than aesthetics. I realized the power of visual communication and art. I experienced how it can bring strong messages

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THE STORY BEHIND WORKS OF HEART PH For so long, I thought I wanted to be a doctor, a teacher or a volunteer, because these professions can clearly affect the lives of people. But it came to a point that I felt empty dreaming of being a doctor or a volunteer. I felt that it wasn’t who I am. Through prayer, and tons of inspiring people who helped me along the way, I’ve realized that the best way to give is through what makes me most alive, and it was through art and design. It was a struggle at first because I didn’t know how art and design can make an impact in society. I guess the universe was conspiring when a friend suddenly asked my help to make a poster for a fundraising event that no one was noticing because all he did was make a Facebook post about the project. Through this fundraising, the kids from their organization were able to go to school. After that, everything fell into place. I tapped the people who had the same heart and skill for this, and then Works of Heart was born. WORKS OF HEART PH AS AN AVENUE FOR CHANGE The team’s main vision for Works of Heart is to connect the development sector and creative sector. Design is too expensive for most, while development groups don’t see the importance of branding themselves and making themselves be heard and seen more easily. We want both sectors to meet and work together so we can see how they can push advocacies forward and at the same time make art and design a tool for social change. We dream of a country that can see how they can work together and make this country a better place. THOUGHTS TO PONDER Keep in mind that you only have one life. Find what will make you wake up in the morning and keep you up at night. Find what will make you come alive. Find your passion. And when you get to find out for yourself what your dream is, make sure you bring people and your country with you. With the words of wisdom imparted by Roxy and the Works of Heart PH Team, we hope that every Filipino who’s in the process of finding out their purpose will take into consideration giving back and contributing ideas for social change and development. After all, life is all about making passion and purpose meet.

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t h e j oy of receiv ing

Isa Garcia shares her two cents on the beauty of receiving.

photo by Geli Balcruz

My best friend lives in New York City. She has been living there for the past four months and this side of the world has been a little lonelier without her. She is (and, perhaps, will always be) the yin to my yang. A couple of years ago, when we were still in college, I drove over to her house in shambles. “I’m tired!” I exclaimed as I flung myself dramatically on her bed. “Tired of this, tired of people! Tired of building relationships and chasing after people and pouring myself into them and feeling empty after. I am exhausted and I quit!” She looked at me, the sympathetic and all-knowing oracle that she is and, with all the love she could muster, replied: “Thank God you’re not a robot.” We had a long talk that afternoon that lasted until the evening. She made me dinner, we watched a funny movie and I’m sure that I left her place feeling a lot better. Here’s what I remember the most from that day: the way she looked into my eyes with a seriousness that only comes from a person who really loves you and said, “You have to let people love you back. This is the only way to be happy.” I’ve carried those words with me ever since. They have served as a personal credo for whenever I feel like emancipating myself from the human race. I used to think that I was a proud person but now I understand better. Because what I really am is afraid. I am afraid of inconveniencing others, of putting others in a position where they will be hassled. I am afraid of people risking for me because, deep down, I don’t want them to find that I’m not worth it. But love – real unconditional love – doesn’t operate that way. 42 | HEY YO U

Love chooses to be vulnerable. It is about self-sacrifice inasmuch as it is about allowing people the joy of serving you. I have had to shift my entire paradigm since that fateful afternoon. I have had to stop and silence the voices in my head whenever people offer to give me a bit of themselves – whether it’s their time, their talents, their gifts or their efforts. I have had to wave the white flag. I have had to let them. And I have found, in the end, that you lose nothing by being loved back. If we are indeed made up of the sum of our parts then what I’d like to suppose is that, ultimately, only two parts really matter: One, we are made of everything we love. Two, we are made of everyone who loves us. And if this is the truth – and I believe that it is – then a huge part of our identity is greatly informed by simply being loved. Yes, it is scary to receive. It is scary to be seen; to be offered something of value. What if we mess things up? What if we are found unworthy? What if life smacks us in the face? I have found that what if is very often the voice of fear. I’d like to believe we’re better than that. Receiving, like giving, offers no promises or guarantees. But here is what I know for sure: when we receive, we become. And to become is a worthy endeavor. To become is the great adventure of life. You have to let people love you back. This is the only way to be happy.


SEQUINS Be the star that you are when you sparkle and shine with this trend. It’s perfect for the holiday season, which calls for something merry and bright. If you have leftover sequins from a craft project, you can stick them to some felt cloth cut into whatever shape you want and affix them to your neck with a ribbon as a holiday necklace. Prepare to dazzle them all. illustration by Andrea Dela Cruz

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the risque-taker

We interviewed Tal of Risque Designs PH and she shares with us her passion for design and support for local craftsmanship. w o r d s b y C ac h i Rey es

p h otos f r om T a l V en tu r a

Tal de Guzman is the owner and creator of Risque Designs, who has a vision of producing art that uses Filipino skills and materials through shoe design. The creator of this budding business started with a constant drive to be the best at what she’s doing, and now she’s on her way to the top. Tal first took Business Management in Ateneo de Manila University, but it was her interest in the Fine Arts that made her shift into Art Management. After graduating from college, she worked as an assistant art director for an art gallery. There she learned how to curate exhibits, and deal with both artists and clients. Having been influenced by her father who is a businessman, she wasn’t satisfied with being just an employee. So she left the art gallery and decided to study again - this time, in the field of fashion. While she was studying at the School of Fashion and The

Arts (SoFA), she started her own shoe line, Risque. At the same time, she enrolled at The One School and took up BS Entrepreneurship. It served as an incubator for her business. She will be graduating in December. The brand Risque started in May of 2012. She decided to work on shoes because she can customize them in three ways: with the design, with the fit, and with the material. All aspects of the shoes can be customized and that’s what’s special about her brand. Risque, which means bold and daring, is the perfect word to describe Tal’s style. Her designs are far from the usual, and she is never afraid to explore with different materials and skills in making her shoes. She recently went to Shanghai to discover tools and equipment she could use for her production. She also uses handwoven textile in her designs so younger generations can discover and appreciate the use of traditional fabric in modern ways.

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Tal is a big supporter of local craftsmen and greatly involves them in her brand. She goes to Paete, Laguna to work with wood carvers and to Marikina for the shoe makers, utilizing their skills to produce her shoe designs. Her most intricate line to date is the Lady of Devotion. The story of poverty and devotion is reflected on the hand-carved Sampaguita flowers on her four- piece collection. Occasionally when she produces hand-painted designs, she taps into young talented designers to visualize and sketch her concepts. In her Young Designers Series, she collaborated with 8 young artists from SoFA to design her canvas shoes with the theme of contrasts. Each pair reflected opposite characteristics of Filipinos. There were traits like mahinhin/ galawgaw, morena/mestiza, lungsod/probinsya, and so on. For her Animalia Collection, she worked with The Spark Project, which is an online crowdfunding platform where people with ideas can campaign to fund their projects. Her designs include endemic animals from the Philippines like the Tamaraw, Pawikan, Tarsier, and Buwaya hand carved in wood. Through The Spark Project, she was able to successfully raise Php 95,000.00. She explains that this concept of crowdsourcing is still new in the Philippines, but she believes that this generation really has the ability and technology to support people’s ideas. Tal still has a lot in store for her. She just won the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards Regional Competition and will be off to Washington D.C. for the finals. She is also a finalist for the LOOK of Style Awards 2013 that will be held this November. Next year she is planning to put up her own art cafe where she can help artists showcase their work to the public. She plans to have distributions of her line abroad specifically in Malaysia, Dubai, and Japan in a couple of years. And even if she’s planning to introduce her brand off shore, she still chooses to stay in the Philippines and support her own country. What’s the one advice from Tal? She says “Hindi naman ako tamad. Yun lang ang kailangan at marami kang magagawa. (I am not lazy. That’s just what you need and you’ll accomplish a lot of things). You just have to manage your time well.” Tal’s passion and determination are just a couple of her strong traits and that’s what made her successful today.

