travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


Carla Sta Cruz for Guerra Manila: Bag Designer to Battle Fashion Partition

January 18, 2015

What makes a bag designer?

Young designer, Carla Sta Cruz talked about her experiences and aspirations over an intimate dinner in EDSA Shangri-la. Armed with perseverance and passion for what she does, she is ready to take a blossoming brand, Guerra Manila to the global fashion stage.

Carla is currently based in Manhattan, New York where she recently hold a fashion show for her namesake brand Carla Sta Cruz. She came over to Manila to bring Guerra Manila to its hometown.

Guerra is a homonym of Tagalog word for war – Guerra faces the beautiful battle of influences daily. From the traditional designs and traditions of Philippines to standards and techniques learned and mastered around the world, every bag becomes a child of this harmonious merging of creative armies and world-class standards.

Guerra Manila also mirrors Carla’s struggles as a young designer who started her career in 2010. She admits that it was not an easy ride for her. She is an underdog who doesn’t know any connections in Manila to make it big in the fashion scene and business warzone. Carla is thankful for her parents who instilled with her the qualities of a successful businessperson that continuously guide her in a the bigger fashion stage.


For someone who is already making a name in Top Global Fashion Capital, New York, it is humbling to know that Carla sees the people who work backstage as her greatest mentors. She, however, is inspired by Alexander McQueen; and aims to collaborate with local designers such as Monique Lhuillier and Inno Sotto. She is also keen to work with accessory designers. I am very much excited to see collaboration and more accessories like from

Carla’s mom supports her daughter and her vision. We were able to chat with the endearing woman, who also shared her stories of the recent New York fashion show where she also played the role of fashion assistant adjusting model’s clothings and pinning them perfectly. She shared how Carla participated in immersion programs back in College where she learned more about society and dealing with people from different walks of life. It is no surprise that a new brand such as Guerra Manila already takes in to consideration the act of giving back to the community, with Gawad Kalinga as its first beneficiary.

When asked how she would describe Guerra Manila, she said:

“People who like fashion, slow fashion. It is not just about being creative but also being business-minded. One must be able to take criticism”

Photo Credit: Rodel Flordeliz

I personally fell in love with the collection as soon as I saw it online – moreso, when I have experienced them.

After the dinner, here’s what I learned about battles of life, it is standing up again (against criticism) and doing what you love the most. It is when we would only feel successful and happy.

Check out Guerra Manila online at for bags, couture and accessories.


You guys might want to join this contest too, please don’t forget to mention that you heard Guerra Manila from @ruthilicious 🙂 

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