Artisan Made Philippines


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!



Pacquiao Shirts are Here (Again)!


© Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

Revised Pacquiao: Living Legend design © Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

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. 

© Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

Revised Pacquiao: Pride of the Philippines design. © Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

© Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

Pacquiao: Shadows Boxing design © Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

© Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

Tito Manny is My Hero! © Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

BEWARE: The Cute Factor in following pictures – VERY HIGH.


Just when i thought our little models couldn’t get any cuter, i got these pics from BARKADA(KO) customer Grace Linker!  Adorable sure does run in the family.  Bobby was our first blog and facebook model and now his older sister, Ava has joined in on the fun!  Alright everyone, let’s do a collective “awwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!”

They are both modeling the baby and kid’s ARNIS shirts.

Save Fashion

Ultra Wedge by Melissa Campana Brazil

Ultra Wedge by Melissa Campana Brazil

Tonight, on my way home from work, passing through Port Authority to transfer from the bus to the subway, a sample sale caught my eye…  It turned out to be a special event going on: Save Fashion!!! Well, I couldn’t resist since I had been hunting for some summer shoes…  I found 3 things I wish I could’ve bought.  The first thing was this beautiful pair of shoes, the Ultra Wedge Flocked by Melissa Campana. They only had size 8 and 10. BOOHOO!… The second piece was a black wool zip jacket by Philippa K. It had a very mod 1960’s look, subtle bubble shape with slightly ruffled collar, a la Audrey Hepburn. The funny thing was that I noticed it ONCE before. It was this past winter, a woman near me on the subway was wearing it and I was thinking how cute it looked with jeans… The last piece that I wish I could’ve grabbed was a space-age Lyn Devon Motorblanket Jacket. Hip length quilted ivory-colored virgin wool and angora with wide rounded lapels and a short diagonal zipper down the front, not to mention some golden zippers around the elbow joints. I know it sounds crazy, but my written description doesn’t do it justice.  It was so beautiful and SO SOFT! But it was wayyyy too big.  It would’ve been a great dressy winter coat as an alternative to my dumpy knee-length down jackets…

I wish I could say it was strictly a “sport shopping” experience, you know, “catch and release.”  But I DID break down and get a pair of deep purple Melissa flats. Only $40! Comfy, durable, stylish, and WATERPROOF!

New Tea Kettle

OXO Tea Kettle

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.