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Fashion for ‘chunky, hunky and a whole lotta funky’ men

Featuring a range of high-impact designs, it’s aimed squarely at real-sized men with sizes ranging from small to 5XL – proof, if it was ever needed, that size really does matter.

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Overcoming adversity is something that the gay community has done for generations.  Fact.  When the chips have been down, we’ve gotten creative and drop dead gorgeous, which is exactly what throuple-entrepreneurs, David Little, Kevin Wainwright and Jose Luis Olmos Alvaro have done by launching their new BearWolfPanda LGBTQ clothing line, which has been created during the pandemic for men who like their men chunky, hunky and a whole lotta funky.

BearWolfPanda (BWP) is a bright and colourful clothing line of fun tees, hoodies, sweatshirts and accessories, all with the gay community in mind, whether you identify as bear, wolf, panda, thirsty twink, muscle Mary or, more simply, he/him.

Featuring a range of high-impact designs, it’s aimed squarely at real-sized men with sizes ranging from small to 5XL – proof, if it was ever needed, that size really does matter.

As professionals in the hospitality industry, and with UK lockdown restrictions preventing their restaurant business in Suffolk from operating, the trio – who first met in Sitges – were inspired to put their 8-year long dream into action and pursue the creation of the BearWolfPanda brand.

Kevin, who is an acclaimed West End actor, (pictured above) comments; “I’ve always had a creative talent and a huge interest in art and design. We had talked for a few years about t-shirts and products for the gay market and its tribes and watched as different companies started up and were visibly successful.  Lockdown 2020 gave us the opportunity to explore and start our dream”.

And that dream has become a reality as the trio launch the bearwolfpanda.net website to the world.  After months of development, they have an e-commerce platform to be proud of, a range of quality design-led clothing in the online store and an ability to ship across the world.  Not bad for a restauranteur, West End actor and fireman.

It’s clearly a recipe for success, as they’ve already had a flurry of feedback from satisfied customers who not only love the quality of the BWP range and fit, but also the uncompromised design and wearability that makes everyone feel fantastic. 

To celebrate the launch of their new website and brand, the brand is offering one lucky reader the chance to win a YEAR OF TEES – and that’s the t. 

To be in with a chance of winning, simply like/share and tag yourself on the competition post hosted on BearWolfPanda’s social channels and a winner will be chosen at random.  Closing date for entries is August 1st.

In addition, the brand is on the lookout for hotties from around the world who would like to collaborate as ambassadors to help spread some BWP love.  If this sounds right up your proverbial, you can drop the chaps a line at bearwolfpanda on IG and Facebook; or visit http://www.bearwolfpanda.net/.

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FFTG as a must-visit cafe… and safe space in Quezon City

Introducing FFTG (Food For The Gays), a new safe space for LGBTQIA people located in Quezon City.

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FFTG – or Food For The Gays, a play at dessert “food for the gods” – wants to be seen as more than just a community café, Instead, said FFTG co-owners (and partners in life) Chippy Abando and Nariese Giangan, this is a place where you – LGBTQIA people, and even those who are not – can be who you are without fearing to be judged. In a gist: a safe space.

“This isn’t common,” said Chippy. What we usually have as spaces for LGBTQIA people are bars, so “maiba naman yung meeting place (here’s a different meeting place).” This is particularly since “not everyone (goes out to) drink, or go dancing.” There are some who prefer to be in a place more conducive for meetings, for that first date, etc so that “malaking bagay na nagkaroon tayo ng community safe space (in FFTG).”

Nariese used to sell pastries online, around April 2020. Then this February, just as Chippy celebrated her birthday, they opened the physical venue.

With FFTG – and even if the name denotes members of the LGBTQIA community – “there’s no specific market targeted,” said Nariese, stressing that everyone is welcome here.

But Nariese said two things are worth highlighting here.

On one hand, they believe that creating a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA community pays off because “we believe in the pink peso.” This point’s worth stressing because when the pandemic happened, many venues closed, including LGBTQIA venues; and “for sure, particularly after the pandemic, there’d be yearning to be in another safe space.”

On the other hand, “we believe in our products.” Meaning, what they offer do not just look good in the menu; they’re actually tasty. Meaning, too, what they have “are something (we’re excited) to share.”

BIZ COUPLE

Opening a business with a partner – or even with others – can be challenging, admitted Nariese. But what makes it easier is they are at a point where “we both already know what we want.”

Nariese and Chippy

Besides, for Chippy, it helps that this has become a real partnership – i.e. they complement each other. Nariese, for instance, oversees food-related concerns; while Chippy focuses on the beverages. That they can help each other out as needed in their areas of focus is just a plus.

MUST-TRY CHOWS

The menu – albeit short – contains various offerings.

For the food, consider:
-Pasta a la Carbonara (P150)
-Spaghetti alla Chitarra (P160)
-Pesto Pasts with Grilled Cajun Chicken (P180)
-Margherita pizza (P160)
-Meat Lover’s (P190)
-FFTG Special (P220)
-Banh Mi (lemongrass beef, chicken satay, char siu pork, P115-P150)

For the drinks, consider:
-Thai iced tea (P80)
-Iced drinks (mocha latte, coffee shakerato, cafe au lait, coffee creamery, from P80-P110)
-Hot chocolate (P70-P90)

If you’re in the mood to try something… rainbow-inspired, try the Rainbow Grilled Sandwich, which is, basically, grilled bread with rainbow-colored cheese fillings. That it doesn’t taste “fake cheese” is definitely a plus.

