Pre-college Shopping List (the Kuripot Version)

Hey there CAMPers! Congrats on all your acceptances! My name’s Marianna, I’m a rising senior at Wesleyan University, and I am unashamed to say that I’ve always been a cheapskate. Before I left for college, I was told I’d be able to buy basically everything I needed there in the US. While that was (and is) true, I definitely ended up paying more than I needed to, and I had a smaller selection from which to choose on top of that.

I hope to prevent the same from happening to you, so for the sake of money and convenience, here’s a list of stuff that I wish I had known to buy in Manila before I left for the US. Most items on this list can easily be found in big malls with department stores like SM or Landmark (in fact, that’s where I suggest you look first). And all of these things should be able to fit in your suitcases without adding much weight.


(photo courtesy of target.com)

*** Keep in mind that I go to a small college in a small town, kind of in the middle of nowhere, on the East Coast. The best thing you can and should do is get in touch with someone who actually goes to your college, preferably someone from the Philippines, and ask them for more specific advice about what and what not to bring. :)

Stuff to Buy in the Philippines:

1. Pillow cases (standard size)

- There will be a lot more variety in department stores in Manila. Or, better yet, bring over your favorite pillow cases from home.

- Usually, the Twin XL bed sheet set you’ll buy will already come with one pillowcase. But many people buy a set of two pillows so you’ll need at least one more. Plus it’s nice to have extras.

2. Eye mask and ear plugs

- If you’re the type who can have trouble sleeping. Also handy on the plane.

3. A laptop sleeve/case if you don’t have one yet

- I found mine in Landmark for Php150 and so many people here have asked where I got it, haha.

4. Two or three mesh laundry bags for your underwear/delicates

- You can find these anywhere, but I particularly like the ones from Saizen! They’re a third of the price of the ones in Bed Bath & Beyond, and better quality too. Most people don’t need that many (I own 3).

5. Bath/skin/nail care

- You can find an incredible variety of shampoo, soap, moisturizer, lotion, etc. in the US so don’t worry about the products. I’m talking tools: A loofah, nose strips, all your nail stuff (nail clipper, filer, buffer, etc.) – tons cheaper back home.

6. Travel kit with empty bottles/little jars

- Preferably with a transparent case/bag, and TSA-compliant bottle sizes. Comes in handy when you travel around, which many of you will during breaks.

7. School supplies

- At my college, laptops are pretty popular for note-taking, but many people still use notebooks, and some professors actually don’t allow laptops. So if you’re particular about having nice school supplies, and if you can make space in your suitcase for them, I suggest you do – even for just a couple of notebooks, pens, Post-Its, etc. National Bookstore’s quality and its wide selection, for the price, is absolutely superior to that of Staples.

8. Cold weather stuff, if your college is in a cold place

- I know it seems counterintuitive to buy winter wear in a tropical country… but Manila’s so freaking hot all the time so no one buys winter stuff! It is worth at least checking out some sales (and then compare prices online if you like). Don’t buy a lot, just a few things to get you started.

- I personally recommend hitting up all the ukay-ukay stores for great deals (just check that it’s a decent brand & that it’s made of down or a good down alternative). It is possible to find good quality there, you just have to be persistent in your hunt. I got my own practically brand-new SUPER warm & reliable winter jacket for Php650 (vs Php5,000+) in an ukay-ukay in Tagaytay. If you bring it to the US and find it isn’t perfectly warm enough, oh well, it was cheap and you’ll have a back-up.


Side note that doesn’t belong anywhere else on this list:

If you’re planning on printing out a WHOLE BUNCH of photos to decorate the walls of your dorm room (which you should totally do), it’s way cheaper & more convenient to do it online. Snapfish.com is my go-to, you just upload the photos and they print and deliver them straight to you. :)

Marianna Ilagan graduated from Saint Pedro Poveda College in 2011. She now attends Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT as part of the class of 2015.

Working in a Creative Firm: Expect the Unexpected

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Cheska Bernabe’s first post:

I’ve been working in PULSE for almost a month now, and I’m proud to say I’m beginning to grasp the concept of what a creative firm actually is and what they do. Being completely honest, I did not know at all what a creative firm was when I decided to sign up as an intern for PULSE Group-Creative Partners Inc. When I was reading the job description, I liked the idea of becoming a Social Media and Communications Intern, and this job seemed like the one that would fit my personality and skills the most. 


