Why Filipinos are…

the original hipsters.

are hipsters even a thing anymore? I’ve been away for a long time now, I’m not even sure if this is an old fad now. Or wait, hipsters are a fad…they defy the fads?

Whatever the trend…or anti-trend was, Filipinos were the first.


Filipinos practically invented the “trendy-thrift store” fashion look. Introducing the ukay-ukay. The wag-wag. A thrift store junkie’s wet dream. These are rooms, stores, sometimes buildings filled, nay- CRAMMED, with every type of clothing item imaginable. From the depths of these bargain priced racks of clothes are birthed some of the most inexpensive and original outfits imaginable.

A child wearing a shirt that says “Chicks dig me”? Soooo ironic!

A woman wearing crazy acid washed jeans with tie-dye ruffles on the bottom? Urban Outfitters?!

A kuya wearing a crazy print shirt with crazy patterned shorts? Right on, man- soooo unique!

Sorry, hipsters. That’s just ukay-ukay fashion for ya.

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Ukay-ukay’s- great for cRaZy PaRtY tH3m3zZ!


Bikes! Bikes! Bikes! Save the environment! Fight the man! Death to oil companies! Trust me, I’m with ya, but your bike riding ain’t got nothing on the Pinoys who don’t just use bikes as a political or dare I say fashion/trend statement (I said it, I said it!).

The typical hipster will ride solo-dolo to and from work. Maybe they’re super original and ride tandem (so cool!). Filipinos don’t just fit one measly person on a bike- sometimes they fit the entire family. I’m not talking about padjaks/rickshaw deal here, I’m talking a two wheeled bike.

And also- that thing about uncanny modes of transportation? “Ironic”. Whatever. Try riding a water buffalo/carabao. Or a wheel chair. Cuz, you know. That’s just getting from point A to point B here.



Oh, you only shop local? You go to the farmer’s market every Sunday? You eat organic?


You eat like the rest of the world.

Almost everything is purchased at the palengke or saod. You grow your own food. If you aren’t a farmer, chances are, you still eat locally. You go to the market for what you don’t have. Datz lYf3, yo, not a food revolution.


It seems that hipsters have been flooding the interwebz with their ingenious and innovative ways to “DIY” and “reduce, reuse and recycle!”.

Deskarte is a way of life for most Filipinos. That politician’s campaign banner will be reused as roofing for a store, an old blow up mattress will be used as a jeepney bench cover. Things you don’t have or can’t afford are made. Things that are broken can easily be repaired.

The fishermen in my town made this out of an old rice cooker, a peanut butter jar, a cellphone charger, and piping. Who needs Pinterest when you’ve got a kuya or ate?


That roof that was destroyed by the tyhpoon? Oh no worries, I’ll just make a new one…outta natural materials. No big.


Being a hipster? Filipinos invented that.



World Hoop Day.

I’ve just been a video vixen these past few posts!

But I’m really not sorry about it. I’m trying to get as much practice as possible with my GoPro before Mizz Kelsey and I take off on our bike tour across SE Asia!

As most of you know, I have moved from Legazpi City to Santo Domingo, a small fishing village, and commute to work via bike. For a majority of the children in my community, toys are a luxury and free time is spent in the street playing with other children. Often times this is with various items found around the barangay (community)- string, tires or wadded up pieces of paper they use to play a game similar to hackey sack.

During my first week in my community the children were amazed by my LED hula hoop- fair enough, it still amazes me. It was unlike anything they had ever seen before. Slowly, their courage grew and they became more comfortable with experimenting with the hoop, taking turns sharing and cheering one another on as we celebrated our hula hooping in the streets.

Over time, more and more kids started meeting in front of my house for a nightly hoop jam. Before I knew it, I had a full on hoop troop. This has been a wonderful opportunity for the kids to explore their creativity, engage in healthy play and just have fun!

A few months ago, I became a Hoop Ambassador for World Hoop Day. With this, came 17 hula hoops for the kids in my barangay. The magic of bringing them the hoops from Manila to Bicol is captured below (:


big. big. big. whale. shark…creatures.

it’s a miracle- praise the heavens- it’s a miracle!

the butanding (whale sharks) have migrated to Legazpi City. This is the first time it has happened, so it has been exciting to say the least. Our boulevard has been literally flooded with Legazpenos coming to try and catch a glimpse of them swimming around.

although they are only babies, these bad boys are massive. these guys are so big that people watching from the pier could spot them. this turned out to be a bonus, as their screams and squeals could serve as an alarm of where we needed to swim to.


there’s nothing like dancing through the night and suddenly finding yourself watching the sunrise with friends.

A majority of festivals here in the Philippines focus on tradition, culture and history. Truly beautiful looks into what the Filipino spirit wishes to preserve and remember.

Masskara on the other hand was an inspiring look at the evolving Filipino art scene and changing culture. Creativity, color, energy, dancing, costumes…a great look at the current fusion of tradition and change.

Oh. and I got to shake hands with former President Ramos thanks to an awesome V.I.P. Photography pass a friend scored for our crew. Sooooo that’s that.

sari squared.

While I was home, I  found myself using words or trying to explain words that didn’t have an English translation or equivalent. One of these was the sari-sari. Or the sari^2. Or the sari store. Whatever you want to call it, we don’t have it.

“So it’s kinda like a little convenience store?”

Kinda but not really. I guess the Filipino equivalent of one? But…no. It’s tiny. And you don’t go in it…just in front of it? 

“So it has pretty much anything you want?”

No. Pretty much anything you need. Unless it’s a brown out, then they will be out of candles. Etcetera etceterazzz.

“So it’s open all day and night?”

Yes…but no…errrrr. They are usually connected to someone’s house, so they can wake up if you need something. But…you wouldn’t want to wake them up…but…


The sari-sari store.

Scenario 1:

It’s your typical lazy day. Wearing the same clothes that you wore to sleep. A few water bottles and chip bags litter your bed. You’re watching the same episode for the 3rd time. There is not a chance you’re accomplishing anything today.

As you watch character A make a funny quip at character B and the canned laugher plays, you suddenly realize you are hungry. More than that, you are craving popcorn. And a drink. And candy. And chocolate.

You’re gonna have to put on clothes (maybe even shower? I don’t remember), warm up the car, drive to a supermarket or gas station, purchase your stuff and head back home.

Scenario 2:

You’re having a party! The music is playing, people are starting to say inappropriate things, and act weird- so much fun! But wait! Everyone has consumed all the beer and alcohol! It’s past liquor store hours! What do you do now? Call someone to pick up some more for you? Pull out the board games? Send everyone home?!

Not in the Philippines, my friend! Each street is lined with multiple sari-sari stores, which will cater to each of your unique survival and Filipino needs.

Don’t wanna ruin your perfect lazy day? Head on down to the sari-sari store which is conveniently located next to your house! They don’t have what you need? Walk a few feet down the street to one of the dozen other stores and ask the next ma’amsir! No need for hygiene or socially acceptable clothing, and minimal movement required!

Don’t want to ruin that hoppin’ party? Head on down to the sari-sari store! They’ll always have a steady stock of Red Horse litros, Pale Pilsen bottles and maybe even some Beer Na Beer to meet all your party needs! You can also buy individual sticks of cigarettes for that friend who is trying to cut back on their smoking! No need for a sober cab! Time of the night doesn’t matter if you’re having fun! If you’re lucky enough, you might even run into a videoke party on the way!

Sari-sari stores have everything you need. Snacks, drinks, cooked food, uncooked food, ice, phone load, household supplies! Instead of going to the store, sari-sari’s bring the store to you! Well…across the street. But, same thing.