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secondhand style We visited The Appraisery for a little coffee drinking and window shopping, and talked about how they’re trying to save the world – one previously owned garment at a time. int e r v ie w b y Al l i e P r i n c i p e

p h otos b y Gel i B a l cr u z

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There’s nothing better than good coffee and great converstation.”

Upon stepping inside The Appraisery, we could already feel how the entire space was brimming with personality and creative energy. Formerly located in Annapolis Street, Greenhills, they recently made Cubao X their new home, and seems like it’s where the store was always meant to be. With a café at the ground floor and a secondhand clothing store on the second floor, they cater to a diverse crowd that ranges from fashion bloggers to hardcore gamers. We had a little chat with Victor Prieto, the manager and owner of The Appraisery, while sampling some yummy items from their cafe’s menu. He told us about how he came up with such a novel store concept, why he loves small businesses (and hates Starbucks), and the importance of giving back. The whole concept of The Appraisery is a pretty unique. How did you come up with it? I came up with the idea while I was back in California - I was working as a logistics manager at the time. I really wanted to open a store that did everything that I was passionate about. First and foremost, I’m a barista and a foodie by nature. But I’m also a thrift shopper, and I love scoping out deals in and out of the Metro. And of course, I wanted a way to give back to the community too. The Appraisery combines all these things and more under one roof. What inspired you to make The Appraisery a

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secondhand clothes shop? In the States, we have this thing called spring cleaning. Though we don’t have spring here in the Philippines, I wanted to encourage everyone to clean out their closets every once in a while. I live by the saying, “One person’s trash may be another person’s treasure.” I have donated a ton of my clothes already myself – things that don’t fit, or clothes that were gifts but weren’t really my style. So The Appraisery is where people in the same predicament can bring those clothes, turn them into cash, and/or give them to someone who might be able to use it. A lot of people were hesitant when I told them about my plan. They said Filipinos aren’t ready for this kind of thing, but I happen to think the new generation is more open to new ideas like this. And if you think about it, if you recycle your fashion, there are less sweatshops working, less pollution and damage to the environment. How does appraising differ from your run-of-the-mill ukay-ukay? How does it work? Appraising is still very new to the Philippines, so nobody has really done it before. There are a lot of consignment stores and ukay-ukays around, but I wanted to make a hybrid consignment store that uses the buy-sell-trade concept, which is much more complicated.

project called Segunda Mano – it sort of resembles what we do but 100% of the proceeds go to charity. Do you have any memorable stories about some of the items that have come into your store? There was a time when we donated a pair of original Ferragamo shoes [to Caritas Manila]. We couldn’t take them in because there were scuff marks on them already. We told the owner we couldn’t sell it in the shop, and asked if she wanted to take them back with her or donate them. She chose to do the latter, so when Caritas Manila came in, we had to make sure that they knew they were original Ferragamo shoes and they be priced accordingly. So they were really happy about that. I’ve also given them a Gucci bag, a Versace blazer, stuff like that. Aside from donating items to charity, how else does The Appraisery give back to those in need and to the community? Well, a friend of mine consigned Manikakos here in our stores. Manikakos are made from recycled cloth, and 100% of the proceeds of the sales help fund art classes for children who can’t afford to go. All of us here are pretty much artists, so art is something very close to our hearts. There are more things that we definitely want to do, and when people approach us about selling stuff in our store, I have no qualms about it since it’s for a great cause, and we want to do everything we can to help the less fortunate.

Basically, the clothes we take in have to be one or more of the following: current styles, last year’s styles, vintage styles and recurring trends. Then, they’re appraised by our in-house appraiser who’s an actual stylist in the industry. They have to be in exquisite condition for us to take them in – no stains, no runs, no loose collars, seams are intact. We put a price on them and then we give the person who brought them either 50% in store credit or 30% cash for the items. What happens to the clothes that don’t meet the requirements for selling in the shop? For items that we cannot sell for any particular reason, we offer to take them in anyway so that we give them to charity. Our charity of choice is Caritas Manila. I picked them because they would be able to give them to relief victims and kids in need. They also have a particular

As for events, we hold swap parties where people can come in and bring in their old clothes/items to swap with each other over food and drinks. Of course, they can also swap it with the store but we encourage them to swap with other over food and drinks. Of course, they can also swap it with the store but we encourage them to swap with other guests because it really fosters a sense of community. Eco-friendliness is also something I really think is important, and we had this contest that kids could get involved in to celebrate Earth Day everyday. We invited them to submit artworks about the environment then we’re going to make a calendar out of the best ones, and the artists will receive prizes in return. Hopefully it will instill more awareness about the environment. How does the café aspect fit into The Appraisery’s story? I’m originally a barista, so I love making coffee. At The Appraisery, we serve coffee, coffee-based liquor drinks, paninis, sandwiches, and American-style food. Some people

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told me it would be better to serve rice since it’s everyone’s staple food, but I am just a sandwich guy by heart. I wanted to offer something different to customers, especially since The Appraisery prides itself in being different from every corner. I have a firm belief that there’s nothing better than good coffee and great conversation. I wanted to instill that and build a community – it can have different pockets but everybody coexists. I sort of feel like a mad scientist sometimes when I’m behind the barista counter. I’m just inventing drinks left and right. The reason why I love coffee is of course I’m from Seattle, Washington, we should know our coffee. And I hate Starbucks, you can quote me on that! So you’re really supportive of small businesses? Yes. I’m very anti-capitalism and I am a strong advocate of small businesses. I think larger businesses just saturate the market too much. I remember the time that when you wanted to buy a washing machine, you would go to a small, family owned appliance store for it. Or if you wanted coffee, you go to a coffee shop that gives extra care to every shot of coffee it gives – which is what I’m trying to do here. That’s why I think Cubao Expo is great because it’s all small businesses and it reminds me of where I grew up. My friends ask me why I don’t focus on managing the business and hire a barista instead. But I want to run The Appraisery at a level where I’m serving the food, I’m

sweeping the floor, and I’m serving my customers, who I also consider as my friends. A lot of them have been with The Appraisery since its inception and they keep coming back because we’ve built this rapport with them. Sometimes, I even feel like a bartender of sorts because a lot of customers come in and we just talk about their problems. It’s really great. So what’s in store for Appraisery in the future? We definitely want to develop our brand, because we’re very conscious about what we do and what we stand for. We want to be your one-stop shop for great coffee, food, clothes, and conversation – the most important aspect of it all, because it’s really the people that make the place. As a small business owner, what advice can you give to other aspiring people who want to do the same thing that you are doing? This is a really difficult question! I guess I’m the type of guy who’s a go-getter – if I see something I want to do, I go for it without any fear or hesitation. There’s a quote from one of my favorite books, “Dune” by Frank Herbert: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer”. If you live under a rock and you’re fearful of everything, you wouldn’t see what’s out there and you wouldn’t grasp all the opportunities readily available for you. Go for what you want, but always remember to go for the right thing. I’ve always put it in my mind that I have to do right by everyone, whether it’s my employees, the customers, or the government. Change the world in your own little way. STOR IES | 5 3

Two of our favorite scrapbooking mavens show us what the joy of giving and receiving means for them.


