Primero

Felipe and Sons x The Filo Dapper present:

Primero

A first for both our brands.
We collaborate on a suit collection with both classics elements, and playful ones.
We’re not ones to shy away from color or some patterns here and there, but we understand, of course,
everything has to be wearable no matter the season.

Be dapper.
#ReviveManilaSwagger

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The Primero Collection launches for public on Saturday, 28 May 2016 in Felipe and Sons stores.


Photography by: Chio Gonzalez
Assisted by: Chissai Bautista and Jobert Eugenio
Art Director: Jonas Tamayo and Nikki Dy
Models: AJ Dee and Brent Javier
Hair & Make-up by: Leslie Espinosa
Styling by: Kolleen Feria and AJ Dee

The Basics Collection

Introducing Felipe and Sons’s first ever shirt collection. It’s everything a man’s closet should be–straight to the point, fool-proof, and dapper. Always dapper. We tailor according to your measurements, so you get that perfect fit every time.

We’ve got your wardrobe covered.

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The Basics Collection will be available in both Makati and Ortigas branches on Friday, 20 May 2016.


Photography by Cyrus Panganiban (Dark Horse Studio)
Hair and Make Up by Leslie Espinosa
Models: Kenn Bosch and Jeremy Blake

 

The Unwritten History of The Philippines

Words by Troy Bernardo
Images by Jordan Jacinto

Back when the planet was young — the air, much denser and the water, thinner– there stood a vast continent which, today, could only be found in myths, the New Age section of bookstores, and, according to W. Scott-Elliott, the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. The continent, which also went by the name Mu or the Motherland (of Mu), was believed to contain an ancient civilization, Lemuria, which existed prior to and during the time of Atlantis, some 14,000 years ago. Scott-Elliott’s book, “The Story of Atlantis and Lost Lemuria,” dated the latter to about one million-years-old; its cataclysmic sinking, 10BC.

Why the continent, which allegedly had 7 rivers, 7 mountains, and 7 Subcontinents – thus, it was also called the 7 Blessed Isles, the 7 Islands of the Blest, the Land of the Mother and the Womb of the Planet — vanished could be blamed on volcanic eruptions, plate tectonics, or simply, geological change. Though this event may seem incredibly dramatic, it isn’t that far-fetched. As recently as December 26, 2004, an earthquake triggered a series of tsunamis that killed more than 225,000 people in eleven countries.

The exact location of Lemuria is unknown. Scott-Elliott believed that it existed “largely in the Southern Pacific Ocean, between North America and Asia/Australia.” Rudolf Steiner, author of “Cosmic Memory: Prehistory of Man and Earth,” placed its location in the “south of Asia, and extended approximately from Ceylon to Madagascar, including what is today southern Asia and parts of Africa.” Crystalinks.com, a website dedicated to Lemuria, wrote that its location is linked with the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Some non-traditional historians like Prof. Erle Frayne Argonza y Delago, believe that Philippine history can be traced back to Lemuria, which occupied the Pacific and Indian oceans, encompassing the islands of Hawai’i, the Philippines, and everything in between.

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Another non-traditional historian, Bong de la Torre, makes an even bolder claim. Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak on the island of Mindanao, is what was left of Lemurian civilization.

Interestingly enough, they could be right.

Before Portuguese explorer Fernão de Magalhães, a.k.a. Ferdinand Magellan, re-discovered The Philippines back in March 1521, the country was just a nameless archipelago, a collection of islands, where various tribes and communities lived. The center of trade, for example, was the Kingdom of Butuan, which was Indianized like the Kingdom of Tondo.

Mindoro, which was called Ma-i by Chinese traders, was a popular trade route. Could Mindoro’s residents have been called Ma-ian?
The island province of Siquijor was called Isla del Fuego, or Island of Fire, by the Spaniards; because, of its huge population of fireflies, according to Esteban Rodriguez, who led the Legazpi Expedition in 1565.

When the Spanish colonizers came, they created a country out of the archipelago; named it after then King Philip II, a.k.a. Philip the Prudent; and, then replaced the deeply spiritual nature of the islanders with Catholicism.

