Photography by Andrea Beldua
Styling by Una Ilarde
Make up and grooming by Bianca Umali and Aria Ortega
Art direction by Mags Ocampo
Produced by Ina Jacobe
Interviews by Martin Yambao

These days, the kids are doing it for themselves — and why shouldn’t they? The last year kind of sucked but that’s over now. Done, null and void. 2016 was the year of, like, realizing stuff (thanks Kylie Jenner). 2017 felt like a bad dream. And then there’s welcoming the here and now, could this new year not bring the rapture just yet and maybe, just maybe, could 2018 bring the spark for something better?

Here at B/Blog, we say let this be the year you did something creative; the year you went to that audition; the year you started a small business; the year you moved out; the year you made content for your own YouTube channel; the year you learned to say thank you; the year you took self-care seriously; the year you started to unplug (OK, maybe save that for 2019); or you know, this could be the year you find meaning in what you’ve been doing all along. It’s 2018 and let this be the one where you try again.

To give you some ideas on You 2.0 (or 3.0, 4.0, whatever), we sat down and spoke shop with the next generation of mavericks who have broken through in their own spaces. Be it retail, food, design, indie publishing, cinema, and art — we met an individual who published his first book at 23, a young writer who got published in the same Tavi Gevinson-edited anthology as author John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Etgar Keret, and Florence Welch(!), a college senior who’s hustling two thriving fashion businesses to his name, a young multi-hyphenate who’s co-writing a feature film attached to two cinema legends: Charo Santos-Concio and Kasheica’s leading lady herself, Bea Alonzo, and so much more.

Be inspired, take notes, get excited — and since you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, our advice? Go shoot your shot when you’re ready. B/Blog presents 8 for 2018: Our talented picks for the year ahead.

Gaby Gloria, 21, writer, columnist, published Rookie contributor and known Tavi Gevinson collaborator

I’ve been a Rookie fan ever since Tavi posted the idea for it on her blog, and I’d always wanted to contribute but never had the guts to send anything in. My first essay for Rookie was published in December 2015, and Tavi emailed me about Rookie on Love a couple of months later. And this was all done online!

I didn’t know who else would be contributing until they posted the book announcement on Rookie, so seeing my name in the same paragraph as people like Etgar Keret and Florence Welch was already quite thrilling.

My friend from Davao, Kiana Flores, also has an essay in the book, so we were both squealing and freaking out about it (in all caps) on Messenger.

On inspiration, observation is something I like to do, both IRL and online. I’m kind of quiet in real life, but that’s mostly because I like observing people (not creepy at all, I know) and how they interact. I also watch and read a lot of things so that I can kind of live outside of myself for a while, whether it’s Gilmore Girls, teleseryes, or K-Pop.

On someone I look up to, Tavi Gevinson, of course. I think I talk about why I love her way too much, but there’s really something about how she maps out her influences. Plus, it’s pretty mind blowing to think that at 15, she founded a publication that led all the currently woke places to the direction that they’re going in now.

You can follow @gabygloria on Instagram or you can read her work every Friday in the Young STAR section of The Philippine STAR

Chris Cataluna, 29 & Trisha Kapunan, 24, chefs and owners at Bao Bar

Trisha: About Bao Bar, we’ve never been busier. We’re still trying to get the hang of everything —  from operations, to marketing, and working behind the kitchen. Bao Bar is a continuous learning experience, and we’re still learning as we go along. We really want to give credit to the people behind The Hub in Escolta though for providing a space for us to establish something in the food industry. And now that we’ve moved to Poblacion, everything is much more challenging and fast-paced.

Chris: Our days start insanely early during the week. Monday – Friday we’re normally out and about by 9 am. Trisha has work meetings in the mornings so I normally run errands and prep what I can at the social before going to work in the afternoon. We make some of our condiments on the day of service to maintain freshness. And on nights when we run out of some components, we have to replenish it the next morning.

Trisha: We always jokingly say we D.I.Y. OR DIE, but that’s literally what we do — from handling social media, to events, operations, and being in charge of the kitchen.

Trisha: I love that women are having such a moment in the food world recently, so I’m rooting for Angela Dimayuga (formerly of Mission Chinese in New York and San Francisco) and Jessica Koslow (of Sqirl in Los Angeles), have been for the longest time. I love how both chefs are on top of the creative aspect of both kitchens they operate, just as much as they’re involved with the kitchen.

