Okay, so knives. Something I saw often in the kitchen of my mom and Guama. My Guama had many different shapes and sizes. In my mom’s kitchen she has this knife that I sort of grew up with and saw the evolution of. Now when I see it, it’s really slim and thin. It’s funny and admirable, because she stuck by that knife through the years! To be honest, it was just something I saw in the kitchen – growing up, I really didn’t pay much attention. I remember they all looked so generic. I was always scared of the huge knife that cooks would use! They call it a cleaver pala. Basta for me it’s a huge kuchilyo! Hahaha..
I wasn’t always into cooking – the reason was because I am lazy to prep and I’m deathly afraid of oil spatters. Growing up, it wasn’t really necessary doing the cooking – because my mom is a very good cook! Haha! I don’t think I remember an instance that I cooked for my mom (when I was younger). It was only when I got married that I had given her some of my creations. I really delved into cooking after I got married. I should say that I am lucky enough to have helpers who would do the cooking prep for me. For the few times that I needed to do prep on my own, I’ve experienced using dull knives and it was really frustrating. But what was I to do, right? Then during a shopping spree in Daiso – I remembered seeing knives being sold. It was a light bulb moment for me because I didn’t need to invest in a good knife – all I had to do was buy enough to last me for a period. And that is what I have practiced through the years. It gave me the impression that sharpness of knives have e a limited life cycle and I have accepted that fact. To be honest, I would buy a LOT of Daiso knives and would just open a new one when I felt the knives were already dull.
When the lockdown happened, I had to cook every day – lunch and dinner. It was the only way that my children would eat without much prodding. Since I don’t plan a menu (which I should!) it was always cooking on a whim. And because it’s on a whim, well – I had to personally prep what I was to cook. It came to a point that I got so frustrated with the knives I had that I took out the last of my Daiso knives. True enough, it served its purpose – I was slicing easily! I was so happy. But that same night, as I was slicing again – it has become dull. Yaya B told me that – it’s just sharp when you use it the first time, the succeeding times well – dull na silang lahat. I then asked friends and searched online. Apparently, my friends have good sets of knives in their kitchen. I felt left out. So I searched online and then I remembered following a local knife company online. I remember seeing them on a friend’s IG and followed them. Enter Nacionale Bladeworks!
How did I learn about Nacionale Bladeworks? I think from a friend and I’ve been following them a while now. I have always admired the workmanship and the idea that someone from the Philippines was so interested in knives! There are days that I would just browse through their feed on Instagram and crush on their knives. There was this one time at the start of the lockdown that I saw that they were on sale. I was just quite stupid not to realize that it was a sign for me of the things to come.
So, everyday I would look into their feed, open their website and just browse through their products. Secretly I was thinking, wow – they’re really into knives! It was only after two weeks in to the lockdown that I realized that maybe I should be investing in a good set of knives. I had no means to buy Daiso knives, and since I cook everyday – might as well purchase one right? But my being kuripot stopped me. At that time, I thought – this lockdown will be over and I would stop cooking everyday. But the lockdown hasn’t ended. We’re still in a lockdown.
When I started selling making and baking focaccia, I began slicing cherry tomatoes. I got frustrated with my knives because they were dull and instead of slicing my tomatoes, I was crushing my tomatoes! Slicing garlic too was a painful task – literally and figuratively. I put in more effort than I should slicing and chopping. It got me thinking again, maybe I really should buy myself a good knife. But this was again put aside because I found a guy who would sharpen knives for a fee. But since my knives were just Daiso ones, it was a band-aid solution.
I’m sure you’re asking now, ano ba talaga the story?! Well, we’re getting there. Hahaha!! When I type my story, there’s usually a back story. Hahaha!! When I started my focaccia business, I started with it being a hobby of some sort, I just took it one day at a time. I did it without really thinking it will be where it is now. I am amazed, grateful, and thankful for the opportunity to bake for people who order my focaccia. It has been a dream of mine to sell something that I make or bake. And I am doing both! My focaccia home business has taught me (again) the value of real and literal hard work, real hard work. You see, I do everything myself. Everything – I measure all the ingredients and weigh them, I pour, I mix. I weigh again, I assemble, I slice ingredients. I put them in the oven, check on them, and take them out. Wait for them to cool, and after I place them in their plastic and bag them. Everything from start to finish, I do it myself – without any help. The only help I get is the washing of my utensils and pans. Everything else, is all really me – just me. It’s physically exhausting but the emotional reward that I feel is priceless, wonderful, and fulfilling. It’s something I call my own, just like this blog. It’s just me. All me.
I have told my Kath time and again that I’ve been crushing on a set of Nacionale Bladeworks knives. She told me to buy them because I deserve it. She told me, think of it as a reward daw. Her brother David, has also told me to get them and that, that particular set is perfect for me. You know, the back and forth in my head for weeks – do i buy a set or won’t I? It was a long grueling process. But one day, I finally, I found the courage to send Nacionale Bladeworks a message. I made a request that was really out of this world and quite silly. I was so nervous waiting for their reply. Although, I was expecting that they won’t reply. I mean, if you saw and read my message I bet you’d laugh at it and ignore it. But they replied and honestly, I didn’t know how to react when I read their reply. There may be someone up there whispering good things to them or maybe they were in a very good mood! I was really really grateful and thankful that they were okay with it.
The process to buy my knives took a while. But it was a good long ‘while’ really. It was a slow but sure process. I counted the days and weeks in my head, excited and nervous. I was excited and it really felt like a reward of some sort. It felt like an achievement to be able to get my hands on the knives. And when it was time and I finally sent them a message to say that it’s ready. They told me they’d send it the next day. This was it, this is what the days and weeks led up to. I was very excited and nervous. It felt like I was a kid in a candy store so deprived of candies and chocolates and it was a moment that I was waiting for that candy reward.
Then it arrived. Literally.
It was packed in a package envelope. They shade of yellow/orange with my name on it. This was it. When I held the package, it was an indescribable feeling. I was nervous, happy, and excited. I ripped opened the envelope like it was Christmas day! I ripped it open! I haven’t done that in a long time.
You’ll never guess what happened next. I started to cry. As I held on to the box, I started crying. Crying has in ugly cry ha. It was a good thing no one saw me. But I was crying, really crying while clutching the box. I swear, I looked really silly. I was caressing the box, clutching it. Then crying while I opened the box. When I finally saw and held the knives – it was happiness.
THIS, I told myself was from my hard work, HARD WORK. Every blood, every tear and every sweat baking my focaccia – this was my reward.That every time I would use any of the three knives, it would remind me of the work I put into making and selling my focaccia. This is concrete proof that because I worked hard at something that I made with my hands – I was able to purchase it. Blood, sweat, and tears – literally and figuratively. Some may purchase other items, but I chose to purchase this because I really use it on a daily basis. I never thought that it would feel this satisfying! Every time I chop, slice and wash my knife – it becomes a personal experience. It would remind me of my journey.
Just so you know, the knives are deadly sharp. I accidentally cut myself (super small lang that I didn’t even feel it! But I saw the ‘slice’ hahaha!!) The feel of each knife isn’t heavy but is just right. The sizes are perfect too. The handles are so handsome! I really really loved the engraving NACIONALE BLADEWORKS. It’s so sentimental really.
I will forever cherish this knife set. Thank you Ryan and Karen for being so passionate about knives. I don’t know you personally but I am so proud of your accomplishments. Your passion and drive are something to strive for. I will always be a grateful fan.