That was the gist of Philippine history according to the Spaniards.

 

The Lemurian Connection

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According to Argonza, spiritually advanced beings populated one of Mu’s 7 Subcontinents, the one called Maharloka.

There, a deep spirituality combined with the mastery of combat made for a powerful, awakened society. The words Mahar or Maha, meaning Great, and lekha, which in Sanskrit meant Creation or Effort, after all, when combined, meant Noble Creation or The Great Land.

After the Great Flood, only the mountain tops of the 7 Blessed Isles were left in what would later be modern-day Indonesia: Borneo, Celebes, Java, New Guinea, the Malay Peninsula, and Sumatra.

The highest peak on the 7th Blessed Isle, Maharloka, was believed to have been called Apo, which could be found on the archipelago that would later be renamed the Philippines. This could be a reason why Filipinos have a penchant for faith healing, shamanism, superstition, and other cosmic, esoteric, mystic and spiritual pursuits. This was also probably why religion managed to firmly entrench itself in the population. We were already predisposed to the spiritual.

The symbol of Mu, also known as Sunda or the legendary Lemuria, is 8 rays radiating from a circle, which might as well be the same 8 rays that emanate from sun on the Philippine national flag today.

The Lemurian alphabet closely resembles Baybayin, the ancient Philippine alphabet.

That is the gist of our unwritten history according to non-traditional historians.

According to Argonza, an Initiate of the Brotherhood of Light, who calls himself “a sociologist, economist, development specialist by profession, while spiritual teaching (+ healing, messenger, writer),” because of Maharloka’s connection to the divine, the isle was known to be a cosmic portal, its citizens trained in the gathering of sacred knowledge, the manipulation of energies, and the passing on of divine wisdom to affect collective consciousness of the planet.”

These tasks had been passed on to the archipelago’s shamans, tribal spiritual leaders called babaylans, who were then demonized by the Roman Catholic Church, calling them aswang. Babaylans were outlawed, gathered, and sent into exile to the island of — you guessed it — Siquijor.

Siquijor, or Isla del Fuego, could’ve been a metaphor for the fires of Hell.

Not all Catholics, however, were against the highly advanced spiritual consciousness of the archipelago. When the Jesuits first came to the country back in 1581, many of them were said to have had links with the local shamans; so much so that when they were expelled after 187 years of work in the country, many Jesuits remained hidden in the mountains, leading ascetic, spiritual lives. Hiding from the law, they became reclusive hermits, which explains why the ermitanyo in popular Filipino culture, were always depicted as tall, white, bearded men.

Whatever may, or may not be, the truth about the stories above, non-traditional historians wish that these won’t get lost in a sea of barber tales. In fact, they are hopeful that the stories encourage all of us not just to question what is fed to us by history books, but more importantly, to embrace whatever memories they awaken.

The King of the Road

Words by Shirin Bhandari
Photography by Josef Gadista

The stainless steel horse would vibrate from left to right, up and down. The springs below the hooves were raised at a certain angle so it would give the illusion of trotting. The horse was placed top and centre on a colourful and highly ornamented hood.

Traffic in Manila was scarce when I was a child and for once as the signal turned red- one could look forward to staring at the kitschy and brightly designed Jeepneys. Each vehicle unique with its own streamers and colours; sometimes even with a full steed of horses.

The word Sarao has become synonymous with the Jeepney.

The word Sarao has become synonymous with the Jeepney.

The Jeepney is a popular mode of public transportation in the Philippines. It was originally constructed from the left over Willy U.S. Military jeeps from World War II.  As the U.S. troops started to pull out from the Philippines at the end of the war, the remaining surplus Jeeps were either sold or given to the locals as gifts. They were stripped down and altered, painted with vibrant hues and ornaments. The back was reconstructed with parallel benches to accommodate more passengers. People are made to sit facing each other in close proximity with their knees touching. The running joke is the Jeepney combines the root word “jeep” and “knee”-hence the name. But the true origin is from the word “jitney” which is an American slang for a nickel fare or a small bus that picks up and discharges passengers over a regular route which was popular before and during the war.