FOCUS ON EXPERIENCE

All in all, “it’s about the experience,” said Nariese. There are many places where you can eat pasta, pizza, etc but “it feels different if you eat them here. That’s a big part of it.”

Because here, added Chippy, no one will swear at you, you won’t feel ostracized, there’s no prejudice, and it’s safe. Meaning, “you’d enjoy your food while enjoying people’s company,” she said. – WITH MICHAEL DAVID dela Cruz TAN

FFTG is located at 58 13th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, 1109 Metro Manila. For more information, head to their Facebook account or Instagram page.

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The must-have scented candles of Candle La Vie

When Cyramae Ubaldo started planning her own wedding, a thought came to her – i.e. that scented candles would be great souvenirs NOT just for wedding, but for any events. And so Candle La Vie came into being as a one-stop candle biz.

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When Cyramae Ubaldo started planning her own wedding, a thought came to her – i.e. that scented candles would be great souvenirs NOT just for wedding, but for any events. And so Candle La Vie came into being as a one-stop candle biz.

For Cyramae, two things make Candle La Vie different from those already in the market.

On one hand, its candles are scented from soy wax that are “vegan, cruelty-free, non-toxic and paraffin-free”, making them “good for the planet and good for you.”

On the other hand – and to better this – the goods actually sell cheaper than others, since – Cyramae said – “the main purpose for this business is to become an affordable souvenir or giveaway source; and as everyone would agree, we really don’t want to spend that much on souvenirs/giveaways.”

There are four therapeutic aromas available, all of them able to “liven up your space to help you  relax after a long day,” Cyramae said. “These vibrant fragrances are not only delightful to bask in but also have amazing holistic benefits for your mental health.”

The aromas available are:

  1. Cafe (mood booster)
  2. Anglaise Lavande (anxiety relief) 
  3. Bamboo Frais (mind and body relaxation)
  4. Vanille (calming/relieves nausea) 

The goods sell from P209 for 100ml.

For those who want to get in touch with Candle La Vie, head to Facebook or Instagram.

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How a century-old guitar business strikes a chord in the modern market

Throughout the years, Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafters has been among the most trusted names in the industry. It consistently grows its following by providing value added services such as making custom-built pieces, repairs, and new string instruments like ukuleles.

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For many generations, the guitar-making industry of Cebu has been thriving, reflecting people’s undying love for music. Customers have come from far and wide to own a Cebu-made guitar, regarded for its superb sound and playability.  

Steve Dagoc, marketing manager of the Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafter, recounts how it all began. “It was the Spaniards who first settled in Cebu that passed on the art and skill of guitar-making to Filipinos. In 1919, my grandfather ventured into making handcrafted instruments.”

The love for the craft never left the family, as Steve’s father was a classical guitar player in the University of San Jose-Recoletos varsity team before it was his turn to run the shop. He saw distinction in their products and recognized the potential in elevating their craft.

The business began formally operating in the 70s under the name “Custom Guitar” in Lincoln Street, Cebu City. By the late 80s and 90s, they moved to a location that couldn’t be any better – a popular tourist destination and the province’s guitar-making capital, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.  Grounded in musical expertise and the vision to capture a greater market, the Dagoc family rebranded the shop and called it – Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafter – a portmanteau of Steve’s parent’s names: Fernando and Angelita.  The business not only produced high quality instruments for music lovers but also income opportunities for skilled luthiers in the area.

Continuing the legacy

Throughout the years, Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafters has been among the most trusted names in the industry. It consistently grows its following by providing value added services such as making custom-built pieces, repairs, and new string instruments like ukuleles. 

Steve emphasizes the importance of using the best quality of wood to produce the best quality instruments. With the country’s rich natural resources, it’s no surprise that locally made Cebu guitars have a strong competitive edge. “A few years ago, it was rare to find mango-wood guitars in the United States. They couldn’t even believe that it could be made into great-sounding instruments.” 

“Mango wood produces warm and mellow tones while Jackfruit makes bright tones. We also have a Gel-Series guitar collection, made of Narra plywood, a more affordable option, but still made of fine quality solid wood. We pay close attention to the assembly of our instruments because there are many factors that affect sound quality.”  

Marching to a new beat

The young entrepreneur also continues to strengthen their online presence and has found a dependable logistics provider in FedEx. 

FedEx understands that shipping guitars comes with a specific set of standards to ensure their pristine condition. The instruments are packed in specially made hard cases that must be kept in low humidity packaging and be able to withstand temperature changes once it leaves the Philippines and journeys to other countries. FedEx is no stranger to shipping curious items that require special handling like turtle eggs, wine, and even white tigers.

“To compete in the global arena, we have to constantly revamp our operations to keep up with the times. We have been exporting for quite some time now. Customers are recognizing our brand and inquiring through emails. While we became known by word-of-mouth, I know that’s not enough.”

Ferangeli’s foray into online retail was marked by a static website, containing only basic product information. Now, that website has evolved into an e-commerce platform that is able to seamlessly deliver the gift of music around the world, exporting to customers in Switzerland, France, and the United States. As Ferangeli ramps up to cater to growing cross border sales, they trust FedEx to provide logistics solutions and tools

“Fedexenables us to easily manage our deliveries and determine the right shipping rates for our customers through the FedEx Ship Manager and Billing Online.”

FedEx has a network built for what’s next and is able to support SMEs to go global even in shifting global trade patterns. Visit the FedEx LinkedIn page  to get inspired by the success stories of entrepreneurs and enterprises across the Asia Pacific region.

Experience the legacy of world-class craftsmanship and witness how Cebu’s Ferangeli explores new genres, and more on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

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