The Sunday Currently | 05

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“I’m glad to see that you’re finally creating plans for yourself”, he said. I have to agree, it’s been a while since I wrote down tasks and future plans on my mini calendar. I guess that’s what happens when you’re with someone who inspires you. Ack, cheesy but yeah… it’s been a while since I wrote cheesy blog entries too.

Reading

Articles and emails.

Writing
The Sunday Currently vol. 5 + plans :3

Listening
To the rhythm of the falling rain.

Thinking
Possibilities.

Smelling
That rich fragrant smell of shampoo.

Wishing
My back would stop hurting.

Hoping
For more steady rain in the days to come.

Wearing
A floral top and my favorite shorts.

Loving
The weather.

Wanting
A cup of warm green tea.

Needing
An extra pair of hands. Or a button that will automatically delete all of the negatrons in my Facebook feed.

Feeling
Inspired ❤

Join The Sunday Currently link-up by siddathornton!

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Entrepreneur Diaries: E-Commerce Seminar + Visual Merchandising Seminar and Workshop

Last May 24, 2016, entrepreneurs gathered at the Greenleaf Hotel in General Santos City to attend the Seminar on Expanding your Business through E-Commerce, an event organized by the Department of Trade and Industry Region 12 in coordination with the E-Commerce Office, the Regional Operations Group, and the Special Concerns Group of DTI. Topics such as Introduction to E-Commerce and Different Internet Payment Platforms were discussed by Ms. Janette Toral, e-commerce advocate of the Philippines and owner of http://digitalfilipino.com.

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So far from the stage but so ready to learn! | Olympus C-5060

I was still a bit groggy when I arrived ( I left Cotabato City at 5:00 in the morning) and during the first few minutes of the seminar, I was overwhelmed with the numbers that Janet showed in her presentation. Apparently, there are billions of internet users all over the world and a huge percentage of that are active social media users. These numbers are impressive! Representatives from Shopify, Ureka, TackThis, Paypal, Gcash, and PayMaya were also there to tell us more about their products and services.

The Visual Merchandising Seminar and Workshop was scheduled the next day, May 25, 2016 at FB Hotel in Koronadal. It was nice to sit down and listen to one of my mentors, Mr. Rey Soliven as he emphasized the importance of visual merchandising and showed various techniques on how to present our products. I think it’s high time that I learned about visual merchandising, especially since our team struggled during the Treasures of Region 12 Trade Fair last year – we did not have the right tools, and we had a hard time decorating the booth.

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Bedazzling Booth Concept | Asus Zenfone

We created mood boards, mini booths, and come May 26, 2016, we were asked to execute the designs that we submitted. There were busy hands everywhere, and it was just refreshing to see the creativity and resourcefulness of the participants. Rewards were given at the end of the program, and after an exchange of calling cards, the participants were finally on their way home.

As a rookie in the world of entrepreneurship, I’m grateful for events like these. I get to network with fellow entrepreneurs, and I always leave with a cup filled with new business-related discoveries.

Sneak Peek

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An Experiment| Asus Zenfone

You work on an item for days with an image of the possible output in your head.

Once the output is finished, you realize it can be something else.

Behold, Eco Choices‘ first collaboration with a fellow entrepreneur here in Cotabato City.

I’ll officially “launch” this soon. Stay tuned. 😉

Women’s Saturdate

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What happens when you gather women entrepreneurs for an exhibit, zumba session, open forum, and tutorial on makeup and hijab? Women’s Saturdate. This was held last March 15, 2014 at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex as part of the celebration for Women’s Month. Women’s Saturdate is a joint initiative of  Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kutawato City Inc. and Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women. Women entrepreneurs were invited to showcase their items in booths around the area. Some of the participants and exhibitors started the day with two hours Zumba lead by Irene Tan, a licensed Zumba instructor from General Santos City.

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Our dreamcatcher display during the event.

After the zumba session, there was an open forum where the rights of women and children were discussed.  Shari’ah Counsellor Maceda Lidasan Abo, Police Senior Inspector Jaybee Bayani, Shari’ah COunsellor Narumbai Dilangalen-Datukon, Shari’ah COunsellor Edz Pandi, Shari’ah Counsellor Indira Sinsuat, Atty. AlphaCarole Pontanal, And Ustadza Anisa Taha were there to empower the women present during the event. The discussions revolved around what women should do in different situations and who to ask help from. It was good that these things were discussed during the event because most times, women who are put in very difficult situations choose silence over standing up and asserting their rights because they feel like no one will hear their voice and no one will be there to help them. It was good to see women feeling empowered when the forum ended.

