What My Current Bag Says About My Current Life

MIGHTY, STRONG FISH JUMPING OUT OF AN ALT MANILA BAG BY TITA PACITA

 

Contrary to popular belief, not all titas carry or own a Longchamp Le Pliage. Well, I used to, but that was way back in college, and I wasn't tita then, so I suppose that's invalid. 

Growing up wearing a school uniform on the daily, seeing JanSport backpacks everywhere, and even using one myself until it lasted, I never really gave bags much importance. As a Catholic school girl through and through, I paid more attention to my shoes, my skirt length, and the accessories I'd sneak in to wear (back story: in the name of "simplicity", it's wasn't allowed in school).

That is, until I paid attention to what a proper bag can do to uplift my mood, my look, my outfit, and eventually, my life. I learned of its aesthetic, functional, and health benefits, and it is what I'd like to share with you.

 

HIGH SCHOOL AND MY PUNK ROCK PHASE

Picture this: I carried a black backpack with Blink-182 and Green Day pins, an anti-Avril Lavigne one (yes, I had so much hate), and many more I'd rather not reveal here. My science teacher was quick to point out that my bag was bigger than normal, and asked if I had run away from home. Of course, he was trying to be funny. But I wanted to tell him to first survey my little frame vis-à-vis the thick books the school was requiring us to read, and then re-assess my choice of bag size.

I didn't, and instead, I stayed quiet, pretended to be amused, and went through the motions. I was genuinely interested in science, after all. Yet I did nothing about my backpack and its questionable button pins; I thought it was one of the ways in which I quietly expressed myself. At the end of it all, I survived high school life despite my angst. I'd like to believe I successfully covered it all up with my antics, my quirks, my humor, and pretending to be smart. 

 

COLLEGE DAYS AND MY COLLEGE STYLE

There was a brief moment when I carried a skulls 'n' roses JanSport backpack during the first few years, when we were all taking up the general subjects and had P.E. The rest of my college years, however, were spent carrying the quintessential tita Le Pliage, and, well, other renditions of bags "you can stuff everything in". 

Well, not everything. Some photocopied readings were just way too thick to stuff in my bag, along with my fold-able and automatic umbrella, my water bottle, and my feelings. On those days, I'd rather "hand carry" whatever else didn't fit in. I thought it would look... uh nice, you know, walking around the school's famous red brick road, like a scene from a movie, hugging my books, with my "you can stuff almost everything in" bag nonchalantly on my arm.

Clearly, it was those days when I prioritized style over comfort, or, well, over everything. 

 

ENTERING THE WORK FORCE WITH MY BAUNAN OF A BAG

  STUFFING A CHICKEN INSIDE AN  ALT MANILA  BAG BY TITA PACITA

STUFFING A CHICKEN INSIDE AN ALT MANILA BAG BY TITA PACITA

My first job was in PR and as you may famously know, I had such a journey of a commute. While I no longer needed to carry around my readings, notebooks, a pencil case, and such, I did need to bring my lunch, snacks, water, and my full commuting gear. My office mates say my bag is more fittingly a baunan, but I personally think of it as an emergency kit. All the essentials are in there, after all.

Or so I thought. Further down my work life, I soon found myself bringing a lot of extra baggage, such as heels for sudden events, a fancy coat for surviving the air-conditioning, and even an extra outfit to change from a K-pop inspired ensemble to one that's client meeting-appropriate. Luckily, this was also around the time when reusable shopping bags were an in thing, and given away like hotcakes (or shall I say McMuffins?), so I finally made use of one to carry all my extras. 

I remember having to resort to two separate bags all the time because all the commuting was taking a toll on my back. It was the doctor's advice, too, and I knew it was high time I put my health first. I needed to balance the weight of my baggage, and a backpack, soon I learned, would strain my spine, too. The shopping tote was perfect to lug around my extras and carry with my real bag (the chicer one of the two, of course). As it didn't contain any valuables, I didn't have to worry about putting it down on the floor for a while, to let my back and shoulders rest, too.

And so I lived this way for about five or so years. I regret nothing of it,  as I did like being always prepared. But the funny thing is, I realize now how much extra baggage I carried each day, which back then I thought were all necessary. The things I brought with me on my daily commute were things I thought I'd die without. If you ask my older, wiser self now, I'd probably say it's all extra baggage I carried upon myself.

 

LIVING THE TITA LIFE

Today, I am legitimately a tita, thanks to my niece, and essentially one, too, and one who is relatively free from all the teenage and quarter-life angst and baggage. I manage with the smallest possible bags to carry just the essentials with me. At times, I even dare the weather not to rain despite the forecast telling me otherwise, and still decide to leave my umbrella behind. If it rains and I get soaked, what's the worst that could happen right? (LOL, well who am I kidding!)

Among my collection of tiny bags, I only own one tita bag where I "can stuff everything in", and it's the one I've photographed for this story. Don't you just love its chic color? It's roomy and contains a lot of pockets, too. I only use it on days when I have to bring important gear with me or when I'd like to baon an extra bag of chips in case I randomly get hungry.

Otherwise, I'd carry a purse. In bag language, living this way has been the funnest and lightest, so far.  Cliche as it sounds, I've less baggage to deal with now. 

 

FEATURED BAG IS THE SIENA IN BROWN from alt manila.

 

 

 


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