Halo Halo has long been in the local industry; constantly proving its knack for imbuing everyday items with beauty and utility in equal measure. Unafraid of combining mediums and materials, their designs are always rich in traditional references—banigs and all—while still being decidedly contemporary when taken as a whole.
Cara Sumabat, founder of Halo Halo, and her husband Marco Limjap, invited Tropa to their home to see these pieces in their natural habitat; back to where it all began. Here, they take us through their story, quirks, dynamics, and upcoming projects; including a much anticipated jumpsuit collaboration between Áraw and Halo Halo.
How did you two meet?
Marco: We were in the states. I didn’t know her pa; I met her that night and forced her to buy me a drink. And it worked.
What are your daily routines as a pair?
Cara: You make coffee.
Marco: I make coffee.
Cara: I just wait for it to be ready and come out of bed. Then we work from home until about lunch then leave for respective offices or meetings. We come back around 6 or 7 and we find a way to have dinner. Either he cooks or we don’t eat; I can’t, so it’s just him.
Marco: I always cook; I’m a good cook.
How did you put the interiors of your home together?
Cara: Well, this wasn’t the first place we stayed in so we've had a little practice. We always kept looking at things we liked before we got married so it just fell super organically. We didn’t get everything all at once; we just added as we went along. Until now, all the paintings or whatever, they’re still not hung. So it’s just never gonna be permanent I guess.
Why "Halo Halo"?
Cara: Halo Halo was just an experiment. We just wanted to do and make something out of the banigs. We started combining different materials; that’s why we called in "Halo Halo". A lot of it is still primarily the banig, but there’s still a lot of other materials we put in and that’s kind of the whole point of it. We wanted to make it fresh. Banigs are something people are already familiar with but we wanted to make it unique and elevate it. At the same time the kind of banig that we use is recycled plastic so it’s also still kinda halo-halo; it's not really at the purest plastic form.
What are the non-negotiable things when it comes to the brand?
Cara: The non-negotiable is definitely quality and function. If you can’t use it pretty much at least every other day in your life, then it’s out of the picture. We really prefer to make things that “I just have to have” in life. Once you have it, you just can’t go on without it anymore.
Tell us about these new Áraw + Halo Halo jumpsuits.
Marco: During Artefino last August, we had this bright idea to wear uniform. Just so that we could attract buyers and look cute and everything.
Cara: It was just to make everything easier. It was so hard doing other fairs before. We'd all try to coordinate and it just wouldn’t make sense. And then we just said, "let’s just make uniforms".
Marco: But these uniforms were super on brand.
Cara: People thought we were farmers, we were workers. We’re like a mix of both I guess if you’re selling the products. It just made it so much easier for us. Going throughout the whole day—it’s just such a long day and you’re doing so many things. We were just so comfortable the whole time. We went out drinking after and said, “we can still wear this, this is fine”.
Marco: We actually went to a birthday party after: our friend’s baby’s first birthday party. Everyone thought we were in costume but weren’t.
Cara: It was just so good. It was like we were so comfortable.
Marco: It’s really for everyday use.
Why choose to work with Áraw?
Cara: During Artefino last August was about the time that we got introduced to Áraw. We were just like “Okay, this is so great. We really love linen and everything.” We met up with them at the store [Tropa]; we had our jumpsuits but obviously ours was just whatever fabric we could’ve found, really a last minute thing. It was hot; we’d go out in it and it would be so hot. It just makes sense to work with Áraw to have a better product. People can also relate and enjoy without sweating in malls like we did.
Any other plans outside of Halo Halo?
Marco: Our plan is to take care of this dog. Not make her super thin like her [Cara] or super fat like me. Right? That’s the future. We can be dog ambassadors if someone wants to sponsor this dog. Like Bow & Wow, or something, right?
The Áraw + Halo Halo jumpsuits will be available in store on April 21, Saturday at 2pm alongside the joint launch of the brands' new collections.
Photography by Colin Dancel