Wow! A Filipino dessert bar in the heart of the bustling Sawtelle area of West LA! Beautifully designed indoor and outdoor space with a play kitchen area for the kids. B Sweet. Represent!
Ay nako! It has been almost 2 years since my last post!
Yesterday, I attended an amazing launch event for Artisan Made Philippines. Overnight my cup runneth over with the sense of Pinay Pride. And just in time!
One of the biggest things that has been weighing down on my mind, heart and soul has been my struggle to teach my kids Tagalog and cultivate their Filipino identity. Yes, I speak to them exclusively in Tagalog, but I know my version of Tagalog is not enough. I myself need some immersion crash course in order to discuss more complex thoughts and feelings with them.
Thanks to Artisan Made, I came away from last week feeling connected to a vibrant Filipino-American community. I’m feeling happier. It’s the kind of feeling you might experience when you spend a whole day with cool cousins. Mind you, I only knew Kristine Surla, the founder of Artisan Made when I walked in the door, but everyone felt familiar as they shared their stories of being Filipino or Filipino-American. It didn’t matter that we were from all different parts of the Philippines or different parts of the US.
It’s a huge understatement to say that I was thrilled and inspired. The day wasn’t about fleeting fashion trends. It was about Filipinos and Filipinas making a difference in other people’s lives.
- Moved by the work that the non-profit, Gawad Kalinga, is doing to end poverty and hunger in the Philippines.
- Lost my mind shopping for beautiful pieces by Anthill – a social and cultural enterprise in the Philippines working to preserve local weaves through contemporary design to sustain livelihood and tradition. Each piece had a story about the specific weaves and the weaver or craftsperson who created it.
- Witnessed the inventive and improvisational culinary skills of The New York Times-featured Filipina chef, Yana Gilbuena. I inhaled the 5-course kamayan meal after admiring her artful presentation. I also learned that you can peel ginger with a regular spoon! It’s work, but it means that you don’t waste any of the ginger! Genius.
- Discovered that “heirloom Philippine rice” exists! Last night’s menu included black rice by Social Products — an organization that sources organic food products from Philippine coop smallholder farmer partners that empower rural farmers, women, and indigenous peoples with a more sustainable way to eradicate poverty.
- Excited to taste and learn about Kalsada Coffee from the Philippines and roasted in Seattle.
- And wow! Theo & Philo artisanal chocolates. Yum! They’re the Philippines’ first bean-to-bar artisan chocolates. You have to try them!
- And calamansi liqueur? Yes, please! I am now on the hunt for Manille Liqueur de Calamansi. According to Forbes, it was “conceived as a Filipino take on the Italian limoncello by president and CEO Olivia Limpe-Aw, in collaboration with restaurateur-turned-writer-and-television-host Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi, Manille Liqueur de Calamansi, launched in January 2014, is a vodka-based drink that uses the essence of the zesty calamansi rind sourced from Mangyan farmers in Mindoro, a province located off the coast of Luzon, and northeast of Palawan.”
- And most importantly, I have secured some SoCal Tagalog play dates in my family’s future! In fact, because of the press coverage leading up to the event, I now know that there’s a show, Kababayan Today. And because of that show, I now know that there’s a summer school program by the Filipino Cultural School here in LA! It’s far but it will be worth it to enroll Cedro next summer.
Maraming salamat, Kristine! Mabuhay!
I am proud to be featured this week on the art blog, “The Art Directed Life.”
(The story behind the photo: Here’s a collage that I created with one of my illustrations. I felt weird submitting a picture without my son, Cedro, so I included his sippy cup. (a) He is obsessed with Lightning McQueen right now, and (b) I have been known to drink the rest of his drinks at the end of the day straight from his cup.)
Still Christmas shopping? Look no further! We’ve redesigned our Pacquiao shirts to comply with the Zazzle content guidelines. (We think.) Hopefully, the new shirts will be up there for more than 24 hours! For those of you who tried to purchase shirts for the Pacquiao vs. Margarito fight, we apologize for the inconvenience.
It’s nothin’ but MANNY MANIA this week!
