Fashion, People

Susanne Verallo: State of the Artesana

Susanne Verallo

Susanne Verallo made the first move.

The first time we met each other, just a little over two years to this day, was at the opening of Go Lokal in Ayala Center Cebu, a concept store for up-and-coming Filipino entrepreneurs to showcase their products. I was looking at a display of minaudières and was fascinated with their iridescent detail under the harsh shop lights when someone approached me.

“Hello,” her voice was soft-spoken and polite. “I’m Susanne Verallo.”

The name immediately rang a bell—after all, it was proudly displayed next to the statement bags that had so caught my attention.

We shook hands and made small talk about her products, particularly about how the minaudières on display were among her last. She explained that they take too much effort and generate a lot of waste to make, and will be shifting her focus to jewelry instead.

Press Release

Restarting 2020 with “Ready to Recover”

It was supposed to be the best year ever. There were so many exciting plans and projects in store, as well as opportunities for personal and professional growth. After the mental and emotional challenges of recent years and months, things were beginning to look up, finally.

Then the pandemic happened, and everything had to be shelved or set aside for when things get better. “When things get better,” I repeated like a mantra to myself as every single thing I looked forward to getting knocked over like pieces in a game of dominoes.

What I do is important, but in the larger scale of things, not essential. Budgets are slashed and third-party service providers are often one of the first to go. Despite needing marketing more than ever while everyone is spending their time online, we were sidelined even when we were perfectly set up to work remotely already.

Dining

Still Got the Blu’s: Radisson Blu Cebu

Photo: Radisson Blu Cebu/Facebook

I continue to be fascinated with how establishments are adapting in these strange, unprecedented times. There are so many things to consider now, all the same but different as well—full face shield, or half? Contact tracing in several mall outlets, but not to the entrance of the mall itself? Is border control even still a thing?

So many inconsistencies, it’s comforting to know one thing that remained constant: Radisson Blu Cebu. After a few months of being closed because of the pandemic, this beautiful city hotel with the best beds ever recently reopened their doors. They did so in epic fashion as well, with the excitement-inducing drone shots of their room windows counting down the days.

It was such a delight to finally be back, yet it’s striking how the hotel’s once-bustling lobby is eerily quiet, though not any less welcoming. Radisson Blu Cebu is SGS-certified and follows a 20-step hygiene protocol that includes social distancing measures, implementing hand hygiene stations around the property, and increased frequency in cleaning and disinfection. 

Reviews

Brookesworth Calling My Kettle Back

This is a little different from my usual content, but hear me out: Miss Rona is still on the loose and we should still be staying home as much as possible, so why not make home as nice as possible, amirite?

When I was younger, I used to have a fascination for informercials. I’d watch them for hours on end, see the many different ways a product can make my life better (theoretically; I never bought anything because I was 11), obsessed with befores and afters and everything in between.

Advocacy, Journal

Reclaiming My Narrative, Finally

Minor trigger warnings for harassment, self-harm, and disordered eating.

I didn’t know it was called solihiya, I recall now, thinking of the woven pattern that was an accent piece in that room. For all the memories I’ve both repressed and dwelled in for so long, that visual is constantly rather vivid to me. It’s strange—I was so enraptured by it, I could still remember standing still for a moment, letting my eyes try to figure out the intricate weave.

I didn’t know it then, but it was going to be the last innocent memory I was going to have for a while.

In that room, with the beautiful solihiya accents, a stranger took advantage of me—and failed.

Dining

We All Deserve a Good Drink This Year, and Cicada Gets It

Item no. 48 on things-I-will-never-take-for-granted-again-after-quarantine: A craft cocktail.

No one come at me for how far down it is on my list. Being able to freely leave the house, having work, hugging people, spending time with friends, watching movies in theaters, not having to put on face masks, and wearing lipstick all have to go somewhere.

A craft cocktail never even crossed my mind, perfectly content as I was to have my alcohol content in the form of a Rum Coke I can easily fix myself. One part rum to three parts Coca-Cola, and I’ll even add a lemon garnish if I’m feeling fancy.

I’m not bitter. Also, I don’t have bitters—which is why my drinks at home are rudimentary at best.

But with the shitshow that is 2020, we really do deserve a good drink, and thankfully Cicada by Circa 1900 gets it.

Advocacy

Sharing a Yellow Umbrella

It’s been raining all day, which makes it a poetic time to write about an umbrella—of sorts.

Over the past two months, the Yellow Umbrella Initiative has been keeping me decently distracted from all the problems in the world, by tackling one head-on. This is a charity arm formed by my batchmates from St. Theresa’s College of Cebu to promote our advocacies.

Our first mission was the recently-concluded Yellow Umbrella Fund, a donation drive that aimed to provide healthcare workers in Cebu with personal protective equipment.

Journal

Hello, Does Anyone Still Write These Days?

Lately I’ve been directing my energy towards writing a bit more. It’s both ways holding on to whatever thread of sanity I have left, and also not letting this year go to waste. Small accomplishments do add up, after all.

For now, there’s nothing too sophisticated happening beyond writing my thoughts down—word vomit if you may, just to get me going. That includes being a little more forgiving with grammatical errors and style inconsistencies. The overthinking and attention-to-detail that defined my early career as a journalist? Completely thrown the window for now, in exchange for something a little more… authentic.

Yet this form of self-therapy caused a thought to escalate into my head—one that’s actually been there for a while but I resolutely ignored:

Do people even read long-form content these days?