The Blissmakerie 2016: Beautiful Businesses

Collaboration, inspiration, new friends, and more. That’s the Blissmakerie.

Blissmakerie

What’s the Blissmakerie? In the words of its founder, Martine de Luna of makeitblissful.com, it “is a gathering of creative, bliss-making women — bloggers, small business owners and creative entrepreneurs — who believe in authentic community and collaboration.”

the inspiring Martine de Luna of makeitblissful.com

the inspiring Martine de Luna of makeitblissful.com

I first discovered it in 2014 through my most favorite blogger Patty Laurel (I’ve read and continues to read every. single. blog. entry. she posted since 2010 and counting!) when she wrote about the very first Blissmakerie. Back then, it was exclusive to people invited by Martine herself. Fast forward this year, several Blissmakeries have already been open to the public for a fee. So when I found out about this year’s event, I didn’t think twice about attending! I immediately signed up. Haha.

This was my second time to attend a Martine-hosted event (the first was Blog : Inspired back in 2014), and the theme of the Blissmakerie I’ve attended last month (there’s a different theme per event) was “Beautiful Businesses.” It was held at a very Instagram-worthy location: La Creperie in Salcedo, Makati. 🙂

Blissmakerie

Blissmakerie

Blissmakerie

From the moment I read what it was all about, I knew that I wanted it. Although I’m very much happy and satisfied with my current day job (at my dream workplace nonetheless! hehe!), I’ve always dreamed of owning businesses, too. I already have several ideas on my mind about what businesses I’d like to have in the future, and attending the Blissmakerie encouraged me more to pursue ’em — just like the special guests.

The special guests — Maricel Mendoza of A Sweet Cottage and Maggie Leather Crafts, sisters Steph and Lady Badoy of Boqueria Lifestyle Market (they styled the actual event!), and Kim Tiam Lee of Pulseras by Kim (who’s my instant newfound friend! Hi Kim!!!) — all have businesses that started as hobbies/passions.

Maricel of "A Sweet Cottage" and "Maggie Leather Crafts"

Maricel of “A Sweet Cottage” and “Maggie Leather Crafts”

Steph and Lady of "Boqueria Lifestyle Market"

Steph and Lady of “Boqueria Lifestyle Market”

Kim of "Pulseras by Kim"

Kim of “Pulseras by Kim”

It’s empowering, at the same time heartwarming, to know that more and more women have the chance to pursue their passions, turn these passions into businesses, collaborate, and then repeat!

As a millennial myself, meeting Kim was extra special because I could relate to her more, and she really inspired me. She’s a full-time architect and a jewelry maker both at the same time! I’ve always believed that quitting one’s day job (especially if you love it, as is my case) isn’t necessary to pursue other passions — including running a business. It’s always a choice (and mad time management skills, of course!). So Kim, marami pa talaga tayong pag-uusapan! Hahaha!

millennial blissmakers represent! (L-R: Kim, yours truly, Tiffy - thanks for this photo!, and RJ with her baby)

millennial blissmakers represent! (L-R: Kim, yours truly, Tiffy – thanks for this photo!, and RJ with her baby)

Anyway, another thing I love about the Blissmakerie is the Blissful Box! 😉

my Blissful Box...

my Blissful Box…

Every Blissmakerie ain’t complete without it. For each event, Martine and her team collate different brands (some are collaborators), which they think the attendees will love! They were right! I love each item in my own box!!!

...and its contents!

…and its contents!

(For the complete list of brands, click HERE.)

The Blissmakerie 2016 attendees (photo courtesy of Maricel Mendoza)

The Blissmakerie 2016 attendees (photo courtesy of Maricel Mendoza)

goal: to be a blissmaker in my own little way <3

goal: to be a blissmaker in my own little way ❤

And that’s pretty much it! As always, I hope you can also attend a Blissmakerie (or any Martine-hosted event for that matter!). I promise, they’re always pretty, inspiring, and of course, BLISSFUL!!! 😀

Are YOU Ready for May 9, 2016?

