• BeaReyes

A Filipino Modern Heritage Brand- MANILA ORIENTAL

According to Manila Oriental this is how they started... Around 1983, The relatives of Olivia and Kathrine opened Manila Oriental Food Store in Phoenix, Arizona to cater to a growing presence of Filipino and other Asian communities.

The grocery store sold everything from bags of rice to their mom's homemade Filipino treats such as: hopia and kutsinta, to sinigang packets and botan rice candy. The store even sold newspapers from the Philippines, a VHS rental system for Tagalog classics, and a balikbayan box shipping service.

Having this grocery store be a part of Olivia and Katherine's lives taught them family roots, community, and culture. Now their online store Manila Oriental is their modern heritage gift shop celebrating the (tough Asian) love and food that shaped the two. It’s their homage to the family who has paved the way for them, who introduced them to the foods they now crave, and the values that make them proud to be Filipino. They just started the beginning of this year and now their store is up and running! When it comes to the two sisters working together, they think it's great because they get to have the chance to work with someone who knows you and to share a foundation of trust in each other's capabilities. 

Kathrine explained that what made them venture into the appeal business was the concept for the catchy phrases and heritage-inspired themes that Olivia (Kathrine's sister) have created. "We see the interest of people in wearing their hearts and heritage on their sleeve like our Mahal tee as an opportunity to introduce a lifestyle of incorporating products that showcase and educated about Filpino-American culture", Kathrine stated.

When it comes to branding, it's very important when owning a store or a business. The reason that they chose the three stars as their icon to their online apparel store is because it tributes to the Filipino flag.

Branding can be very important to a brand and/or business. For Manila Oriental they chose the three stars (picture on the left) as a tribute to the Filipino flag.

As in any store there are favorited items that the buyers just love. The proud Filipina sisters said that their "UBE IS MY JAM" tote and shorts and their "MAHAL" shirt (which is particularly great as a portion of these sales benefit charity) and the "Kain,tulog, tae" line are the favored products. With all the products they have in their online store, they do not have any favorites because they ALL are their favorites and because they are all labors of their love, younger sister Kathrine said.

The owners of Manila Oriental enjoy making new connections with other Fil-Am business owners who share the same vision of sharing their unique culture. They are particularly excited about their holiday collaborations; with Creme Caramel LA to bring you a Lil' Bahay Kubo: Mini Gingerbread House Kit and Storybook and Instagram sensation @HungryHugh to bring you a limited edition tee. 

Each Lil' Bahay Kubo purchase benefits making homes in the Philippines. The collaboration will donate $5 of each Lil' Bahay Kubo to Habitat for Humanity Philippines and Gawad Kalinga. Gawad Kalinga is aPhilippine poverty alleviation and nation-building movement known officially as the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation. Its mission is to end poverty for 5 million families by 2024.

This collaboration is something the sisters are very stoked about because they are bringing a Filipino twist to a Christmas tradition. Katherine pointed out how Christmas is huge to Filipinos and , "We start celebrating as soon as the  "-ber" months begin. Alongside the gingerbread house kit, we're also including a storybook about bahay kubos so that kids and adults alike can learn about this traditional Filipino house", Kathrine said.

Even though it's not FAHM anymore Fil-Ams are constantly celebrating and embracing their Filipino heritage. The two sister are proud to have come from a diverse background, rich in unique culture. Kathrine continued, "Filipino-Americans ha so much to offer, we're Americans, pursuing the dream, we're islanders, we're Asians, we're a mix of so many wonderful things."

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