Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Happy Arts Charms Crowd in Cebu

Hours were like days and it took a little while before the go-signal came. But when it finally did we were more than pleased. Our dear friend, Ms. Shirlyn Go had paved the way for us to join the event and our products have been positively reviewed. We thank Mr. Hendri Go for the opportunity to showcase what we are all about, amongst the best artists in Cebu and Manila at the Ayala Mall Cebu.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

At our booth.

The response from the audience was heartwarming. We had forgotten how for a week prior we had not enough sleep, caught up in the mix of designing, sewing, painting and all, in preparation for the Cebu Literary Festival x Komiket. All that never occurred to us during the event itself, and we were as fresh as daisies around an arbor in a beautiful sunny day- if only for the sight of a child hugging our owls, flashing what must be the brightest smile in the world. We are thoroughly inspired!

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Quick snap with Mark while setting up our booth.

We are grateful for the chance, which we view as an opportunity to enlighten someone’s day. We reach out to people regardless of age through our articles of happiness, bundles of artworks, like gentle taps on the shoulder that are enough, we pray, to warm a person’s heart and brave the day. It is our hope that our products, which are made with great attention to detail, with unwavering love and passion for the crafts, shall continue to spread good cheer to your homes and in days moving forward.


Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Live While We’re Young

I’ve always wanted to own a bicycle. As a kid I would watch my friends stroll about and listen to their stories of over the weekend escapades at school. I wanted to drive one of those blood red bikes with rims as white as toothpaste, but my mama told me it was not proper for a girl to be seen in one of those in public.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

At our house with my brother’s red bike. 1988 Butuan City, Philippines.

And it was not just about the ride. It was about my getup too, and I was darn sure mama would kill me if she saw me in shorts roaming around the village. My legs were so skinny, besides; like Fido-Dido, the female version of you-know-who.

“But maaa?” I’d say in hopeless protest and walk back lugubriously to my room. Bicycles remain a symbol of adventure for me. Sometimes, peering from our window, I tend to wish this and wish that.

I do not want to be rueful about it, however, so I end up saying to myself that I shall live my life to the fullest from now on and, yes, I’m still young enough to do and learn a many new things. I’m not the sporty type, can’t drive a bike, I can’t swim, but I still want to be that free spirit I imagined myself to be as a child, always alone in my room.

We went trekking up the hills before the year ended, chartered a boat to visit some close by islets, and I was nearly sucked in by huge waves in Puka beach. I was so scared and could have sworn to never go near the shoreline again. But at the end of the day, I realize that’s the most risky thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve never felt so happy to be alive.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Puka beach, Boracay Philippines.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Puka beach shoreline.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Sunny day in Puka beach.

Known for their upbeat songs, such as “Live While We’re Young,” I would like to share this handmade One Direction – inspired canvas tote bag for my close friend. Grace and I go back in high school together, and she requested this for her daughter Erika. I hope she likes this. Go live while you’re young, Erika!

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

My handmade One Direction – inspired canvas tote bag.


Photo Credits: clairelyhappy


I drew inspiration for my recent paintings from my recollection of summers past. Sketching my owls, I think ahead of bright cerulean skies in the months to come. Blue, orange, and green… I swipe colors that keep me in union with the earth.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Working on leather material.

I feel the owl’s eyes stare back at me, round and smiling, cooing. I am pulled toward it, as if it has its own stream of consciousness, and I am reminded of my days as a young girl in Butuan City.

In my hometown, during summer, my brothers and the boys would have their hair shaven. They would run in khaki short shorts, and the girls and I would play in the park in floral dresses and ponytails that exposed the back of our necks- thin and looking elegant against the light, the green of the trees and the balmy weather.

Summer isn’t far away now. I can sense my owl smiling back at me. I’ll be hanging out with my friends soon, preparing for our homecoming, and the family will be bonding at the beach. It shall be golden.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Done with two owl themed leather bags.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Clairelyhappy Owl themed leather bags.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Autism: Owl we need is love

We were on our way to visit my brother’s family when the rain started to pour. I haven’t visited their home for years and decided the rain wasn’t going to keep me from dropping by on the holidays. It was getting heavy, and we heard the news of a storm coming. I wavered a little, supposed I should defer my plans and go the next day. But I started to feel guilty for not even keeping in touch with my family as much as I ought to over the years.

Peering through the windows of Dunkin Donuts that have become dense in the cool weather, I started to evaluate lost time. Mark talks about his family often, about how he loves to hang out with his brother and his kids. He always says it’s great to be able to spend time with people who are literally a reflection of your person-hood. No matter the differences, physically, or of opinion, you’ll still see yourself somehow in each and every one of them.

I didn’t know exactly what to expect the moment we stepped inside their home. I’ve heard few stories about kids with Autism and, lacking sufficient knowledge on the disorder (ASD), I thought their eldest son, Raphael would reject my presence the very moment he sees me.

He doesn’t look directly at anyone, nor did he say a clear word at me the whole time we were there. I think he mumbles and makes grunting sounds regularly, but I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant. Mark says that’s usually how kids with ASDs are misunderstood in public places, and many get bullied in school for it. Most of their peers and teachers may think they’re naughty or a nuisance, when they only do not know how to respond at the same wavelength, nor socialize properly.