The layout features one of our adopted cats, Dora. She was diagnosed with Hernia after she was found in Cubao with her brother Boots. Now they have grown to be healthy and sweet cats. The layout focuses on giving a second chance to finding a fur-ever home for rescued animals. If you want to give this same gift to other cats and dogs, you can visit to adopt your new fur-ever friend.


WIN GOO DI E S F ROM J E A N I E ! Visit the CARA site [] and choose which pet you’d like to adopt (if possible) and why? Let us know HERE!


Cachi says:

If I were to adopt a pet, it would be Whito. He was a victim of hit and run, but now he has recovered and is already healthy. Whito seems kind and lovable. And I like that his black fur makes his beautiful eyes stand out.


Every 29th of December, it’s been a yearly reunion for us. No matter how often or how rare we meet for the rest of the year, we reserve this day for us. It is our gift to ourselves, to one another - more than the presents, but the gift of time.


OR MAYBE THESE TAGS FROM AIREES?? Just answer this question: To whom do you never forget to give the gift of time? Send us your answers HERE!

Allie says:

I try my best to always have time for my family. I only see them during holidays and vacations to the province, so i make sure to enjoy each moment as much as i can. I also text them and talk to them as often as I can, it keeps me feeling close to them even though we’re far away from each other.

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of gif ts & grace s i nt e r v ie w b y C ac hi R e y e s

We interviewed Greg Perez from Gifts and Graces, a notfor-profit social enterprise that started in 2006, focusing on giving opportunities to disadvantaged producers by providing them with business solutions and product development. She talks about social entrepreneurship, promoting fair trade, and shares with us some advice on how to start as small entrepreneurs with the same cause. What is the concept behind Gifts and Graces and how did it start? Our founders recognized that many NGOs have livelihood programs for their disadvantaged beneficiaries in order for them to earn additional income. However, because the NGOs lack the technical, human, and financial resources to develop and market products, they often encounter challenges that keep the livelihood programs from growth and sustainability. Gifts and Graces was established to help livelihood groups address the gaps of product development and market access. We now partner not only with NGOs but also with cooperatives, people’s organizations, indigenous groups, and community-based micro-entrepreneurs. Behind our work is the belief that all over the country, our local small producer groups, craftsmen, and artisans have the skills to make high quality products and that these products can compete in the market given the right resources and opportunities. As an accredited fair trade organization, Gifts and Graces provides capacity building training, provides financing through 50% downpayment, develops prototypes of new designs with partners, and finds corporate clients and various distribution channels for our partners’ products. With a manufacturing business model, these livelihood groups will be able to scale and help lift the producers out of poverty. Among our Board of Directors are Sandy Romualdez, Mariles Gustilo, Vicky Garchitorena, and Sheree Gotuaco. We have a full-time Designer, Marketing Officer, and Program Officer. We also tap volunteers and engage other organizations to partner with us such as the UP College of Engineering, the Philippine Social Enterprise Network, Globe Telecom, the Product Design and Development Center, and the local DTI office in Sorsogon among others.

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Tell us about the projects you are currently working on. We recently completed a capacity building program for leaders and producers of five partner communities which included a training on fair trade, entrepreneurship, and social enterprise quality indicators. We also provided skills upgrading on leather sewing, bamboo weaving, and various finishing techniques. We are also planning to set up a Design Lab for product prototyping and developing innovations in production. On the product side, we are excited about a new Retazo Collection, which are art purses made from scrap upholstery fabric. The groups working on this collection are women sewers from Pamana Cooperative in Boni, Mandaluyong, beneficiaries of Caritas, Nanay Linda Casimiro, and micro-entrepreneurs from Pandacan. We believe that this line will be a best-selling product just like our handpainted newspaper bags and will be able to provide our partners with continuous orders. What is your advice to starting entrepreneurs who want to have the same mission and vision as your company? For social entrepreneurs who would like to start

something also, I’d like to share some things I recently shared with a group of students: • Take time to reflect on the big questions: Where do your passions lie? What could you be the best at in the world? What makes you come alive? What value will you provide? The intersection of your Passion + Skill + Opportunity will ensure that you create value and you have fun while doing it. • Show leadership - be bold, be brave, be innovative, have conviction, be authentic. Believe in yourself. • Always be learning - ask for help, observe, be intellectually curious. • Be emotionally, physically, mentally prepared to take on the challenges. You will have a world view that others don’t get yet. Social development is a marathon. Take care of yourself, take time to breathe and pause and reconnect. • Build a network, be part of a network - it takes a village - social entrepreneurship is part of the solution, not the only solution. • Be generous with your knowledge and experience. • Never lose the power to empathize - that is what makes us human. The need to be part of the solution comes. from a place of empathy - this is what will sustain you.

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which type of gift unwrapper are you? This holiday season, we ponder the different ways people approach the gentle art of gift unwrapping. Curious as to which tribe you belong? Read on. w o r d s b y A nd r e a d e l a C r uz a n d Ka te P ed r os o

i l l u s tr a ti on s b y La n d o C u s i



Destroys every gift upon sight. And by “destroy” we mean the wrapping. Is it a small, simply wrapped box? The Destroyer likes starting from the middle and tearing the wrapper to shreds from there. Is it an elegantly wrapped gift from a superior? The Destroyer doesn’t really care. Not only is the Destroyer recipient-blind, s/he is also wrapper-blind and size-blind. No gift is spared – not the one from The Boss, not even the one from The One. All wrappers must go and must go in pieces – after all, isn’t that how the old superstition goes? Kailangan punitin para dumami!

The complete opposite of the Destroyer. The Sentimental keeps not only the gift, but the wrapper and tags as well. The Sentimental is recipient-conscious – the gift and its packaging are as important as the sender, and it is likely that s/he has albums filled with collages of tags and wrappers organized per occasion. However, like the Destroyer, the Sentimental is also sizeblind and wrapper-blind – but in the opposite direction. It doesn’t matter if it’s a generic wrapper, or if it had once wrapped a television set – the Sentimental keeps it anyway. All of it.