Are You Ready for May 9?

Six years ago, I voted for the first time, and I voted for someone I thought would be a great leader for the Philippines. I’ve even attended his miting de avance (see photo above). Heck, I even voted for his Vice President (VP) — even though a lot of people told me it would be “a waste of my vote” because he was a celebrity and inexperienced in politics. I still voted for my President’s VP thinking that since my presidential candidate chose to be “partners” with him, then my candidate saw him as the “best” person he could run the Philippines with. Why vote for someone who doesn’t share the same “vision and mission” of my President, right? But that was in 2010.

For my non-Filipino friends reading this, my President and VP back in 2010 were Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro and Eduardo “Edu” Manzano respectively. They both lost, by the way.

But even if they both lost, I don’t have any regrets. I don’t regret voting for them because in a way, I proved to myself that I could stand for what I believed in, regardless if many people were against my decision/s or told me otherwise.

Of course some will say that “standing for what I believe in” is also a dangerous mantra, especially if it’s something “wrong” in other people’s eyes. That’s where discernment comes in. And it’s always a case-to-case basis. I’m only talking about the elections here, capisce?

So yes, a couple of days from now (May 9, 2016), Filipinos will once again choose “leaders” who they think will bring the Philippines “improvement.” This is probably the first time I said anything about the 2016 Philippine elections (at least publicly), and man, I’m not liking the way how things have been diirrrty and uuugly.

Unlike in other countries who “benefit” from a two-party system, in the Philippines, that’s the exact opposite. Currently, we have five presidential candidates — and these five also endorse their own vice presidential candidates (unlike in other countries that whoever wins as President, his Vice President of choice automatically runs the country with him). So yes, you can say that Filipino voters carry a lot of “election weight” on their shoulders. Given the number of candidates, it’s also no wonder why the Philippines is now “divided we stand, united we fall.” 😦

We’re all divided right now because of the different candidates we support. Check at least the social media feed of one Filipino (voter or not), and there’s at least one election-related post. Some even became “friends to enemies” without realizing that at the end of election day, whichever candidates win, we’re all going to either rise or fall as one nation. And then these people will think, WAS ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA DRAMA WORTH IT?! Let me be the one to answer that: NO!

It’s clear that WE, Filipinos, are NOT yet ready for May 9. Or maybe that’s just me. But since we don’t have any choice, we must act on that day.

Coincidentally, May 9 is also the death anniversary of my mother. This year’s election day marks the Philippines’ 16th presidential election, and also the 13th year I’ve learned to live without my beloved mother. And although the pain of losing a loved one, especially a parent, never really goes away, I can at least continue to try to honor them.

Right now, one of the ways I can honor them is to fight for what I believe is right — just like how my parents raised me. I’m not gonna bash other candidates. I’m not gonna fight with my family and friends who will vote for other candidates I’m not voting for. I’m not gonna try to “convince” another person to vote for my candidate/s; that’s the candidate’s job. (Who are we to think that we’re better than others just because they want to vote for a different President/candidate? Don’t you think that doing so just makes you the “worse” person, trying to hold their free will and whatnot? So just don’t.) Heck, I’m not even gonna “blame” the next leaders of this country if the Philippines doesn’t change (and God forbid, gets worse!).

All I’m gonna do on May 9 is exercise my right to choose and vote. After that, I’ll continue to try to be a better person (and not just “a better Filipino”) than I was yesterday.

me, after voting in 2010

me, after voting in 2010

I’ll start by NOT throwing trash at inappropriate places. Simple, but effective. Maybe you have a different idea, and that’s okay. But come to think of it, maybe we should exert more energy on tackling climate change considering how HOT it has been in the Philippines lately. (Now don’t say that that’s probably a reason why people are also hot-headed these days. Seriously, how do you expect the Philippines to change for the better if YOU can’t change for the better?!)

For what it’s worth, I’m voting for a female presidential candidate. There are only two of them, but I’m still choosing not to disclose who. What for? Even if you knew and try to convince me to think otherwise, I won’t budge.

