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Fierce,

It’s funny as it may sound but it took me 6 months for me to find the right words to create this blog and share my life-changing experience with TextileSeekers last February in Sa Pa Vietnam.

First, I would like to start on how well organized is Thao and her team on creating this special trip and making a detailed schedule for us who will experience Slow Travel and Slow Fashion from the different tribes of Sa Pa Vietnam.

This luxury tour of TextileSeekers founded by Thao Phuong is something that came to me as a surprise, when I was having a lot of troubles and chaos in Dubai UAE this came up to me as a blessing in disguise. I went to Sa Pa bringing my fragile heart not expecting anything from the trip although,  Thao from Textile Seekers gave us the schedule prior to the upcoming trip. It all happened when Covid 19 Pandemic started to spread outside of China and the numbers who were positive with the virus started to grow.

When I came to Hanoi, Vietnam a luxury van picks me at the airport and drop me to the boutique hotel together with other members of the TextileSeekers group. 

On our day 1 and 2 in Hanoi Vietnam, TextileSeekers has organised a trip to Ms. Tinh on her studio, she taught us on how to produce exquisite pieces like scarfs, table runners, tops and cover up’s using Silk Weaving.

We also visited the Women’s Museum where we explored the different costumes, embroidered clothes, and fabrics plus the importance of women in Vietnam and their roles. As we get along with our trip, we also visited 54 Traditions Gallery wherein we get to know some of the stories and history of textiles, fabrics, tribes, ancient relics, and some special antiques from different centuries in Vietnam.

On our day 3, we ride a private van for a five hour trip to Sa Pa in Vietnam. The journey starts at Topas Ecolodge where we will spend our upcoming days searching for the finest textiles, tribes and discover ancient traditions in Sa Pa Vietnam. I don’t know how will I explain into words the beauty of Sa Pa Vietnam and the location of Topas Ecolodge. I feel like I was in a fairytale or a movie finding my inner strength in a new place away from the usual busy city I was used to.

 

I am very emotional as I start looking at the beauty of the place. Thao of TextileSeekers was looking at me and she saw the happiness on my face. Thao made me comfortable since Day 1 and without her guidance, I don’t know if I would have finished the trip. It was a heavy trip for me because it is a week before my flight to Paris fashion week before I head on a new journey in Barcelona, Spain. By the way, Thao is from Barcelona, that is why when she contacted me I knew that this trip is going to be special and it is meant for me to prepare myself for something bigger.

On the third day, we went hiking for almost an hour into the mountains to visit the Red Dao tribe and meet Ms. Tamay. She is like the leader or spokesperson of the group and she welcomed us with a warm smile and sweet voice.

As we enter Ms. Tamay’s house the whole family and other women of Red Dao welcomed us and they showed us how to create natural dye from trunks, leaves, roots, and different branches from another mountain which is nearby to the area. This experience showed how resiliency can go far and use creativity to make something beautiful plus the sustainability side of the whole process. As Thao always mentions to us, it is all part of the fashion ecosystem and slow fashion movement, moreover, Red Dao tribe also showed us how to do hand-stitching and techniques on their embroideries which is something the fashion industry needs to see and start to develop.

I never imagined that watching the women of Red Dao Tribe do their techniques on hand stitching, cooking fresh vegetables they handpicked from their backyard, creating their outfits, and selling their designs made from passion and attention to detail.

Although, It breaks my heart knowing that I couldn’t do anything to help them but using my platform to spread awareness and to help them sell their designs. They made me realize a lot of things most especially, how Thao curated the trip very organised and how she made it sure that we will bring memories that will last forever.

I also want to acknowledge my sister on this trip Sashabila Mus, she is my roommate and my go-to girl whenever I need to understand something clearly. She made me feel that I am enough. This trip is so special because of people like Sasha, Thao, Ms. Thin, Ms. Tamay, and the tribes that made it possible for us to learn something new.