We’ll be posting some of our own videos soon from our “Up Close and Personal” encounters with Manny Pacquiao. (Check out our previous blog posts.) In the meantime, here’s a short clip of us in the background for a moment in Episode 3 of HBO’s 24/7 series on the Pacquiao vs. Cotto fight. OK, so it’s blurry and you can’t really tell it’s us, but we WERE there and SO PROUD and honored to be there! It’s not every day that one gets to meet the Pride of the Philippines!
They’re replaying all the episodes tonight to get us all pumped for the fight! If you take a close look you’ll see us in the background during a shot of Buboy Fernandez in the parking lot of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles… That’s Arlene wearing the orange Team Pacquiao hoodie (given to her… by Buboy himself!) and Ardith is wearing the Barkada(ko) Logo T in gold while our new friend from Team Pacquiao, Roweena Encarnacion, is rockin’ the Barkada(ko) Philippine Flag T in navy… PINOYS UNITE!
Many thanks to our close friend and Barkada(ko) supermodel, Gary Zane, who introduced us to Roweena and got the ball rollin’ so we could get on this Pacquiao Train!
Last night, my NYC homegirls and my loving husband, Brian, surprised me BIG TIME . For my birthday, they treated me to dinner and drinks at Pastis!!! (chosen for the French cuisine, the French fries, and the fact that it was the location for one of Brian’s “Sex and the City” episodes!) Plus, Cyn was in town from Haiti! IE: I was surrounded by my VIPeeps on my birthday! The biggest surprise of all was the beautiful painting collaboration that they created for me. Of course, it made me bawl my eyeballs out. I was so touched. I love my girls! Here’s the museum-ready description that they put together to accompany it:
Cynthia Casasola, Liz Casasola, Cori Kaylor, Anne Tamayo
“A Girl Named Ardith” (June 2009)
Acrylic on canvas
Four friends of Ardith created this piece to celebrate her birthday. They each drew something that symbolizes Ardith. The circles represent eternity and the infinite gratitude and connection those feel for her. The circles also represent halos for her angel-like qualities. The heart represents Ardith’s big, open heart, her generosity of spirit, and the abundance of love she has to share. The gem represents a rare find, as is her friendship to many. The flowers represent Ardith’s beauty inside and out. She sees and brings out the beauty in everyone and that makes her beautiful. The two flowers represent Ardith and her sister, Arlene. Arlene is an important part of Ardith’s life so the two flowers represent how close they are to each other. The sun represents her sunny and radiant personality, as well as hailing from California. It also represents a part of the Philippine flag, because she is a proud Filipino. The ocean waves represent Ardith’s love of the islands and her dream of living there one day with her family and friends.
The tree that joins all the elements together represent Ardith’s roots — she represents stability, strength, and wiseness to her friends and family. The tree also represents Ardith’s alma mater — Stanford. It is also reminiscent of the Japanese culture, which she has embraced in her life. The multitude of colors in the background represent Ardith’s many layers as a person as well as her depth.
Awwwww! Thanks for a birthday that I’ll never forget!
Today was absolute chaos at the Philippine Independence Day Parade and Festival here in NYC! Chaotic in both good and bad ways… It’s always an amazing feeling to be surrounded by THOUSANDS of Filipinos who are out celebrating their Pinoy Pride. But it was SO packed that it was almost impossible to get food! The one booth we chose even ran out of rice! Needless to say, the crowd was appalled! “Can you ee-MAHHHhh-jeen!?!” Oh well… It was still well worth the 45-minute wait for our 2 skewers of BBQ pork and the high price of my hair stinking like sweat and smokey, barbecued meat.
While I may be proud to be Filipino, I had no intention of showing up at the festival until the very end… Only our homegirl, Liz Casasola, could drag us out of bed before noon on a weekend! She was scheduled to walk with fellow cast members for “Imelda – The Musical” which will open in NYC in September 2009. She’ll play the role of Cory Aquino!… She wisely gave us a 12:15pm time to show up at the parade. So, Brian and I ran up to Madison Park by 12:30pm which meant we were in time for the REAL appearance of Liz in the parade at 2:15pm. (I should’ve known she was gonna use the Filipino Time trick on us!) Of course, we love Liz and we’re so proud of her! You should all buy your Imelda tickets today!
