Of passion projects and worthy causes

The blog has been quiet lately, sorry about that. I still owe you the sequel to my post about my recent trip to Nusa Lembongan, which I’m hoping to finish very, very soon!

Cur8te logo2

Cur8te logo: Find and follow me on Instagram!

The past two weeks have been spent shuttling back and forth between Manila and Jakarta both for the Holy Week break, for housing renovation and lastly, one of my passion projects as of late: Cur8te.

I opened new social media accounts for Cur8te, my small advocacy and business supporting handcrafted, locally-sourced, fairly-traded products.

I don’t have the slightest talent for hand-making products, let alone hand-making anything!
One of my gifts though is an eye for beautiful things: bags, shoes, clothes, furniture, name it. I buy well. I can fairly say that I have good taste. I shop well – no, I’m fantastic at shopping – and these traits make me an awesome buyer.
I can get lost in flea markets in Spain and Italy for an entire day, much to the chagrin of my partner. Since I’ve been doing this for years, it’s safe to say it makes me highly qualified. Lol!
I do have a soft spot though for handmade, hand-crafted items that are made from locally-sourced materials. Whenever I travel, I always buy items that can only be found in that particular place.
I feel that a part of me slowly dies whenever I see that even flea markets in Europe are well-infested by knock-off items made in China.
When I was in Venice, Italy two years ago, almost 70% of the stores carried “Murano” glass beads and jewelry, not made in Murano but in China. The leather items that used to be a proud Italian heritage were mostly from China, too! I remember spending an ENTIRE day not giving up and finding local artisan stores who carried genuine Italian leather and Murano jewelries that were locally made and hand-crafted.
So here I am, starting out with Cur8te. I don’t do the products myself, but I connect to local artisans and small communities who make their own products. Lovingly handmade, passionately local.
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Half-moon bamboo bags from Bali and wet bikini pouch from Bomba Id.

I’m a staunch supporter of fair trade so if I do not find the items in flea markets, I talk directly to the artisans themselves and the local communities. I go direct to the sources of products in the Philippines, Indonesia and soon in Malaysia, with no middleman, even if it means I need to speak the local language (Bahasa Indonesia), albeit broken.
Cur8te_star bags3_wm

Rattan bag with Indonesian Batik fabric lining: a Balinese heritage that I bring home to the Philippines

I do encourage my friends to buy local, support handmade products and our local crafters. Some people complain that handmade items are more expensive than the ones made in China.
Look at it this way: it’s a small price to pay to be greener and more environment-friendly, to support local communities and empower our craftsmen and encourage them to continue their heritage.
Lovingly handcrafted, handmade products by small communities and talented artisans. It just makes sense.

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