On the days remaining in Sa Pa, Vietnam Thao introduced as to Black Hmong Tribe they are known for Batik Indigo. They taught us how to do Batik Indigo using Hemp. Hemp fabric is the common fabric that Black Hmong are using for dyeing; this kind of practice and technique is something that I can introduce to young designers who can elevate fabrics dyed in Batik Indigo and create pieces that can be good to match with denim.

My Fierce verdict for this trip is something that I will put on every bucket list for someone who loves fashion, sustainability, textile, and a once in a lifetime experience. Thao Phuong and TextileSeekers made a luxury brand that can speak volumes and touch many lives. A once in a lifetime trip that will touch your heart and will open your eyes to new things. This trip made me pursue my passion and studies of Fashion Sustainability. Finally, I highly recommend this for anyone who wants change, experience slow travel and practice slow fashion. 

A Fierce Trip with TextileSeekers! 

 

Full Look: Dress Harlienz from Qatar and Bag Chylak

Fierce,

This isn’t my first time slaying in Paris, but it was my first time experiencing in Paris like a local. By local, I’m referring to taking public transportation, going cafe and French food trip, and avoiding the hotels.
If you’re thirsting for adventure and wanting to take the plunge into something new, I highly recommend you experience Paris like a local.

When the first time I went to Paris 2 years ago, I’m guilty of being an avid Uber user everywhere I go but this time I want to try something different and just be open to new possibilities while walking the streets of Paris. (Fierce Tip: Be extra careful with your bags and gadgets)

PARISIAN CAFES:

Parisians love their baguettes and croissants (and I do too!), so visiting multiple cafes is a must. Their cafes are on another level with the tables so tightly packed that it can be hard to get seated. However, there’s so much character and life in every cafe from the decor down to the pastries. And they’re all so singular with none being like the other.

TAKE THE METRO

Uber is the easy way out. However, If you want to experience being local you need to take public transportation. I love taking the metro because I get to see different kinds of people and unexpected moments. When you enter the metros in Paris depending on which you enter, they’re almost museum-like, displaying works of art. You’ll find some encased in copper like the Arts et Metiers or paintings and illustrations of French history.

I feel like these days most people set off to Paris with a list of places to see, museums to explore, and neighborhoods to shop. I don’t think you get to soak in a true Parisian experience by doing this. If you want to experience Paris like a local, I’d recommend you stashing away all those Instagrammable hot spots and enjoy the lovely architecture and culture around you.

Slow travel in Paris last Fashion Week has helped me to appreciate more Paris in general. I get to experience how to be like a local by walking and just looking around. It gives me the confidence to walk anywhere, visit different shops, cafes and restaurants knowing that I will learn and experience something new. I’ve learned slow travel during my last trip to Sa Pa, Vietnam last February. I find it useful when it comes to my work because I tend to always just focus on the fashion side of my trips instead of appreciating the city and the people.

It’s a romantic city to get lost in and walk through with tons of cafes to just marinate in and people watch. Take advantage of slowing down and watching the city go by before you. Stay Fierce!

Me and My Fierce Mama

Fierce,

Let me share with you a throwback trip that I did last year with Mum in Gudauri, Georgia to celebrate her birthday. So last February 2019 we went to Tbilisi, Georgia for the first time to explore the Georgian way.

Tbilisi is the capital of the country of Georgia. Its cobblestoned old town reflects a long, complicated history, with periods under Persian and Russian rule. Its diverse architecture encompasses Eastern Orthodox churches, ornate art nouveau buildings and Soviet Modernist structures.

This is my first trip with my mum outside Dubai, UAE and for me, this is something memorable. My mum loves snow since we were from the Philippines and it is a tropical country.

We don’t have snow (unfortunately mostly coconuts…) but fast forward, I surprised her a trip to one of the Ski resorts in Gudauri, Georgia where we enjoyed taking pictures at the snow but we have a fashion emergency. We forgot our snow boots that’s why even though we are enjoying so much the scenery. We tend to cut the trip off short because our feet couldn’t move. After all, it’s negative 7 degrees during that time in Gudauri. But to see the genuine happiness of my mum is what important the most to me. Her happiness is my happiness too.