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The Systematic approaches gift unwrapping like a science – s/he usually starts from a corner, carefully undoing the piece of tape that holds that space together before working through each and every adhesive with calculated care. By the time the Systematic is done, the gift wrapper is unscathed, and it is likely that all the tapes have been removed so perfectly that they can be reused.

For the Eco-Friendly Upcycler, used gift packaging and wrappers are art materials in waiting. The Upcycler looks at a gift and gets giddy both for the mystery and the creative opportunity it represents. Often, the Eco-Friendly Upcycler is also partly systematic – s/he wouldn’t want to unnecessarily damage a wrapper s/he intends to use in an upcoming project.

THE PREPARED UNWRAPPER If the Systematic is partly a scientist, the Prepared Unwrapper can be likened to a surgeon, and each gift is a major operation. Upon receiving a gift, the Prepared Unwrapper comes to it fully armed with all sorts of tools– scissors and cutters, screwdrivers and pliers, if applicable. Whether the aim is to destroy or upcycle, one thing is certain: For the Prepared Unwrapper, gift unwrapping is never a barehanded affair.

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we made a zoo Mary of The Takatak Project shares her stories about surviving day jobs and reviving a b eloved forgotten icon of local culture. w o r d s b y Al l i e P r i n c i p e

Upon entering Takatak Project’s studio located along Kamuning Road, we were immediately greeted by animals. By animals, we aren’t referring to their cute dog, Chubi, but karton ones of all shapes and sizes imaginable. Colorful takas of different shapes and sizes are lined up on a piano, while red takas peek out from a box in the corner. Dozens of undecorated takas are strewn across the room, while towering animals of various kinds occupy the center of the space, a custom order from a special client. It was a delight to sift through all the items they had, and we had to try very hard to stop ourselves from bringing home a taka of our very own. Instead, we busied ourselves by hanging out with Mary Velmonte, one of the founders of The Takatak Project, as she regaled us with tales about how it all started with “a sliver of light”.

TAKA ORIGINS Paete, Laguna is best known for their wooden sculptures, and the word “paet” actually denotes “something that carves”. “The takas are actually a by-product of these sculptures”, says Mary. “A taka is made by covering a wooden sculpture mold with layers of paper, letting it dry, cutting it into two pieces to release the wooden mold, and then piecing it back together to its original form. To “taka” literally means “to mold from something”. Variations of the taka are present in other cultures as well: the Dala horse is a traditional handcrafted wooden horse in Sweden, and of course there are the ever-famous piñatas from Mexico. Mary learned that the people of Paete actually learned the process of making the taka from the Mexicans who settled here during the Spanish period. But to 80’s and 90’s kids, the takas are those bright red horses that we used to see on the now-defunct children’s show, Batibot. It was designed as a decorative piece and a toy for children, hence its bright color that makes it very attractive to young, inquisitive eyes.

p h otos b y Gel i B a l cr u z

THE TAKATAK STORY One afternoon, Mary went to Paete because she was looking for the horses to bring with her on her way home. She had a hard time looking for a store that sold some, and only after asking other crafters around the area did she learn where to go. It was late when she finally arrived at the house to where she was directed. “The thing that stayed most in my mind was the small sliver of light entering the house, where I saw the old couple working on the takas.“ It was as that moment that she knew. “I just felt that if I didn’t do anything, [sooner or later] all these would be gone.” That was five years ago (2008), but it was only in February 2010 that the idea came up again. Mary was having drinks with friends, all of whom were as sick and tired of their day jobs in advertising as she was. “It was the drinks talking mostly, but we started thinking of what we could do. I mentioned my experience in Paete, and then we started brainstorming.”

“I just felt that if I didn’t do anything, [sooner or later] all these would be gone.” STOR IES | 6 1

Originally, there were four people who founded the Takatak Project: Mary, Missy Galang, Claude RodrigoCanete, and Dexter Canete. Since then, the other three have moved on to taking charge of other projects, but Mary recalls that it was that night that spurred them to look for something new, something that wouldn’t make them as tired of their day jobs. ALL IN A DAY’S WORK The Takatak team orders their takas quarterly from Paete. “Our very first order was 20 pieces, then the next time it was a hundred. Now we order 400 pieces per quarter,” shares Mary. Aside from custom pieces for clients, they now regularly work on special collections for different online retailers such as MyMarquee or SeektheUniq. Mary used to do most of the painting when the project started, but she later on hired two talented artists to do it, Chris and Jobelle, while she focused on managing the operations and creating new designs. “There was a very

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apparent difference in work quality when Chris and Jobelle took over the painting. They are very good at what they do,” she says. Last year, Takatak Project also had an exhibit in 10A Alabama, where over 50 artists made artworks using takas as their medium. It featured works from the likes of JP Cuison, Brian Vallesteros, Liza Flores, and Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK) members. They were able to sell most of them during the Art in the Park, an annual art fair in Salcedo Village, Makati. HELPING OUT The Takatak Project aims to educate children about the takas that were once all the rage of the previous generation. They have taka kits for sale that they frequently use for workshops, and kids can choose to decorate their takas in any way they wish. But it’s also about the makers, too.

“To the makers, the interest in the craft has never died and business has never been bad.” shares Mary. ”However, for me, I don’t really see the takas inside houses anymore, not like during the 80’s, so I guess I have a different mindset.” She also expresses her concern that there has not been a lot of innovation over the years that they have been making the takas. “Maybe I have a different mindset, but if there hasn’t been much change, then there isn’t much growth either. That’s why we’re really trying to put a more modern spin on the takas and streamline the process. We want to improve the craft however we can, and teach the same process to the makers, too.” LOOKING TO THE FUTURE Mary is really excited about the new pieces that they will be releasing soon. “As of now, our current collections feature a very mod aesthetic, since that’s what suits the takas. But we’re also working on interesting shapes that really show off more of Takatak’s design sense.” Another thing they have lined up for before the year ends are traditional taka kits, which they hope will remind everyone, kids or otherwise, what the original taka looks like, a part of our history and culture.

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Asking her about long term plans, Mary says: “We really want Takatak Project to be the go-to place for any traditional paper craft.” She also wishes that the Paete crafters will eventually be able to see the work that The Takatak Project has been doing. “We hope for an exchange of ideas. That’s what‘s great about working with the crafters – we see them as equals, as fellow artists who we can learn from. But they’ve never actually seen what we do to the takas. Hopefully they will, and learn to innovate from them.”

do it, too, as people are starting to come up with stuff and building things faster, and are a lot more open to collaborations. I never thought I’d see it happen in my lifetime, but it did. It’s nice to know.”

S H OW US YO U R DO O DL ES ! How would you decorate your taka? Send in your taka artwork and win this chalkboard taka from the Takatak project! Download the template here and send us your sketch HERE!

SOME GOOD ADVICE Mary couldn’t help but gush about how great things became once the Takatak Project started. “Our day jobs are a vocation; they were created for us by other people. But something like this, something built from the ground up, just gives you a really great feeling.” What are her parting words for other people who are sick of their day jobs and want to do something more meaningful? “Never give up,” says Mary. “The first time I thought about Takatak was five years before it actually started to become something more than just a scribble in the notebook. If you really believe in something, it will always be there until you get enough of the right ingredients to start it. I think now is a good time to 64 | S TO RIES

Here’s Kate’s taka doodle!

