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Saturday, January 10, 2004


Right Now...

I am just lazing around here in the house, basically in front of my reliable desktop. I was supposed to go out to day and have my medical check-up but unfortunately, I woke up late. When I opened my eyes, it was past 10 in the morning already. To think I had decided last night to have a very early morning check-up since I did not make any appointment with the doctor. I was still battling with my mind if I should go and try to finish everything today even though it would take me more time than one would expect. But here I am.

Oh yes! I will be logged on the net for the entire day. So does my boyfriend says. Well, he is checking out this office account he had set-up and he wants me to use it so he can monitor its "performance." A little slow but maybe because of the heavy load of users trying to access the net. Anyway, it is fairly fine with me.

What I will be doing today? Accomplish my workload which I brought home last night; check, reply to my emails, clean my inbox, surf the net, read news, blog-hopping and update my own blog. I am not in the mood to be busy with the household chores. That can wait. Besides, my effort will be useless since a corner of the house is being "renovated and cemented" to give way to the new aircon. Siemai! Magkaka-aircon na ang room namin ni sister ko. It was my younger sister who bought it. She was so bent on having one. I am not so excited. Anyway, she wants it and so does my mom. Or was it because my sister was able to give something more valuable to my mom than I did? To think I receive a bigger salary than she does! Oh, I do not think it is sibling rivalry. I am just as happy for her to do such stuff for my mom. I know she is self-fulfilled by that.



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On Bathing Suits...

I was browsing this site when an article caught my attention. Anyway, let me post it here.

Question: How do you spot a Pinoy at the beach?

Answer: Easy. The Pinoy’s the one frolicking in a dark T-shirt and shorts.

Call it modesty, call it propriety, call it a perverse sense of shame, but you will hardly ever catch a Pinoy baring any skin in the sun or surf. Maybe it is an intense fear of getting dark, or angst about exposing flab, but this is getting ridiculous, folks. When only the little kids are the ones wearing brightly colored swimsuits, while their parents are decked out in enough cloth to rival Mother Teresa, something definitely smells fishy.

"The usual porma for swimming, T-shirt and shorts – you are going to drown in that outfit," chorus Liza and Sawi Puyat. As the creators of SPF swimwear, these sisters dream of providing an affordable, flattering swimsuit for every Pinoy. "It is so sad that we are a tropical country and most of us cannot even afford a bathing suit," says Liza.

SPF stands for "sun, play, fun," which is the perfect acronym when you are offering swimwear, sportswear, and gymwear. It is also perfect because the clothes have built-in sun protection, or UPF (ultraviolet protection factor), which blocks out harmful ultraviolet radiation. "You want to protect your kids," explains Liza, "because not too many people know that UVA and UVB rays cause skin damage, especially if you are under 18."

According to the Puyats, the sunblocking action comes from the fabrics they make their swimsuits with (which have not been treated with chemicals, they stress). The lycra and supplex they import from Asia have been approved by the Australian Radiation Laboratory as having a UPF of 50+, which means excellent protection. The swimsuits are also light and quick-drying ("What Nike calls their ‘dry-fit,’" notes Sawi), so kids won’t feel cold after a dip in the water.

Liza and Sawi take inspiration from their mother Mila T. Puyat, who’s had over 30 years of experience manufacturing and exporting children’s swimwear under the label Seagal. Their clients? Oh, names you might be familiar with, like Nike, Reebok and the Gap. Which means that the sisters had all the family resources at their disposal to start their own venture. For one, they had a wealth of classic swimsuit designs to choose from–all they had to do was pick the materials. Consequently, the store carries a swimsuit for every taste, from the most classic, camouflaging one-piece to the sexiest, briefest two-piece.

"If you are conservative, there is a two-piece tankini that is not too revealing," says Sawi. "If you are a bit more adventurous, there is a shorter top with boy-leg shorts. We also offer the string bikini because that is a classic."

"We do not want to be overly trendy," adds Liza. "We are the ones who can dictate what we want, because we are not following anybody."



By far, the bestseller is their children’s sun suit, a sleek, zip-up one-piece that resembles a diving suit. "We wanted to concentrate first on infants to kids to teens," says Sawi, "and then shortly after opening, a lot of moms and dads started asking, ‘What about us?’" So the owners decided to be a one-stop shop for everyone to get their swimming gear.

SPF provides everything you need for a day at the beach (or gym, or triathlon), from legionnaire’s caps and sun hats to flip-flops, waterproof bags and colored zinc sunblock sticks for kids. Prices range from P300 to P450 for the infants’ and kids’ lines, and P550 to P900 for the teen and adult sizes – half the price of imported brands.

Though admittedly not the sporty type ("Unless you count the gym"), 28-year-old Liza is the entrepreneurial spirit behind SPF. An interior-design graduate from UP, Liza joined the workforce when the Asian crisis hit and no interior-design firms were hiring, so she set about creating a job for herself.

"I wanted to do something other than design, and it just came to me one day–why don’t you sell bathing suits?" she recalls. "There is really a need for local swimwear here that is affordable. We want more people to experience what it is like to be able to own good-looking swimsuits that protect you and that are of good quality."

She tapped her older sister Sawi, 31, a UP graduate in Business Administration who’d worked at Citibank for five years. Sawi had stopped working to care for her daughter, now 2, and now oversees the financial side of SPF. It is apparent that the two are close, being the eighth and ninth in a family of nine kids. They fondly recall Sundays with the family as being "pasyal day," when they had to help the salesgirls at their mom’s Cubao store before going shopping.

If, at their own outlet, you notice that the atmosphere is as colorful and playful as the clothes, that is no accident. Liza designed the store herself, the sunny faΓ§ade of which has been attracting foot traffic since it opened in Robinsons Galleria’s East Wing in September 2003.

If there is one thing that frustrates this duo the most, it is people pegging their store as "just for kids" because of the bright colors, or "for summer only," which is ironic, considering we all live in the tropics. "Hopefully people will catch on that we do not have seasons like in the States – it is hot and they can swim all year round," says Liza.

Oh, and what about that Pinoy habit of going for a dip in shorts and a T-shirt?

Says Sawi serenely, "That is why we made our stuff reasonable, so people can and should be able to change their bathing suits whenever they want to."

*hmm* Sounds interesting. Bet on it I will check this out. Summer is just a few months away and I am raring to buy a new swimsuit. Hehehe!

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