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Makeup tutorial by HERs Ikhwaat
Hijab tutorial by HERs Ikhwaat
Hijab tutorial by HERs Ikhwaat

The open forum was followed by tutorials on makeup and hijab by HERs Ikhwaat. These tutorials sparked my interest because I’ve always wanted to learn how to do makeup, and I’ve always been curious about the hijab. I see women wearing the hijab in our city but I’ve always been clueless about the different styles of wearing it. The tutorial helped me appreciate women who wear the hijab more.

Women’s Saturdate was a good venue to empower women and to encourage them to become entrepreneurs. It was also a good venue to let the younger generation appreciate the hijab. I’m really thankful that Eco Choices was invited to participate in this event 🙂

 

Dreamcatchers

I had my first dreamcatcher in 2004. I bought it as a souvenir from a thrift shop in Boracay. I was intrigued when the shop owner said that if I hang it near my bed, I won’t have bad dreams. True enough, all my dreams since then were happy and peaceful. I then started collecting. When I started studying in the University of the Philippines, Baguio, I was given access to even more dreamcatchers since these were sold along Session Road. I had dreamcatchers of different colors, shapes, and sizes and I brought them with me everywhere I went. I made sure all of them hung near my bed. As my collection grew, I had to put some of them in other locations like the door, the window, my cabinet, etc. It was always easy to identify where my room was – just follow the dreamcatchers.

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Heirs Inspired Dreamcatcher

As years went on, I noticed that I’ve been spending most of my money on dreamcatchers. This isn’t really a problem but when you’re trying to save for something more expensive like strobe lights, flash, or  a new macbook, you begin to think about the money you splurged on something else. It was then that  I decided to start making dreamcatchers. I researched and looked for tutorials online but to no avail. Turns out my mom knew how to make them and she taught me.

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Personalized Dreamcatcher
Personalized metal accent. :)
Personalized metal accent. 🙂

I didn’t stop making dreamcatchers ever since. I explored designs, concepts, techniques, and incorporated them with some of the dreamcatchers I made. I also did some research and the more I read, the more appreciation I had for the dreamcatchers. According to an article, these dreamcatchers originated from the Ojibwe people who used to call it a “dream snare”. The Ojibwe people used willow hoops, sinew thread, and decorated the dream snare with sacred items like beads and feathers.

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Aliya Collection
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Aliya Collection

For the Ojibwe people, the legend of the dreamcatcher comes from Asibikaashi (Spider Woman). She took good care of the children and people on the land. When the Ojibwe Nation spread all over the world, it became very difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all of the children. Because of this, the mothers and the grandmothers weaved dreamcatchers- webs of magic using  willow hoops and sinew, or cordage made from plants for the children. It was believed that the dreamcatchers filtered out all of the bad dreams and allowed only the good dreams. These dreamcatchers served as protective charms and were hung on the hoop of a cradle board and it was said that “they caught any harm that might be in the air as a spider’s web catches and holds whatever comes in contact with it” (Frances Densmore, Chippewa Customs).

The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones
The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones
The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones
The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones

According to another article, the Ojibwe people believe that dreamcatchers can change a person’s dream. Good dreams pass through the hole and slide down the feathers to the sleeping person underneath. The bad dreams, on the other hand, get caught in the net and disappear with the light of day.

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The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones

The Lakota people from the Great Plains of North America have a different story about the dreamcatcher. When the world was still very peaceful, an old Lakota spiritual leader had a vision while staying on a high mountain. In that vision the great searcher of wisdom, Iktomi, appeared in the form of a spider. Iktomi spoke to him about the cycle of life – how we begin our lives as infants and then move on through childhood and adulthood. Then we move further into old age where we must be taken care of as infants, completing the cycle. All these Iktomi said while spinning a web on a willow hoop which had feathers, horsehair, beads, and offerings on it. However, according to Iktomi, life has many forces both good and bad. The good forces, if you listen to them, will steer you in the right direction while the bad forces will steer you in the wrong direction. Whatever decision is made through these forces can either help or interfere with the harmony of Nature. When Iktomi was finished, he gave the web to the spiritual leader. It was a perfect circle with a hole in the center. The web can be used to help people reach their goals, while making use of their dreams, ideas, and visions. The spiritual leader passed on this vision to the people. The good dreams pass through the hole while the evil in their dreams are captured in the web. The Lakota people believe that the dreamcatcher holds their destiny.

