French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.
If for the rest of the world Santa is coming in 2 months, in the Philippines it is tomorrow! With Christmas carols heard as early as September, I already feel under an intense shopping pressure.
No plastic crap made in China, hyperactive electronic toy nor materialistic Barbie for us. If I start shopping so early, it’s because I am looking for something special. My criteria: organic, unique and 100% locally made. Last but not least, I want to know who made it and under what conditions.
All checked in UkeCebuUkuleleStore . Meet with Brian Brusas (a.k.a. SYO NGEE), the inspiring founder of the brand, ukulele aficionado and self made artist!
Ukulele store is the child of a love story. One of those stories that make you take the extra mile, go far beyond your boundaries. And when you have settled down with the one of your life, your love is so contagious and inspiring that it spread to all the people around you.
When Brian first held a ukulele, it was love at first sight. A Love that would keep Brian awake for nights, learning from videos on youtube, playing and adjusting the little guitar for hours (bless the patience of his lovely wife!).
“I wanted to learn all I could about the ukulele, recalls Brian. Not only the sound, but also how it was made, even the smallest detail. At the time, I was looking for the perfect match, the ukulele of my life!”
Like a soul mate, the ukulele must please the eyes. But not only: it must also please the ears and.. the wallet!
With Brian’s very decent salary in the business sector, what would you have done? Travel to Hawaii to meet with the most famous ukulele crafters? Order from the most renowned online shops ?
Brian didn’t consider any of those options. He simply… quit his job and dedicated to his passion. “ I had to make my perfect ukulele! When you let your heart guide you, it works!” he says in a bright smile.
And it worked! The artist managed to create his perfect match. He did not selfishly stop here, he created a whole family of ukuleles! Every child is special, made of mango, bamboo, koawoods,rosewoods …Eventually, the Ukulele family turned into a brand: Huni Ukuleles, that proudly represents the rich culture and craftmanship of the Cebuanos.
To spread the love for the ukulele, Brian and his colleagues are working with communities of Mactan, teaching them the ancestral art of making the instrument from bamboo. Ukulele is not only creating luthiers, but also eco responsible artists (Bamboo is actually the most renewable woods on the planet). The passionate team of Huni also give music lessons and welcome students from 5 years old.
Et voilà! I have found my Christmas present for Marcel. In a way or another, the Ukulele will do us good :
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