I do not like to refer to it (Autism) as a disorder. I look at Raphael and I see a child who’s different, yet aren’t we all from each other? I look at him, and I somehow see myself in him just as Mark said he does with his own family in one way or other.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

With my nephew Raphael.

Like our dear Raphael- whose skin is white as milk, whose brown hair flows smoothly over his forehead, who likes to flap his hands on the table and against the wall, but does so with the purest of intentions- I long for my family’s attention too. I love to be loved, and that’s how we all learn to love ourselves. I like it when people try to understand me when I fail at comprehending my emotions. At times when I prefer to be alone and not talk, just as when our Raphael does not utter a word, I wish for people to sympathize with what I am going through no matter how illogical that may sound.

I don’t slam our table or hit a wall, but if I ever do something uncharacteristic I am happy to know I have someone who’d hold my hand and not highlight on my personal oddities. How we love to be accepted for who we are.

Love is beyond comprehension. We just love without being able to pinpoint exactly why, like a malaise. It’s illogical, encompassing, a disorder. I guess we’re not much different from Raphael.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Finishing touches. Watercolor painting. This is a manifestation of how Raphael inspired me to work on Owl We Need Is Love.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Autism: Owl we need is love. Thanks to my nephew for inspiring me to create this painting, which is now displayed at our home. It’s all about understanding, acceptance and love. 


Photo Credits: Mark F. Villanueva/ clairelyhappy

Artist’s Milieu

I love waking up on a Sunday morning consciously not knowing what to do, and not feeling the need to do anything at all, which is the best way to get things done beautifully, at your own pace. That’s the secret, Mark said, to do things strictly right. One has to perform beyond the cuffs of time and the dictates of a boss, even if you actually have one, and even if it’s just you. One needs to be fiercely loyal to one’s art and nothing else.

Photo Credits: Mark F. Villanueva

Working on a bench just outside the villa.

I unpacked my colored pencils, sketchpad, and whatnot, started to draw, while Mark simply took out his book and read by the side of a salt-water pool in this nearby resort. We were a few chairs apart, bordered by coconut trees, and didn’t seem like we came in together.

But it was blithe everywhere under the kind cerulean sky that held us all captivated by its natural beauty, as if held by its encompassing arms, and it was like every one within the resort knew each other somehow, or were part of a beautiful conspiracy to make each day as positive as it is laid back and stress-free.

Photo Credits: Mark F. Villanueva/ clairelyhappy

Crossing a pathway that leads to the clubhouse.

I could have drawn up anything, absolutely anything my heart desired to satiate my artistic goals without the fear of reproof, or the sight of a single raised brow.

I hardly noticed that Mark had gone out from his chair and squatted at the end of a wooden platform that jutted out into the body of water. He was now sipping beer and staring out into the bordered pools, a dimming sky, and the clubhouse, where Kalesas skirted around with flowers trotted by.

Photo Credits: Mark F. Villanueva/clairelyhappy

Sketching with my feet just inches above water.

At the end of the day I barely got any work done. If only for a couple of pages with vague sketches, and it was impossible to continue in the evening. It was hardly worth anything, except my heart was content, and if there was any value in the day at all it was knowingly having done nothing of economic value, and still be happy about it.

The moon was up now, hovering a few inches above a Christmas lit mango tree.

Life, like art, is too beautiful it makes you aspire like the lonely pale moon a world away reaching out.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Walking around the resort in the moonlight.


Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Denim Art

It was a perfect day to be out and about. We decided to go to the city to watch the movie The Secret Life Of Pets. We had our late breakfast of the usual bacon and eggs, and we talked about our cat. We wished she were as fat as a cartoon character and colored blue, or green, or, any color that suited her temperament.

And then it rained. Hard.


The Secret Life of Pets Movie

Mark was devastated. He wanted to go to Sugbo Merkado at the Cebu Business Park after the movies, and drink beer and relax. He wants things smooth and predictable, and the rain ruined it all right. But I felt it was nothing new. The weather here is almost always unpredictable, and you can’t let it run your day.

The rain faded to a drizzle, and we made it to the city.

“See?” I told Mark. “You got to think positive.”

But Mark hates positivism. He likes things predictable and estimated like a punch and a counter-punch.

“You can’t expect me to jump out the window and grow wings, right? Don’t lecture me about Paulo Coelho, and all that. I’m not delusional.”

“Are you saying he is?” I asked.

“Well, it’s fiction, so, of course not. But the idea makes me nauseous. It’s too doggoned corny. Let’s talk about ‘papa’ instead. I’d love to talk about realists more. I love how they strike it as it is. It reminds me of how I felt when I punched the heavy bag and predicted its return. There’s so much beauty in all that, you know? It’s all about flow and counter flow.”

“I miss boxing, and it’s not far from reading a work of realism.”

But he calmed down when I mentioned our cat. He likes pets. He loves our cat. He misses his dog that passed away the day he came back from Manila. He thinks dogs are noble and cats are royalty.

