Monday Moth

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Monday moth | Canon 100D

Since I saw this moth on a Monday morning, I’ll be calling it “Monday Moth”. I was on my way back to my workstation after taking more pictures for Eco Choices when I noticed that Marley was staring at something on the gate. That’s when I saw Monday Moth.

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Marley and Monday Moth | Canon 100D

At first I thought Marley was trying to ignore me because I insisted on giving him a bath this morning. I found it funny that he was sitting beside the moth and looking at it, as if trying to figure out if it’s something he can eat.

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Chillin’ on a Monday | Canon 100D

You probably think it’s weird that I’m writing about a moth and I don’t blame you. When I started with Project 366, I thought it was going to be easy, but I guess I underestimated the project. The tricky thing with  Project 366 is that at some point, you run out of things to shoot. I know it’s supposed to challenge your photography skills and creativity but sometimes you just feel like you’re shooting the same subjects, and then you decide to just  give up and do it next year, and then Monday Moth appears. Ding! Lightbulb!

Well, here’s to the remaining four days of the week! Cheers!

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.

Kissing the Sky

I’m back from my hiatus! Yay! If you’ve been dropping by this site and keeping yourself from sending me a pm or an email because I failed to update for the past few weeks, then I’m really sorry. My hands have been very busy with work, crafts, and the furball that at the end of the day I’m physically and mentally drained to blog. Sounds like an excuse, but it’s the truth. Still, I’m back and yes, I have an entry for you. Thanks for visiting this page, by the way. Most of the time I’m clueless about who the readers of this blog are so I just put in stories that I feel a lot of people can relate to. Since I’ve been MIA for quite some time, allow me to share with you an exciting story. I conquered my fear of heights last summer!

My jaw dropped when my mom told me that we’ll be paragliding. The immediate image that entered my head was a zip line but of course we know that’s different. We were in General Santos City and we were picked up by Titoy of Sarangani Paraglide that morning so we don’t have to worry about finding our way to the venue. After thirty minutes, we found ourselves in Maasim, Sarangani. I was still calm that time, but when Titoy showed me the mountain that we’ll be climbing for take off, the butterflies in my stomach turned into bats and I wanted to back out. I jokingly offered that I’ll take everyone’s picture instead, but then I figured, it’s going to be a sad story if I tell everyone that I went to Sarangani to back out. I admired Tita Mags and Tito Jojo who volunteered to go first. It was fun watching them and though I was still scared, seeing how easy it was for them gave me courage. I thought I was fine but as I was nearing Titoy, my tandem pilot, I was scared again! He assured me that everything will be fine and after just a few minutes of freaking out, I was ready to start. The first attempt was a failure because I ran towards the wrong direction. We had to function like planes and run fast towards the edge of the mountain and just let the glider do its thing. Titoy asked his assistant to help me because it was very hard for me to run against the direction of the wind. I was told to run without looking down and I did. Before I knew it, I was running on air! Once seated comfortably, I began to enjoy my first paragliding experience.

Paragliding4 It was nauseating at first and according to Titoy, it’s because it’s my first time. I screamed to release the fear that I was feeling while forgetting that everything was captured by the GoPro. We went high, we went low, and the view was breathtaking.

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Photo by Mags Maglana
Photo by Mags Maglana

 

The ride lasted for an epic ten minutes. I think for the remaining the nine minutes I forgot about my acrophobia. I was too busy looking for nice GoPro angles to make sure that everything is captured on video and having Titoy answer my questions about paragliding. I was a bit sad when I was told that we’ll be landing in a few minutes, but I did raise my fist in the air when I saw my mom, Tita Mags, and Tito Jojo.

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My not-so-smooth landing
My not-so-smooth landing
A different kind of stoke. :)
A different kind of stoke. 🙂

It felt great to face my fears and experience a different kind of stoke. I guess sometimes we focus way too much on exaggerating our fears when in reality, it’s just a matter of letting things flow. Though it’s tempting to chicken out once fear rises, it’s still best to be brave and conquer our fears. Except for snakes, that’s a different story. 🙂

There are two fly sites in the Philippines: Cavite and Sarangani. The flying season in Cavite is from November to April while in Sarangani, it’s the whole year round. It’s important to come early to make the most out of the experience. As surfers wait for the perfect wave conditions, paragliders wait for the perfect wind condition to make sure that the wing will fly properly. They are certified tandem pilots and they want to make sure that their passengers are safe while enjoying the experience.

Some tips for those who want to try paragliding:

1) Wake up early and make sure you just the right amount of food for breakfast. It is not recommended that you fly full because you might vomit.

2) Use sunblock.

3) Wear comfy clothes and rubber shoes.

4) Wear shades.

5) Listen to your pilot, they know best.

6) Make sure that the GoPro captures everything!

7) Let all fears go and have fun!

 

You can contact Sarangani Paragliders at 09228071961 or 09333736871. You can email them at saranganiparaglide@hotmail.com or visit their website at http://www.saranganiparaglide.com. For updates, like them on Facebook.

 

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.