I’ve already decided who I’m gonna vote for this coming May 9, albeit not being “ready” in the broadest sense of the word.

How about YOU, my fellow Filipino voter???

Papal Visit 2015: How It Felt, Feels, and Will Forever Feel

Pope Francis finally arrived in the Philippines and as a Filipino Catholic, I can’t help but be in awe of everything. After all, the last Papal Visit in my country happened 20 years ago with John Paul II as Pope (now Saint John Paul the Great). I was only five years old back then, and I can’t even remember the exact details of that event. All I know was that my family and I tried to catch a glimpse of him at Taft Avenue in Manila. And we did (though from our vantage point, the Pope’s head was comparable to the size of a dot. Hehe!).

Fast forward to today, I suddenly found myself being one of my parish’s volunteers to act as a “human shield” when the Pope makes his way from the airport to his home at the Apostolic Nunciature — again, located in Taft Avenue.

At first, I was actually nervous about being a human shield. We were required to pass complete volunteer forms with pictures for background checking (not that I have anything to hide, but I realized security’s very strict that those with “records” weren’t allowed to volunteer anymore). The weekend before the Pope’s arrival date, we even had a briefing given by the archdiocese and the police. Of course it was all about what to expect, where we’re going to be assigned, and the things NOT to bring (which include umbrellas and opaque bags/backpacks), etc. Having said that, I was nervous because you know, I’m naturally an overthinker! Hahaha! So given the security measures being taken, thoughts of stampedes and whatnot entered my mind.

posing beside the standee before seeing the real one :) (and oh, only see-through bags allowed!)

posing beside the standee before seeing the real one 🙂 (and oh, only see-through bags allowed!)

But of course, my longing to see the Pope in the flesh was stronger than any of those doubts. 🙂 Our call time on January 15 (Thursday) was around 2PM, but we saw the Pope around 7PM. Yes, we waited for a little over five hours only to wave at the Pope for a second (literally!). But you know what? IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!!!

I FINALLY SAW THE POPE IN PERSON! And just a few inches away at that! I was so speechless, I wasn’t even able to say Viva Il Papa... naging woohoo nalang! :)) And to top it all off, kudos to the crowd for being well behaved. When the Pope made its way to where we were, it’s like everyone was glued to where they were standing and all they could do was shout their welcoming cheers. 😀

our parish's volunteers, on the way to Roxas Boulevard-Quirino

our parish’s volunteers, on the way to Roxas Boulevard-Quirino

worth the wait :)

worth the wait 🙂

That’s just the FIRST DAY. As of this writing, the Pope is still in my country spreading his message of “mercy and compassion” to ALL people — rich or poor, Filipino or not, Catholic or otherwise.

I know that for some, they’ve been lucky enough to go to the Vatican and see the Pope closer (case in point: my two older sisters!). But even they agree with me that nothing compares to seeing the Pope in our home country, where we can all feel the power and unity of the Filipino faith. It really is both a blessing and a privilege.

As you can see, I wasn’t able to take any pictures or videos of the Pope while he was in front of me. How could I? I was a “human shield” and my hands and arms were looped around the arms and hands of the people to my left and right. Hashtags #hawakkamay at #kapitbisig. Haha. All I’m left with now is that awe-inspiring memory, which I know can’t be “deleted” easily.

So yeah, I was in awe. I am still in awe. And I know that I’ll forever be in awe of this historic religious event in my country.

And despite the number of people criticizing the Catholic faith, I’ll strive to continue to defend (and strengthen) my faith and promote what it means to “be like Jesus every day.” Sure, we’re all humans. No person’s perfect. So whatever our religions are, let’s just strive to learn from our mistakes and be better every single day. Aside from that, give LOVE (and not just on Chistmas day! Hehe!). But if you can’t give love, at least give RESPECT. I respect my brothers and sisters from other religions. So please, also respect me when I say that I AM PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC.

For I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. 😉

How about you? What can you say about the Papal Visit 2015?
Sound off in the comments section below!