Wednesday, August 21, 2013

10 Baguio Ukay-ukay Shopping Tips

I don't usually plan to shop for new clothes because I think I have more than enough already. I control myself from buying new pieces, but whenever I go up to Baguio--which on the average happens once a month because my husband is a Baguio local--then it's a different story. 

I love Baguio's ukay-ukay because it is where I find funky, fashionable, and affordable pieces that I can't easily buy from malls and bazaars. 

Here are 10 simple tips to make ukay-ukay shopping easy and worthwhile. 

1. Schedule your shopping to start in the morning. That way, you are still fresh and have the energy to scan the whole ukay-ukay strip and bargain with the many not-so-friendly manangs manning the stalls.

2. Don't shop on an empty stomach. I notice that whenever I shop while hungry I tend to be an impulsive buyer. There are studies that confirm this, too. Being excited while shopping is simply a no-no because it will affect your judgement.

3. Wear body-fitting clothes. This way, you can easily fit what's available by just slipping it over your attire. Yes, do try on the secondhand clothes but always wear something between your body and the used garment. Wear leggings, body-hugging tank tops, and easy to remove footwear--like slippers or flats.

4. Expect that ukay-ukay shopping is not glamorous. Ukay-ukay is a second hand shop. Bawal ang maarte. 

5. Start at the top floor or inner-most levels. Prices, and sometimes selections, are better. At the same time, the manangs are usually more friendly.  

6. Bring a big bag to easily carry purchases.

7. Be patient and active. Scan through the racks diligently. Your next epic ukay-ukay find may just be hiding among the thick display of tops, pants, skirts, dresses and coats. 

8. Don't look for something in particular. Although there are lots of choices in Baguio's ukay-ukay, looking for something in particular is not recommended. It will limit you from getting that epic buy as you might be busy looking for a specific dress, and not notice the perfect pair of pants right in front of you. 

9. Make sure to check garments before buying. Look for holes, tears, loose threads and stains. Don't buy when you spot a defect. But if you really like the piece, use that defect as a bargaining chip. 

10. Bargain. Bargain. Bargain. Manangs now are very stern and seldom smile. Be insistent and prepare your poker face. Immediately cut their asking price in half and work from there.

Have fun and good luck in your next ukay-ukay adventure! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Outfit: Smart Black, White and Yellow

This was my outfit during the town hall meeting of the company I am working for. I opted to wear the classic black and white combo to have a professional vibe. Though to make the whole outfit stand out, I wore a bright yellow pair of pumps and big black bead necklace. 

Total cost of this outfit is Php2,469 (USD56.43).

(Dollar conversions based on US Dollar = Ph Peso Exchange Rate of USD1=Php43.77 dated August 20, 2012.)

Breakdown of costs: 
  • Bead Necklace - bought from a bazaar, Php250
  • Bangles - bought from a bazaar, Php100
  • Watch - a gift (Seiko 5)
  • Chiffon Blouse - bought from The Ramp, Php799
  • Pants - bought from an ukay-ukay (thrift shop), Php70
  • Pumps - bought from Payless ShoeSource, Php1,250


Yup,  I wear braces now. 

Photos by my colleague Mafel Hebulan.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our Tagalog Wedding Invitation

I think our wedding invitation rocked. First, the artwork was done by my husband Paulo Subido; second, the content was in Filipino/ Tagalog; and third, it was simple—and this time simple was classy. 

Our invitation:

Front page:
Wedding invitation in Filipino/ Tagalog.
Artwork by Paulo Subido 

Paulo at Esay
Ika-12 ng Enero, ika apat ng hapon 
sa L'Orchard Garden Venue, Antipolo City.
Agad susundan ng salu salo. 

The words in our invitation were edited by a lot of people. One of those who helped us was my friend Joel Jacob. He just launched his first collaborative book of Filipino poems entitled Gamlay and is now available in National Bookstore.

Entourage page: 
Wedding entourage page in Filipino/ Tagalog
Content (with translation in English): 
Punong Tagapangasiwa - Officiating Priest
Aming mga Magulang - Our Parents
Mga Gabay sa aming Buhay - Godparents 
Mga Piling Binibini at Ginoo - Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
Munting Binibini - Flower Girl
Munting Ginoo - Ring Bearer or Bible Bearer 

For choosing our godparents, we asked those people who we look up to and consider as our inspiration. We even asked my aunt who is a nun to be one of our godparents. 

