What's Candle-Making Have to Do With the Honda BR-V?


Honda’s big bestsellers in the Philippines, at least if you ask the folks of the local office of the Japanese brand, are the Brio, the City, and the BR-V. Of the three, it’s the BR-V that’s gotten significant traction over the last couple of years. 

Introduced in 2016, the BR-V is an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) that’s bigger than a sedan but not exactly an SUV. The first generation sold roughly 23,000 units here in the Philippines before Honda debuted the all-new iteration late last year.


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The 2023 BR-V features quite a few improvements: longer wheelbase (40 mm), wider front and rear tracks (also 40 mm); and a sleeker, exterior that hews more closely to the Honda DNA and everything else in the brand’s lineup. There’s a center arm rest and the seats can be adjusted horizontally and vertically. It seats seven, although the rear two seats can be folded up so there’s more storage in case you need it. It’s not hard to imagine it as a family car that can be used to pick up the kids or the groceries or go on a weekend lark with several bags of personal items and supplies.

A row of Honda BR-Vs in BGC

Photo by Lyka Dela Cruz-Andres.

Interestingly, family wasn’t exactly the focus when the folks at Honda sent an invite to go for a city drive with the BR-V. A day trip to go to a candle-making workshop at a tiny shop in Cubao X in Quezon City doesn’t instantly relate to a bestselling MPV, but we said yes anyway. These drives are meticulously thought-out and there had to be a connection.

Katha Lifestyle Store and Cafe in Cubao X

Photo by PJ Cana.

After a quick briefing at a restaurant in High Street in Bonifacio Global City, participants drove through light traffic to Katha Lifestyle Store and Café, which is tucked inside Cubao Expo in Araneta City. The day’s agenda was candle-making, which all of the participants were trying for the first time. The shop’s proprietor, Adrienne Yu, was facilitating the workshop herself. 

Adrienne Yu (right) facilitates the candle-making workshop

Photo by Lyka Dela Cruz-Andres.
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Yu began by saying that candle-making is a thousand-year-old practice, when people first figured out how to “tame” fire by using oil and a wick. During the pandemic, she said they conducted online workshops to teach people how to make their own candles at home.

Although candles can be made of many different types of materials—such as beeswax, paraffin or even coconut oil—Yu chooses to use soy wax as it is 100 percent synthetic and sustainable, and ideal for beginners.

Decorating the candle

Photo by Lyka Dela Cruz-Andres.

Besides the wax, other essential materials for candle-making include a cotton wick, metal sustainer (to hold the wick), fragrance oils, and “garnishes” to decorate the candle. For people taking the in-person class at the venue (like we did), Yu also provides an electric burner, a pitcher to melt the wax, a thermometer, and a vessel or container to hold the candle.


The process for beginners is pretty straightforward: it starts by sticking the wick (that Yu had pre-attached to the metal base) inside the vessel and using a holder to make sure it stays in the middle. Then the wax is melted until it liquifies. The fragrance oil, which Yu pre-mixed with lavender and mint, is then mixed into the wax before it is transferred slowly and steadily to the vessel. Yu suggests waiting until the wax is at around 68 degrees Celsius before pouring it into the vessel to get the best results. 

The finished product

Photo by PJ Cana.

After that, it’s simply a waiting game until the wax hardens back into a solid. Before it did though, Yu asked participants to decorate their candles with things like dried rosebuds, peonies, lavender, cinnamon sticks, and even gold flakes. And presto: you have yourself a candle.

Throughout the session, Yu provided details and nuances to the candle-making process and peppered it with personal stories, like her own preferences when it comes to scents, and adhering to sustainability practices for the rest of the items in her shop. It was an enlightening session that made participants appreciate the value of making your own things and taking time out from the rigid routine of everyday life to engage in something unfamiliar but just as productive.

And perhaps that was the connection to the BR-V. The seven-seater MPV was clearly conceptualized as a people carrier to help owners with their everyday tasks and achieve productivity goals. Having become a bestselling model just a few years after its launch is proof that it resonates with a cross section of demographic profiles, and that it’s a vehicle that fits well not just to deal with the mundane tasks that all of us need to do everyday, but for the occasional side trips and unexpected detours that make life just a bit more interesting.

The Honda BR-V in Cubao X

Photo by PJ Cana.

The 2023 Honda BR-V base price is P1.090 million for the 1.5 S MT and goes up to P1.390 million for the top-of-the-line VX CVT with Honda Sensing.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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