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The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones
The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones
The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones

The dreamcatcher has been a part of Native American culture for centuries. One element of Native American dreamcatcher relates to the tradition of the hoop. The Native Americans of North America held the hoop in the highest esteem because for them, it symbolizes strength and unity. The hoop also represents the sun, moon, and month that travel each day across the sky. These are known as the giizis. The number of points on the dreamcatcher also differ in meaning: 13 points mean the phases of the moon, 8 points represent the legs on the spider woman of the dreamcatcher legend, 7 points represent the seven prophecies of the grandfathers, 6 points mean courage, and 5 points represent the star. The feathers mean breath or air which is essential for life. An owl feather, which was a woman’s feather, means wisdom.

The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones
The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones

The dreamcatcher legend has many variations. Although the Ojibwe people are acknowledged as the first people to use dreamcatchers, many other tribes and native people have also adopted dreamcatchers into their culture. Despite differences in stories and legends, the symbols and meanings are universal and are carried all over the world.

The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones
The Bonita Collection : Crochet x Swarovski x Precious Stones

It’s always good to read and know more about the products that we make in order to help other people understand and appreciate these items. The dreamcatchers in this post are available at Eco Choices.

What’s New?

Happy 2014, dear readers! May this year bring you happiness, love, light, beautiful sunsets, and epic wave rides!

2014 is a very exciting year for us at Eco Choices because we have new products in store for you! If you’re a GIGA user but you’re having a hard time because the products are not available in Cotabato, fear no more because they’re now available at the store! GIGA Products are made from local plant-derived ingredients. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of ingredients found in GIGA products are plant based (Natural) and ninety per cent (90%) are locally-sourced in the Philippines. In fact, they pioneered the use of virgin coconut oil in our country.

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The GIGA baby cold rub is a gentle and safe rub intended relieve babies from discomfort caused by colds and cough. The GIGA baby balm is perfect for relieving baby’s skin from breakouts and diaper rashes while the baby cologne is specially formulated to leave baby’s skin feeling and smelling fresh all day.
Trying to get rid of the holiday weight? Then this product is perfect for you! This easy to use oil has seaweed extract for metabolic stimulation and nutrient rich algae to hydrate and detoxify. No shower needed!
Trying to get rid of the holiday weight? Then this product is perfect for you! This easy to use oil has seaweed extract for metabolic stimulation and nutrient rich algae to hydrate and detoxify. No shower needed!
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Nothing beats taking a long bath after a stressful day. These aromatherapy soaps will not only moisturize your skin; they will also put you in the right mood after your bath.
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Virgin Coconut Oil increases metabolism, helps lose weight, boosts energy levels, reduces risk of heart disease, has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. When applied topically, rejuvenates skin and contains natural UV protection and prevents wrinkles.

These are just some of the many GIGA products that are available at the store. If you want to know what the other products are, or if you already saw something that you want to purchase, come and visit us at the address I’ll be posting at the end of this blog. 🙂

When I assumed the managerial position last year, I took it upon myself to do research and read up on designs and ideas that we can use for the store. Early this year, was able to produce water hyacinth covered notebooks with a stamped metal accent.

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It has 50 ruled pages ready to be written on! It’s available in violet, pink, blue, and brown ( the natural color of water hyacinth). Here’s a tight shot of the notebook with the metal accent:

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Cool, right? Another item I designed is the sinag notepad. Sinag started two years ago when the Kids for Peace Foundation, Inc. organized the Sinag Creative Expressions Camp with the young Sendong survivors in Cagayan De Oro City. During the first anniversary of Sendong, we went back to Cagayan to install the sun mosaic in Balulang Elementary School. The sun mosaic has been the symbol of Sinag since then. I like how it reminds all of us to always be happy and positive despite the bad things that are happening around us.

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The sinag notepad has blank unruled pages so if you want to doodle or write random things (something I do often), then this is for you. It also fits in your pocket, so yey!

This last product is for those who are missing their weekly dose of Kim Tan (Lee Min Ho) and Cha Eun Sang (Park Shin Hye). We’ve been making dreamcatchers since 2010 and I was really surprised when the demand for dreamcatchers increased all of a sudden late last year. Everything made sense when I started watching  the Heirs, a romantic comedy series that aired in Korea last October 2013. Guilty of missing the show (I had to watch it several times before finally watching the last episode), I made this Heirs inspired dreamcatcher. I did my best to make it look exactly like the one on the show. It has suede leather, crochet thread, capiz shells, feathers, and Swarovski crystals.

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“It’s a dreamcatcher. It’s supposed to catch bad dreams. Only pretty dreams come through the hole” – Cha Eun Sang, Heirs

To order, call/text 09983755888 or visit us at 18 Javier St. cor. Rosal, Rosary Heights, Cotabato City. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/EcoChoicesPh.

