Outventure was DTI-registered in July 2013. Though I have been doing bookings as early as March 2013 for friends, it was under a different company. Outventure had its soft opening on November 10 but was only open for a week. Lia and I had to go to Manila for some important errands, and we went back to El Nido on the first week of December. Outventure officially opened the office and shop in December 11. These photos were taken then.
Because we get our items from different parts of the country: Baguio, Sagada, Bacolod, La Union, Manila, Albay, to name a few; and we have to deal with shipping from these places to Manila then loading them on a cargo boat to El Nido, we change our items often. When items are sold out, it takes a while to replenish, if we do at all. Shipping is a tedious, time-consuming, and expensive process that involves at least 7 people every time.
When we opened, I had some left over stocks from Kikayism like knitted bikinis and clothes by Chizza. Most of the clothes have been sold out in January and most probably, there would be no new stocks until next season. I also had the tapis dresses from Agos Pilipinas and they were sold out some time during Chinese New Year. My goal really is just to keep the shop always filled with items on display even if that is not really our main line of business.
Outventure is an office. It is where we process our pre-booked guests and voucher holders. In the Outventure office, we provide tourist maps and information kits. It is a one-stop shop where one can book anything: rooms, flights, land transfers, tours in Puerto Princesa and El Nido, as well as other activities like camping, fishing, and diving. We also offer services like laundry, massage, and rentals of motorbikes and kayaks. Just come in and let us know what you need and want to do, and we can arrange anything for you. The Outventure website is unfinished though and work on it is ongoing with a web developer friend of mine based in Cebu.
Outventure also processes credit card payments. The goal of Outventure is to be of assistance to travelers, even with just information. Yes, we provide free information as well, if the tourism office is closed. 😉
What one will see, hear, and feel in the Outventure office and shop, is a mix of our interests and passion. If anything, it is a space filled with vibrant colors and positive energy. Outventure, with its white walls, and solid bold bright colors, is truly one of its kind in El Nido. It stands out (or at least hopes to) in everything it does – from online bookings, payments, Filipino-made items, and above all, service. I am very proud of what Outventure is. Some people come in and say it is such a hippie/hipster place. Maybe it is, maybe we are; but nonetheless, we are proud of it.
We are on the left side of Serena St., if coming from the main road that is Rizal, after La Bodega and Sealand Venture on the left side and The Alternative Inn and Restaurant and Seadog Diving, both on the right.
I fell in love with What If Handmade‘s products the moment I saw them. I sent them a message on Facebook and placed my orders. I arranged to pick up the items at the Global Pinoy Bazaar 2014 in Rockwell Tent, Makati. We carry their items because we love and believe in what they do. People come into the shop and they go crazy over the travel blankets, towels, and wind chis. The book ends/door stoppers are heavy, so even if a lot of people love them and would like to buy them, they are limited by their luggage allowance with the airlines as well as luggage inspections. Me, I love having them around! The owl and the kitty cat are absolutely charming.
Since everything is handmade, I usually have to wait at least a month for them to complete my orders, depending on season as well, and then we deal with shipping, which takes some time from 1 to 2 weeks.
These are the travel pillows with Baybayin (also called Alibata) on them. Baybayin is a pre-colonial Philippine system of writing. They are for sale at the Outventure shop and they will be at The Last Beach Cottages rooms.
When we opened, we only had 50 pieces of these book pouches from Bambag Canvas Bags. They were gone in a month. It was such a surprise! Because I had loved Bambag’s canvas wallets and bags and those were really what I ordered. Bamba told me she had a new product and asked me if I was interested in them. Sometimes, people come in and buy 10, 15, or 20 pieces. Usually though, they ask, “What is this?” and we have to explain to them what it is for. I have this idea of making one shelf filled with the book pouches, labeled, and arranged according to genre: Classics, Young Adult, Children’s, Science Fiction, etc.
The baskets, and boxes are all mine, and accumulated through the years, from my many trips to Dapitan Arcade in Quezon City. I used to go there and go ga-ga over all the boxes. This addiction started when I was still in the university and I carried on until well… now.
This is Kikayism‘s corner. When we opened, I had some 20 pieces of knitted bikinis that I got from our supplier in Bacolod. They sold out fast and now this area is filled with canvas pouches. I am excited about next season. We are designing the bikinis as we did before and they will be on sale at the shop then. This is also where the Hiraya scarves from Palamuti by PJ Valenciano are on display. PJ and I were partners with Kikayism. We met each other in Theater Arts graduate school and I credit PJ as primarily responsible for my getting into surfing. I learned surfing in Charlie’s Point in Baler, Aurora, with one of the Dela Torre brothers as instructor. We went surfing in La Union together many times. We went to the accessories-making workshop together too but I found out that I was not very much interested in production. My interest in wearing accessories also waned after I had Lia. Before Lia, I never went anywhere without earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and anklets. Being a mother changed all that because the bracelets dug into the baby’s skin when I held her, and she tugged at my earrings all the time. I have not gone back to wearing accessories since then.
Now PJ has established her own line of accessories and I am very proud of her. We support each other in everything. She is one gem of a friend.
