Whether you already know how to play the ukulele or want to start a new hobby this 2021, we’d highly recommend checking out Wagas Ukuleles. Here’s why.
The brand has an inspiring backstory.
55-year-old Ritchie Reyes Wagas was born and raised in Compostela, Cebu. His mother was a dressmaker and his father was a policeman. “I must say that we were a poor family,” Ritchie shares. “I grew up in a life in the public market and I strived hard to get a good education to help our parents. Luckily, I finished Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Bachelor of Law.”
Ritchie eventually got married and had a daughter, and decided to go into business to “liberate themselves from the bondage of poverty” as he puts it. This is when Wagas Crafts was born, a business that makes those famous wooden collapsible baskets.
While visiting the beautiful islands of Hawaii back in 2011, Ritchie learned that one of the best ukuleles there was from Cebu. Due to his love for music and woodcrafts, Ritchie then tried to develop his own concepts and designs of the instrument when he got back to Cebu.
Wagas Ukuleles are not your traditional ukuleles.
Wagas Ukuleles aren’t like the other ukuleles you might find here in the Philippines – or anywhere else in the world, for that matter. The bodies of their ukuleles are cut to shape in solid blocks of mahogany, a material that is abundant here in the Philippines. The sides of their ukuleles aren’t bent, either, so there is no tension or pressure involved. “It is relaxed – just like a person,” Ritchie explains.
Their ukuleles are more than just an instrument.
While these ukuleles do work like regular musical instruments and can be played like any other ukuleles on the market, Wagas Ukuleles are also much more than that. Wagas makes sure that their forms, shapes, and designs are all representative of Cebu so that they also serve as souvenirs of the island.
They have “travel ukuleles”.
Although most ukuleles are portable enough to be carried while traveling, Wagas Ukuleles takes things up a notch by providing ukuleles with a thinner body. Since their brand depends on the influx of tourists to Cebu, they tried to develop compact and slim ukuleles that are easy to carry around and travel with. And don’t worry. Although these travel ukuleles may compromise a little on the volume, the quality is still very much intact.
Wagas Ukuleles are completely handcrafted by Filipinos.
Ritchie may not have had any formal education in fine arts or music, but he made sure that he learned what he needed to know from his friends and through experience and research. He also hired Filipino artisans and woodcrafters to execute his concepts and designs.
“It is a real team effort to produce the best ukuleles in the Philippines so people can experience real Filipino craft,” Ritchie says. “We are proud to tell the world that Wagas Ukuleles are handcrafted and made by local crafters from Compostela, Cebu. They are different from ukuleles made by machines because they are completely made by hand and by human beings, so each one carries the heart and the soul of the maker.”
The designs are influenced by the Philippines.
All of Wagas Ukuleles’ designs are influenced by Filipino creations and experiences in Ritchie’s life. They have a lot of fish and fruit designs, for example, because Ritchie lives on an island surrounded by these things.
They deliver all over the Philippines.
Thanks to a local logistics company, Wagas Ukuleles is able to deliver their instruments all over the Philippines. Since sales skyrocketed during the pandemic, this has been a godsend for the brand. Fortunately, customers have been willing to wait for their handmade products to arrive – and trust me: they are well worth the wait. I have quite a few Wagas Ukuleles myself and they don’t just look and sound great; they also stand the test of time. (Read my personal review here.) Wagas Ukuleles accepts orders all over the Philippines and hopes to cater to other countries in Asia and even the world once they find an affordable logistics partner.
They are constantly coming up with new designs.
Since they have been generating more sales during this time, Ritchie shares that they have been encouraged to make even more designs. In fact, they already have a number of designs lined up for 2021. This, of course, wouldn’t be possible without his daughter, who has been a great help with online marketing; and their workers, who chose to work even during the pandemic. “We are fortunate and blessed to still operate and cater to quarantine orders,” Ritchie states.
New designs aside, Wagas is also constantly striving to improve their ukuleles. “It’s a continuing challenge,” Ritchie admits. “Our objective is to come up with the utmost quality for each ukulele. We never stop our research, initiative, and creativity to continue making quality Wagas Ukuleles.” Expect to see some new designs released within the next few months!
Without a doubt, Wagas Ukuleles are different from the rest of the ukuleles in the world. Everything is literally made by hand, including the paint, and you are sure to be amazed by their designs. You can even get your name customized onto them – completely free of charge! – to make them uniquely yours if you’d like. If you play the ukulele, Wagas Ukuleles are definitely great products to add to your music arsenal.
If you don’t play the ukulele, you can simply buy one to display in your home. It is so gorgeous; it is sure to brighten up your home instantly. You may want to consider learning how to play the ukulele, as well. A lot of people who found themselves bored during quarantine have actually found Wagas Ukuleles to be great company during this trying period of time. It’s an easy hobby to pick up, and everyone in your family can join in on the fun!
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