Chris: I’m just excited to see what else we can do. Since moving to Poblacion we have more creative freedom for the menu, and with me and Trisha food is always on our minds. We want to also build more friendships not just within the business but with our customers. One thing I always loved about Escolta were the regulars. Me and Trisha make it very important to interact with everyone that stops by so we really hope to do the same in Poblacion.

Sample Chris and Trisha’s delicious food at @baobar_ph via The Social on Ebro Street, Poblacion and their pop-up concept @idiotsandwich_ph.

Addi Panadero, 23, illustrator, designer and author of Intramuros: The Walled City

I remember reading a book called Intramuros of Memory by Jaime Laya about 6 years ago. In it were numerous photos of the Walled City which didn’t seem familiar — Fort Santiago had a roof, UST was somehow in Intramuros, and the city actually looked like a real city, as opposed to patches of preserved buildings. That book piqued my curiosity — what if Intramuros, and the rest of Manila, for that matter, had survived the times?

That curiosity led me to start the project. I wanted concrete reconstructions of the images I saw. As I began to be more intimately involved in the book’s creation, I realised how not only the edifices of Intramuros were lost, but also the stories and meanings behind them.

Intramuros: The Walled City, as mentioned, is a paper model book featuring the eponymous area in Manila. Designed for readers ages 8 and up, it contains more than 90 paper pieces that may be cut out and assembled to form a historically accurate model of Intramuros set in the 1800s.

I love the excitement you get out of pop-up books. It’s the visceral that draws me in first, but then when you dissect it and analyse how these books were constructed, then you begin to appreciate them as an art and as a science (it’s commonly called paper engineering).

Hopefully I get to release a second book with my publisher this year. I want to see what heritage issue we could tackle and bring to light next. Also, I’m hoping to go out of my circle and work with people from cause-oriented organisations especially those with a focus in heritage preservation.

Written and illustrated by Addi himself, his first book Intramuros: The Walled City is available for P295 online at www.tahananbooks.ph and bookstores near you.

Mariah Reodica, scriptwriter, video artist, researcher and independent musician

On being kept busy juggling writing, researching, music, film, and writing a new script — it’s all of that and more. I’ve been writing new songs with The Male Gaze, recording my new album for Brain Twins, and working on new film projects.

I’m working on new songs with my feminist band The Male Gaze with Mich Dulce, Ymi Castel, and Ristalle Bautista. Aside from clicking with each other over the sound we’re coming up with, it’s thrilling to be able to advocate feminism through music. Like Mich, music was also the main thing that sparked my feminist awakening.

I’ve also been working on my solo project BRAIN TWINS. A lot of these songs have been written when I’ve been out in Manila for extended periods of time in Tokyo, Baguio, and Korea over the past year or so. It’s liberating to focus on writing and recording songs without the pressure of running the regular gig circuit.

My upcoming project Eerie is a tight-knit collaboration with Director Mikhail Red and the Producer Micah Tadena, and I really enjoyed throwing ideas back and forth and piecing it all together.

Sure, jump scares are fun, but we’re aiming for a sense of unease that lingers even after you’ve left the cinema.

On cinema legends Charo Santos-Concio and Bea Alonzo starring in Eerie, It definitely hasn’t sunken in yet! Kakaba-Kaba Ka Ba? and Itim are among the films that made an impact on me when I was in film school.

On what’s next, Eerie‘s coming out this year, and if life permits, maybe my new album!

Eerie directed by Mikhail Red of Birdshot-fame and co-written by Mariah is currently in pre-production. You can also listen to Mariah music on Soundcloud or find out more about her projects on www.mariahreodica.com.

Abraham Guardian, 21 & Mamuro Oki, 21, designers at Ha.Mu

The one thing that excites us is the fact that we are introducing a new kind of flavor in the local fashion industry. One that is young, experimental and up to date with today’s time in fashion where the millennials are becoming the game changer in almost all aspects of life.

Our vision for the brand is for it be internationally known so people around the globe will be more aware that Philippines can be also considered as one of the fashion capitals of southeast Asian. We both believe that our country has so much to offer in the fashion scene because of the unique and distinct tastes of the young designers here.

Ham: If I could dress one person in Ha.Mu, it would be Susie Bubble! I love her bubbly vibe and I can imagine her walking around in our big pieces! I think she’ll have fun wearing them too.

Mamu: Iris Apfel! I love her eyewear and her jewelry in general! I can imagine her wearing more of our tone down pieces that will match her unique accessories.

