Off to the Philippines: Empire Team’s Travel Essentials

– by Ray@Empire, Aiko@Empire, and ChiChai@Empire –

Remember our fundraiser show Art of Us? Back in February, we teamed up with the dance group The Company to create “Art of Us.” Together we fundraised to send three choreographers — Melissa Batesting, KJ Estudillo, and Jolo Cabrera– to Manila to create a dance summit for the Project PEARLS children. Well! This dance summit is this week and Empire Team members Ray, Aiko, and ChiChai are joining the choreographers in Manila.

Here are their travel essentials for Empire’s first-ever overseas project!


Camera & Lenses
For this trip I’ll be documenting pretty much everything so I am bringing my Nikon D7000 as my “A-cam,” along with my Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 and Nikon 35mm f1.8. I have also rented out a Nikon D750 as my “B-cam,” and Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 to better isolate my subjects. I am also bringing my Olympus OMD EM-5 paired with my Rokinon 7.5mm f3.5 fisheye lens as a behind-the-scenes and vlogging camera.

Camera Accessories
I always want good audio when I’m shooting video, so I’m bringing my Rode Videomic Pro that will be mostly attached to my “A-cam.” As for stability, I am bringing my Manfrotto Befree tripod as well as my Joby Gorillapod and my Rhino Steadycam.
In order for me to hold everything, I bringing my trusty Mission Workshop backpack as well as my Chrome Sling camera bag.
Other Accessories
I gotta stay hydrated, so I’m bringing my Fifty/Fifty 40oz water bottle. For my techie stuff, I got my Macbook for editing and my FitBit for counting my steps (hopefully I get to beat Chris this time ahaha). Other things I’ve included in my “travel essentials” are my Nike Slides and Racers, as well as my Herschel wallet. And lastly, you gotta bring something Empire, so I have here the Vintage Fresh Light button-up and my Making Waves cap.

In order to carry all my things…. MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE  bag would be Herschel’s Little America Bag. One of my favorite purchases for this trip is an undercover money belt. Everyone who travels would love this!!!

Since I have multiple jobs, I must bring my Macbook Pro Laptop and Passion Planner to keep me organized. Also for the long trip, I’m bringing my current read…. Seven Japanese Tales by Junichiro Tanizaki. Pretty interesting book so far.  A must!!!

Since we’re talking about work. I must bring something that will help me keep my training consistent. I’m bringing a jump rope! lol Call me crazy but I ain’t playing. LOL

Everyone always mentions humidity in the Philippines, so staying hydrated and cool is my TOP necessity for this trip.  I’m bringing a hydroflask to keep this thirsty booty alive and Evian Facial Spray to keep me cool. Going to a different country with intense weather conditions, you always need to be prepare.. BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW. A woman’s body is very mysterious. LOL TIME OF THE MONTH. So I packed a women’s first aid kit that has tampons, panty liners, Ibuprofen, Deodorant, Insect bracelet, hand sanitizer, and wipes.  Also! I can never forget my make-up bag that consists of facial wash, foundation, mascara, highlight, bronzer, and eyebrow dip!

For long travels, comfortable is the key! So I brought my most comfortable outfits and shoes!  Shoes! I’m bringing Slip-on’s! Nike Slippers and Nike Janoski (yes they make slip on janoski’s) will be your savior for hectic TSA and constant walks. I can never forget my team! SO Gotta rep my favorite empire gear which is Mesh Jersey! And to bring the California Heat, gotta bring my ray ban aviators to keep me shaded. HAHAH



Batz-Maru Sushi Pouch
Believe it or not, this fits ALL of my chargers. My laptop charger, all needed USB chords, and even my portable charger. It’s good to keep electronic needs in one place (especially if you’re like me who loses shit all the time.)

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
A few friends and I formed a little group called “Feminist Fight Club” in which we get together once a month to share our activisms, inspirations, and our overall feelings of “I can’t stand these f’ing microaggressions towards me as a colored women.” To extend these conversations, we also have a “book of the month.” We are currently on this great relatable read. Hella recommended to men and women confused about their own feminism!

Lush Products
As an Earth lover, I’ve been trying my best to switch over to more environmentally-friendly products. Nearly all of my toiletries and make-up is from Lush, a cosmetic retailer whose products are handmade with fresh ingredients, use minimal to no packaging, and are not animal tested.

Diva Cup
Yo girl is about to get the damn monthly visitor: the period. But! Have no fear! The Diva Cup is here! Like I said, I’m trying to be more environmentally friendly so I wanted a more sustainable option in dealing with my period. The Diva Cup is sterile, flexible, and lets me have a worry-free day.

14 hour flight. ‘Nuff said.


Benny Gold Creative Roll + Batz Maru Pouch
My go-to art tools are in my creative roll; from erasers to sharpeners and pens to pencils, this thing got it all. The pouch is home to my water color palette.

My work for Project PEARLS and Empire in the Air always needs love and care. Therefore, my laptop gotta be by my side for every trip.

Haskell by Warby Parker
#friendofwarbyparker lol. Okay, I have something to confess to you all. I do not need glasses. However, as someone who’s hella allergic to insect bites and has gotten bit on the eye before, these glasses serve as a great shield. Plus, I ain’t gonna lie, they steezy.

Watercolor Notebook
I’m a bit of a journal-er. This sketchbook has documented every single day of mine and Chris@Empire’s Asia trip back in march through watercolor paintings and Instax photos. I have a few free pages left to document this trip.

Empire in the Air – Cloud Logo Cap
I absolutely love all of our hats but this is simply my go-to. 

Bullet Journal + Markers
Like I said for my laptop, Project PEARLS and Empire in the Air always needs its love and care. My bullet journal– gifted and customized by the lovely Shelly M.!– helps me stay organized and gives me the space and flexibility to reflect. As for the markers, I love to color code my notes to level-up the organization of my bullet journal.

Empire in the Air – She is King Tank
This is one of my all-time favorite tops from all of our collections. It’s our first item dedicated to women empowerment and I love carrying that reminder with me wherever I go.

Stay tuned for Manila adventures!

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