IN THE INTEREST of the modern Philippine lifestyle, Pia Ugarte Garcia-Morera, Marla Aquino-Batallones, and Marta Garcia-Morera are reinventing global products that reflect an unconventionalapproach to the modern-day Filipino traveler. “I think a lot of people associate Filipino products with beautiful, native designs. There are a lot of brands that use native materials,” Ugarte admits, while Batallones continues: “We don’t. So when people ask us how we are a Filipino brand, (we say) it’s because our products are finished here, and made for the Filipino market and environment by Filipinos.
Viajecito is a spunky accessories brand conceptualized by this spirited trio. Initially introducing rubber-silicon tote bags, Viajecito now has a variety of collections for bags, jewelry, and shoes acquired from distinct areas around the globe such as Colombia and Mexico. A long-distance relationship gone right is the perfect way to put it. Founding their company through online platforms, Ugarte and Batallones describe this modern-day business venture as an organic passion. “Our team, we’re in different places, we have a long-distance relationship and it works well. Our (products) too, like, each bag is made in different places and combined in the Philippines, which is kind of reflective of our team,” Ugarte candidly shares, while Batallones jokingly says, “It actually works. Maybe if we were with each other every day, we might actually end up killing each other!” Portraying their eclectic personalities, Viajecito as a brand carries an aesthetic with four core values: functionality, fashion, fun, and quality without compromise.
Viajecito is now on its way to evolving internationally. It is already available in Singapore, and both ladies disclose that their business partner, who currently lives in Madrid, has likewise started selling their products to local retailers in Spain. Mirroring their styles and tastes, the versatile and customizable brand has proven that balancing a business and friendship is easy. While Batallones and Ugarte follow a more neutral style with a touch of quirk, their partner Marta balances their calm spirit with a colorful and trendy bohemian charm.
Rendering a label that transcends location and borders, these entrepreneurs have conceived Viajecito as revolutionizing the idea of “Philippine-made”. Collecting various pieces through their travels, and remodeling these to create a whole new look, they allow consumers to match their purchases to their lifestyles, as seen in the use of interchangeable straps, linings, and color palettes. Together, Ugarte and Batallones have much pride in being able to share their ideas with the market, explaining that this is the point of forming Viajecito. “We find the Filipino to be a global person, one who travels and is across all nations, a nomad with evolving tastes and lifestyles.” Viajecito has become a reflection of the women behind it. They are Filipino travelers, exceeding locality and defining the progression of Philippine artistry.