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Artists in Residence Two Filipino artists share with Katha their experiences and learnings in the various reside ncies they’ve been part of. i nt e r v ie w b y A nd r e a De l a C r uz

p h otog r a p h s f r om A m b i e A b a ñ o a n d M a r k Sa l v a tu s


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From top, Clockwise: Ambie in her studio in Brooklyn | with artist friends | surrounded by art in her Brooklyn studio | with her idol Chuck Close

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visual artist, UP professor, member of the Philippine Association of Printmakers

On being part of a residency program I did a 3-month residency in Paris (May to August 2011) as the first grantee of the Philippine Artist Residency Program (PARP), a brainchild of Ms. Deanna Ongpin-Recto when she was president of Alliance Française de Manille (AFM). With a grant from the Asian Cultural Council (ACC), I did a 6-month artist residency in New York from July to December 2012. I applied for these two residencies when I felt it was a good time in my practice to explore beyond the confines of local visual arts experience. You become curious of what the field is like in other cultures and you also want to enrich yourself with an encounter of an unfamiliar environment and be a part of it temporarily. On preparing for a residency I prepared for practical things like familiarizing myself with the city or country I was going to, researching interesting sites, museums, studio-workshops, etc., and learning their culture and language. I also packed my favorite tools, and went for medical and dental check-ups, as they could be expensive there. Usually, the sponsor orients the artist before she or he leaves. I also prepared myself mentally and emotionally for some anticipated changes like living alone, cooking for one, doing my own laundry, finding my way to get to places by myself in a new environment - being independent in all things. On residency expenses For both residencies, all expenses were fully paid plus living allowance. I budgeted my allowance so I could purchase art materials I needed. For both residencies, I was never wanting of anything. They provided for my stay quite generously. Some residencies support only partially where the applicant has to seek sponsors for other expenses. One must check it out first before applying.

On routines and expected output Different residency programs have different guidelines, depending on the agreement with the residency sponsor regarding their expectations and conditions. In my case, I was allowed to create my own day-to-day schedule and plan according to my intention and goals. I could have chosen to stay in the studio all the time, but the point of the residency was to enrich oneself by exploring the art and culture in the country, to interact and exchange with artists and people from different orientations. However, I also devoted enough time to creative production in the studio, making sure I participated in an open studio (a kind of an exhibition within your workspace) whenever there was a chance. Of course, I also wanted to share the Filipino sensibility with other cultures. On overcoming challenges What was challenging was the sourcing of particular materials I wanted to work with. Unlike here, where I could have a whole piece of plywood delivered to my doorstep via sidecar, when I was in the residency I felt limited with the size of the wood I could transport and work on. The cost of some materials could also be prohibiting – I valued the grant money given to me and made sure to spend it wisely. In the end, it pushed me to become resourceful. To quote my idol, printmaker/artist Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi, who lived in Paris for many years: “There is a wealth of art materials in the garbage in the streets of Paris.” This was true for New York as well. Labor could also be expensive. Hiring assistants for ambitious productions could be costly, so you either do everything yourself, or ask other artists to lend a hand. The language could also be a challenge, though you can get by with a few basic words and speaking politely in English On memorable stories There are many memorable stories from both residencies beautiful encounters and unforgettable experiences, sites, performances I watched, etc. In fact, I got so inspired that my show at AFM last year “Sanctuaire des memoire” was a result of them.

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A park in Limeuil, south of France

In Paris • Fun, well-attended open studio in my space at Cité internationale des arts with guests Deanna OngpinRecto and Paris-based Filipino Gaston Damag • Visiting Ofelia and Marc Tequi in their centuries-old home in the fascinating village of Limeuil, south of France, together with Ms. Deanna and friend Danny Velasquez; working in Ofelia’s printmaking studio and later, after a visit by BenCab, printing BenCab’s etching of Ofelia’s portrait with Ofelia herself and using the etching press that originally belonged to Sanso • Watching ‘Midnight in Paris’ in Paris • Eating croissant on my way to class every single time In New York • Interacting, exploring the city and watching performances with other ACC grantees, and residents of International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) where I had my residency • Trip to Santa Fe: visit to Georgia O’Keefe museum, Tamarind Institute (world premier lithography institute); the Indian pueblos, chancing upon the Bataan Memorial Military Museum • Meeting world renowned printmaker/artist Chuck

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Close (one of my idols) • Participating in the open studio at ISCP and meeting visitors, especially young enthusiastic artists • Printing lithograph independently at RBPMW (unlike in the Philippines, where we assist each other as lithography is labor-intensive) Among these wonderful experiences, I felt most enriched by memories of my encounters with several people who have become friends from whom I have learned much. On artworks produced I made new woodcut prints and sculptural pieces in both residencies, some intaglio prints (etchings and viscosity prints) and a few small ceramic works in Paris, and lithographs in New York. On residency goals Among other things, my intention in both residencies was to train in a particular printmaking technique – viscosity printing in Paris at La taille-douce under Francoise Bricaut and Lithography in New York at Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop under Devraj Dakoji with an ultimate goal of being able to share the techniques to

Filipino artists through workshops. It was not as easy as I had imagined, and coming back with a tight schedule has not allowed me yet to fulfill this goal, but the intention and desire is still very much alive. I intend to hone my practice and come up with a workable workshop design in the future. Many things have to be prepared and sourced – like tools, inks and other materials. On the residency’s impact on her art To me, being an artist is a practice rather than a career. My experiences in the residencies have enriched me in so many ways. They gave me a different perspective in looking at things, people, cultures, the world and myself. This new way of looking and understanding subsequently affects the way I create. After the residencies, I am a happier artist feeling personally enriched within. Advice for artists hoping to apply for residency Focus on your real goals which you think would really benefit you as an artist. Be sincere. Do not try to impress. Write in a simple, direct manner. Do research related to your proposal and establish correspondence with individuals or institution/s that may help you for your intended program. In my case, I identified in my proposal

specifically the two workshops (La taille-douce and RBPMW) where I wanted to train and with whom I have previously consulted before I even applied. Advice for artists about to embark on a residency Waste no time – explore as much as you can. Eat street food. Walk around. Take pictures. Talk to strangers. Absorb the city – see it, hear it, smell it, but don’t just be an observer: Be an active part of the city and let it feel your presence. Most of all – enjoy! There may be moments of loneliness and feelings of isolation in the beginning, but keep in mind that this is a rare opportunity – go out and explore. When it’s time to go, you won’t feel like leaving. Advice for artists in residency programs Prioritize. Plan your time well but be flexible when there are opportunities. Visit as many sites related to your practice as possible. Buy only art materials that you really need and that are not available back home. Plan your week ahead. Always conduct yourself professionally – be responsible, be courteous, and on time for meetings. Be sociable. Interact. Participate.