The bamboo and rattan chairs I got from a quick trip to the furniture street of Puerto Princesa, near the bus and van terminals. Some people come in to the shop and ask me where I got them. One can also pre-order them from the shops in Puerto Princesa. I got an entire set, 2 singles,1 side table, and a bench good for 2-3 people, for the Php2,000! 🙂 But of course, I had to pay for transportation, tricycle from furniture store to the bus terminal, then bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, then tricycle from bus terminal in El Nido to my house in Corong-Corong first, because the shop wasn’t open yet when I bought them, and then eventually, from my house in Corong-Corong to the shop in Serena St.
The shelves filled with What If Handmade travel blankets, travel towels, and door stoppers/book ends, Kikayism knit bikinis, Bambag canvas box-type bags and wallets, Hiraya scarves by PJ Valenciano, Pitaka tarpaulin wallets, and friendship bracelets that my friend Karla made before leaving for work in Singapore! 🙂
These photos were taken in December so we were selling What If Handmade Christmas wreaths as well. They will surely be gracing the doors of The Last Beach Cottages next Christmas.
On the other side of the shop is my well-loved fitting form! 🙂 I love dressing this form up. Sometimes I change it for morning, afternoon, and evening. It’s a lot of fun! Underneath is the Happy Milk Tea Day‘s menu: Got Tea Believe (classic), Beach Bootea (taro), and Catch Tea If You Can (wintermelon). We stopped serving milk tea some time in January to February, with the outbreak of water-related diseases, because I did not want to be even remotely tied to any upset stomachs. We will surely bring it back for summer, along with some milk shakes. Just mango. Yes, just mango milk shake. 😉
On the fitting form is Agos Pilipinas tapis dress and a handwoven and embroidered bag from Sagada.
My friend Karla, who designed the shop with me and made the friendship bracelets, also made these tie-dye shirts. The shop may look like a for-girls only shop, but we also have tie-dye shirts for men! (Hehe) And of course, ice cold beers. 😛
I also got these pillows from Puerto Princesa. In 2013, I probably did two round trips to Puerto Princesa every month. Yes, all 6 hours on that road per way, four times a month. I was working as a Social Media Specialist for the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation and my cheques were always deposited by bank. El Nido, as you all know by now or should at least, has no banks or ATMs, and the only way to get money out of the banks is to go all the way to Puerto Princesa.
Now, these couple mugs would probably be the best-selling item in the shop – if I was selling them. I got them from this obscure store in Puerto Princesa some time in August. There were just a few of them when I saw them and I think I bought all the good ones. So, when people come in and ask how much they are, I have to tell them they not for sale. I wish I could sell them, especially to those who were practically begging, and coming back to the shop again and again to ask to buy them, but if I did, I will have no way of replacing them. I did come back to the store in December to see if there were still some on stock, but alas, there really was none. I only had 4 pairs complete with hats; but Lia broke a couple’s black and pink hats so now two of them are without.
This is the tea-inspirations wall. I got all of them off Pinterest and I printed them all complete with their respective sources. The paper I used to print them on though fades. Next time I reprint then I laminate. 😉
Some people come into the shop and they also want to buy the tea set. I politely tell them that they are not for sale (because one of my best friends from university gave them to me as a Christmas present some years ago). I got the jars as a present too and before being in the shop, they were in boxes, under the bed in our condo in Taguig. The red clock, which Lia decorated with that red flower, I got from a thrift store in Market! Market!
For the Happy Milk Tea Day sign, I had originally wanted them hand painted by one of the artists in El Nido. Hand painting though cost more time and money than having a tarpaulin sign made, and also it is harder to replace, in the event that I want them replaced. So tarpaulin it is.
The book shelves in the corner, where the Outventure table is, hold some of my most favorite books. The Roald Dahl collection, I actually got from El Nido, back in 2005. If you flip the pages, you will see it has “Property of Lualhati Beach Cottages” on it. 😛 The Characters from Tolkien book by David Day was a present from one of my film maker friends eleven years ago. I have a photo book of Caramoan in Camarines Sur, which I bought to help promote tourism in my home province. Yes, I am from Camarines Sur. There, we have wake boarders at the Camarines Sur Wakeboarding Complex (CWC) and tourists at the Caramoan Peninsula (with islands and beaches very much like that of El Nido minus the snorkeling and diving). There is also my well-loved Lonely Planet Philippines book, 2006 edition I think. The new editions of LP has my old bar Wharf Galley Rock Cafe in Naga City in it but this one does not.
Hanging at the corner is a red bull key chain from Spain, that my neighbor Paco, brought home for my daughter Lia when he went home for a vacation last September. Paco is co-owner of Deep Blue Seafari dive shop and we used to be neighbors when Lia and I still lived in Corong-Corong beach.
Lastly, here is our Beer Below Zero freezer, really pretty, and standing right smack in the middle of the back wall. I had BBZ when I still had the bar and I am very proud of BBZ. The owners, operations manager, and the sales manager, I consider as my friends. Really, we just thought about putting up a beer below zero freezer so we can have really cold beers! Come drop by for a bottle, only Php60, for the coldest beers in town! Usually, people think we have a for girls-only shop but no, we have chairs and cold beers for the boyfriends and husbands. 😉