Next time that I will visit a Ski Resort, I will make sure that I have the proper gear, outfit, and boots to slay with. For now, I cannot share with you anything fashion-related only the memories we had at Gudauri, Georgia.

It was an amazing trip and a very fast journey. We hired a personal driver at the Rooms hotel and they managed everything perfectly to us. I will go back to the place and next time I will slay it harder.

Stay Fierce in Snow!

Fierce,

Have you ever been to a new place that makes your soul feel so alive yet so calm at the same time?

Just a few days ago I went on a very special trip to the Adjara Region in Batumi, Georgia to explore the city and understand their rich culture.

I was truly amazed by what I saw as it immediately gave me a cool Californian vibe with its tall pine trees along the streets and the soothing breeze from the Black Sea beach. And the waves that danced and lingered past my ears while I would be strolling outside my hotel near the Black Sea Beach.

Batumi made my heart so happy and relaxed with the heartwarming hospitality of the Georgian people and their kindness truly exceeded my expectations. Batumi is a small city but there are so many things to discover and one of the things I enjoyed the most was the traditional Georgian Food and the Georgian dance.

Bern Terrace Batumi Restaurant

I am at a loss for words when I begin to describe the beauty of Adjara, as I walked and explored the city I learned a lot from the Georgian people. Their genuine kindness comes from within and the way they make everyone who visits their city, you would truly feel like a local.

The Sheraton Batumi hosted my stay, while I was in Batumi and the staff was very competent as they welcomed I and my 5 suitcases with a big smile!

As I started my first day, I changed my look instantly into a purple and blue colour combination, pairing it with my Vikele Bag.

Lanuk Jewellery earrings and Vikele Hand Bag

Vikele Bag: Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick, YSL Touche éclat cushion foundation  Nars Climax Mascara & Elisabetta Franchi Earrings 

My Georgian Local buddy Kate @katerinovsky took me on a tour around the city and we had lunch at The Bern Restaurant. She ordered a special Georgian Dish for me and Kinkhali which was part of the course! Khinkali is my most favourite Georgian food ever. And I always order it whenever I’m in Tbilisi, Georgia.

I requested her to treat me like a local and not as a visitor since I wanted to learn more about their culture and feel that local vibe that would have an authentic approach.

Kate made sure that I was happy, safe and would enjoy the whole trip and she was so welcoming towards me with her kindness which made my trip even more special.

As the days passed by, I learned alot about Adjara and its hidden treasures. I got to understand on a much deeper level the kind of people that inhabit the city.

They have many natural resources, beautiful mountains, a rich culture, authentic and homemade Georgian cuisine that can compete on any international level.

This trip was a very spontaneous one and Mikheil the Head Of International Tourism Promotion Office of Adjara made sure that my trip would not change my perspective about Georgian Culture and Adjara. But that this trip would help me experience the different facets to Georgia that can make it compete on an international level when it comes to hospitality, culture, safety and a place which you can call home away from home.

Stella Mccartney Top from The Outnet , Anonyme Skirt Alaïa Hand Bag

Styled by Sãmréèñ Kazi

This trip would not have been possible without their undying support and love for me, this is my way of showcasing my love, respect, and appreciation not just to Adjara but to Georgia as a country. Every time I’ve visited Georgia it’s always given me happiness but then when I have to leave, it’s always with a heavy heart.

I always learn something new from people and the way they welcome a tourist is something I really love about them so much. 

Visit Adjara, Batumi and the rest of Georgia as well and you will understand why I feel the love I do for this place and the Georgian people.

Wearing Darin Hachem and Vintage YSL Belt

Thank you to the Tourism Board and all the Georgian people for slaying with me! You made me the fiercest one in your city!

The Fierce City of Adjara! SLAY!!!

