If reindeer can fly (admittedly more elegantly due to the way they gracefully leap through the air), why not piggies?! Imagine if Santa’s sleigh were pulled by a dozen mangalitsas, kurobutas or black credo ibericos? That would be Zubuchon’s realm, definitely. :)
A week or so ago, we were driving to the office in Cebu and I spotted a roadside vendor making and selling some rattan deer and other christmas related items out of rattan vines. I’m not sure what compelled me to stop, but we did, backed the car up and I rolled down my window to ask if the man could make some three-dimensional pigs. He looked at me a bit quizzically, but said he could give it a go. I told him I would send over a large logo for him to use as his guide, and he had some artistic license to interpret it as he saw fit. I also noticed he appeared to have suffered a stroke and his right side was still mostly paralyzed. He also had a non-local accent and it turns out he was from Leyte, relocated to Cebu (after the storm) and was trying to eke out a living from the one thing he knew how to do with his hands. One sample, a few adjustments and a couple of visits later, he produced this FANTASTIC rendition of our Zubuchon mascot/logo. It was so amazing that I ordered a dozen for the stores, obviously because they just look good, but also because I figured it would help the guy out. He was ecstatic to receive the order, which was the equivalent of more than a month’s wages. And I have no clue how he does it but he can turn out 2-3 of these beauties a DAY, and using only his left hand for the most part! He seemed to get the essential haughtiness or “katarayan” of our piggy, and I am just plain amazed by his talent and perseverance. And don’t they just look terrific in the restaurant?
On another level, our elderly parol supplier of the past few years, who I also found roadside years ago selling lanterns to passersby, absolutely REFUSED to make us several hundred parols using papel de japon this year. He said last year’s order for 300 pieces nearly caused a divorce and arguments with his offspring as the lanterns kept tearing and they were a royal pain in the ass to complete on time. No matter how much we begged, pleaded, and offered to increase the price paid, he was firm and we had to give in and order them in red plastic instead. Given that we plan to use some 500 pieces in all of our stores this year, and some of them outdoors, I just had to suck it up this time around. It’s a bit of a bummer, I am very traditional about those paper parols, but such is life in the modern setting. But the disappointment was fleeting, for look at them installed en masse at one of our outlets — I thought they looked pretty darned good.
Some 300 pieces in total were put up against our windows and outdoors on the terrace. And they are getting a lot of comments from our guests recently.
And for the third component of locally sourced goods for the holidays, our trees are trimmed with locally made handblown glass ornaments — clear medium and large sized balls, and red and white painted and glittered glass ornaments in different shapes — that hang on some of our Christmas trees. We also put some of the ornaments on our gift table in case anyone wants to purchase them for their own trees.
I totally enjoy running a small business, despite all its quirks and inevitable challenges. But it’s the little things like being able to buy a dozen rattan pigs and 500 parols from roadside vendors on a whim that almost always seem to make it more rewarding and worth all the effort, particularly towards the holidays. I don’t get an official receipt nor VAT for these purchases, and so from a business perspective they don’t make sense. But from a human point of view, I know these types of purchases will do more good, period.
Oh, and I brought one of the piggies home, with another to follow. Our chocolate brown labrador was amused with her new friend, and they seemed to be bussing each other on the cheek. Heeheehee. :)