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From top, clockwise: Mark Salvatus working on an art project in Korea | cooking with other artists in Korea | hanging out with friends in Melbourne | Art OMI, New York

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The artist at work in Jordan


visual artist, founder and co-director of 98B COLLABoratory On being part of a residency program I started to participate in an artist residency program in 2007, in Goyang Art Studio in South Korea. It was my first time to be away from the Philippines for a long time (3 months). I was recommended by then CCP Visual Arts head, the late Sid Gomez-Hildawa. Around that time, I decided to focus on my art practice and really direct myself to become a full-time artist. Participating in a residency program is a very good experience for me because you have all the time to focus on creating works and reflect on your art practice. There are different types of residencies for different types of artists- for me, I Iook for something that can challenge my practice- moving away from my comfort zone. The first one was by recommendation, and through this program I had the chance to meet other artists from different countries and from there, they shared their experiences with other programs in other places. I got

interested and applied – submitted my portfolio, CV and project proposal and got the grant! That was in Barcelona for about a month, the grant was given by the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation (SPCC). On preparing for a residency Usually for a residency, they ask you for a project proposalon what do you want to do during your stay, a plan on what art projects will you do, be it an installation, video, etc. But most of the time, the plan never works out because you are in a new environment. You must adjust to a new environment- new culture, language, and even the people you meet during your stay. From there you come up with new ideas that you never expect: ideas that come from interaction with unfamiliar things, talking to people, trying new food, being lost, etc. On whether residency programs are free It really depends on the program. The residencies that I

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TOP: Studio in Massachusetts | BOTTOM: With other artists in Yokohama

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granted by a particular art foundation that sponsored everything. There are also residencies that require a certain fee but they help you by giving a letter of invitation, and then you apply for a grant to foundations or art patrons. Now, there is also ‘crowdfunding’ where you can raise funds to cover your fee. On a typical day in a residency There are no routines, we have a program but it’s very loose. Usually, you have a presentation or an art talk or an exhibition before you finish the program. This is like a report or assessment on what you have been doing during your stay. If the artist is a painter, he can stay the whole day in his studio or if the artist works on sitespecific work like an installation, he can be out the whole day working on his project. But the good thing about doing residencies is the interaction with other artists who are also part of the program. Aside from drinking and eating together, you build relationships through networking. On challenges encountered I haven’t experienced any difficult challenges, but for me everything is a positive challenge. Communication is a problem if you are in a country where most of the people don’t understand English. But art can be the communication tool to present your ideas. Not all people are open-minded, though: I had an experience where an artist told me about Filipinos being everywhere and about how horrible it was. For me that was a bit racist, and I replied: “Yes, we are slowly dominating the world and you are not prepared.”

zone- you don’t have your materials, your space, and remember you are alone so you have to improvise, make different plans and think of residencies as laboratories in creating new works. On pursuing a residency program If you want it, just go for it. It’s also a good excuse for travelling. But residency is not a 5-star hotel treatment, you must be ready also to share the bathroom, cook your own meal, clean- it’s a way to be independent. On advice to artists who will undergo residency for the first time Enjoy every moment and take this as an opportunity to develop your practice, it’s not a holiday vacation. On making the most of a residency Connect, network, collaborate. Remember that you are alone but there are other artists that are part of the program, so do some networking and create new projects in the future. I am still in contact with some of the people I met in the programs through email and Facebook. Some of them I even met again in other exhibitions and projects in different venues. Remember that residencies don’t stop at the end of each program, you still continue because you build relationships from the various activities you’ve been part of.

On the most memorable event in his residencies The best thing that happened during my residency in Japan was when I met Mayumi, my wife. On the residency location affecting his artworks I think every time you are in a different place you absorb many things. The works are different but the processes are all the same. I have my own process when I do my works- it’s accidental, chance encounters and very spontaneous, the familiar and the ordinary. Since you are in a different place, you are outside your comfort

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ROMANTIC HOLIDAYS wor d s b y Kon i E s teb a n

p h otog r a p h s b y Geli Bac ru z

The smell of puto bungbong and bibingka, the sound of gift wrappers being folded for monito-monita, the sight of blinking lights that adorn even the humblest of homes spark my excitement that Christmas is finally here! Aside from family get-togethers and gift-giving, preparing for Noche Buena is one of my favorite holiday tradition. I bet it is yours too! For this season, why not try a different color palette to design your tablescape? Instead of the usual red and green, experiment on dreamy pastel colors. Add a touch of pretty to your dinner set up using easy to find items such as doilies, bakers twine and wooden utensils. Jazz up your table setting using lovely fabrics as napkins. Simple floral arrangements and handmade paper decor will add charm to your labor of love.

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Create and decorate using non-traditional Christmas colors. Surprise yourself! The yuletide season is more than the reds and the greens, it is a palette of beautiful colors!

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WE LOVE OUR INSTAGRAM PRINTS AND YOU WILL TOO! Visit Pixaroll Philippines on Facebook today!

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SWEET CRAVINGS F ood f a d s c o m e a n d g o b u t s o me ar e h e r e to s tay. Fo o die s go ga ga o ve r ho me b a k e r s a nd s to r e s no t jus t b ecause the y serve t h e m o s t p op u lar foo d tr e n d s a r o u n d, b ut b e ca us e the y put the ir o w n tw is t o n the us ua l a nd make i t the i r o wn. H ere a r e s o me h o me g r ow n fa v or ite s w ho ma k e s o me o f the b e s t o f the s e fo o d cr a z e s tha t r o ck ed 2013. b y A y a D a l u m p i n es

French macarons have been around for quite some time. They aren’t easy to make that’s why macaron bakers don’t just sprout like mushrooms. Tbese home bakers making their mark in the macaron lovers community by bringing fresh flavors and ideas to the traditional pastry.


Maye Padilla had tried macarons before but never gave them much thought. It was only in 2011 when she tried macarons from a local shop that she got hooked and she thought “Why not try to make my own macarons?! “ After a few months experimenting and developing her own recipe, Maye gathered the guts to join 10A Alabama’s fair in September 2011, which was Merry Macarons’ first ever gig. Maye shares that they use flour from a mix of ground almonds and cashew nuts instead of the usual almond flour. They also create macarons with texts/stencils and probably one of few who does sculpted/character macarons. Their bestsellers for the 10A Alabama crowd include coffeecaramel, coco-calamansi and chocolate with potato chips. Pistachio and green tea are also staple orders. Maye also likes experimenting with flavor combinations and has created a wide range of one-of-a-kind flavors including coco-calamansi, chocolate with potato chips, rum raisin and black sesame with wasabi ganache. The unique sculpted macaron designs meanwhile include Iron Man (ironmacs), cows (ma-cow-rons), Hello Kitty, Mike Wakowzki, and Despicable Me minions.

In the spirit of giving, Merry Macarons is sharing a dozen of their macarons to one lucky winner! Just describe your dream Merry Macaron sculpted / character macaron and the perfect flavor combination to go with it! Who knows, Maye may just do it! The one with the most imaginative macaron wins! Join HERE.

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Allie says: My dream Merry Macaron would be a Domokun character macaron with a dark chocolate shell and earl gray tea flavor filing!