Looking out his window the next day he saw our cat facing the same direction. It was a bright day with refulgent skies above, and who knows if it’d rain in an hour or two. The weather here is always unpredictable. It’s what’s bad about it, but on a positive note, it’s what makes it fun too. Unpredictability makes it more fun, and it adds more whims to a rather boring day.

I say, dress for the occasion. Dress for what’s unforeseen. Dress for the unpredictable.

Rainy days aren’t solely about gloomy skies or muddy pathways. It could mean pleasant conversations over tea, or play board games with a friend; go watch old episodes of Frasier all over again. For me it’s an opportunity to finish my artworks. Rainy days are not that bad at all.

My hand-painted work on denim shorts from start to finish:

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

My work in progress.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Working on the final touches.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

My finished product! Hand-painted owl design on denim shorts. One of Clairelyhappy’s Owl-mazing Collection.

No matter your style choice, denim shorts are a must-have. Whether it be light wash, dark wash, cuffed, or distressed, it’s easy to find a pair that suits your preference. And since they’re an essential piece, they can be styled with practically everything. Denim shorts helps you achieve the perfect combination of comfort and style.

Below are three cool ways to wear denim shorts on rainy days. I styled my hand-painted owl-themed pair of denim shorts. From comfy denim fur jacket and long sleeves top with scarf, to colorful cardigan.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Three different ways I styled my hand-painted owl themed pair of denim shorts.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Style No. 1

Denim Fur Jacket: Relaxed Jeans

Pink Plain Tee: Penshoppe

Denim Shorts: Clairelyhappy Owl-mazing Collection

Watch: Baby-G

Shoes: Dr. Martens

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Style No. 2

Black Long-sleeves Top: Penshoppe

Pink Scarf: SM Accessories

Denim Shorts: Clairelyhappy Owl-mazing Collection

Watch: Technomarine

Red Shoes: People Footwear

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Style No. 3

Yellow Cardigan: Five & Co.

Graphic Tee: Penshoppe

Denim Shorts: Clairelyhappy Owl-mazing Collection

Watch: G-Shock

Shoes: Converse

Rain should never compromise fashion. Everyone should feel comfortable while still looking fabulous!

Don’t be afraid to wear something bright and fun on a rainy day. Bad weather can be depressing, but it doesn’t mean you have to look that way too.

You can look cool under the rain, or under the shade of a coco tree in the sun. Don’t let rainy days be an excuse to look down. It may be an opportunity to use your styling expertness and creativity to brighten up the mood by wearing the right clothes and accessories for whatever season.

How do you like to style denim shorts? Let us know in the comments below!






One Lovely Blog Award

It’s been two years since I decided to move out of the metropolis to settle in a calm, balmy life in the island of Mactan in Cebu, Philippines, where I started a small printing and advertising business.

Photo Credits: Mark F. Villanueva/ clairelyhappy

Cordova, Lapu-lapu City Cebu Philippines

I guess one may say that my decision to live in considerable isolation, “far from the madding crowd” is much more in line with my pursuit for the arts, a better quality of life, rather than climbing stuffy corporate ladders.

Perhaps from this standpoint alone, much might be gathered about my personality. I have a zest for life, but I’m also quite discreet, and I pretty much value my privacy.

I have been through a lot pains and bad experiences, but my positive outlook in life helps me a lot to overcome all the bumpy rides I’ve gone through. I created ClairelyHappy so I can share and inspire people to go on with their lives, and forge on despite the snags along the way. Move on. Dream big. Live life. Do what makes you happy. Sharing happiness through a positive and creative lifestyle. That’s what Clairelyhappy is all about.

Photo Creidts: Mark F. Villanueva/ clairelyhappy

My suite.

I love good food, and regularly visit Keeping Busy with B. Much to my surprise, Ms. B nominated my blog ClairelyHappy for the One Lovely Blog Award. Needless to say, I never expected to be nominated for being a newbie to this wonderful blogging community. This is something I greatly appreciate. I am exceedingly happy and honored. Thank you so much!

I would also like to thank all the amazing people who appreciate what I do, liked my posts and keep coming back for updates… and most importantly to my partner Mark for encouraging and supporting me, for making ClairelyHappy possible. I am very grateful.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

With Mark at Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant, Cordova Lapu-lapu City Cebu Philippines

You all inspire and motivate me to continue with my work.

I love watching movies, and sometimes find inspiration for my work from it. That said, I consider my crafts: drawing, design, and painting my passion. I love happy colors, cute stuff, music and travel.

Writing things about myself signifies my acceptance of the nomination for the One Lovely Blog Award. Now it’s my turn to nominate some blogs I believe are worthy of such accolade.

Here are the rules for accepting your One Lovely Blog Award nomination:

  • Write a blog post accepting your nomination.
  • Show the blogger who nominated you how much you love them by thanking them in the post and linking to their blog.
  • Tell us seven things about yourself.
  • Nominate other blogs that you think are totally rad.
  • Let the bloggers you’ve nominated know about they’ve received an award.
  • Post the rules again to let those bloggers know how it works.

I nominate:

They inspire me and bring me new things to contemplate every time they blog. I hope you’ll visit them and enjoy them as much as I do.