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Sunk Costs

I don’t read enough. I encountered a major mishap last week for not reading contracts thoroughly. I negotiated the price and signed the conforme, thinking that the contract stipulated different things. Stupid me. This experience is what I was talking about last week, that actually prompted me to start writing regularly on this blog.



I was in front of a store space that we are about to take over. The existing tenants were selling the improvements they made in the store. The improvements would be the flooring, glass panels, ceiling, partitions, access to existing approved plans and so on. In in the course of our discussion, one by one, he was pointing out things that they are taking from the store.


Pardon me. Did I just hear that wrong? 


Nope, I heard it correctly. The things that I thought were part of my purchase price were all excluded. He even showed me the contract again, and he was right. All along, I thought I got the best out this deal. But apparently, these people were trying to get the most out of their sunk cost. So there I was, finding myself shocked with the ongoing discussion.


Sunk Cost is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. These existing plans, flooring, glass panels, will be sold for scrap if they choose to pull it out. On top of that, they will have to even spend for demolition. All in all, they will lose more money if they choose to demolish.


It’s a big company. I felt like a galungong beside a shark. In the course of our discussion, it became apparent to that the people I was talking to were not the business owners (I had doubts at the start), and they say that their management would rather demolish rather than renegotiating the deal. (YEAH RIGHT). To be honest, the amount I was offering them is HONESTLY not too shabby! The emotions are coming back as I write this, and a part of me wants to say that I really hate them. Why do they want to squeeze me dry, when they don’t care about money pala.


But I remember my office-situation 2 months ago. I found myself on the other side of the fence when we moved to a different office. We invested in our first office, making sure the floor is made of wood, changing the ceiling and adding more light, etc. Of course I wanted to get back my investment too. We originally wanted to sell the improvements to the next tenant, but the building would not cooperate. Back then, I would accept ANYTHING, even just 10% of what we spent. We only stayed in that office for 1.5 years too. But rather than spend money for demolition, we walked away with nothing.


Maybe I’m horrible at this. Or maybe it’s just because I didn’t read the contract properly. I definitely should have.


Obviously, starting from scratch wasn’t an option for a small fish like me. I really am better off paying the amount they offered rather than have nothing. So I figured, I don’t want to deal with this anymore, we’ll just agree. It was clear that they were employees, so they don’t really have an incentive to get the most out of it. (Now looking back, this theory is just very wrong, hahaha).


I will just be very casual and frank about my mistake. I started my statement of acquiescence with a laugh, “Sige, di naman pupunta sa inyo ung pera, so ok na” And that was when the conversation turned sour. What I just meant was that, they don’t really have an incentive to squeeze me dry because it’s the company’s money anyway. Does anybody understand me??


Thinking that I was hinting that they had a cut in the deal, she told me that they didn’t work that way and that I was questioning their credibility. Totally not what I meant though. To cut the story short, I couldn’t help back the tears. I felt like I was being questioned for questioning her credibility. HAHAHA! Hello, emotional wreck. :) I really felt very horrible.


Admittedly, now that I typed it out, my words really lacked some thought. I could just have left it out. ;(



I hope I never find myself in this situation again. I hope next time we will just benefit from the improvements of the previous tenant. Blessings from the sky! Or I hope that when the time comes, I will also be generous to the next tenant to inherit our store.



I am reminded of this verse,

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Matthew 16:26

Money is money. It’s very important and very hard to earn. But my soul is priceless. It broke my heart to think that someone felt personally attacked by my careless words. A reminder that I am definitely far far far from being perfect. To be able to control my tongue in the moment is impossible without His grace. So please help me Lord!


This expensive experience is sunk cost now. I forgive myself and move on. Hahahuhu!

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Write for me


My head has been spinning these past few weeks. I’m not physically busy, but there’s so many things going on in my head. With the upcoming ART EXCHANGE event and plans to grow the business, I find it difficult to rest my mind.


As a result, I was a mess after a meeting this morning. I was in the middle of construction plans and negotiating deals, I found myself emotionally affected and unable to think straight. It was not good. In fact, I’ve had another incident similar but much much worse 3 weeks ago. I was sitting on a chair in Makati City Hall, crying so badly that I couldn’t talk. One sympathetic stranger even asked if I was pregnant, trying to blame my lack of restraint on hormones. I’m definitely not pregnant, and my City Hall problems is for another story. I hope this does not become a thing.


ANYWAY. In my post-processing of thoughts, I suddenly remember my retreat experience 2 years ago. It was an all-women’s retreat in church, held in MMRC Laguna.  In one of the activities, we had to spend time listening to God. That was very interesting to me because when I pray, I’m the one doing the talking and the thinking.

“God, thank you for… God, please help me in… God, what do you think of…?”


There’s not really much time dedicated to silence my mind and wait for a reply! Though a whole chunk of me was doubtful and bit was expectant to hear a voice, I sat in one of the nipa huts and listened.


Mostly I just heard the wind. But every now and then I write whatever comes into mind. A lot of very random words.


Towards the end of the exercise, my friends and I started to compare notes. I wrote one statement that still strikes me today. “Write for Me”. Whether it’s something my mind just came up with or not, in my heart, I know that this is from God. And this is something that I want to do too.



It is interesting that this is what came to mind after my stressful morning meeting. I have been mulling over the idea of making this part of the website more personal, but have been putting it off. Perhaps is the much needed nudge to put things into action. Now that I have encountered another significant incident, I feel that it’s time to start documenting my struggles and His faithfulness.



I have never been confident in turning my thoughts into written words. But God can choose to use ordinary people to give a message. Look at the ordinary fishermen in the bible!

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13



So here I go! May I have the boldness of Peter and John. Please be kind. :)



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Merry Christmas With Toblerone!