Alchemy Macarons began in December 2011 when owner Meryl Go was thinking if something to sell for the holidays. What started as an idea eventually ended up as a full-time, home-based business. Meryl says the entire Alchemy macaron is unique because the cookies are on the chewier side and you’ll definitely taste the almonds in every bite. The generously spread fillings are also all homemade recipes and provides the punch of flavor you want in a macaron. Alchemy’s best sellers are Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Ganache and if you want something different from the usual, they also have unique flavors like Passion fruit Milk Chocolate and Chai Spice. Did you know that Alchemy Macarons can also provide you with a dessert bar on your next party? Create your dream Alchemy Macarons Dessert Bar Basic Package spread and tell us for what event you will have it! You can find the package inclusions and menu on Facebook. Meryl is feeling extremely generous and is giving the three(!) persons with the best answers a dozen assorted macarons each! Click HERE to join!

Cachi says:

I want to have Alchemy Macarons Dessert bar for my Christmas reunion with my college friends! I am a sucker for chocolates so my dessert bar will definitely have chocolate chip cookies, chocolate sable cookies, sweet chantilly, macarons, truffle balls, and chocolate mousse. It’s the holidays, so my color scheme will be mint green and powder pink.


Anna Graham recalls that she wanted to bake macarons for her tea party- themed birthday party and looked up recipes online. From then on, she started baking for other family events and soon enough, family and friends began ordering. Mrs. Graham’s Bakery was actually the brand of her former Polymer clay charm business. They decided to officially sell macarons last February 2013. Anna tries to think of unique flavors, especially those that others don’t have and develop them. She also likes to collaborate with her clients, creating flavors and colors to match their events. Some of their popular and unique flavors are the inside-out s’mores – which is by far their bestseller, Pancake with Maple buttercream, Cinnamon french toast with Peanut buttercream, Tequila Rose, Tiramisu and Brie with Truffle oil. Mrs. Graham’s Bakery also has a giant s’more macaron exclusively available at Torch Restaurant in Greenhills. Mrs. Graham’s Bakery wants three, yes, three, of you to take home some of their homemade treats! To get a chance at winning a box of Mrs. Graham’s Bakery macarons, we want you to create a Christmas-inspired macaron flavor for Mrs. Graham’s Bakery! We’ll never know, they might just add it to their new line for the holidays! The top three macaron entries that remind us most of Christmas will get a box of Mrs. Graham’s Bakery macarons! Click HERE to join!

Drea says: I’d love a truly Pinoy one: Buttery bibingka macaron with a salted duck egg center.

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When Dominique Ansel created the cronut, he knew it was destined for greatness. Filipinos, always on trend, caught on fast and came up with their own renditions. Here are some cronut versions you definitely ought to try.


Bronuts is a weekend hobby of three friends who love to eat and share their passion for food. When news of a hybrid pastry from New York started circulating, they knew right away that they must bring it to the Filipino market and it’s something that foodies will love. So they went through trial and error trying to come up with the best tasting and most satisfying Bronuts that would surely hit the spot for the Filipino market. According to the bros of Bronuts, what makes Bronuts unique is that they are made with love. Their best seller is the Belgian Chocolate with Salted Caramel and they consider all their flavors unique and even made the toppings different from fillings, both of them overflowing in a Bronut.\ Yo can get your Bronuts fix every Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at Power Plant Mall’s Baker’s Dozen. Want to score some free Bronuts? Bronuts is joining in on the gift-giving frenzy! Get a chance to take home a box of 6 Bronuts by sending us your fantasy Bronuts flavor! Most creative and mouthwatering answer gets the gift! Click HERE join!

Lando says:

Chocolate and chili!

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Even before Anybody Coffee opened in Trinoma in May 2013, they were already concocting their own croissant donut hybrid recipe to add to their menu. A few months later, they introduced their Cronutz, their own version of the now famous pastry. Carlo Banta, Anybody Coffee’s General Manager, explains that what sets their Cronutz apart is that they don’t skimp on fresh and quality ingredients like French butter and Belgian chocolate. Cronutz also uniquely have a cinnamon-sugar sprinkle, adding a depth of flavor and making them perfect for Anybody Coffee’s coffee offerings. They also have filled Cronutz, which is a unique Anybody Coffee offering. Carlo says they try to introduce a new flavor every week. To date, they already have 11 flavors and they plan to add more. Their best sellers are Dark chocolate, Crazy Quezo and Ultimate Custard Glaze. Anybody Coffee wants one of you to take home their Cronutz for the holidays! To get a chance to be the lucky one, just come up with the catchiest tagline for Anybody Coffee’s Cronutz. Best tagline wins a box of 6 Cronutz from Anybody Coffee! Click HERE to join!

Koni says: Go nuts over Anybody Coffee Cronutz!

Click here!

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chocolate covered potato chips Here’s a quick tutorial on ho w to prepare dark chocolate covered potato chips, with a hint of mint. w o r d s an d p h otog r a p h s b y C a c h i R ey es

Have you ever tried those expensive chocolate covered potato chips that you see in the mall? Well I tell you, you can make them yourself at the convenience of your home. Serve them at a party and I guarantee you guests will turn from curious to crazy about this treat. THERE ARE THREE THINGS THAT YOU WILL NEED: A bag of potato chips (Net Weight 9 oz) I prefer to use potato chips with ridges like Ruffles. I noticed that the ones with the ridges stay crispy even when covered with chocolate. When I did this using Pringles, which has a smooth texture, most of the potato chips quickly became soggy. Of course, you have to make sure you buy the ones with original/salted flavor. I don’t think sour cream and chocolate is a good combination.

SO HERE’S HOW TO DO IT: Make sure that the pot you will be using is completely dry. Even a small amount of water can cause the chocolate to be clumpy. In a double boiler, slowly melt the chocolate. Once it has melted, mix ¼ teaspoon of peppermint extract into the chocolate. You only need that much, if you add too much of the mint extract, the flavor might be too strong and you won’t get to appreciate the chocolate-salt flavor. From there, you can either dunk the potato chips one at a time on the pot of melted chocolate, or you can use a spoon to scoop the chocolate and pour it over the potato chip. Set it aside on a sheet of parchment paper and wait for it to completely harden before serving.

1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips If there are no chocolate chips available, you can use dark chocolate that you can get from the grocery store. ¼ teaspoon of peppermint extract This will make this treat more Christmasy. I used LorAnn Oils Super Strength Flavors in Peppermint. You can order LorAnn Oils at Love2Bake Co. ( love2bakeco)

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shortbread cookies Learn how to make these easy iced shortbread cookies for Christmas and decorate them in different techniques. w o r d s and p h otog r a p h s b y J i k a M a ca ch or



1¾ cups all purpose flour ½ cup butter ½ cup confectioners’ or powdered sugar 2 tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg whites 1¾ cups confectioners’ or powdered sugar Food coloring Decorations

1. Preheat oven at 350˚F (180˚C). 2. Knead the flour and butter together. 3. Make a well in the mixture then add the sugar, vanilla and milk. 4. Mix the ingredients well and knead into a dough (best to use your hands). 5. Use a rolling pin to roll the cookie dough out to a thickness of 1/8 inch and cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a knife. 6. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are golden. 7. Cool the cookies completely before decorating.

1. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then beat in the powdered sugar. 2. Divide the mixture into several bowls and add coloring on each bowl as desired. 3. Spread the icing on the cookies and decorate. Leave the icing to dry completely for several hours. Makes 30 to 35 cookies.

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Roll the dough out between two sheets of wax paper to keep the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and work surface. When making the icing, be sure that absolutely no egg yolk, oil, or fat is mixed in. Otherwise, the egg whites will fall or not fluff up at all. It’s best to use a glass or ceramic bowl as plastic may contain oil absorbed from previous use. For bolder icing colors, use gel food coloring. If the icing is too stiff or starts to dry out, add a few drops of water to thin it out. Traditionally, a piping bag is used to ice cookies, but you can also use a spatula, a butter knife, or the back of a spoon to spread your base layer of icing. I personally use a wooden barbecue stick to spread the icing and toothpicks to add smaller details. 88 | N O MS


Of course, you have the option to just frost your cookies with one solid-colored layer of icing and be done with. But decorating your cookies makes them all the more special and personalized which is great especially if you plan to give them as gifts. Cookie decorating is also a really fun activity to do with kids. Sprinkles This is probably, hands-down, the easiest way to decorate your cookies. Just sprinkle on wet icing and you’re done! Metallic Dragees Yes, they’re edible and very fitting for the holidays. They also give your cookies a more polished and elegant look. Decorating with dragees is just as easy as with sprinkles. You don’t even need a lot. Just space them evenly across the icing. Iced Designs Decorating with the icing itself may take a little more time and effort but it makes for some of the prettiest cookies. To give it more depth and texture, wait for the previous layer of icing to dry before going in with the details. Marbling This is a wet-on-wet technique. Just make patterns with different colors of icing and drag a toothpick through the wet icing to create the marbled effect. Food Decorating Pens If you love doodling, this is the technique for you. Just make sure the icing is completely dry then draw happily away. Food color pens can be bought from specialty baking supply stores.

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WHERE TO FIND THEM Alchemy Macarons 0917 896 3795 | 02 330 9229 Anybody Coffee 2/F Trinoma, Mindanao Ave. Quezon City The Appraisery 61 (62-A) Cubao Expo. Araneta Center Quezon City Bambike Bambowties Bronuts Charlin Villamor Cordillera Coffee Unit 104 Llanar Bldg., 77 Xavierville Ave. Quezon City


The Curious Calligrapher thecuriouscalligrapher Divisoria Guide gb/app/divisoriaguide/ id670050971?mt=8&ignmpt=uo%3D2 Frances Alvarez Habi Footwear Gifts and Graces Unit 131 Mile Long Building G/F Amorsolo St. Makati City Hellokris Human Nature Jacinto and Lirio Jaime Bauza

Kape Maria Cordillera Premium Roast Karaw! ArtVentures Leyende Loudbasstard Merry Macarons 33 Chestnut St., Fairview Quezon City Mrs. Graham’s Bakery Pinaglabanan Street San Juan 0917 805 5479 Messy Bessy G/F Yupangco Building 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension Makati City Pam Pastor PixaRoll

Plush and Play Punchdrunk Panda Rags2Riches Reg Silva


Risque Suelas Unit 204, 2/F Dona Consolacion Building 122 Jupiter Street Bel-Air Village, Makati City Takatak Project 96 Kamuning Road 1103 Quezon City TradeSchool Manila Works of Heart PH Yeo Kaa

Help us out by answering this survey about what you just read. Or you can email us with comments, suggestions, or just say hi to us at We’ll be publishing our favorite comments and letters in next month’s issue. The best one will also get a special surprise from the Katha team!

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THE HOLIDAY FEAST Ea Senga shares with us her favorite holiday memory.

Strangely, our family does not celebrate Noche Buena. I think we love sleeping that we do not follow this tradition. But come Christmas morning, we would wake up early, go to mass and visit our relatives’ houses one by one. My favorite is my uncle’s house, with a stylish Christmas tree with glass baubles. The table is laden with food, from a variety of bread, cheese, champorado, ham, and of course my favorite puto bumbong. For me it isn’t Christmas without eating puto bumbong!

Our dearest Katha Magazine readers, The holidays are just around the corner! It’s the time of the year once again where everyone can’t help but spread the Christmas spirit. We at Katha Magazine decided to slightly change our first ever Katha Classifieds this month for a more meaningful cause that suits the spirit of the season. At Katha, we aim to push our limits, so instead of ads for items you may want to sell, we bravely asked some of our favorite (and as we found out also the most generous) crafters to each donate a one-of-a-kind work of their own which in turn will be up for auction to all our readers. Of course, we didn’t want the proceeds of this auction to go to waste. We want to see the fruits of this endeavor in action together with our crafter donors and winning bidders. We have teamed up with a non-profit organization: Paint Some Happy. Paint Some Happy aims to give children space to dream, and to dream BIG, through hope-inspiring art by painting the walls of public spaces. What we love about Paint Some Happy is that they have a very clear concept and a single goal they want to achieve and they have a simple but concrete way of making it happen. We are so happy many crafters answered this call, despite us having just started and despite the short amount of time we had provided them. Each of them carefully thought about their work, the theme it will encompass, the handiwork it will need, we are so grateful that all our crafters are giving us a labor of love for this auction. We now ask you, our readers, to join us in the spirit of giving, and take part in our Holiday Benefit Auction. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed with all the lovely pieces of artwork and handmade products our crafter donors have made for you. Think of it as a giving gift - you get to gift yourself or another special person in your life with a wonderful, handmade item while in turn giving more for a bigger cause. We, the Katha team, the Paint Some Happy team and our circle of crafter donors, hope you’ll all join us in this very promising project. We are excited for you to see the works our crafters have come up with! We will be releasing the auction catalogue on November 15. You may sign up for our mailing list to get the latest updates or constantly check our Facebook and Twitter accounts for the updates. To learn more about Paint Some Happy and their advocacy, you may check their facebook page for more info. Cheers! The Katha Magazine Team

OUR NEXT ISSUE IS ALL ABOUT BIG LEAPS. We celebrate leaps of faith, brave new loves, and change.

If you have something in mind that you think fits next issue’s theme, let’s talk! Email us at and pitch all your wild ideas. We’d love for you to be a part of the next issue. We’ll be waiting!


Also, we’re always on the lookout for imaginative and creative individuals who share the ideals of Katha. If you think that’s you, send us samples of your work with “I’d like to be a contributor” in the subject line. You just might be who we’re looking for!

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Profile for Katha Magazine

Katha Magazine - Issue No. 02 Nov/Dec 2013  

With all the giftgiving, decorating, and parties to look forward to, this time of the year is an exciting time for crafters and makers to fl...

Katha Magazine - Issue No. 02 Nov/Dec 2013  

With all the giftgiving, decorating, and parties to look forward to, this time of the year is an exciting time for crafters and makers to fl...