FINDING HOME IN MANILA

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As I am typing this blog post, I look out the window of my condo onto the busy C-5 in Manila and still can’t quite believe that this is my new home. It’s been almost 6 months since my husband Emeka and I made the biggest move of our lives. It feels like such a long time in this new city and somehow, simultaneously feels like just yesterday when we were living in New York City. As I reflect and ponder on all the happenings in the last few months, I can’t help but acknowledge a deep sense of belonging in my new environment. After some reflection, I realize it is the people God has placed in my life and my desire to see His worldwide restoration keeping me rooted in this season.

The seemingly random occurrences in which I meet people in this new country reminds me that we serve an intentional God. The other week, a talented photographer named Killian reached out to encourage me about my new artisanal handbag line, Láro. When she offered to take a few photos for my fall campaign, I was thrilled! As I browsed through her work, I was in awe of her special ability to tell stories through each photograph. I immediately knew the perfect place to tell my story and showcase the unique heritage and elegance of Manila: The City Club Makati.

The City Club Makati is three hectares of leisure, entertainment and business options in Makati’s central business district, offering its members over 50 activities to choose from. Housing nine specialty restaurants, you can choose from a variety of international cuisines. There’s Sakura (Japanese), Mark’s Prime Rib (Steak House), Salathip (Thai), A Taste of France (French), Hai Shin Lou (Chinese), Mykonos (Greek), Toscana Ristorante Italiano (Italian), Costa del Sol (Spanish) and Balesin Islander (Filipino).

Before meeting Killian at The City Club, I was super nervous as I respect and value her craft so much so that I could barely contain my excitement! But as soon as Killian walked through the door with a huge smile and we began sharing our own stories, my nerves dissipated, and I felt as though I had found a long-lost sister. Killian explained that she taken a leap of faith to come to The Philippines with a heart to seek redemption for women survivors of human trafficking- same as me! We also happened to move to Manila from the States for advocacy work around the same time. I still smile now thinking back on how God affirmed my heart and calling through my first conversation with Killian that day.

It was such an honor to shoot at The City Club because I feel that it is the perfect backdrop to tell my story; to share this eternal ache within me to travel the world, spreading the message of empowerment… beginning with Manila. Shooting in the various areas of City Club representing the world, from Costa del Sol to Toscana, truly made me feel like I got to journey the globe in one day! I left the photoshoot reinforced in my hopes for the future and genuinely believe that through Láro, we will begin to see a generational shift towards freedom from chains. Together with my Co-Founder Lea Bodie, we are claiming radical redemption for survivors of human trafficking in the years to come.

I am so excited to share with you all Láro’s photos from our current Fall Trend Report // 40% off September Friends and Family Promo (see below for our 7 Fall Look Faves!). A portion of all sales go towards reclaiming celebration in supporting our artisans and the fight against human trafficking. To join the movement, please visit shoplaro.com.

Photography by Killian Rose Photography

Special thanks to The City Club!

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