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These Homemade Goodies From Haps are Irresistible

Though goodies are available twenty four seven in the market, our bodies crave for that homemade touch. The happiness that these goodies bring is what we’re after. And just like a local home-bakery, Haps has always been into bringing happiness and freedom through sweets.

According to studies, eating sweets helps us concentrate and may aid in lowering blood pressure. Often times, we can’t just resist eating sweets when we’re stressed, tired or even on a normal mood.

This craving is caused by our body’s attempt to raise levels of the hormone called serotonin. Sugar triggers the release of serotonin, which can cause us to crave sweet things.

Though goodies are available twenty four seven in the market, our bodies crave for that homemade touch. The happiness that these goodies bring is what we’re after. And just like a local home-bakery, Haps has always been into bringing happiness and freedom through sweets.

Haps, founded late last year, was created and run by Enem Seno, a Cebuana, and Marie Nordbjaeg, a Dane. Both at the age of 27, they decided to run their own home bakery in Lahug, Cebu City where, according to Marie, magic happens.

Haps is owned and managed by Enem, a Cebuana (right) and Marie, a Dane (left).

Haps has been one of Marie’s dreams for a lot of years. “We thought it would be fun to use a Danish word as the name since The Baker is Danish. Haps means either a small piece of food or the action you do when you grab (hapse) something in a quick movement (from someone),” Marie shares.

Marie adds that since their goodies are naturally irresistible, “you just have to have it, you might even try to “hapse” the “haps” from someone,” she says.

Haps started small. From a small oven in the studio of The Backbone Company, they could fit and bake only one 8” x 8” pan at a time.

It was quite an effort having to experiment recipes with limited equipment. It was as charming experience though,” Marie shares.

Since then, her partner, Emem, designed and brainstormed the branding and concept. “We both knew that one of the main things about Haps would be that we wouldn’t compromise with quality, and then the rest was created from there,” Marie says.

After the concept brainstorming, they moved to their own place and upgraded their equipment like their oven and refrigerator.

Haps is a home for freedom and creativity. According to Marie, their passion allows them to experiment. “Of course we can always provide the cakes, but we also want to share ideas and recipes for those who want to be creative in the kitchen themselves,” she says.

Haps doesn’t use artificial flavoring in their pastries.

Excitedly, Haps as a new home bakery, is very keen in their ingredients. “With Haps we also want to make people aware and appreciative of the fact that good ingredients can affect a simple recipe. It is really one of our main focuses when baking – we would spend that extra time finding the best ingredients around the country,” Marie shares.

Starting a business on goodies is not easy especially for both introverts.

“One of the major challenges when we first started was to create followers. Both of us were introverts and would always be too shy to be social with strangers. So, getting it out there was a bit difficult for us,” Marie says.

Haps handcrafts goodies sprinkled with a bag of love. “We don’t use artificial flavoring to ensure the best in every product – and we really know that makes a huge difference”, Marie ensures.

They take extra time for each cake. Marie admits being keen without compromising their quality. Some bakeries focus is on saving time and money, which makes them compromise…we assure high quality and mouth watering pastries in every single bake,” she adds.

Currently, their products are being added by Danish dark rye flour bread. Added to their list of services is accepting orders during birthdays and other special occasions. More excitingly, Haps make gluten-free and vegan pastries too!

Chocolate chips cookies can be bought by Php 390 for 20 pieces.

Haps offers goodies like brownies with walnuts, chocolate chip cookies with hazelnuts, Belgian chocolate truffles, Gateau Marcel, Cinnamon rolls, cakes and a lot more.

Their major goal in starting the business was to generate happiness through pastries. “Many of our patrons have said that we probably named Haps, in short for happiness. Though that may be inaccurate, we are happy to hear that people associate Haps with happiness – that means we are reaching our goal,” Marie shares.

Both envision Haps to do full time #WakeAndBake goodies. Marie hopes, “With hard work and the right amount of charm, we’d be able to serve delicious and mouthwatering pastries in small quaint shops around Cebu and entire Philippines”.

Our cravings bring us joy when satisfied. And who wouldn’t love goodies? As start-up business that went through challenges, Haps, a symbol of sweetness of happiness, proves that their creativity and freedom are their only limits.


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Beauty & Wellness

Tea with Coralie

When a basket filled with tea goodies of macaroons, delicate cakes and sandwiches was delivered, it came in the signature purple color of this iconic brand. “Very Charriol”, as Coralie , the CEO of the Swiss brand, might have put it. She didn’t actually use that term to describe the savories. Rather, she was describing the cable bracelet that makes their products distinct. Avid Rustans Cebu shoppers will find the Charriol boutique just off the main entrance of the department store, near the familiar scented hall at the first level. On display are an array of earrings, bracelets and watches enticing to those looking for retail therapy with pieces that are timeless and yet not overtly breaking the credit card limit.

The tea Zoom party, as arranged by our host Ginggay Joven, and Luzanne Manlapit who is the brand manager of Charriol in the Philippines, was as good as any press-do from pre pandemic normal times. And an intimate peak at lifestyle editors’ lives as most of us were zooming from our living rooms, including Coralie who was answering our questions from her home in Geneva. Like most of us, she readily says, “I have a travel bug, and on weekends, I dream of where I can go!”.

Philip Charriol, Coralie’s father who started the brand in 1983, was a frequent visitor to the Philippines, making Manila (and Cebu) a side trip to his rounds of Singapore and Hong Kong. He made many friends in Asia and it was a sad day when everyone heard of his passing more than a year ago in a car accident at the Le Castellet racing track in southeast France.