Fierce,

There are always a few certain things I look for in a hotel as I tend to travel very frequently. Of course, being visually pleasing and on point are two of my main choices! Yet, I always take into consideration the level of comfort, safety, and relaxation as due to my busy schedule, I need to get my beauty sleep.

So very recently I went to Adjara Batumi in Georgia and I stayed at The Sheraton Hotel Batumi.

The hotel has a very old Spanish era kind of building, in white, which is located near the Black Sea Beach.

From a fashion-oriented individuals perspective, I always look for a cozy bed and a good view and I must say, Sheraton Batumi never failed to provide me with that service. And more so, beyond my expectations.

I would wake up very happy in a cozy bed with a beautiful view overlooking the black sea. And then I would wait to watch the sunset in the afternoon as I’d rest from my slay earlier.

Staying in a place that’s away from home often gives me a little bit of anxiety as I need to take into consideration the safety of the place, the services they offer and also how I will feel during my stay.

Another thing that I am always very particular about in the luxury services that a hotel provides is an in-house spa. And at The Sheraton Batumi, I experienced the top-notch services provided at their Spa. I tried the Deep Tissue Massage and Aromatherapy Facial, I can safely say that the Georgian’s can compete with the techniques of the Thai people when it comes to massages.

Alaïa nude bag

It’s a new discovery for me as I experienced the service at the hotel and the packages they offer. The quality of the hospitality and the regular warm greetings of the staff always gave me a very good feeling.

I feel that this hotel deserves a review not just by what they offered me but also for the level of comfort I felt after this wonderful experience. And that is something I will always remember.

Georgian people treated me with respect and honor, which I am highly grateful for. The fact that they let me experience everything just like a local and yet let me explore their city as a tourist is something that I will highly recommend to all of you.

In Georgia, you will not only feel how it feels to be a local but they will also treat you like a local with respect and attention. 

Wearing Stella Mccartney  from The Outnet Styled by Sãmréèñ Kazi

To every one of you slaying with me, make sure to book your stay at The Sheraton Batumi as they will never fail to provide you with quality service, the best that Ajara has to offer during your stay. Stay Fierce!


Fierce,

If I were a musically gifted person, I would write my feelings for London into a song because it deserves magnificent melodies, but nonetheless, consider these words my love song to you London.
I just wanna express my most sincere gratitude for your many wonders.

Whether it was a sensational first bite of fish n chips on Portobello Market or the subtly hypnotizing music found in every Underground station, London, you have given me something to look forward to every single day. Before I arrived here, I struggled to find a reason to smile, but since I have landed on your steady ground, I have no reason to not smile. You made my heart so happy! No words could express how much I love the feeling of being here.
You have beauty in every crevice of your existence. From handsome parks booming with life to street corners full of adventure and opportunity, I have fallen in love with your large array of interests and your effortless charm.
I remember the butterflies fluttering in my stomach the first time I set eyes on Ben. I was captured by his massive presence. It just goes to show that even a million pictures of something cannot compare to the beauty of the real thing.

Pants: Diana Arno Styled by Samreen Kazi

Handbag: Antoine Amato

Location: Carnaby, London

I remember the tears I shed in Shakespeare’s Globe when the actors stepped on stage to perform the opening scene. It had been a dream of mine for so long; I could not help but weep tears of joy at the realization that my dreams had become a reality. I was standing in the midst of history; in fact, I was often placed in the middle of a historically significant location, which is something I truly respected and admired throughout my days.
London, you’ve introduced me to a whole new culture. You turned me into a disgruntled Londoner.

I found myself getting annoyed by tourists on the streets who seemed to have forgotten how to walk and grinding my teeth in pessimism when some bloody person began to talk on the phone while riding the tube. I never knew I had this fiery energy inside of me. Thank you for allowing and even welcoming me to outwardly express whatever I please.
In your little pubs, I found warmth and comfort. Their home cooked food and rustic atmosphere left me craving more every time. Trying flavor after flavor of cider, I even grew to appreciate the burning sensation of your insidious liquid as it was pressed against my smiling lips.

