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We bring you a fashion travel report from the Philippines, which will inspire you to visit the country yourselves

Croata in the Philippines 

T

he Philippines is a special and interesting place. It is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. This country, which is full of islands, incredible natural beauty, and⁠ – first and foremost⁠ – friendly people, is one of the best places that I have visited. I had been planning a trip to the Philippines for some time and when the time came to go there, I was very excited and happy to finally visit my dear friend Anna Lao, a French woman of Cambodian descent living and working in Manila. The fact that I came to a completely different part of the world, to chaotic Asia, was not much of a shock to me since I had already had an opportunity to live and study in the South Korean capital of Seoul. To be honest, I could barely wait to visit the famous continent. That part of the world has a special kind of energy, which is unique and easy to get accustomed to and which makes you explore every single part of it. 

I spent about ten days in the Philippines: several days in Manila and a lot more time on the remarkable island of Palawan, that is, in the municipality of El Nido. El Nido is a genuinely happy place with one of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen. I have never before had the chance to meet people who were as joyous and optimistic as people there. No matter their situation, you could always see a smile on their faces. The place left a great impression on me on many levels and left me with new friends and memories.

After the paradise El Nido, it was time to explore the capital. Manila is a typical chaotic Asian city: there is poverty on the one hand, and the modern, well-off class of people on the other. Thanks to a friend of mine who lives there I saw most of the city, visited some of its interesting parts, and learned historical and cultural stories. Considering that the fashion industry and different styles of clothing are a big passion of mine, which Anna also shares, she fell in love with the Croata brand, which I work for, and this is how the series of photos of Anna and the silk scarves came to be. 

This created a mix of cultures and fashion traditions. We displayed an explosion of styles, which proved that fashion goes beyond borders and nationalities, and that a cooperation between different countries and ways of thinking can lead to something creative. Fashion⁠ – but primarily luxurious fashion accessories, such as those designed by Croata⁠ – has for a long time fascinated people around the world. It was only when a girl with such a different lifestyle and of such a different descent fell in love with our brand that we saw what makes our designs attractive and our brand, which looks good in various contexts, truly strong. 

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Photos were taken in Manila. The locals advised us on the best locations for a photo shoot, and this is why the first photos were taken in the old city centre: at Intramuros. This is the oldest and the most monumental part of Manila: a historical old town surrounded by bulwarks, which is evident from the name of the location itself. The central part of the area is occupied by Fort Santiago, a former colonial military hub, which stands as a witness to the lives lost during the Spanish colonial reign. The area is also home to the Museum of Jose Rizal, a Filipino national hero, artist, writer and scientist who spoke 24 languages. The old town, which oozes a special kind of pleasant energy, is characterized by the Spanish colonial architecture and it is ideal place for taking strolls and photos or making a picnic.

The second part of the photo shoot was done in the modern part of Manila: at the Bonifacio Global City, that is, on Bonifacio High Street. Nowadays this street teems with novelties, urban events and it represents the main financial hub. As the first street of its kind in Manila, Bonifacio High Street serves as a stage for some new events full of modern buildings, business centres, various cuisines, innovative fashion and street shows. Thematic zones across eight buildings on two boulevards celebrate the contemporary aspects of a good life – fashion, health and beauty, home, sport and technology.

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The atmosphere, and the brand I was able to familiarize myself with, the fun process of tying scarves... all of this will be forever etched in my mind, as well as the summer when I discovered a part of the Croatian fashion scene and cultural heritage in a combination with Filipino historical monuments and unique landscapes. #croatiandesign is a new hashtag that I will follow with excitement,” Anna concluded.

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