Sugar Pappi

To make my mom’s birthday extra special, I ordered cupcakes from Sugar Pappi – a pâtissiere based in Cotabato City. My good friend Steph runs the business with her brother, Fore, and I’ve always been a fan of their pastries. I’ve known Steph since socks with laces and ribbons were in vogue. We used to spend weekends at their house and since she’s into baking and cooking, she’d ask us to sample her dishes –  all of which we indulged, of course.

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I ordered nine boxes of chocolate, choco vanilla, and strawberry cupcakes for my mom’s birthday. The presentation was really impressive. It’s noticeable that the siblings paid attention to the details which shows how passionate they are with the work that they do and that they value their clients.

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Chocolate cupcake

People started getting their share of cupcakes once I finished working on the cupcake tower. Most of the guests liked the chocolate flavored cupcakes while the rest were torn between choco vanilla and strawberry.

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Strawberry cupcake
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Choco vanilla cupcake

The cupcakes were so pretty I didn’t want to eat them. I made sure that each cupcake was photographed before giving the guests permission to eat them. I’m glad that the cupcakes tasted just right; not too sweet and not too bland. The height of the icing was okay as well, it wasn’t messy to eat. I’m glad that the guests liked the cupcakes. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on my mom’s face when she saw the cupcake tower. My personal mission was to make my mom very happy on her birthday and Sugar Pappi helped me achieve my goal.

Dear reader, if you’re based in Cotabato City and you want to make someone feel special or if you just want to give in to your pastry cravings (which will be very hard to resist trust me), order from Sugar Pappi. To order, you can call/text 09427799509 or email sugarpappi@yahoo.com. You can also follow them on Instagram : @thesugarpappi.

University Business Clinic

I was invited by SPARK Philippines to share my story as a social entrepreneur to the students who attended the University Business Clinic held at Systems Technology Institute (STI) Cotabato City yesterday. Although I’m used to speaking in front of a huge crowd and sharing my story, I was nervous. It was my first time to talk about business.

When you’re a freelance photographer and a licensed librarian, it’s difficult to explain why you’re a social entrepreneur. People expect you to be buried under a pile of books while working on card catalogs and shushing students at the slightest hint of noise when you tell them that you graduated with a degree in Library and Information Science. When you tell them that you’re a photographer, they expect you to wear an SLR around your neck and shoot like there’s no tomorrow. Life has its way of surprising us and truth be told, I’m still surprised that I’m being called a social entrepreneur. Me? Really? What do I know about business?

I was nervous on the way to STI. I threw a couple of jokes to make my mom and myself laugh but deep down, I was worried. What if they don’t like my presentation? What if they ask a lot of questions? Yes I did my research and I prepared for the event but since I was asked to share about a topic that wasn’t in my field of expertise, I had butterflies in my stomach. There were almost 200 students when I entered the room, all waiting for the event to start. I found comfort in the presence of the familiar faces that greeted me with a smile when I arrived. I rushed over to Darren and Fatima who were both preparing for their presentations.

The event started with Darren showing everyone the Young Women Entrepreneurs Bootcamp 2013 (YWEB) video. Fatima and I were both nostalgic when we saw pictures and clips of the event that happened three months ago. Darren then introduced Fatima as the first speaker. I had a great time listening to her story. I’ve known her since the beginning of the Kids for Peace Foundation, Inc. in 2000 but it was my first time to hear her story about her business (Elijah’s Marketing).

It was my turn to speak after Fatima, and when I stood in front of the students, I asked them to take turns in guessing what my course was back in college. Some said nursing, some said engineering while others said communication. I laughed at the expressions on their faces when I told them that I’m a licensed librarian. “But you don’t look like one!”, they said. That reaction, I’m used to. When I saw that they were ready to listen, I felt comfortable. I proceeded with my presentation.

Photo by Darren Gonzales
Photo by Darren Gonzales

I told them about Eco Choices and how I assumed my position as the manager. I shared with them my journey as a social entrepreneur and how it’s been a crazy ride for the past few months. I heaved a sigh of relief when the presentation was finished. They had questions after, mostly about how they can volunteer and be a part of Eco Choices.

Darren and Fatima dropped by Eco Choices! :) Photo by James Ryan Buenacosa
Darren and Fatima dropped by Eco Choices! 🙂 Photo by James Ryan Buenacosa

Talking about Eco Choices fueled my passion to make the store successful. It has been a bumpy ride and we’ve had several attempts to close the store because we wanted to give up. The presentation yesterday reminded me of my goals for Eco Choices. SPARK Philippines and STI Cotabato City, thank you so much for having me! I had a nice time sharing my story with you. 🙂