For my bridesmaids, I had to include one of my friend Joel. He marched on my side because he is someone dear to me. Since it was our wedding, then we set our own rules. 

Map page:
Wedding map and RSVP page in Filipino/ Tagalog.
Content (with translation in English): 

Naglaan kami ng ___ upuan para sa iyo. - We allotted ___ seats for you.
Kasuotan - Attire
Lalaki - Men
Babae - Women
Baro - Dress
Inaasahan namin ang inyong tugon bago ang ika-16 ng Disyembre, 2012 - Please confirm attendance by the 16th of December, 2012.

Actual photo of our invitation

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Simple, Practical and Sweet Wedding

My husband and I wanted a garden wedding but we ended up doing it in a covered pavilion in a garden instead. Why? You may ask. Simply because it rained--the kind of rain that you can easily take a bath in. It still turned out really wonderful and sweet, though. All our loved ones were there to celebrate with us and that is the main point of a wedding anyway. And you know what they say about rain during weddings? It is a blessing.

Whenever I look back at how we handled our wedding--the preparations, last minute changes and the day itself--I can't help but smile. We did it! And here are a few pointers for those who are planning to get married. 

  1. Focus on the love. Don't get caught up with the whole wedding shebang. Simple is most of the time more elegant. 
  2. Cookie-cutter weddings are out. Express yourselves. Your wedding should be a reflection of your personalities. 
  3. Spend on food, drinks and booze. Other than that, try to limit expenses. 
  4. Be considerate to your guests in terms of time, location and even the the required attires. 

As for our wedding-- it was last January 12, 2013. We chose a Saturday because we didn't want our guests to skip work whatsoever. 

Preparations started 9 o'clock in the morning. I requested my talented friend and make-up artist Liz Barrientos-Magpantay to do a no-make-up make up. 

I still wanted the classic bride look-- pure white dress, veil and light make up.

Liz Barrientos-Magpantay's take on my request of no-make-up make up.  I really loved it

My dress and shoes were both very comfortable. I did not want to suffer for more than four hours wearing a dress I can hardly breathe in and a pair of shoes that would end up giving me blisters. 
Comfort is key when choosing your wedding outfit

The bridal car was really a wow. It was a silver 2012 Jaguar XJ.

The venue of the wedding ceremony and after-party was L'Orchard Garden; while CVJ Food Catering did a wonderful job 0f transforming the place into a dreamy site by scattering lots of bright and colorful flowers. 
CVJ Food Catering is not just a food caterer, they also put add-ons to make your life easier--
like set up the venue and provide the flowers

The food that CVJ Food Catering served was just awesome--tasty, flavorful and fresh. I highly recommend their services--professional, lived up to our expectations and priced just right.
Nice set-up of the buffet area by CVJ Food Catering

The entourage. I so loved it that my girls were not wearing matching dresses. I applied what I called the BYOD (Buy Your Own Dress) scheme. Same as what I wanted for myself, I wanted them to feel comfortable with their outfits and be able to choose the style of dresses they wanted. 

It worked. My bridesmaids looked so classy
My two nieces and bestfriends were part of my entourage. One of them is my gay friend Joel. 
Paulo's entourage donned barong Tagalogs. 

The ring bearer was so adorable. I wanted him to look like a little haciendero.

The bridal march music was Panalangin by Apo Hiking Society. It was performed live by our friends Ray and Steph. Ray played the guitar while Steph sang. Panalangin is one of my favorite songs and the words exactly describe how I feel about Paulo. 
Lovely and talented couple Raynand Olarte and Steph Esguerra

The ceremony was officiated by Father Igmales who is a priest in Paulo's alma matter.

The hosts of the after-party were dear friends of mine--Abi Lomboy and Grace Colet. 

The reception was short and sweet. The program consisted of the father-and-daughter and mother-and-son dances; a few speeches for us as newlyweds; our first dance; and lots of eating and drinking! 

My dad-- who rarely smiles! 

and then we really partied...

Celebrate! My brother Marc Querubin who sponsored wines and spirits. 
We made sure that the alcohol level will not go down to zero.
We stashed way too much alcohol that up until now we still have bottles of wine, vodka, gin and brandy.

Paulo and I with the TopGear Philippines team.

