By Ana de Villa – Singson
HS 1983 | Proud to be!

On November 11 and 12, the AAA opened its doors once again for its Christmas Bazaar in SMX Convention Center, SMX Aura. On its 25th year and after a 4 year respite due to the pandemic, we were back in fine form!

We had 123 vendors offering specially curated fashion, household items, jewelry, culinary treats, electronics, urban indoor plants, home décor, toys, learning kits, kitchen gadgets, paintings, sculptures, appliances, items brought in from Europe, Morocco, the US…plus plus! plus! On Day 1, we ran out of tickets and resorted to stamping wrists of bazaar guests and hastily printed tickets overnight in time for Day 2! We recorded almost 2800 visitors on the first day and another 2700 on Day 2, record numbers for a bazaar, according to the SMX Aura events administrator!

The ribbon cutting ceremony was a happy one! Doing the honors were Sr. Lerma Victoria Pangantihon, RA, Provincial of the Assumption Asia -Pacific province. Alongside her were AAA President Carmella Gana – Araullo, past AAA President and Bazaar Committee member, Gina Hechanova and Grace Fornier Magno, VP of SM Corporate Marketing. As a fitting start to an Assumption shopping event, Gina Hechanova began a rousing rendition of the Assumption School song, with many alumnae gamely joining in!

Alumnae came in droves, with their families and friends, and many came right back again the next day. The Assumption nuns were there in full force smilingly selling the beloved Assumption tarts, the liquid detergent of San Juan Nepomuceno Malibay, the beautifully and meticulously crafted woodworks of Assumpta Tech Pampanga, now also boasting new food offerings. (I especially liked the cornix trail mix, cornix mixed with peanuts, garlic. They were so good that I finished the entire sampling bowl of cornix!). Assumption Forever sold beautiful Christmas décor (their red plaid Christmas tree was such a hit!), home fragrances et al, while jubilarian batches sold Assumption merchandise enthusiastically bought by the loyal red plaid crowd!

We had raffles galore with items donated by our vendors. I was about to go on duty to announce winners of raffle items, when wireless microphone in hand, I got distracted by some really pretty items and started talking about my discoveries over the microphone. Eureka! People listened and started buying items that were reviewed over the mic! I was hastily moved to the newly – minted role, roving mike emcee, and spent much of Day 1 and 2 extolling the so many pretty finds…a dwarf blue pine tree that brought the whiff of Christmas pine wafting gently, a cloisonné jewelery line (it reportedly sold out after being reviewed over the mic!), a Pokefi for international pocket wifi capabilities, a moisturizing glow balm used by Korean actresses, aromatic soy candles with much higher than usual frangrance concentrations, the cornix of Assumpta Tech Pampanga ( I ate another bowl while extolling its virtues), the LCC ube ensaymada with a whole macapuno nestling inside it, a Moroccan leather pouf, a wondrous Ninja gadget that looks like a coffee machine but actually makes your choice of ice cream, sorbet, milkshake, gelato at the touch of a button, a cordless vacuum being sampled by Gina Hechanova as she vacuumed the corridors of our bazaar with a vaccum that amazingly bends so that it bends for you when vacuuming underneath the bed and low areas, hot hot hot vinegar loaded literally and liberally with jalapeños, gorgeous beaded banana abaca bags in bold jewel colors, rustic boards of hardwood acacia bespoke with personalized engraving, a standout gold bangle with extra large pearls, a t-shirt spruced up with local weave, delicate crochet – rimmed napkins, an adorable elevated pizza oven, ube cream cheese pan de sal larger than my hand, ready made Christmas packs by RFM, mobile services by Smart, my favorite Pinkberry yogurt with loads and loads of peanut butter crunch topping, plus so many, many more! It was a shopper’s haven…and Assumptionists can shop! So it was a perfect marriage of a wide selection of goods and alumnae buying Christmas giftables!

Marie Concepcion-Young, indefatigable Bazaar Committee Head, with former AAA President Gina Hechanova (R)

I have been reading post-bazaar survey results filled out by our vendors. And so far, as of this writing, 100% of all our vendors will sign up for our next bazaar. They loved the attention to detail, the organized ingress and egress, the briefing kits, the individual care and attention from the organizing bazaar committee. They loved that despite having so much traffic going through the SMX Convention Halls, the corridors between booths were wide and spacious and never felt congested. All these accolades are well – deserved by the hard working bazaar committee team headed by Marie Concepcion Young. Wisely, Marie insisted on wider corridors, choosing spacious comfort vs cramming in more booths. She was on top of every micro detail down to the exact wattage needed by each booth. Big applause for Marie and the AAA Admin group of Joanna (seen carrying a very tall meter stick measuring compliance against booth height restrictions), Arlene and Rose. Many thanks too to our selfless volunteers Mary Rose Padre, Chelong Lalauri, Malu Salvador, Gina Hechanova, Zita Gabaldon and to all the bazaar committee members, BOT trustees and friends! The AAA Bazaar is back…and in such fine form!

Relive the moments…see the gorgeous merchandise…and get ready…we’ll be back for our 26th! Enjoy the photos of our comeback bazaar…and see you all in the next one!


PS Many thanks to Brittany Hotel for providing room accomodations for the hard-working bazaar committee members.  Working around the clock from 12 midnight, the accomodations were a restful haven!  Thank you! 

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