Loving, celebrating and supporting local products is difficult when our malls are saturated with big-name “local” brands (which outsource their manufacturing to China and import their models from Korea) and foreign labels. Aside from tiangges, seasonal mall fairs, and online shopping, we don’t really have a lot of local options.
So when an opportunity like Sikat Pinoy National Arts and Crafts Fair 2018 comes around, don’t miss out! Admission’s even free (I bet you can’t leave without spending even a little bit, though)!
Sikat Pinoy 2018: Highlights
I was only able to go to the fair for a couple of hours on Day 2. I would have loved to go on the other days, but I was busy with the health forum and with some family affairs.
With the limited amount of time, I still had the chance to see what this fair had to offer.
#1. Fashionable Indigenous Wear and Textiles On Display
This display, called Salin: Enriching Enduring Traditions, features 12 Schools of Living Traditions, as curated by Prof. Eric Zerrudo. There were textiles from South Cotobato, Davao del Sur, Ifugao tradition, and more.
I won’t embarrass myself or offend others by trying to attribute weave patterns to their culture of origin just yet, but what I can say is that the different textiles were amazing.
I liked the styling of the outfits in the central display area (Indigenous NOW Fashion Setting), enough to be curious about the price. Thankfully, the shop I asked for the Jeepney bag (you can see it at the lower left) was already out of selling stock (otherwise I’d be a few thousand pesos short right now).
I’m reminded of one of my favorite-to-watch social enterprises, Kandama, which brings together designers and indigenous textile weavers based in Ifugao. My former debate coach found the company, which is amazing. Someday I’ll be able to actually afford one of their designs, haha!
#2. Over 100 MSMEs… and the coffee pavilion Kapetirya
This coffee pavilion was intimidating for two reasons. One, I’m the last person to ask about coffee blends and shots or whatever. Two, I’m still shocked (pleasantly surprised?) at the price of these coffee blends.
(I still took a look around after exhausting myself going around the 180+ exhibitors).
#3. Baybayin (front and not-quite center)
One of the busiest areas during the fair featured Baybayin artists, who would offer a number of services. At the Sulat Ukit, the experts would spell out your name or a word in the indigenous script. They even sell engraved accessories and personalised items.
Near Sulat Ukit was Burda, a pretty awesome embroidery hub, and Pintados, a henna tattoo station where you can get a temporary baybayin script or tribal motif tattoo.
Why love local?
#LoveLocal is a trendy hashtag, but it’s also a tangible way of supporting people’s livelihood. The love of arts and crafts unique to our regions and provinces is even a form of nationalism. I may or may not be falling for consumer nationalism/conscious consumerism. Either-or.
As an arts and health advocate, supporting handmade or locally-sourced products feeds into a more sustainable arts industry and economy. Without commercial and monetary support, our own traditions and styles are bound to die.
Sen. Loren Legarda, the main proponent of this fair, was also the principal sponsor of RA 9501 or the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Act in recognition of the MSMEs’ role in employment generation and economic growth. DTI is also a host of the event.
During her opening speech for the fair, which is transcribed here, she emphasized the need to both support MSMEs for economic development, and to promote our own culture and heritage in the face of modernization and globalization.
Enjoy your visit and go home not only with your hearts full of pride in being Filipino, but also with your shopping bags full of products na gawang Pilipino.
In another universe, this is a haul post.
So I did go home with a couple of bags. Sue me. In another universe, I’d be a vlogger making a haul video right now.
Local bags and shoes
The nude slide heels are only P650 from Jhaz Footwear, Liliw, Laguna. Personally I buy from Badong when we shop in Liliw for cheap but durable footwear. So far, I’ve worn this pair in the rain for two days and it’s not yet broken. It is a bit scratched up though.
The cute pandan-material bayong has just enough space for my phone, make-up essentials, and money cards. It only costs P75, and it’s handmade by a NGO based in Baybay, Leyte. You can find them as Pandan Products by SNPPMPC.
Cute pouches and wallets
A huge part of me (aka 100%) justified my expenses as a necessity. I was Christmas shopping, okay. Six months before.
This cute dual zip purse is from Mori Notes, which is a social enterprise based in Quezon City. The SE employs mothers in creating handcrafted products. I think this may have been around P350 or so.
Bibsisita Handmade is one of the cutest and most tempting shops I saw in the exhibit. Unlike many of the other stalls, they didn’t sell products made using indigenous textiles, precious jewelry or the like. The prints of the bags and the pouches above were made by Bibsy Torio, a digital artist. This pair of Philippines-themed pouches have an interesting weave pattern at the back (not pictured), and they only cost P100 each.
I am still thinking about buying this P3000 round bag from their collection. I can’t find it on their website though.
I’m a sucker for accessories. However, I’m still saving up for the iconic 3 stars and a sun earrings worn by Catriona Gray. Tessera Jewelry, who made the expensive original, is selling a more affordable version for P1000 here.
The very first thing I bought was this small handcrafted P50 brass ring from Lake Sebu, South Cotobato. I’ve been meaning to buy a newer (and more expensive) ring, but now that I have this on my finger, I can resist the impulse of online shopping.
I also got this small pearl ring for P350 from Tingting Craft and Souvenirs, which is an enterprise based in Quiapo but also Pampanga. According to the vendor, the freshwater pearl hails from Lanao del Sur. I’m inclined to believe this messy geographical setup, if only because their stall was in an area clearly marked “Marawi Crafts” or something similar.
Lastly, I bought the baybayin-engraved necklace from Sanghabi, an NGO based in San Juan City, at the Sulat Ukit area. Since I didn’t have it customised anymore, it only cost about P200.
Flowers on a fan… and on a notebook
I don’t need another notebook. I know it. But Care Crafts Social Enterprises Inc. sells “real pressed flower notebooks” for only P150, and who was I to say no? I’ve always loved pressed flowers (something I’ve yet to blog about!). This social enterprise supports low-income families in Cubao.
This really pretty fan (one of its kind, since it was hand-painted by the vendor/artist) is from Abanico Artworks, and costs around P200 or P250. The shop is based in Cainta, Rizal.
I’ve been working on this blog post instead of working on paid content writing. As my mom says, live within your means. I need to increase my means and actually go work now. Bye.
Join the next fair!
The next National Arts and Crafts Fair 2018 will be held on October 25 to 28, 2018. Unfortunately, I don’t know where it will be held yet.
There are also other Sikat Pinoy Fairs to look out for, such as the National Food Fair. Yum!