June 9, 2013
I met Apol last March at Manila FAME. I felt like I knew her already. We must have met over 10 years ago while we were both in media. She was the founding editor of Real Living magazine. She has since gotten married, moved to France, explored being a creative entrepreneur, and moved back to the Philippines with her husband and daughter to live by the beach in Bohol.
She told me about her online shop La Pomme Kids selling crafts she designs and makes herself, as well as products created by other Filipino artists and artisans.
Check out La Pomme Kids at their pop-up shop at KISH on Friday & Saturday June 21 & 22. Here’s an idea of what LPK has and a glimpse into Apol’s creative life in Bohol.
What’s the story of La Pomme Home & Kids? Did you really plan on pursuing this creative endeavour or was it accidental as a result of your move to the island?
La Pomme Home has been around since 2007, a handmade home décor endeavor I started in France that in the beginning was more about objects for children, before I ventured into grown-up stuff. I got back to the Philippines knowing that I’d continue doing that, but this time instead of using French linen and vintage cotton, working with materials from here. La Pomme Kids is a happy accident, because when I got back here I also felt the urge to return to making things for children, with the added bonus of working with Filipino artists and artisans.
I know a lot of people who dream of taking their north american/european retirement packages and buying a beach or an island in the Philippines. Was this your dream life as well? What did you and your husband have to do to attain this “dream life” far from the western world?
Our ideal life had always been to live creative lives with a certain measure of freedom from that sad lifestyle conveyed by the French expression “métro, boulot, dodo,” meaning a life all about routine and work. We lived in a quaint provincial village in France, and worked for ourselves, so we already had what we wanted. Except that France really is a very structured society, where life is almost too predictable. When we had our daughter, we knew that we wanted her to experience a culture different from that. We wanted her to grow up not being afraid to take risks, to be able to think out of the box, abilities we feel are not prized by the French culture. So this move back here. Our thinking is, even when we move on, maybe find ourselves back in Europe, she’d already have been immersed in a different kind of being, and be conscious of the fact that life is not necessarily a well-ordered set of events.
Three things you learned about yourself when you decided to do this major life switch.
That I’m not quite as cool as my husband. I need a certain measure of order and security in my days.
That I need to work. I can’t be lolling around on the beach all day!
That I really like cool weather.
Describe a typical day.
I wake up around five a.m., do e-mail and some work on the computer. My daughter is up around 7 a.m., so we make breakfast. My husband comes straggling in an hour later. Then they go to the beach, or to Lilou’s preschool, while I stay home, get photos done for the shop or take care care of orders. They’re back for lunch. Afternoons we’ll probably be with people who work with us, maybe artisans or home crafters, to discuss products. Often this involves long drives to faraway towns, and stops at places like swimming holes you’d find in caves, or waterfalls, or lakes, anything to escape the heat. Once we found a restaurant that served crocodile. But usually we’ll just stop at a market to see if we can’t buy some fish for dinner.
Tell us about your sewing hobby. How did it start? When do you find time to sew?
I had always been involved in making things with my hands. Before I left Manila a decade ago, aside from working in media, I was also making jewelry. When I got to France, knowing that I could sew, my mother-in-law gave me a hand-me-down portable sewing machine with 60s-style orange and yellow flowers decorating its plastic body, and funkily named “Singer Starlet.” I’ve not looked back since! I find the time at night, when my child is in bed and my husband is at the computer.
Upside of living the way you do? Downside if any?
Upside is we get to spend the whole day with our child. Downside is we rarely get to spend quality couple time alone.
Three things you miss about living in France.
Springtime and cherries. Good meat and cheese. The way people are frank and verbal.
Three things of France you brought to Bohol.
The language, which we speak at home when there’s no one else around.
A certain “jusqu’a bout-ism,” which means going to the very end to get what we want or push our point. My family is a very stubborn lot.
My Laguiole knife, a gift from my husband. Very beautiful, but also practical. It’s indispensable for cutting into those barbecued pork bellies and delicious tropical fruits that we eat a lot of here.
What do you want Lilou to learn about this experience?
That she can create the life she wants.
Where is home?
We’ve only been here less than six months, so I still miss France. Bohol is very pretty, but I think the language prevents us from really feeling at ease here. I like it every time I’m in Manila, but the pollution and sheer density of people living there are a bit scary. So, uhm, can you ask me again in six months?
Apol’s website La Pomme Home and Kids.