On my first day, I have to admit I was pretty scared, not really knowing what to expect.  The only thing on my mind was “is my outfit formal enough” or “is this some serious business place”, but all those ideas changed when I finally met the founder of PULSE, my boss Ms. Rovaira Dasig, a Fil-Am woman who decided to migrate to Manila after studying at Wellesley College. Ms. Rovaira was (and still is) definitely the best boss and mentor I could ask for. She welcomed me to the firm with open arms and inspired me to want to make a difference in the country. She also explained to me that the creative firm aims to provide high standard creative consulting, branding, and production services for both local and international clients. One thing I love about my job is the vision of PULSE, to undertake projects that would support the vast and creative communities in Manila. For example, a current project of PULSE is managing the production of a television sitcom for a US-based network, which is to be shown both in the Philippines and the USA. Another thing I love about my job is that there are other interns coming in for the summer. One of them goes by the name of Chabs, from Ateneo de Manila University. Being the youngest in the firm is definitely challenging, especially when you have expectations to live up to, but I’m very grateful that the college interns are there to help me, as they have more experience in these things. I’ve definitely bonded with Chabs and I’m thankful that we work hand in hand in finishing some of the projects Ms. Rovaira assigns us to do.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been assigned to research on potential partners and clients that PULSE could obtain. Though the current office in Makati is welcoming and full of color, I have also been assigned to finding office spaces, particularly in Old Manila where PULSE wants to establish its new one. Yesterday, instead of having our usual meetings in Eastwood, Ms. Rovaira asked us interns to meet up in Intramuros, particularly the Plaza San Luis Complex. There, we had a photo shoot for the firm’s website that will be remade. They took photos of us interns that would go on each of our profiles in the said website. Aside from the that, the firm is also planning a launch party I’m helping out in, particularly in the planning and social media aspect of it. Coincidentally, the same San Luis Complex we had the shoot in would be the designated venue, so we were able to plan the physical arrangements and estimate costs of the said event.


So far with everything I’ve accomplished, I could honestly say working in PULSE alongside Ms. Rovaira and the other interns has definitely been an memorable experience I didn’t expect to go through. I’ve learned so much about marketing and branding strategies, social media, and even some life lessons that Ms. Rovaira tells me every so often. But this isn’t the end yet. I am definitely looking forward to the last few weeks of my internship, and I am ready for the future projects that will be given to me.

Cheska Bernabe is a student at Saint Pedro Poveda College.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

Signs for a Change

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Irah Zapanta’s first post:

While struggling to keep my balance in the train, one Tuesday morning, thoughts about work ran through my head like on a marathon without an end—without resolution. I wondered what Edukasyon.ph had in store for me that day. Will I look for partnership opportunities? Will I write more articles? Will I research more universities? These questions were not answered, but hopefully, I will have been enlightened by the time I reach the office.

Stepping out of the train entailed a well-planned and violent process. I strategically positioned myself at the middle of two doors. Eventually arriving at Ayala, I realized that no amount of politeness can get me out. I had no choice but to elbow my way towards the platform. The sad reality that most Filipinos have to put up with inefficient railway systems really bothered me. I thought to myself, “I am going to change all this,” which further highlighted my responsibility to make the most of my education—the only solution I could think of.

I went down the stairs to a busy sidewalk. I tried hailing a cab, but to no avail, none came. I nervously checked the time. Minutes passed, and a kid of about ten years old helped me. He walked barefoot on the road and looked for a cab. I thanked him, but his sacrifice, he asserted, should be compensated with money. Seeing the grave poverty in his eyes, I gave him change like what everybody else did and will do.

Forgetting the kid was impossible.

“Along Paseo de Roxas. Corner Buendia Avenue,” I distractedly said to the driver. The driver asked me a lot of questions, and I just said, “Manong, I’ll lead you there po.”

Inside the car, I thought of the kid enduring the heat with nothing to fill his stomach. Then, I thought of all the kids like him who were out there begging for money.

This image of helplessness brought me back to my previously unanswered questions: Will I look for partnership opportunities, write more articles or research more universities? 

Indeed I will, but those were not the only tasks I needed to do. I was also assigned to empower people, to inspire change in society and to give credit and purpose to education.

Commuting to the office was worthwhile and fulfilling with the thought of helping kids study in school through scholarships and other academic opportunities. Soon, I thought, these kids, products of collaborative efforts, will stand and will lead the country to development and prosperity.

I finally arrived at my destination, and I excitedly got out of the taxi. With a sense of purpose, I eagerly went inside the building.

Irah Zapanta is a student at La Salle Greenhills.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.