I was amazed upon stepping inside SM Megamall’s Megatrade Halls for Sikat Pinoy’s National Arts & Crafts Fair 2017 last October 28. Two hundred eighty exhibitors from different provinces of the Philippines showcased locally made products you’ll appreciate.
It was a feast for my senses! Aside from heritage and artisan items on display, there daily artistic performances, skills demonstrations, and entrepreneurship learning sessions were also scheduled.
This year’s fair focuses on the traditions of the country’s indigenous people to preserve our rich cultural heritage. Going to the event, I was scouting for gift items and future line of products for my online store. However, researching the business cards and brochures of exhibits I visited, I discovered inspiring women entrepreneurs and social workers who showcased their talent and love for country. I’d like to share with you some of them today.
Helena Alegre – Sculptural Jewelry Designer
Helena is what you call a “panday” or a silversmith in Bicol. Most of her craft inspirations are from images that comes to her in dreams which she sketches and eventually craftts in her workshop.
She works with 99.9 silver and prefers raw, earthier-looking stones like turquoise, lapis lazuli, and her favorite, black tourmaline. Philippine heritage and Filipiniana designs are infused in her creation, much of which features the beautiful filigree that Camarines Norte is known for.
DTI has been supportive of Helena and recognized her her potential in promoting Filipina pride and the region’s jewelry industry through setting up workshops jewelry seminars.”
Check out Helena’s work on behance: https://www.behance.net/Sculptural or Follow her on Instagram helenaalegresculpturaljewelry.
Whitney Fleming – Lumago Designs
Lumago is a social enterprise located in Dumaguete city committed to triple bottom-line sustainability: People, Planet and Promise through enabling skilled craftswomen to earn a fair wage while providing customers with socially and eco-friendly handmade jewelry.
Lumago means “to blossom” in the national Filipino language and was founded by American Social worker, Whitney Fleming, in 2011 when a huge typhoon devastated parts of the community. To find another source of income, a group of women learned to make beads rolled from paper and took it upon themselves to start producing and designing jewelry that Whitney would then sell to the local resorts.
Eventually, the demand for these products locally could not keep up and they had to reach out to other markets for the project to be sustainable. They decided to blossom and that’s when Lumago Designs, the social enterprise, was born!
Visit their website Lumagodesigns.com
Shirley Kimmayong – Founder of Hagiyo
Shirley Kimmayong, an Ifugao, was a Nippon scholar at the United Nations mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica, where she began to have a vision of setting up her own nonprofit organization eventually named as Hagiyo, an Ifugao word meaning shout for joy.
Hagiyo aims to serve the youth and women from urban poor communities through educating, equipping and empowering them to become world changers. The foundation also promotes the rich culture of indigenous peoples through performing arts.
Shie Reynaldo of Buttons N Things – Handmade Picture Frame from Aklan Philippines
I last met Shirley at the Aklan Pina and Fiber Festival in 2012. Her business just started then and seeing her products at the fair made me happy about how she grew her enterprise. Buttons N’ Things features handmade picture frames, cards, buttons, ribbons, dried flowers, leaves and more.
For list of products, contact Shie Reynaldo at email@example.com or send an SMS to 09199284451.
Janina Arias and Patricia Peralta – Soulflower.co
Janina and Pat are crafters and creators of Soul Flower, Co – a company envisioning to spread the artisan culture and the spirit of creativity through handmade accessories and craft accesspries.
They started in 2010 as a small store of handmade bohemian accessories thene ventually ventured into into different tools and materials in jewelry making. After five years of crafting, they created a silversmithing studio – Studio 925. Their latest project is to connect makers through the Craft Collective – a themed event with workshops and a curated bazaar of handmade wares.
Visit Studio925.ph to check out Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops in Metal Etching and Leather Crafting Workshop. Bu the way, they have DIY Wedding Rings, too!
Eva Marie Adona-Yu – Eva Marie Arts & Crafts
Eva Marie Adona-Yu, is a fourth generation artisan. The business was handed down to her in 2011 by her parents, who started in the 1980s, but concentrated full-time on the business only starting around 1993.
Eva Marie Arts and Crafts is dedicated to provide high quality products to both local and international market. The enterprise provides exemplary crafts produced by local residents of Basey, Samar and uses mats woven in the same province to support the economy. Materials are handwoven and produced by wild grown ticog grass, a locally grown material that is both smooth and durable as bags.
Congratulations to the Department of Trade and Industry for a successful event!
If you missed the National Arts & Crafts Fair, save the date on December 6-19, 2017 for the National Trade Fair.