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.

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. 🙂