These days, the company is in good hands with Coralie. She is set to debut a series of new collections building upon her father’s vision, including a reimagined Celtic collection, a line of watches first introduced in the 80s. The latest Celtic Legacy watch has a more striking face with two dials and bigger bezels available in gold or rose gold. The cable bracelet is made up of 6 strands of steel and titanium alloy that are flexible and durable. It comes in an elegant 30mm case, making it an equally perfect accessory for both a lunchtime affair as well as to a glitzy night on the town.

Also new are their ocean-themed pieces. The Forever Starfish watch comes in two iteration of stainless steel or rose gold case with a white mother-of-pearl dial. The second one is the Marina bracelet collection — the Charriol signature cable tied around a porthole and clasped together by a Charriol dial, it’s a fresh and young take for an everyday jewelry.

As a contemporary business leader, Coralie shared cautionary tales of polar bears and melting icebergs. Through their Charriol Living initiative, Philippe Charriol is a partner of the global organization Lonely Whale. It is a community of international businesses cognizant of the harming effects of disposable stuff in today’s world. Particularly single-use plastics, which are harmful to marine life when they end up in our seas. She co-produced a compelling documentary titled The Story of Plastic (www.storyofplastic.org) “a searing expose revealing the ugly truth behind plastic pollution and the false solution of plastic recycling”.

The company is committed to being socially conscious. Pretty soon, all Charriol packaging will be made of paper and sustainable materials. “We are interconnected tru our oceans”, she explains. In addition, part of the proceeds of selected ocean-themed Charriol pieces like the Forever Turtle watch, the Forever Waves and Ocean bracelets, will go to the Lonely Whale organization.

Philippe Charriol comes up with new design for watches once a year or once every two years to keep it fresh. Their jewelry line is much more frequent with bracelets and earrings. When asked if the company will be coming out with smart watches, Coralie was quick to reply that although other prestige watch companies have tried it, Charriol will not be producing one. “But I am coming out with something by October which is a kind of an accessory to a techie watch. To connect Charriol to technology.”


Coralie Charriol, the CEO of Charriol showing the Forever Starfish collection using mother of pearl face and their entry level cable bracelets in bright colors.


Screenshot of the Zoom tea party attended by top Manila lifestyle editors


The tea goodies for the tea party delivered by the Charriol team


The Charriol boutique inside Rustans at Ayala Center Cebu


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PANDEMIC DIARIES: Twelve Months Later

Photos taken by Pablo Quiza around Cebu City during the months of March, April and May 202

AS WE APPROACH ONE YEAR under pandemic times, we look back at March 2020 with fascination. And awe. We had 12 months of lockdown and survived the so called new normal. We lived with masks and alcohol even today. Carless roads and dark malls. Those were the early days of March, April and May.
It stretched to October and past Christmas. No Sinulog. Virtual parties on Zoom and virtual mass on You Tube and FB Live. We debated on the best meds to take if we get sick and whether to wear masks (please do!). We scampered for face shields and anti-viral sprays. Vitamins C and D and zinc. Later, we survived being swabbed and we learned the difference between a PCR and an anti-gene test. The latter cost less.

We dreaded the declarations of IATF mandated from Manila. And we got mad at the police chief who had a birthday party while his people were busy locking up everyone violating the lockdown. Most horrifying of all, we needed to produce IDs! Are you a resident of Barangay Lahug or Banilad? Are you employed and why are you still working? Everyone suffered thru endless checkpoints. Most sad of all are those using motorbikes, they seem to get the raw end of the deal since those with cars are not as scrutinized. We managed to trick the system by putting a big handwritten note in front of the car: COMPANY CAR, and zipped tru the police desks in the middle of the road. Don’t even think of travelling, by plane, boat or bus. The collection of the required documents is enough for one to get exposed to Covid.

We learned to shop online, order groceries and necessities thru delivery. We slowly moved towards cashless payments. Gcash and banks like Union Bank and China Bank with friendly apps are heroes for making life easy for most of us to spend what little cash we have to spend on Lazada or pay the VECO bill. Oh and we binged on K dramas on Netflix and You Tube, kamsaminada.
As 2021 enters, there are some good news. For those obsessed with news, you already know that 7,000 vaccines arrived last March 2 in Cebu, with more expected in the next few weeks. The death rate is not as high among those who caught this pesky virus, which tells us that doctors in the hospitals have some proven expertise in dealing with Covid. More cures should be in the horizon.

Meanwhile, lets continue dreaming of the day when we can cross borders again, even if its just Bohol or Boracay, Bangkok or Hong Kong. Ready those luggages and bags bought during the 3/3 sale in Shopee in preparation for the day when we can take the ferry or the plane for new adventures.


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Artisanal Cebu: Aspiring calligraphy artist Abigail Condrado

In the third installment of Artisanal Cebu, we feature the wonderful artwork and calligraphy style of Sarah Abigail Condrado – a freelance calligraphy artist.
Abigail is one of the rising singers and performers of Cebu today, with singles such as “Bisan Asa” and her famous cover of “Duyog” by Jewel Villaflores. Currently working as the Marketing and Relations Manager of St. Paul College Foundation Inc., she has one other skill that only a few knew: her talent in the art of calligraphy.
Watch on how she began her journey in becoming a freelance calligraphy artists.

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