*sticker made of my late Uncle & Pastor: Edwin OrmeoBorn Oct. 14, 1948, called to heaven on April 30, 2017
"Alaala ko," like most of Tagalog, is pronounced exactly as it looks. "ah-la + ah-la + ko" You give attention to each letter and let the phrase roll off the tongue.
In English, this roughly translates to, "I remember." And when you put an "ang" in front of it: "ang alaala ko," it changes to, "My memories,"
This is the very core of what my business entails. I believe in creating pieces that mean something. That trigger a memory and bring you back to a moment that moved you.
It doesn't have to always be a profound moment. It can be a moment that made you laugh, that made you roll your eyes, that made you listen, that made you stop and think. They are all important because they make up our narratives and push forward our stories.
In starting this, all I wanted to do was honor those moments. Moreover, I wanted do it in such a way that allowed me to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. So, that meant pulling up my own memories and giving them space to be expressed.
That's why stickers were a natural launching spot for me. I grew up scouring restaurants and storefronts, boba shops, and grocery stores for sticker vending machines. I carried quarters with me everywhere because there was always the chance I would find an awesome vending machine and buy a boss sticker.
Nothing beats putting in 50 cents and turning the dial until that flap of cardboard pokes out. You get that rush of, "Oh man, which one did I get?" and your emotions either soar because you scored or they plummet because you got a lame one.
It was an addicting game of chance, but it was always worth it.
Now, I am much older and don't have to gamble away money in hopes of getting a sticker I want. The pandemic and six months in quarantine gave me an opportunity to exercise artistic muscles and skills I never knew I had. And as a result, I gained the confidence to pursue creating my own pieces.
This evolved into creating pieces for other people and I have found so much joy in crafting stickers that do more than just look pretty. They mean something.
And so, that's what my name: "alaala.ko" translates now for me.
Memories illustrated, so that they can always be remembered.