I’m so overwhelmed with the many opportunities we are blessed with this year! On top of having an awesome team, opening the first Craft Central store, the many media features, we have several big collaborations! How many people can say that they’ve designed a Toblerone bar! 😀


I had a sweet tooth as a kid. I would finish packs of chocolates while studying for exams. I’d eat a piece as my incentive for studying a page of notes! Heehee! Toblerone is doubly yummy with the bits of chewy nougat in each bite. Mmm!


This year, I had the amazing opportunity to work with the Toblerone team for its #BeMoreImaginative campaign. What better time to be more imaginative than Christmas, right? We’ve got flying sleighs, snowmen, Christmas elves, and Santa Claus! So together with celebrity artist, Solenn Huessaf, artists Abbey Sy, Toka Penaflorida and Valerie Chua, we designed Christmas Toblerone bars. This is the first time ever that the brand has collaborated with artists for their sleeves, and if successful, they’ll implement the same campaign worldwide! Oh, what an honour!!!


Sharing with you my designs and photos from the media launch. :)

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This Christmas, give beautiful and personalised gifts with Toblerone! There will be pop-ups in different malls, where you can design and print your own sleeve. Customise each chocolate bar with your designs and you can even write the name of your loved ones! Catch me in SM Megamall on December 11! 😉

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Milestone Alert! Exclusive design for Kleenex

Personally, this is such a huge milestone!!! When I first got the message from Kleenex, I was so giddy and excited!

I grew up with Kleenex boxes in the house. I even concretely remember their Mulan-designs back when the movie came out. I eagerly waited for my mom to ‘collect them all’ so that I could memorise the quotable lines from Mulan. I can even recall one with a blossom tree design: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of them all”. Afterwards, I asked my parents what adversity meant. I was about 10 years old, and I wanted to be that ‘flower that blooms in adversity’. That’s what I remember when I think of Kleenex. Haha!

Now that we’re older, our Kleenex boxes are in plain white. Very timeless, very classic and will fit any living space. And that was the challenge for this design — to create something that will fit Rustan’s Fresh (hence, the fruits), and still be very much aligned with Kleenex’s aesthetics. Something that I’d want to see everyday in the house.

After many drafts, I am so proud of the outcome!!! I think we nailed it. Just the right balance of classy and refreshing. Definitely, I will replace our plain Kleenex boxes and add a pop of color with this new design. Sharing with you some pics! This is available in Rustan’s Supermarket, Shopwise and Wellcome. :)


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Praise the Lord. He is faithful. <3

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Top 5 Favorite Moleskine Products

Moleskine has always created innovative products that perfectly caters to artists, writers and thinkers. Simply because they are the heir and successor to the legendary notebook used by some well known people like, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin.

When I visited the Moleskine Pop-Up Store in SM Aura, BGC, Taguig City- they introduced us to some of their latest products. (And we can’t wait to share them with you!) As promised, here are our top five favorite ones!


Clip Ballpen

This Clip Ballpen was designed personally for Moleskine products.  It has a magnetic surface that can clip on to any Moleskine hardbound notebook. They have several colors available, which are really eye-catching! It’s also a lot more convenient for when you travel since you won’t have a hard time looking for a pen.


Japanese Album

The Japanese Album of the Album Journals Collection is a must-have for artists! It features linked sheets of paper, which gives you to draw landscapes and continuous doodle art. (Personally, it’s a lot more fun to write calligraphy when you’re not limited to a small sheet of paper, haha!)


Adobe Smart Notebook

This Smart Notebook was created in collaboration with Adobe, which features an easy transfer process for your sketches on to your mobile devices using the free downloadable application! You can directly edit your illustrations on any Adobe software after scanning your artwork (pretty cool, right?).


Evernote Smart Notebook

Additionally, Moleskine has also built a Smart Notebook in collaboration with Evernote for those who love writing! You can now quickly transfer your notes, ideas and pieces on to a type-written document using this feature.


Notebook Tool Belt

Last but not least, is the Notebook Tool Belt. True to its name, it can fit several writing tools and perfect for on-the-go people. It makes it a lot more convenient when you can fit all the materials you need in the pocket of your notebook.

If you’re interested in getting any of these products for keeps, it’s all available in their pop-up store in SM Aura, BGC, Taguig City until the end of June! Don’t miss out on these brilliant products!

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Moleskine Pop-Up Store!

Moleskine has been making big waves in the paper goods and stationery industry since it was reintroduced to us a few years back. As an established brand, Moleskine has a cult-like following all over the world. Recently, they’ve been bringing these quality products to more fans through pop-up stores around Metro Manila. They held one in Powerplant Mall last April, where I got a chance to personalize the notebooks for the customers. It was such a fun experience to write for them!

And now, since the start of June, Moleskine has had a pop-up installation in SM Aura, Taguig City. Their pop up store showcases a wide array of their best products like their classic pocket-sized notebooks, sketch pads and laptop bags!


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They even have a display of a limited edition collection of your favorite movies and shows- like Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Batman and Toy Story!


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The pop up store also offers free personalization of your notebook! You can choose from the process of heat-pressing letters on to the cover of your Moleskine or personally adding colorful stamps on it! Just purchase any Moleskine notebook to avail this brilliant promo!

They can do this while you wait. I had a watercolour notepad stamped with my name in gold. This is what I use for my travel artworks. It’s very convenient to bring around.






The best part? They’ll be here until the end of June! Don’t forget to drop by their pop-up store at the 3rd Floor of SM Aura, BGC, Taguig City. (You can find it behind Toby’s Estate and in front of Toy Kingdom!)

We absolutely love Moleskine products! Make sure to check out the next blog post for our favorite ones!


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