Walking down the streets in my final days here, I take in the familiar aroma of your smoke-filled and hazy air, both remembering my initial distaste for it and feeling hopelessly nostalgic at the same time.
The gray skies fill my heart with joy. Their mystery and foggy persistence never cease to inspire me. I welcome the inevitable fall of rain as I walk through the streets unprepared with nothing but a light sweater to shield me from your droplets.

You will never know what you’ve done for me. You have made me incredibly uncomfortable, turned me into a complete outsider, drained my wallet with your currency system, tested me with your dry humour and confused me by your unnecessary “u’s in your words, but I fell in love with you just the same. You gave me a spring in my step, inspired me to be artistic, introduced me to a world beyond the bubble that I had attached myself to and for that, I can never truly repay you.

Photographed by Jamal @jamalopp

Here’s to the nights I couldn’t fall asleep, listening to the drunken songs of the South Kensington streets. Here’s to the severely underrated pastries you possess. Here’s to the beautiful strangers I met the gaze of on the train. Here’s to the architecture that took my breath away time and time again. Here’s to you London.

So thank you. I will never forget this amazing time that we spent together. You helped put the spark back into my eyes and I will return home with a new sense of accomplishment and pride. I am so lucky to have been able to call you home, if only for a matter of months. My heart has been sewn together with the Union Jack and a part of me will remain in this beautiful city forever.

So it is with a drawn-out sigh and the phrase “Mind the gap” ringing in my heart that I, at last, leave you. It’s been brilliant.

Special thanks to Black PR

You are my “Home”

Fierce,

If I had a choice between the seasons, I’d say I love winter the most!

I love keeping myself warm during winter, with my animal print coat. It tends to keep me terribly warm and also smartly ready to finish my errands while in London. Having back to back meetings here and there plus regular shoots keep me ready on the go. And the best thing is to always have the correct attire and I must add, a good quality product will definitely help you protect yourself from the crazy English weather.

Here, I have paired my whole look with my favourite Antoine Amato bag that I always take with me, whenever I travel. It’s one of my most favourite accessories and the best way for me to combat my crazy schedule in London, whether I’m here for work or leisure.

I suggest, if you want to leave an impression on those around you, wear something that’s not too over the top and is very well put together. It will give those around you a vibe that you’re well prepared and ready to take on any challenges that you have on the table! Besides, this is how I always manage my looks whenever I travel. I make sure I choose a piece that will speak to my personal style and taste.

Fierce Tip: If you want to get that fierce well put together look, always have a good quality coat and leather handbag, just the way I have with my look, my crocodile skin Antoine Amato.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fierce,

London makes me so happy!

The place itself makes me smile from one cheek to the other. I love how it’s an amalgamation of so many diverse cultures. It’s such a fascinating melting pot! Plus the fact that some of the finest restaurants in the world are based in London. My favourite places to visit over the weekends, if I want to keep it a bit low key are Soho and China town. And if I want to go all out and grab some fancy drinks, I head to the bars and restaurants in Chelsea or Covent Garden. Basically, I’d like to think I’m very easy going when it comes to food and fashion.

These two areas are pretty much my top choices whenever I visit London which is why I love dressing up and being fashionable whilst keeping the typical English weather aside. I mean, who doesn’t love layers right?! It’s simply my most favourite choice of dressing up whenever I head to cold places.

Working with British Brands along with juggling my full-time job has helped me immensely. How so you may wonder? Well, most importantly, I’ve gained so many more friends and have in turn managed to build my own community in London. Which is why I keep going back and forth along with constantly following up with my clients and meeting up with my friends and family that I have in London.

Having good people and enriching friendships in my life has really helped me a lot to be more confident in my skin and in turn more open with people. Last but not the least, it has also helped me a lot in gaining more connections for The Fierce Walker.

I guess all I’m trying to say here is that I feel like London truly is home for me. It is a place where I can feel safe, a place where I am happy and I can be who I really am. A place that I can call the real home of The Fierce Walker.