Something we learned in 2017 is to how to balance our taste properly. Sometimes less in more and sometimes more is actually okay if we do it in moderate portions. We also learnt to trust each other in this field since we both work well with each other. Our ideas always seem to turn out well, especially if they are spontaneous.

We are balancing adulthood while running our business at the same time since we both decided to pursue it after we were done with school. Currently we are both nervous and excited to launch our RTW line for 2018!

Discover Ham and Mamu’s larger-than-life fashion brand @_ha.mu_ on Instagram.

Fed Pua, 21, designer, creative director and owner, Factory and It’s Vintage

On managing Factory and It’s Vintage as a senior in college, I spend my early mornings packing orders, messaging suppliers, sketching, designing, and planning for the businesses. The rest of the day is spent either in class, shoots or both. I usually save the nights for doing my own thing like having dinner with friends, watching a movie or attempting my fitness regime.

You know what they say: “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce.”

It’s Vintage is a curated vintage clothing store that I recently launched late last year. I love vintage shopping in Tokyo and the shops there are a huge inspiration for the brand.

Factory is actually going seasonless from here on out. We’re in the process of producing a new jacket and some womenswear products to be released in a few months!

I’ve been a huge fan of Stevie Nicks for as long as I can remember. She’s badass, talented, and unapologetic. She’s exactly the kind of person I strive to be.

My favorite Bench memory? One of my first styling gigs was being an assistant to a Baby Bench cologne shoot with Baby Baste. It eventually went on to become an EDSA billboard which was pretty surreal.

Help Fed’s dream of becoming a certified insta-thot by following his Instagram at @fedpua or you can check out his rad’ wares via @itsvintagevintage and @factoryforhire

Andrei Suleik, 25, photographer

My first love was film. I interned for 2 years and brought my camera with me to every single shoot, taking behind-the-scenes photos. Slowly, I realized that I wanted photos more with people as my subjects.

I think my breakthrough moment was when I received an email asking if I could do a small feature for a magazine. Back then, I only had Instagram to showcase my photos. I was so excited when I read the email that I bought a reflector immediately without even knowing how to use it. Ha! I’m still learning — a work in progress, always.

I met James and Nadine a few years ago and we started talking about photography. It was the very first topic we ever talked about. We’ve been spending time together since then and collaborating for photos. They also inspire me and constantly make me do things I haven’t done yet! I can say they are two of my best subjects. We do shoots all the time, quick shoots, like 5 to 10-minute shoots and we’re done. The best thing about our circle is that we help each other achieve want we want to achieve.

The people I look up to the most are the people around me. Pwedeng friends, family, hindi kailangan photographer talaga. It’s just these people who worked hard to get where they are now and I want to do the same. I really like how they inspire me to do their thing and it tells me that I can do that as well. Nabibigyan ako ng confidence to do more.

My favorite Bench memory? My underwear.

Peep Andrei’s work on Instagram at @andreisuleik.

Pau Tiu, 23 & Dyam Gonzales, 23, artists and publishers at Bad Student

Pau: We call ourselves Bad Student because we’re both self-taught when it comes to Risograph and until now we’re still learning. Sometimes admitting that you’re bad gives you the room to grow without the pressure of making mistakes along the way.

Dyam: The risograph machine is the same machine you see in photocopy centers but instead of just black ink, we switched it to different colors. So far we use combinations of fluorescent pink, yellow, red, blue and black ink when printing colorful posters and zines. Basically, it’s silkscreen printing trapped in a photocopier body.

Pau: I think bad design exists to question if good designs are actually good. Sometimes you have to add an element of play/humor to blur the lines between the two. This is actually really important when it comes to our medium.

Dyam: Riso’s cost-effectiveness is perfect for any budding artists out there. We have actually started producing zines made by local independent artists since last year, and we are looking forward into producing more. But other than that, we also want to print artworks, hold exhibits, and set up a shop promoting local talents on self-publication, printmaking, design, and the likes.

Pau: Faovorite Bench memory? DAO SHALL WEAR BENCH. Jerry Yan was my ultimate childhood crush and that Bench campaign will forever be iconic!

Dyam: I remember fangirling over Jerry Yan’s Bench ads back in 2004! He was all over billboards and magazines back then.

Dyam: For 2018, I’m excited mostly about having our own studio! That would certainly open more activities that we would like to offer and achieve: risograph workshops, art exhibits, and the artbook/print shop.

Follow Pau and Dyam’s adventures as a Manila-based Risograph press and design studio via @_badstudent on Instagram.

#BenchEveryday in the Life: Roberto Seña, Musician & Producer