DJ Badkiss and SunDownMuse played during the after-party; and so did Paulo.
DJ Badkiss was Paulo's surprise wedding gift to me. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wedding Outfit: Grecian Dress and Wedge Shoes

Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day. And I know that in able to achieve my best look, I had to make sure that I am comfortable with my dress and shoes.

The Dress:
I opted for a simple Grecian inspired wedding dress, which was light and easy to manage. And since the design was Grecian, there were ruchings and the waist was cut high. Hence, my unwanted tummy bulges were all hidden.

I could just imagine how hard it  would have been to smile and project for the camera if at the same time I had to hold my stomach in, if ever I did choose a fitted-on-the-waist dress.

The high waist of the dress also made my legs look longer—aside from the fact that I wore a  pair of five-inch heels.

The Shoes:

Of course they had to be wedges. Wedges are the most comfortable type of high-heeled shoes there are. They may not look as formal, but they can still be stylish. And who will actually look at your shoes? Your dress is floor length anyway. Four- or five-inch stilettos are the ultimate in style; but if you are not used to them—then do not risk it. I can only stand in a pair of stilettos for 30 minutes, then you will start to see on my face that I am not happy anymore.

When choosing your wedding shoes, find a pair that you can easily walk in. Remember that you will be doing your bridal march, dancing with your father and groom, going around greeting your family and friends, and posing a lot for the camera. All these you have to do while most eyes are on you. 

Photos by Jonel Batino of SuperPandaPresents

Dress by Gaygay Gowns and Barong, Lopez Avenue, Los Baños, Laguna

Shoes from Oro Nero

My Should-Have-Been Thank You Wedding Speech

Our wedding may not have gone as planned—I think only 50% of our plans were followed and the remaining half had to be changed on the day itself—but I still loved every minute of it. The only thing I wish I could have made better and more complete was my thank you speech because this is something I could control. 

This is my advice to soon-to-be-brides: prepare and write your thank you speeches way  before the event. I thought I had my speech memorized but I still missed a detail or two. 

Here is my speech, the way it should have been:
Good evening, everyone. thank you so much for spending this night with us and for going all the way to Antipolo despite the bad weather. Seeing you all here reminds us of how lucky we really are. 
First of all, I would like to thank God for all of the blessings. This would not be possible without You.   
To our friends: Liz for doing my make-up; Bats for coming all the way from Singapore to be our photographer; Marc Soong for providing our bridal car; Steph and Ray for singing the bridal march song; Grace and Abi for being our hosts; SunDownMuse for the music later; and my brother Marc for sponsoring wines and spirits.
My friends from you have been my family for four-and-a-half years. You guys will always be family to me.  
My friends forever: I have known all of you for years and we have shared and experienced life lessons together. Looking forward to more years with you all.  
My relatives from the Querubin and Jaranilla sides, most specially to those who came all the way from the province and abroad.  
My siblings: Kuya Ashley, Ate Donna, Kuya Bogs and Marc: my ultimate kakampis for life. Thank you so much for always being for there for me—most specially during my not-so-nice days, which can still happen every now and then. My nephews and nieces: Kevin, Nini, Gia and Jared. You guys never fail to bring me joy. 
Undoubtedly, I have to thank my parents for giving me more than what I needed. I know I haven't always been the best daughter, but I am trying to be now. Mommy and Daddy: Thank you so much for the guidance and honing me to be a practical, fair, respectful and hardworking person (I'd like to think I am). I wouldn’t be the person I am right now if it were not for youif it weren’t for all of you. 
So you see, I am a very lucky and blessed person already. Then came Paulo; and now I am even luckier. 
Thank you to the Subidos for easily accepting and welcoming me into your family. I now have three new sisters and two brothers, and of course another mom.  To Ate Joy, Ate Faith, Ate Grace, Kuya Raul, Chino and Mom: You have all been so sweet and awesome, and I am looking forward to getting to know more of each and everyone.   
And of course to Paulo: Thank you for the overflowing understanding, care and love. I don’t really know what will happen to us. One of the many things we learned in this wedding is that life does not go the way we planned it. We may not be perfect people, but together, I know that we can make it perfect. Let’s just continue on doing what we are doingrespect, trust, and love each other. I love you more right now, Pau. We can do this!

Photos by Jonel Batino of SuperPandaPresents