All in all, it was a fun, sunny day in NYC hanging with the girls and bumping into old friends in the crowd. Before we left, someone stopped and pointed to the stage and asked me, “What’s going on here?” Being the big Filipino dork that I am, I shouted, “IT’S FILIPINO DAY!” One day, I hope no one will have to wonder. People will just KNOW that it’s Filipino Day. Watch out!
This is my first attempt @ posting a blog from my phone! Stayed up late last night testing the new store with Ging (pronounced “Jing”, aka my sister, Arlene) so we haven’t had a chance to blog… Now here I am on the bus back into the city after working all day on MallyBeauty.com…
HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE THE GRAND OPENING OF OUR FIRST ONLINE STORE!
It has been 5 years since we started Barkada(ko) & 4 since our last appearance selling our shirts at Filipino festivals across the country. We took a little break and now we’re back! Our goal is to liquidate our inventory of first edition shirts so we can pave the way for the next projects. We’re really excited about using bigcartel.com as our web store thanks to a blog post we stumbled upon in MyModernMet.com! Since we’re a very small sis-n-sis operation, this will help out tremendously in fulfilling orders & managing our inventory! YAY!
Thanks again to family, friends, & newfound fans for your love and support over the years!!! We couldn’t have done this without you! But thanks most of all to my lil sis! She painstakingly counted, recounted, triplechecked & polybagged each remaining shirt — getting everything ready for the launch!!! All in all, she spearheaded this whole effort. She’s my inspiration! Can’t wait to live in the same city! It’s been almost 20 years!!!
Celebrating Filipino Pride Worldwide!!!
Brian and I did a video shoot for a press event in the Penthouse suite at the London Hotel in NYC. The suite was jigganormous! Two floors!!! 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (which were as big as the bedrooms), huge living room, and a kitchen. And there was a spectacular view of the Hudson.
(We were there to trail celebrity makeup artist, Mally Roncal, who was doing the event as a spokesperson for Q-tips. Who woulda thunk that Q-tips was so ballin’?) Anyway… we used one of the bathrooms as our charging station and storage for all our equipment. You might think that a bathroom would be GHE—TTO. But goddamn! That bathroom felt like it was bigger than our apartment! All day long we were going in and out of this bathroom to replenish batteries or download photos/videos. Each time, I kept on eyeing the toiletries!
I had to fight every Filipino fiber in my body and soul NOT to dump all this loot into my shoulder bag! These bottles were HUGE for hotel toiletries! In the end, I resisted the temptation… After all, I don’t have any room (or need) for them. I know. So un-Filipino of me.
Waiting for the bus today, I decided to make a quick stop at the “Gourmet Chef” store to pick up a much-needed tea kettle. (My husband, Brian, and I had trashed my little 2-cup bachelorette one by melting the plastic spout cover and sealing the damn thing shut.) Yesterday, I had already dutifully scoped it out and later did a few price comparisons online. OXO was definitely the way to go! Coupon in hand, I marched in to make full use of my 5 precious minutes before the bus’s arrival… I grabbed it ready to go but then was shocked by the price tag. $59.99!!!!??? What the..? For some reason, I had $39.99 burned into my brain. Wishful thinking, I guess. I was so disappointed. Was it still worth it?
After some tedious questions and inspection by the cashier and her manager, I did it! I scored an extra 10% off in addition to my 20% off coupon! Yippppeeeeee! Just when I thought I was causing a scene and feeling ghetto while I was at it… (I did in fact look like a bag lady today.) The deal was done! “Sure,” just like that, the manager just ordered the cashier to do it. I didn’t even have to try very hard!
As I stood in line for the bus, I was beaming ear to ear. I normally would never have tried to do that. I don’t know what possessed me. Probably tax time and the need to save every damn dime…. It was so Filipino of me!!!! I should call my mom and tell her.