The unextended jeeps were called “owners” and are not used for commercial purposes.

The word Sarao has become synonymous with the vehicle. The company was first established in 1953 as a small automotive shop.  Entrepreneur Leonardo Sarao from Cavite earned a living as a kalesa (horse carriage) driver before becoming a mechanic.  He incorporated the airiness of the kalesa into the design of his jeep. Since the Philippines is a tropical country- the open sides serve well for cross ventilation- keeping passengers cool, when air-conditioning was still a luxury.

Sarao Motors incorporated the design of the kalesa into its Jeepneys to provide airiness and cross ventilation.

Sarao Motors incorporated the design of the kalesa into its Jeepneys to provide airiness and cross ventilation.

Other forms of transportation were virtually destroyed during the second World War and the country was left with little alternatives. The jeepney became the most used and popular form of public transportation in the Philippines next to the bus. It is an inexpensive way to get people around. The government acknowledged their importance and began to issue special licenses to drivers and regulated their use, routes and fares.

The Sarao company outnumbered other manufacturers by 7 to one. The Jeepney became a symbol of Philippine pop culture in the early 1960s. The specialized Sarao vehicle was exhibited at the 1964 New York World’s Fair- Philippine Pavilion. It then travelled from Manila to London in 1971 and throughout Europe to promote Philippine tourism and industry. A custom made Jeepney was manufactured by Sarao in 1981 for Pope John Paul II, for his first visit to the Philippines.

The Sarao Motors factory serves as a museum for Jeepneys from various decades.

The Sarao Motors factory serves as a museum for Jeepneys from various decades.

Sarao Motors is located south of the capital in Las Piñas City. The vast lot still holds original pieces of various Jeepney designs. However the once active factory has become more of a museum. It has seen better days. Upon entering, there are rows and rows of parked Jeepneys from various decades. Majority are in mint and pristine condition- some go as far back as 1955. Others remain incomplete with bare steel bodies; as if time has stood still.

Due to the rising costs of production the company had to downsize in October 2000. Mr. Sarao died a year later at the age of 80.

On the left is a Jeepney commissioned by Hennessy for their campaign Hennessy King of the Road

The once bustling factory with over 350 employees has been reduced to a crew of 50. The collection department is the only section that is currently in operation. Sarao has tried to resume operations in a smaller scale; concentrating more on commissioned work.  The average output is 40 units per year, a far cry from their production when the company was at its peak.

There is no concrete program for the local automotive industry in the Philippines. It is unfortunate that foreign brands have taken the lead. The government has neither passed a law to protect Sarao’s design. Other manufacturers have reconstructed the original pattern with their own modifications- using cheaper materials and engines. The look varies in each region of the Philippines. The length, size and seating capacity has evolved through the years; however none can come close to the beauty of a Sarao.

The company is currently managed and supervised by Mr. Edgardo Sarao, the fourth son of the  legendary mechanic and entrepreneur.  It was through the grace of his father’s commitment and hard work that he decided to continue the legacy.

Mr. Edgardo Sarao poses beside a vintage 1955 Sarao Jeepney.

Mr. Edgardo Sarao poses beside a vintage 1955 Sarao Jeepney.

The lack of infrastructure and other modes of transit still make the iconic Philippine Jeepney relevant. “They’re here to stay. What other alternative do we have?” Mr. Edgardo Sarao quips. “Now that our LRT-MRT (train system) is constantly under repair, a Jeepney can always take minor routes around the metropolis and provinces. Without it, mobilizing the masses will be a monumental task. People still need a cheap form of public transportation.”

The company is in talks with local and foreign companies for a joint venture- looking to source the next generation of environmentally friendly Electric Vehicles.

“How do you see your future?” I ask.

The portly Mr. Sarao smiles as his eyes go into a small squint.
“We have high hopes- the entire work shop in itself is a museum, all that nostalgia.
It would be nice to have a Jeepney themed restaurant…Who knows?” he says with a laugh.

If luck would have it- the gears might just shift into the right direction and the Sarao name will be great again.